Wednesday Night #1941

Written by  //  May 29, 2019  //  Wednesday Nights  //  No comments

#1941 – a foreboding date. We hoped for Gerald’s entertaining and informative summary, but in his absence others offered riveting accounts of little-known events in Canada related to WW II.
Not much entertaining in the past week, but a few questions answered – and a few more created.

At least the question of what Jody & Jane would do next has been answered. Despite a generous offer from Elizabeth May, both will run as independents
Guess what? Andrew Scheer has an Ontario problem – and it could be Doug Fordsuch fun to see the buyers’ remorse in Ontario, but too late to save Ontario and the rest of us from some unpleasant times ahead.

Theresa May, having lost all her battles in Parliament, announced that she is resigning, effective 7 June (which means that she still gets to host Donald Trump’s visit to the UK) . Now the race, which promises to be nasty,  is on to replace her with Boris Johnson an early favorite. NOT a popular choice in The City “Financiers in the City have expressed deep concern at the prospect of Boris Johnson replacing Theresa May at Number 10, fearing the former mayor of London’s appointment would be very detrimental to the Square Mile. Executives have baulked at the possibility of Johnson becoming the next prime minister, expressing fears his appointment would increase the likelihood of Britain crashing out of the EU without a deal and inflame the risks of a UK recession.”
The only good news so far: John Bercow, the Commons Speaker, fired a warning shot at the candidates open to no deal on Tuesday by saying he planned to stay on in the chair while Brexit was still unresolved and signalled he would not allow parliament to be sidelined.
BREAKING NEWS: Boris Johnson is to face a CRIMINAL court accused of misconduct after businessman crowd-funds a private prosecution over his Brexit bus claim that Britain sends the EU £350m every week

The European elections 2019
What the results of the European elections mean: dispatches from Rome, Vienna, London, Madrid, Warsaw and other capitals

Jeremy Kinsman is much more positive in his take on the European elections than are most commentators (see Diplomatic Community starting at 06.10). In the first half of this discussion with Larry Haas, the focus is on Trump’s visit to Japan and his undercutting of John Bolton when he declared that, unlike his national security adviser, he was not seeking regime change in Iran and he asserted that, contrary to what Mr. Bolton had said, recent North Korean missile tests did not violate United Nations resolutions.

The Washington circus continues as the Trump four-day visit to Japan to meet the new emperor caused consternation and confusion.
Trump in Japan: Pomp and tense circumstance
“tension abounded, with Trump on Monday brushing off the significance of North Korean short-range missile tests that have rattled Japan and reasserting his threats to hit Abe with potentially devastating auto import tariffs.” – ever the gracious guest.
What to make of Trump’s latest move to support Saudi Arabia – and Jared’s good friend MBS? “a bipartisan congressional majority voted against further U.S. support for Saudi Arabia’s disastrous intervention in Yemen, which has failed to achieve its aims while helping to produce the worst humanitarian crisis in the world. President Trump vetoed the resolution, and now he has doubled down on offering unqualified support to the Saudi regime and its allies. On Friday, the State Department notified Congress that it was invoking emergency authority to bypass opposition and complete 22 arms deals to Saudi Arabia and several other countries — including more of the munitions that have been killing civilians in Yemen.”

Trump Administration Hardens Its Attack on Climate Science
parts of the federal government will no longer fulfill what scientists say is one of the most urgent jobs of climate science studies: reporting on the future effects of a rapidly warming planet and presenting a picture of what the earth could look like by the end of the century if the global economy continues to emit heat-trapping carbon dioxide pollution from burning fossil fuels

Latest commentary from C Uday Bhaskar  in the aftermath of the India elections
Will Modi’s second term see a new governance paradigm?
While Modi visibly dominated the 2019 election, the same cannot be said about governance, though the Prime Minister’s Office in his first term became more powerful than ever before. Bench strength in the NDA cabinet has been modest and Modi was unable to even appoint a dedicated  defence minister with a full five-year term. Senior ministers have had health constraints, further weakening the overall texture and direction of governance.

Media Matters
Were you paying attention when the federal government announced that it would help the struggling Canadian media industry with new tax credits and incentives valued at nearly $600 million over the next five years? It may have seemed like a good idea at the time, but it doesn’t seem to have been thought through with the result that Journalists question Liberal government’s $600M media bailout plan
Not Facebook’s finest hour
If you have not been following the Big Data Committee meeting, you should at least read the report from CTV Big data committee blasts Mark Zuckerberg, Sheryl Sandberg for ignoring Parliament’s subpoena. We have been particularly disgusted by the refusal to remove the doctored Nancy Pelosi video – see Facebook’s False Standards for Not Removing a Fake Nancy Pelosi Video “Facebook is continually falling back on the premise that it is a social-media company and not a media company, meaning that its allegiance is to free expression rather than to the truth.”

Bill 21the Gazette editorial says it all: “Thursday was a sad and shameful day. In a move rooted in traumas of the past and unjustified fears in the present, the Legault government introduced legislation that is toxic to Quebec’s future. Bill 21, “An act respecting the laicity of the state,” bans the wearing of “religious symbols” by certain public officials. Its application is broader and its terms harsher than expected. While it ostensibly applies to adherents of all religions, the practical impact will be on observant Muslims, Jews and Sikhs for whom wearing hijabs, kippahs or turbans is not just religious expression, but religious practice. And these are not easily tucked behind a shirt, as a cross or crucifix might be. The government’s disturbing recourse to the notwithstanding clause to override the guarantees in the Canadian and Quebec rights charters testifies to the fact that fundamental rights are being abrogated, as does the insertion of laicity into the Quebec charter as something for which a proper regard must be maintained in exercising other rights.”
We may applaud Premier Legault’s emphasis on making  clean energy a priority  for Quebec, but the tone of his speech was, as usual, authoritarian as he closed the Coalition Avenir Québec’s weekend-long, environment-themed general meeting on Sunday. He said all new transit projects funded by the government must use clean energy, all new public buildings must have electric heating, that his government would look at new incentives for Quebecers and the private sector would have to follow suit.
Saving schools: English parents lobby for cohabitation with French board
Saying they are fed up with chronic infighting among commissioners at the English Montreal School Board (EMSB), parents are proposing solutions to keep English-language students in as many schools as possible. Parents from two of the schools held a press conference this morning to say that cohabitation is the only way to save their schools.
And now this: Maternelle 4 ans: Roberge persiste et signe malgré les coûts
We missed this in April, but are happy to share it now: Le «bonjour-hi» de plus en plus répandu, confirme l’OQLF and there is no cause for alarm “mais cela ne les empêche pas de recevoir des services en français, selon un nouveau rapport de l’Office de la langue française du Québec (OQLF).” EXHALE!

3 June
Rights City 2019 Conference organized by Kyle Matthews and his colleagues at Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies (MIGS) in collaboration with Amnesty International Francophone Canada, the Canadian International Council and the Centre for International Peace and Security Studies. Very strong program with great speakers.
Concordia University
De Sève Cinema
1400 De Maisonneuve Blvd

Pause for thought
Nigel Farage Is the Most Dangerous Man in Britain
He’s the most effective demagogue in a generation. Now he sets the agenda
Amid fractures, Europe is becoming a single political space
Despite itself, the continent is becoming a single political space. The far right in Italy copies tactics from the far right in France. The Greens in France watch the Greens in Germany. Everyone watches everyone else’s elections and uses them to prove points. British Euroskeptics tweeted happily about the Gilets Jaunes protests in France, and French Europhiles in turn have mocked the Brexit crisis in Britain. But in truth, nobody is “winning.” Instead, politics is changing, very quickly, with new parties, new causes, new passions coming to dominate. There may be a period when political institutions can’t keep up, but eventually they will have to.
An Inside Look at Political Imprisonment
Council on Foreign Relations: Panelists discuss the use of imprisonment and torture as political tools of authoritarian regimes, including their experiences with political imprisonment in Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Syria, and their perspectives on the mass incarceration and mistreatment of dissidents in those countries. The panel also addresses the challenges of formulating effective responses to these violations as populations seek political freedoms and democratic reforms
The Books of College Libraries Are Turning Into Wallpaper
University libraries around the world are seeing precipitous declines in the use of the books on their shelves.
Female Spies and Their Secrets
An old-boy operation was transformed by women during World War II, and at last the unsung upstarts are getting their due.
In intelligence, as in computer science and so many other fields associated with male prowess, women have made far more important contributions than they have gotten credit for—but a recent boom in attention to their stories is remedying that.
Veteran Mount Everest climber describes crowds stepping over bodies in the snow
Overcrowding just part of the problem, says climber and filmmaker Elia Saikaly
Finding meaning in the universe with astrophysicist Hubert Reeves, Part 1 and Part 2
Hubert Reeves is one of the world’s foremost experts on The Big Bang and the origins of time. He lives in France, where the acclaimed astrophysicist has the status of a rock star. In Quebec, where he was born, he is also treasured. And yet he’s largely unknown in the English-speaking world.

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