Wednesday Night #1953

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August 23, 2019 marks the 80th anniversary of the infamous Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, officially known as the Treaty of Non-aggression between Germany and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics,a neutrality pact between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union signed in Moscow by foreign ministers Joachim von Ribbentrop and Vyacheslav Molotov, respectively.. …  THIS DAY IN HISTORY The Hitler-Stalin Pact

Congratulations to Kent Hovey-Smith and the Tidal Health Solutions team: “We’re excited to announce we received approval from Health Canada for our new expansion. Soon  our oil production will be full steam ahead!”

Another full week with focus on Afghanistan, Denmark and Greenland (and not only because of melting ice), the Economy, Elections Canada, G7 (actually, very little, given all the other events), Hong Kong, India (Kashmir) , Israel …

Monday, the 19th, the 100th anniversary of Afghanistan‘s independence, was marked by bombings in Jalalabad and a wedding massacre in Kabul. This as it was being reported that  talks were  99% resolved around a deal between the US and the Taliban that would involve a reduction in American troops, and more importantly a ceasefire between these two combatants. However, there is well-founded concern that another major threat looms in Afghanistan: The Islamic State.

Donald Trump’s musings about buying Greenland were mocked on the internet, and did nothing to improve relations with Denmark – or Greenland – He has now ‘postponed’ his planned visit. Shock in Denmark after Trump, spurned over Greenland, cancels visit scheduled for 2-3 September. (See also: Why Denmark won’t sell off Greenland)

The past week’s news has been filled with references to the inverted yield curve (for non-economists, see How The Finance Prof Who Discovered The ‘Inverted Yield Curve’ Explains It To Grandma) as “economists, forecasters, and other experts have been sounding the alarms regarding a potential impending recession in recent weeks. A confluence of factors, including the US-China trade war, slowdowns in the US manufacturing sector and some global economies, and a wonky concept called the inverted yield curve, have heightened anxieties a downturn might be on the horizon. That’s not to say you should panic: There are no guarantees an economic downturn is around the corner, and even if there were, most aren’t nearly as bad as the 2007-’09 Great Recession.
But if you listen to Trump, everything’s fine anyway.” (Trump’s potential recession playbook:)
The Trump vs. Obama economy — in 15 charts

The G7 Summit in Biarritz  August 24-26 is focused on Inequality, while emphasizing environmentally responsible actions including the fashion industry – a natural for host country, France. There is much conjecture about Boris Johnson’s first appearance at a Summit. Brexit may not be on the agenda, but he will sample post-Brexit reality and it is expected that he is about to feel the pinch of Brexit Britain’s new global status: squeezed on one side by Europeans in no mood to yield, and on the other by a United States driving a hard bargain for its economic support. Donald Trump told reporters Tuesday that Russia should be readmitted to the G7, saying “it should be the G8.” However, President Macron told reporters after meeting with Putin on Monday that he was opposed to readmitting Russia into the G7 unless the Ukraine dispute ended, per Politico, which reported Putin stressed that his country was still in the G20.

As Hong Kong protests continue unabated, China has deployed a three-pronged strategy to suffocate pro-democracy protests – propaganda, economic leverage and intimidation. Less extensively covered, the situation in Kashmir continues to be fraught as Pakistan threatens to take Kashmir dispute with India to World Court.

Israel‘s refusal to admit Reps. Omar and Tlaib after pressure from Trump was offensive in so many ways. As the Axios report stated “Netanyahu’s reversal creates an unprecedented moment — an ally of the United States has banned two duly elected members of Congress from entering its country. It could cause a huge crisis with the Democratic Party and damage the U.S.-Israel relationship.” Confirming that view: Democrats Take Aim at Israel’s U.S. Ambassador for the Tlaib-Omar Fiasco Israel’s ambassador to the U.S. is done in the House, and the U.S. ambassador to Israel may not be far behind.

There was a brief flurry of optimism that Donald Trump would back aggressive gun control legislation, but  when the noxious Wayne LaPierre intervened, all hope faded.
A Call With the President Gets the N.R.A. Results
For Mr. Trump, his dealings with Mr. LaPierre and other gun rights advocates in the weeks since the mass shootings have been a reminder that even if his initial instinct after the deaths of 31 people in El Paso and Dayton, Ohio, earlier this month was to say he would be an advocate for aggressive gun legislation, any such push would be seen as a betrayal of the N.R.A. members who helped elect him.

As usual, Canadian news is tame in comparison. The PM is under fire for ethics violation (or for failing to apologize) in the SNC-Lavalin file ; Elections Canada is severely criticized for its warning that saying climate change is real could be seen as partisan activity during election campaign – even Maxime Bernier rejected the idea ; and now, the parents ‘Jihadi Jack’of are contemplating moving to Canada to promote his repatriation.”[His father] said he hopes his son’s case will be an issue for Canadians in the fall federal election campaign.” Doubtful

Good reads
From Cleo Paskal: Western allies, divided loyalties
Australia and New Zealand are targets of Beijing’s strategic game, writes Cleo Paskal (Chatham House) As tensions rise in the Indo-Pacific region, western allies are keeping a careful eye on each other to see how each reacts to China’s growing strength.
Which allies will bar Huawei from their 5G superfast broadband network? Who will buy arms from whom? And which countries will devote the time, money and political will to engage in large-scale military training together?
At the same time, China is prodding at the weak spots in the bonds that unite the western allies, seeing where it has the political and economic leverage to pry them apart and undermine trust.
As a result, while the United States and China drift further apart, more countries, especially in the Indo-Pacific region, are finding it harder to balance their interests. That is especially true for longstanding western allies such as Australia and New Zealand.
Book Review: Payam Akhavan Interviews Noah Weisbord About his Book “The Crime of Aggression: The Quest for Justice in an Age of Drones, Cyberattacks, Insurgents, and Autocrats.”
How Boris Johnson and President Trump risk destabilizing Northern Ireland
As Johnson and his “war cabinet” of hard-line Brexiteers push forward with their demands, the risks to Northern Ireland are increasing. But instead of seeking to stabilize the peace process, President Trump has encouraged Britain to abandon divorce talks with the E.U. in favor of a trade deal with the United States — a position that could have potentially disastrous consequences.
Health in Africa: 5 priorities for the G-7 Biarritz Summit
In a bid to forge a renewed partnership with the developing world, African partners are also invited to the [G7] table. This is a welcome focus, particularly for global health, where the last two decades of international cooperation have been instrumental in mobilizing global resources to combat epidemics and save millions of lives.
Conservative Scholar: The Real Racists Are People Who Call Trump Racist
of special interest to those who were present on Wednesday Night #1949.
Entertaining and excellent advice
10 ways to have a better conversation (video)
When your job hinges on how well you talk to people, you learn a lot about how to have conversations — and that most of us don’t converse very well. Celeste Headlee has worked as a radio host for decades, and she knows the ingredients of a great conversation: Honesty, brevity, clarity and a healthy amount of listening. In this insightful talk, she shares 10 useful rules for having better conversations. “Go out, talk to people, listen to people,” she says. “And, most importantly, be prepared to be amazed.”
Disposable America
A history of modern capitalism from the perspective of the straw. Seriously.

13 September
The Rohingya Crisis: What can and should Canada do?
with Honourable Bob Rae
9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m
Concordia

4 October
CBC Massey Lecturer Sally Armstrong argues gender equality is crucial to a thriving future
7pm
Centaur Theatre

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