Wednesday Night #1956

Written by  //  September 11, 2019  //  Wednesday Nights  //  No comments

9/11 already 18 years ago. As always, there are many poignant articles and editorials. The opinion piece by Omer Aziz “The World 9/11 Took From Us – I’m still mourning the life I lived before I learned that I was different” reminds us that there have been other silent victims of the tragedy.
In a different order, Brookings’ Bruce Riedel writes: “The global campaign against Osama bin Laden’s creation has achieved notable success. The ideas that inspired bin Laden and his followers have lost some, but not all, of their attractiveness. There is no place for complacency, but the threat is different.” (Al-Qaida today, 18 years after 9/11)

John Bolton is gone (fired) and not many tears are being shed. The Atlantic reminds us that Graeme Wood argued in a prescient profile of Bolton for the April issue of our magazine, “clashes on both style and substance between the two were inevitable, owing to fundamental foreign-policy and philosophical differences: One is an unreconstructed Cold Warrior; the other is an isolationist. One says nothing without precise calculation; the other speaks seemingly without consulting his own prefrontal cortex.” OUCH!

In the opinions of Larry Haas and Jeremy Kinsman, the only surprise is that it wasn’t sooner (or in Jeremy’s words, that he was ever hired). Larry does, however,  raise some points in Bolton’s  defense as he reiterates that Trump’s naiveté about foreign policy is the greatest danger the world faces. He and Jeremy also discuss the collapse of the talks with the Taliban.
For more on Bolton see U.S. Government and governance 2019

The icing on the cake is A shocking CNN scoop confirms: Officials are defending our country from Trump
CNN in an exclusive report revealed on Tuesday that In the midst of “wide concern in the intelligence community about mishandling of intelligence by Trump and his administration,” the United States exfiltrated its source from Russia in a secret mission.
New York asks what kinds of concerns the intelligence community had and proposes two possible answers.
“The first and most benign is that Trump was deemed too sloppy and undisciplined to hold a secret that, if blown, would get an American asset killed. The second interpretation is much worse. That interpretation would be that American officials decided Trump was too compromised by Russia to be trusted with a secret like a high-level spy in Russia.” Both are alarming.

What happens if Trump tries to fire Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell?
President Trump has made no secret of his dissatisfaction with the Federal Reserve, Chair Jerome Powell, and the Fed’s monetary policy. Peter Conti-Brown explains how the drama could escalate into a complicated political fight.

Boris and Britain stumble along their tumultuous path towards (maybe) Brexit (Brexit in chaos after court rules PM’s suspension of parliament was unlawful), but the major news for many of us is John Bercow‘s announcement that he is resigning as Speaker.
For more see Boris, Brexit & Britain

Thank you to Ali for bringing to our attention this (May 2019) analysis from Foreign Policy
The Hidden Sources of Iranian Strength that argues that Iran’s ties with its proxies are far deeper than the Trump administration understands.

Closer to home:
Who was not thrilled by Bianca Andreescu‘s triumph in the U.S. Open? Nerves of steel, superb tactician, all-in-all amazing! (Bianca Andreescu is the best in the world — it’s just not official (yet)) And we loved her totally Canadian apology to the crowd!
They are off and running!
When Justin Trudeau calling the election on Wednesday morning, the latest Nanos tracking was showing the Liberals with a marginal lead 34.6% over the Conservatives (30.7); the NDP at 16.5; the Greens at 11% and Max Bernier’s PCP trailing everyone at 2%. No doubt the polls will bounce up and down between now and 21 October, resulting in all kinds of shifts in platforms and ads.
For the moment: Election issues? Most likely are Climate change. Affordable housing. Mental health. Data privacy. But all politics is local and preoccupations will vary.
JT will not participate in Thursday’s Maclean’s and Citytv debate on Thursday, but there will be many more opportunities.

In any case, you will more than likely prefer to watch the U.S. Top Ten democrats’ debate

And in Manitoba on Tuesday, Brian Pallister’s PCs declared re-elected with majority government while in the special election GOP Hangs Onto Bright-Red North Carolina Congressional District and Trump Gloats

Congratulations to our good friend Daniel Green, who has been appointed the Green Party’s Environment Critic. Meantime, TVA Excludes Elizabeth May from Leaders’ Debate. This is wrong. She will participate in all the English-language debates. The TVA debate is on October 2, so we don’t have much time to reverse TVA’s decision. I invite you to sign the petition no matter what your party affiliation. But, keep an eye on reaction to Green Party’s Pierre Nantel calls for Quebec independence ‘as fast as possible’.

Before we pursue our Canadian political obsession, the important election to watch is the 17 September Israeli election. The most recent policy pronouncement from Netanyahu is his Pledge to Annex Much of the West Bank.

Does anyone not know that Greta Thunberg will be in Montreal for the 27 September World Climate Awareness Day? Not to be confused with World Environment Day – yes, we know, there are far too many “Days”.
Doug Sweet reminds that Concordia’s annual walk for student support has a green twist this year

One of the more ridiculous ideas that is now floating around is that of installing a bicycle path on Sherbrooke Street in NDG. The flawed arguments of the Association of Pedestrians and Cyclists of NDG were aired on CBC radio on Tuesday morning. How this idea of narrowing the main artery is going to protect children going to school is unclear (to be kind).
Meanwhile, pity the poor pedestrians who are now coping with a couple of new threats including electric scooters; perhaps we could learn a lesson from San Diego

Coming events of the CIC Montreal for your calendar
– 8 October: The Crisis in Venezuela: a discussion with Venezuelan Ambassador to Canada
– 11 October: Live webcast of the Munk Debate
– 14th October: collaborative event with the Max Bell School and Jennifer Welsh. Led by Taylor Owen. Two panels related to foreign policy and the Canadian elections.
– 6th Nov: CIC hosting Soraya Benitez (Canada-Venezuela Democracy Forum) and Adriana Para, a Venezuelan activist travelling from Venezuela.

The New York Times notes approvingly that Canada Tries a Forceful Message for Flood Victims: Live Someplace Else
Russia’s Massive Gold Stash Is Now Worth More Than $100Bln
Frank Rich: Oklahoma Was Never Really O.K.
A new production exposes the darkness that’s always been at the heart of the musical — and the American experiment.

Thank you to Doug Sweet for this delightful historical account to brighten what is otherwise pretty grim news:
Though probably a year after Abbott and Costello’s “Who’s on First” sketch, this may be funnier because it’s real (a transcript via CBC archives from the 1939 Royal tour when PM Mackenzie King and Mayor John Queen and his wife welcomed George VI and the Queen Mum to Winnipeg):
“Here comes the Royal Family now … The automobile has now stopped … . Oh, there’s the King – he’s stepping out, followed by her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, nattily attired in a silver coat. … Mr. King is now shaking hands with the King and introducing Mr. Queen to the King and Queen and then Mrs. Queen to the Queen and King. … They are now proceeding up the steps to the well-decorated City Hall, the King and Mr. King together with the Queen being escorted by Mrs. Queen. The King has now stopped and said something to Mrs. Queen and goes to Mrs. Queen and the Queen and Mr. King and the Queen laugh jovially. The King leaves Mr. King and goes to Mrs. Queen, and the Queen and Mr. King follow behind … .

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