Wednesday Night #1913 – mid-term post mortem

Written by  //  November 7, 2018  //  Wednesday Nights  //  Comments Off on Wednesday Night #1913 – mid-term post mortem

U.S. midterm elections 2018: Democrats projected to win U.S. House, GOP retain Senate
Democrats win key races in Florida, Virginia, Pennsylvania and Minnesota
Ted Cruz defeats Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke
For the first time in eight years the Democrats are expected to retake the U.S. House of Representatives in an election that was widely seen as a referendum on the turbulent presidency of Donald Trump.

Guy Fawkes Day 2018 has come and gone. Surprisingly – or not – there seem to have been no pro or anti Brexit demonstrations to mark the occasion.

Daylight Saving 2018 has also come and gone without violent protests, but with lots of grumbling. 100 years later, the madness of daylight saving time endures

Bernard Landry has died
Bernard Landry to be honoured with state funeral
Tributes poured in Tuesday for the former Quebec premier, who died at the age of 81. As Marie-Eve Doyon wrote: Le décès de Bernard Landry marque la fin d’une époque. Celle de la dualité indépendantisme – fédéralisme, mais aussi celle des convictions inébranlables et des allégeances tatouées sur le cœur. Thanks to David Jones, we entertained M. Landry at 33 Rosemount for a very intimate drinks & chat when David & Terry were visiting us. I had dreaded the occasion, but was utterly charmed by M. Landry and, subsequently, David & I enjoyed a number of friendly encounters with him at events.

And then there is Tony Clement who has resigned his Commons duties [but not his seat] over sexting scandal “”I also apologize to my colleagues and my constituents for letting them down. I am committed to seeking the help and treatment I need in my personal life to make sure this will not happen again while also continuing to discharge my duties as a Member of Parliament.”” No, he was not seeking a tryst in a gazebo, but … what a creep!

The lead-up to the U.S. mid-term elections has been intense and stupefying; we have been subjected to analysis predictions and polling results.
We may count ourselves lucky that most of us are at sufficient remove that we need not worry about the seemingly endless  list of local issues that are part of the ballots that confront many voters. Consider the plight of Farmer John whose neighbours in Half Moon Bay must decide whether to welcome commercial cannabis inside their community and help the farm or stand firm against marijuana and possibly smash the Mullers’ pumpkin business.

Donald Trump has been in full campaign flight and fight for weeks – with only a brief, awkward/appalling interlude in Pittsburgh. It is reported that The president’s apocalyptic attacks reach a new level of falsity Trump is claiming that Democrats want to erase the nation’s borders and provide sanctuary to drug dealers, human traffickers and MS-13 killers. He is warning that they would destroy the economy, obliterate Medicare and unleash a wave of violent crime that endangers families everywhere. And he is alleging that they would transform the United States into Venezuela with socialism run amok.

In contrast last Saturday’s Munk Debate saw David Frum and Steve Bannon engage in a very civil debate. Everyone interested in the resolution that the “future of western politics is populist, not liberal” should devote the time to listening (not much to watch) to the entire. Sad that the concluding moments were marred by a SNAFU over the audience votes. Do read David Frum’s reflections on his reaction to this development The Real Lesson of My Debate With Steve BannonI argued against the false promise of what Trump’s former strategist bills as populism. Then events took a strange turn.

One deeply worrying aspect of the Trump administration’s policies is its dismissal/denial of  global environmental threats [Trump thinks scientists are split on climate change. So do most Americans]. From withdrawal from the Paris Agreement to  blocking of the Obama Clean Water Act, the list is long.
While most commentary has been focused on immigration and the economy, The Hill points out that there are High stakes for Dems’ green agenda in midterms “At the EPA, Democrats want to relentlessly scrutinize the Trump administration’s aggressive deregulatory agenda. Thus far, the EPA has worked to repeal rules limiting carbon dioxide emissions from power plants, fuel efficiency rules for cars, methane pollution rules for oil and natural gas drillers, water pollution rules for coal-fired power plants and a wide array of other policies.Rep. Frank Pallone (N.J.), currently the top Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, would become chairman of the panel that oversees EPA if the House flips. He’ll be able to set the agenda, compel government officials like acting EPA head Andrew Wheeler to testify and subpoena agency records.”

This would be a bit of good news in the face of the dire warnings emanating from the UN and other bodies, e.g. Stop biodiversity loss or we could face our own extinction, warns UN, even if the U.S. continues to remain outside the relevant treaty organizations. However, the news of Brazil‘s drastic new policies vis à vis the Amazon outweighs the hopefulness we might have felt.  Still, one glimmer of hope lies in the report that Bolsonaro is at least reconsidering his idea to create a third super ministry of agriculture and environment after the plan drew rebuke from activists, agriculture leaders… .

A few events to gladden the soul:
Saturday, 10 November
Do good with bad news!
The ever-creative Sophie Tarnowska suggests this wonderful (kid-friendly) activity for this Saturday. Whether you are licking your lips or wounds after the mid-terms, what a great way to spend a dreary November Saturday by having fun and doing good!
“It’s a hands-on workshop (2 sessions available), to learn how to make artisanal paper out of ugly headlines. the paper will become WeDoSomething Mtl cards and notebooks for sale, to raise money for our work.
Why not invite a friend to Do good with bad news! and transform your depressing newspapers into beautiful paper? There are 2 session: 1-4pm (kids welcome) or 5-8pm avec drinks and music. The paper you make will become gorgeous notebooks and cards to be sold in support of WeDoSomething Montreal, at Souk@sat later this month.
And check out our amazing collaborator, Retailles: atelier de papier. Without them, and my mad artist friends Cath and Emilie, I’d be reading bad news and weeping. Please come, please share, and yes, please buy when time comes.” Details on FaceBook
Tuesday, 13 November
5:30 PM – 7:30 PM EST
CIC Montreal
“I dream about one day bringing all the militants to justice” – How can Canada manage returning foreign fighters?
Canada is now confronted with decisions about what to do with war criminals who have killed ethnic minorities, including the genocide of the Yazidis. It is not an easy matter. Bringing perpetrators to justice in Canada or in international courts may fail. And it also costs a lot of money. But don’t we owe it to the victims of ISIS crimes to bring perpetrators to justice ? Shouldn’t Canada uphold its values and laws?
To talk about these questions, join the discussion on 13 November with
Amarnath Amarasingam, Canadian extremism researcher, Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Strategic Dialogue
Sabrina Sassi, Jeanne Sauvé Fellow, expert on extremism, youth and reintegration
Phil Gurski, President and CEO of Borealis Threat and Risk Consulting, former CSIS Analyst
Jeffrey Allan, former Political Affairs Officer for the United Nations Mission Assistance for Iraq (UNAMI)
Fee: $5 or more
Jeanne Sauvé House
1514 Avenue Docteur-Penfield
7-8 December
Doug Sweet advises that he will be playing a loathsome and lecherous character named Guy of Gisborne in the Geordie Productions presentation of The Trials of Robin Hood, Dec. 7 and 8 (matinee and evening on that day) at Concordia’s D.B. Clarke Theatre in the Hall Building. The event is the annual fundraising gala and he has tickets to sell. “Zounds! Huzzah! There will be sword fighting!! There will be lusty men and women!!! There will be evil and conniving villains!!!! (It’s a hoot!).”

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