Wednesday Night 1885

Written by  //  April 25, 2018  //  Wednesday Nights  //  No comments

Who among us has not seen “The Graduate” and does not remember one of the most quoted lines (actually, only a word) – plastics?
Fifty years ago that embodied one of the great investment opportunities.
Fifty years later, the theme of Earth Day -22 April- 2018 was End Plastic Pollution
The world, or at least the developed economies, has embraced plastics with unbounded enthusiasm and the result is a staggering, horrible, mess from the The Great Pacific Garbage Patch (GPGP) located halfway between Hawaii and California to one in The Atlantic and littering shores around the world from the Arctic Sea to  Antarctica to Bali and remote Henderson Island.
A 2015 study found that between 4.8 and 12.7 million metric tons of plastic makes it into the ocean from land each year. By 2050, there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean by weight.
While politicians wring their hands and dedicated individuals and groups organize clean-ups in their local communities, a Dutch teenager has come up with one major solution. First-ever ocean plastic cleaner will tackle Great Pacific Garbage Patch
We would suggest that there is also a role for each of us to play, even though we may not be a major part of the problem as we dutifully recycle. Why are we not all using our power as consumers to pressure the companies we patronize to STOP using plastic containers for everything? Why not convince the milk companies to return to the good old milk bottle and require a deposit for each bottle? Personally, we would be happy to get rid of the horrible plastic bags. Moreover things taste better when not contained or covered in plastic.

The Macrons have come to Washington and while one part of the press corps is concerned with whether M. Macron will be able to influence Donald Trump’s thinking about the Iran Nuclear deal, it seems almost as many are captivated by how FLOTUS is dressed (the white hat!) and what was to be served -and to whom- at Tuesday night’s state dinner. The menu looks excellent, but we want to know whether Trump insisted on his 2 scoops of ice cream.

Of greater concern is the on-going story of US-North Korea negotiations.
The New York Times sums it up in An Unpredictable Trump and a Risk-Prone Kim Mean High Stakes and Mismatched Expectations
“As if to underscore the growing uncertainty over how talks will proceed and what they will produce — the opposite of standard procedure, in which months of pre-negotiations align expectations and telegraph the response to victory or failure — both sides already appear to misunderstand one another on basic terms
The countries are already treating the meeting less as the start of a long and difficult process, in which both would need to make painful compromises for narrow gains, but as the culmination of what each seems to see as its glorious triumph over the other.
But those two imagined victories are mutually exclusive and, barring a drastic strategic shift by either country, categorically unacceptable to the other side.”

NAFTA could be the beneficiary of the failure of the Trump administration to fill many top jobs in Washington. It is reported that the US wants to get a NAFTA agreement before a U.S. legislative deadline early next month and U.S. trade czar Robert Lighthizer is being dispatched to China for talks there next week. Although Minister Freeland is (wisely) being somewhat noncommittal, the talks could wrap up this week.

Wednesday Night’s two Davids examine the importance of U.S. relations with Japan
David Jones: Japan Should Not Be a Second Thought in U.S. Policy
“Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited the United States from April 17 to 18, but the importance of his visit was largely lost in the maelstrom of media reporting on the U.S.-led strike on Syrian chemical weapons facilities, the seizure of President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer’s records, and the release of former FBI Director James Comey’s smear-all account of his relations with Trump.
“The treatment of Abe was not quite on the level of “disrespect,” but rather it reflected the media’s inability to differentiate between the strategically significant and the tactically transitory. Without belaboring the obvious, U.S. relations with Tokyo are more important than Assad’s use of chemical weapons and Comey’s strained analogy of Trump as a mafia chief or his snippy comment on the size of Trump’s hands.”
David Kilgour argues U.S. Should Embrace Japan–India Alliance and TPP
“Abe’s government has been dealing with domestic scandals since it won decisively a snap election last October. He undoubtedly sees the international stage as an opportunity to mitigate the damage by confirming strong Japan–U.S. solidarity, after being caught off-guard by Trump’s recent policy shifts on North Korea and trade issues.
“Abe urged Trump to return to the multinational Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free-trade pact, but the latter emphasized the United States won’t rejoin the framework unless he’s offered a deal he can’t refuse.
“Negotiating a free-trade agreement with an increasingly totalitarian and plutocratic party-state in China, which treats its Tibetan, Falun Gong, Uyghur, Christian, farm, urban worker, and other communities appallingly, should be unthinkable for any democracy. A revised TPP, including a number of other regional democracies with rule of law, is the best major trade option for both Canada and the United States in Asia and the Pacific Rim.
“India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi chose a visit to Tokyo in 2016 as the occasion to reproach China on its misbehavior in Asia, alluding to its military buildup in the South China Sea, heavy-handedness in Tibet, territorial ambitions in northern India, and more. He added, “Everywhere … we see an 18th-century expansionist mindset: encroaching in other countries, intruding in others’ waters, invading other countries, and capturing territory.”
Australia, similar to Canada in many ways but with a heightened awareness of the security challenge represented by Beijing, has embraced the emerging Japan–India coalition.”

Technology at your service Amazon has begun delivering packages to parked cars.
The service is available in 37 American cities and surrounding areas, to customers with recent-model cars that use technology allowing satellite location-tracking and digital access to the locks.
A delivery person will unlock the car using a smartphone and leave the package in the trunk or on the back seat. That helps customers who don’t want to risk “porch pirates” or who can’t get deliveries at work.

On the other hand, you may wish to consider this from Brookings: Will robots and AI take your job? The economic and political consequences of automation

And there is this: Customers shocked to find their Rogers’ Yahoo email being read
Under new terms of service, all communications for Rogers Yahoo email users can be analyzed and used to deliver personalized advertising and services
See Yahoo and AOL’s privacy policy lets them plunder your emails for ads

Maybe some good news for Quebec Anglophones:
The provincial government is promising to give five English groups $950,000 over the next two years.
Note our friend Sylvia Martin Laforge standing next to the minister
(CTV) Kathleen Weil, the minister responsible for Relations with English-Speaking Quebecers, made the announcement Monday at Concordia University.
She said the funding comes out of the Anglophone Secretariat’s budget, and will go toward expanding school programs, improving tourism, and more.
Weil also promised there will be more announcements and money for English-speaking Quebecers in the coming months including a plan to keep young Anglophones in the province.
The groups said creating the role of minister for relations with English-speaking Quebecers is a major victory, but there are questions if the post would still exist under a different government.
Also the announcement that Quebec promises new Lakeshore General ER, eventually [emphasis added]
[Health Minister] Barrette said the project was between five and seven years away from completion, but added that the commitment was “past the point of no return” and that “there will be a new emergency room here.”
He added that the new building could be as much as triple the size of the current one.
The announcement comes seven months ahead of the Oct. 1 provincial election.

We are always happy to promote Wednesday Nighters and doubly so when it is an exhibition of Wayne Larsen‘s evocative and delightful paintings. The launch for the Art by the Water Exhibit & Sale at the Beaconsfield Yacht Club, 26 Lakeshore Rd., is Friday from 6 to 9 p.m. Hours for the exhibition and sale are April 28-29 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Miscellaneous
For those who were captivated, mesmerized or otherwise addicted, according to Vanity Fair’s review there is a promising second-season The Handmaid’s Tale Review: Praise Be, Season 2 Is Good. “This season invites even more panicked second-guessing of our own world—from our judgmental discourse around motherhood to the liberties granted Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents.”

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