Wednesday Night #1965

Written by  //  November 13, 2019  //  Wednesday Nights  //  No comments

11 November – Remembrance Day – was filled with touching stories of the sung and unsung heroes of recent and more distant wars. We were reminded of less well-known stories of the gallantry of the Night Witches, the most decorated female combat aviation unit of the Second World War; Indigenous People in the Second World War; Black Canadians whose tradition of military service goes back long before Confederation and many, many more.
Along with the men and women who served were the animals; we have chosen the story of Sgt. Reckless, America’s Greatest War Horse, [who] Carried Ammunition To The Front Lines And Helped Rescue Many Wounded Soldiers as an illustration of the bravery of animals in circumstances they neither volunteered for nor understood.
Ten years ago, on 11 November, the moving Vietnam Veterans Memorial was dedicated – did you know that it was designed by a 21-year-old college student?

On 9 November 1989, the Berlin Wall was opened and on the following day, Germans began to tear it down.

Sesame Street celebrated its 50th birthday on 10 November

A small note of timely levity
The caption is:
“He’s Anonymous and I’m Unnamed Source”
We often remark that it is uncanny how frequently Major Events take place on Wednesdays. This week is no exception with the opening of the public impeachment hearings in the House Intelligence Committee.
You may want to keep handy this guide from Lawfare: What’s in the House Resolution on Impeachment?

Protests continue around the globe marked by deteriorating situations in Chile and Hong Kong, where the protests are entering their sixth month as the universities become the newest battleground. Bolivia‘s protests achieved their aim; Evo Morales has resigned and left the country, but new protests erupted on Tuesday with the news that opposition leader Jeanine Anez declared herself the country’s interim president. In Lebanon, a local official with the Progressive Socialist Party headed by Walid Jumblatt, political leader of Lebanon’s Druze community was shot dead by soldiers – the first death in 27 days of nationwide protests. Protesters are demanding a government made up of technocrats that would address the economic and financial crisis.

Israel pounds Gaza for a second day in the most violent assault in months as UN envoy heads to Cairo for mediation talks. Haaretz opines that “The assassination of Baha Abu al-Ata, a senior Islamic Jihad official in the Gaza Strip, has – with timing that many consider dubious – reshuffled the deck of the Israeli political game, in which the public had already lost interest out of sheer exhaustion. Until now, it seemed the entire political system was fumbling all the way to another election, and that perhaps this was our new system of government – elections and yet more elections, devoid of either victory or significance. But on Tuesday, Israelis woke up to a historic moment. A “crisis government” led by Netanyahu, with the participation of Benny Gantz and his Kahol Lavan party, now seems like the most probable outcome.”

Spain’s repeat election resulted in no clear winner but a surge for the far right. We hope that Madrid will put aside all other concerns while preparing to host the Climate Change COP. There’s not a lot of time.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan Heads to the White House amid widespread criticism over his campaign in northern Syria.
As The Atlantic writes, he and Trump “have undeniable personal chemistry, but their countries are drifting apart.”
Erdogan and Trump: Date Night for a Troubled Marriage.
Not that Trump will care, Turkish security officials suggested the death of White Helmets founder James Le Mesurier in Istanbul, following Russian accusations that he was a spy, is being treated as a suspected suicide. Really? It’s hard not to be reminded of initial reaction/bungling by Turkish authorities of the investigation into the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.

It is difficult to maintain an updated scorecard for the race for the Democratic nomination. The news that Michael Bloomberg is making a run has generated considerable controversy. See Paul Krugman’s critique Bursting the Billionaire Bubble versus Thomas Friedman’s support of Bloomberg’s candidacy. The difference in their views reflects opinions expressed in A ‘Fixer’ or a ‘Bully’: New Yorkers Have Opinions on Bloomberg as Mayor. Also, see Business Insider: Michael Bloomberg is running for president in 2020. Here’s everything we know about the candidate and how he stacks up against the competition.

It’s official. Following the swearing in of the new Cabinet on 20 November, Parliament will return on 5 December. Before then, the PM is meeting with opposition leaders (Scheer on Tuesday and Singh on Thursday) in an attempt to reach some agreement on legislative priorities. He also met with Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe. Meanwhile, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has unhelpfully called the re-election of a federal Liberal government a “hostile situation.” Not everyone agrees with the western provinces’ aggrieved stance; A note to Western Canada: The rest of the country understands tough economic times
Several commentators have noted that Alberta is considering no more than the powers Quebec exercises, e.g. whether Alberta should create a provincial plan and withdraw from the CPP, whether it should establish a new provincial bureaucracy to collect taxes within the province instead of the Canada Revenue Agency, and whether the province should replace the RCMP with a provincial police force.
Ottawa will also have to decide how it will deal with the increasingly aggressive CAQ government. As Andrew Caddell writes in The Hill Times, Premier Legault should be more ‘humane’ if he wants to avoid being a laughingstock
Globe & Mail chimes in Francois Legault’s honeymoon [has ended] in acrimony as populist policies take aim at minorities, immigrants and Anglophones   Could M. Legault et cie not have been content with their excellent budget news (Quebec presents $4-billion surplus for 2019-20 amid booming economy )?
The PM must now consider what to do about Bill 21, as the play-safe pronouncements of the campaign will no longer suffice.
The government faces both domestic and international challenges, notably relations with China
Jeremy Kinsman and Lawrence Haas comment on Canada’s on-going dispute with China
Richard Fadden’s Vimy Award thoughtful Acceptance Speech: “2020 and Beyond: Where Does Canada Fit?” should be required reading for the members of the new Cabinet

Beware of what you wish for. All institutions eagerly court generous donors and are happy to name buildings, institutes, fellowships, programs, or just about anything for them in return. But this is a first in our experience: Donor Peter Allard sues UBC, demands his name be printed on all law degrees

In the misery-loves-company category: Winter Arrives 39 Days Before Winter Officially Arrives. In contrast,  the Sea of Okhotsk is warming, three times faster than the global mean  The climate chain reaction that threatens the heart of the Pacific . Would that we could swap.

For those who want to take action on climate change here and now, WeDoSomething is hosting  an eco-dinner party for the Sierra Club Canada Foundation on Wednesday. Founder Sophie Tarnowska is to be congratulated for her creative approach to ‘funraising’. Too late to purchase tickets for this event, but there will be many more and all for good causes.

Long reads
BBC Shashi Tharoor: Why the Indian soldiers of WW1 were forgotten
Project Syndicate Daron Acemoglu: The Fall of the Berlin Wall and Social Democracy
Brookings: Local journalism in crisis: Why America must revive its local newsrooms
The New Yorker What Do Lula’s Release and Morales’s Ouster Signal for Latin America?
The New Yorker Ukraine’s Unlikely President, Promising a New Style of Politics, Gets a Taste of Trump’s Swamp
Volodymyr Zelensky swept to power pledging to end corruption. Then the White House called.

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