Wednesday Night #1946

Written by  //  July 3, 2019  //  Wednesday Nights  //  No comments

On the eve of the Glorious Fourth, there is not much to celebrate. Least of all, Trump’s ludicrous hijacking of the traditional Washington celebration, aping the great military parades featured in such democracies as Russia, China and North Korea. (Everything We Know About Trump’s July 4 Event) The poor U.S. military has no choice but to obey the CinC’s whim, although there has been some blowback regarding tanks on the Mall. Best to follow Alex Kingsbury’s advice: Let Trump Have His Birthday Party for America — And let us all ignore it.. This is, incidentally, a good read.

The 2019  G20 Summit has come and gone [In Osaka, the G20 summit takes a back seat to the Donald Trump show] and world media is more outraged by the intrusion of Ivanka Trump in waters decidedly over her head than the fact that the  US, Saudis and Iran resisted climate change pledge at G20 Summi. Trump, having distinguished himself by his chummy relations with Putin, Erdogan, MBS and Xi, then surprised pretty much everyone by flying off to meet with Kim at the DMZ  (yes, Ivanka was there too) . Reaction to that adventure has not been overwhelmingly positive, best summed up by Jeremy Kinsman in a nod to Wimbledon: “Game. Set. Match. To Kim.”

About Ivanka‘s status as the icon of nepotism, the media (both traditional and social) has been cruel – and often clever. See Oh, to Be Ivanka! — So many hot spots, so little time. and follow the hashtag #unwantedivanka  While this may seem simply petty, Carrie Cordero underlines in a WaPo op-ed that “This ascension of family-directed foreign affairs is an unhealthy development for our democracy. And Ivanka Trump ought to back off: Americans didn’t elect her, we don’t have any way of holding her accountable and we don’t support her playacting at government.”

Meanwhile, documented reports of the unspeakable conditions in the Border Patrol camps are finally making the headlines. See Trump administration & Immigration 2019 (June – ) And the viciousness of the recently revealed (by Pro Publica) Secret Border Patrol Facebook Group Where Agents Joke About Migrant Deaths and Post Sexist Memes is beyond comprehension. The indignation is widespread, but it seems that the Border Patrol is a law unto itself and the White House does not want to know, so for now, we’re unclear about what can be done to immediately rectify the situation and, in the long run, to clean out the BP personnel and enforce humane conditions. As one Wednesday Nighter writes: “Prison cages on the border, voter suppression ok’d by scotus, tanks on the mall..looks like a pattern.”

European Union leaders agreed on Tuesday to nominate France’s Christine Lagarde to be the new head of the European Central Bank and sealed a deal on filling the other four top jobs in the bloc after tortuous marathon talks in Brussels exposed their deepening divisions.
Surprise finish, uncertain consequences, in race to choose new EU leaders
Politico (Eu) writes: In the unkindest analysis, the leaders chose von der Leyen, a largely unknown quantity in Brussels who has been dogged by misspending and mismanagement allegations in Berlin, not because of the leadership skills she will bring to the EU’s top job as Commission president, but because she filled more banal criteria: compensating Germany and the conservative European People’s Party for being denied their first choice — the conservative lead candidate Manfred Weber.
The new rulers of Europe
Who are EU nominees Ursula von der Leyen, Christine Lagarde, Charles Michel and Josep Borrell?
One keen European observer  commented to us: “She stands definitely to the right of me, but did quite well in an almost impossible job. The Left and the Greens hate her. She is a tough cookie, superbly educated, multi-lingual and financially independent and therefore uncorruptible.. Not a bad choice considering that both Merkel and Macron trust her. She is tough on Russia and believes in EU. I am more than willing to give her the benefit of the doubt, although I might have preferred Timmermans. Ursula von der Leyen will do a good job.”

The crisis in Hong Kong shows no signs of abating. Foreign Policy draws attention to the support that businesses are giving to the demonstrations  “With its reputation as Asia’s financial hub at stake, any credible threat of paralyzing Hong Kong’s economy could force the establishment to make concessions that current demonstrations have failed to realize.
How to understand the symbolic occupation—and destruction—of Hong Kong’s legislature

The two Davids write about Iran this week:
David Jones: Half Truths and False Truths Abound in Dealing With Iran
“Both the United States and Iran are pushed and pulled by tigers and pussy cats. One U.S. faction believes Iran is a vicious human rights abuser with no redeeming value and a source of persistent instability throughout the region. The other side, not to put to fine a point on it, is willing to wait and believes the Iranians can work out their problems themselves. One might say: proactive versus pro-passive. The (pro-passive position is echoed by many allies). The Iranian optic is also factionalized. The more militant faction believes the Revolution is far from over; that it is Islamic duty to destroy Israel and to spread Islamic fundamentalism as widely as possible. In contrast are groups believing immediate action is unnecessary, and they can gain power and influence without undue risk.”
David Kilgour: Whither the United States, Europe, and Iran
“With the drums of war sounding again, the most valuable thing the world’s democracies can do is to support Iranians in their non-violent quest to change their government and attempt to lower the diplomatic temperature in the region.”
The timing of the publication of their columns did not allow for comment on
Nomination of Josep Borrell for EU High Representative sparks outcry – A supporter of the Iranian regime, Mr Borrell will handle the EU’s negotiations on the Iran nuclear deal

Father Of Mustang And Minivan Lee Iacocca has died While many of the younger generation(s) will not recognize his name, he was a legendary figure in the auto industry. He should also be remembered for saving the Statue of Liberty as this tribute points out. Trivia: who remembers that people used to joke that Iacocca. stood for I Am Chairman Of Chrysler Corporation of America?
After saving Chrysler, Lee Iacocca became an unlikely champion of electric bikes and scooters. Would he have foreseen the potential problems of E-scooter use here? Frankly, we are dreading the pilot project that takes off on July 6 in Montreal and Westmount. Coping with bicyclists on the sidewalk is bad enough. Nice to know that certain rules and regulations apply to the users, but we don’t see much mention of ensuring safety for sidewalk users aka pedestrians.

A reminder of Désirée McGraw‘s early activism was published in The Gazette on Wednesday History Through Our Eyes: July 3, 1987, young disarmament activists In 1986-87, a group of teenage Montrealers toured Canada in an old station wagon, speaking to high school students. What a different world it was then.

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