Wednesday Night #1987 with Jeff Jackson of North Carolina

Written by  //  April 15, 2020  //  Wednesday Nights  //  No comments

We offer our deepest sympathy to Dominique Beauchamp and John Evdokias on the death of her father, Claude Beauchamp, on Sunday. Not only was Claude rightly described as «père de l’éducation économique des Québécois», but he was also a loving and much-loved père de famille.

April 14-15 – memorable anniversaries
April 15, 1865, President Abraham Lincoln died around 7:20 am after being shot at the Ford Theatre by John Wilkes Booth on the evening of April 14.
Just before midnight April 14, 1912, Royal Mail Ship (RMS) Titanic, struck an iceberg and sank less than 3 hours later.
April 15 is also remembered as the date of the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013.
April 15, 2019 One year ago, the world watched in horror as fire raged through Notre Dame de Paris, causing the spire to collapse.

Wednesday Night is proud to salute our friend and Wednesday Nighter, Alan Hustak, widely recognized expert and author of Titanic: The Canadian Story – see the fascinating CBC documentary of the same name that features Alan and the stories he wove together.

As the U.S. roils with confrontation between the governors of the Northeast (Northeast governors form group to discuss reopening of region economies) and West Coast (West Coast governors announce they will create joint plan for reopening economies) states, on the one hand, and the White House (Trump Claims Unconstitutional Power to Overrule State Stay-at-Home Orders),  Andrew Caddell will introduce his cousin North Carolina State Senator (D) Jeff Jackson for a timely discussion of the recent startling assertion from the occupant of the White House.
Trump claims ‘I have the ultimate authority’
The WaPo sets out the issue and reminds us that “The federal system created by the framers of the Constitution divided power between the national and state governments. While the Constitution’s supremacy clause means acts of Congress can override the laws of states, the same does not apply to the president acting unilaterally.’ … Not only does the power Trump asserted have no basis in reality, experts said, but it’s also completely antithetical to the Constitution, the concept of federalism and separation of powers — whether during a time of emergency or not. … Various Democrats and Republicans appeared to be in agreement on this basic democratic principle. Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) tweeted the full text of the 10th Amendment, which says any powers not specifically delegated to the federal government in the Constitution are reserved to the states.
Siding with Trump, the great constitutional scholar and former Indiana governor,  Vice President Pence, offered a forthcoming legal brief on the subject at the news conference Monday. “Make no mistake about it, in the long history of this country, the authority of the president of the United States during national emergencies is unquestionably plenary,” Pence said.
Senator Jackson’s April 13th Tweet tells you where he stands
“The president’s authority is not total.
We expect our president to be calm, sensible, and honest.
This is a moment of crisis. Errors of leadership are magnified.
We – as citizens – will continue to do the right thing. For each other.
We will set the example.”

John Parisella will bring his political savvy and many years as both resident and non-resident spectator of U.S. politics,

Staying on American politics:
Although Bernie Sanders has left the race and  graciously endorsed Joe Biden (Bernie Sanders Drops Out of 2020 Democratic Race for President), all is not smooth sailing according to CNN: “A number of former Sanders campaign staffers and prominent leftist voices have suggested they have no intention of falling in line with Sanders, even if his alliance with Biden steers the presumptive nominee toward more ambitious plans on a number of key policy questions. The now-public divide among campaign veterans — clear for all to see on social media — mirrors the fault lines that persisted within Sanders’ organization over how to handle Biden during the primary.” Tuesday’s long-expected endorsement by Barack Obama was so much more than an endorsement of the Democratic candidate, it was a rallying call to Americans -of all political stripes- to counter and reverse the actions of the current administration. What a joy to not only absorb his message, but to listen to the sincere, articulate, delivery!
The next step for Joe Biden will be the selection of his running mate. Pretty much everyone agrees she must be a woman and she must appear ‘presidential’ from the start. To the surprise of many observers, the NYT has endorsed (It’s Obvious Whom Joe Biden Should Pick as Vice President) not one of the talented women who ran against him, but Stacey Abrams, a relatively unknown figure to many outside the U.S., whose credentials are nonetheless impressive.

As the global death toll mounts, Trump cuts WHO funding over coronavirus. Diplomatic Community’s Larry Haas & Jeremy Kinsman condemn the move as a typical Trumpian attempt to shift blame. However, in their Globe & Mail opinion piece, The Chinese Communist Party’s culture of corruption and repression has cost lives around the world, former Canadian Minister of Justice Irwin Cotler and executive director of the Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights Judith Abitan point out that “On Jan. 22, the WHO’s director-general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, even praised the CCP’s handling of the outbreak, commending Mr. Xi and Premier Li Keqiang for their “invaluable” leadership.” Although Trump’s frustration with the leadership of the WHO may be shared by many,  his reasons for doing so are no doubt questionable -and the timing could not be worse- World reacts to Trump withdrawing WHO funding.

No-one doubts that the post-pandemic world will be very different from what we have come to think of as ‘normal’. Will developed nations once again be driven by consumerism and competition? Will electronic surveillance of the population, accepted as necessary to monitor the victim’s contacts and control the spread of the virus, become a weapon of Big Brotherly autocratic governments? What will the world order look like by 2025? Will regional cooperative organizations -EU, OAS, ASEAN, African Union- continue to exist, or will nations ‘self isolate’ behind their respective borders?
Daniel Finkelstein writes in The Times (What will the world look like after Covid‑19?) “As with all disease disasters, this one will leave the civilisation it has attacked weaker and poorer. The need for justice may have arisen, but the means to achieve it will have been diminished. As with all similar setbacks, economic and social, there will be a political battle over resources which usually manifests itself in sharper antagonisms and less trust. Just at the moment when there will be political pressure to spend money insuring ourselves against future pandemics and other shocks, there will be much less money to do it with. And people will start to wonder if someone else might have hidden the money, or wasted it or used it on themselves.”
Reform of the UN has been urged for a number of years. Will the post-pandemic era finally bring it about? How will China’s pervasive influence be countered and arrested? See The United Nations Has a Bad Case of COVID-19 by J. Michael Cole: “As with other UN agencies, the WHO often appears to have become an extension of Beijing’s foreign policy; its top officials “owe” Beijing, which used its growing influence behind the scene either to have its own people (e.g., the International Civil Aviation Organization, Interpol) or representatives from other countries whom it believes it can bend to its will, elected. Thus, for all his shortcomings, Tedros is only the tip of the iceberg.”
In this week’s Hill Times, Andrew Caddell writes “The first step post-pandemic has to be a meeting of the G-7, the International Monetary Fund, the World Trade Organization, and the World Bank to examine the financial consequences of COVID-19. … in the midst of quarantine, unemployment, and death, Canada and other Western nations should be looking beyond the pandemic. There is never a convenient time to set a global agenda: the conflicting interests of international players inevitably lead to unresolved problems. But this time, it’s different: if we don’t act, events will determine themselves.”

Global economy
According to Eswar Prasad and Ethan Wu of Brookings (Anatomy of the coronavirus collapse), The world economy is on the precipice of its worst crisis since World War II. “As the newly updated Brookings-FT TIGER (Tracking Indexes for the Global Economic Recovery) makes clear, economic activity, financial markets, and private-sector confidence are all cratering. And if international cooperation remains at its current level, a far more severe collapse is yet to come.” The conclusion? “All told, the economic and financial carnage wrought by the coronavirus could leave deep, lasting scars on the global economy.”
With respect to the IMF, Douglas A. Rediker and Heidi Crebo-Rediker urge that it “should continue to play a leading role in crisis response, and its staff should continue to assess the countries seeking support and provide their best assessments of the projects and risks of the debt burdens those countries are likely to face. And IMF members should be willing to acknowledge the unprecedented nature of the crisis and allow their funds to be deployed even when debt sustainability is uncertain. Everyone would be better off.”
What will be the medium- and long-term effects of the OPEC+ oil deal, concluding what seems to have been rash gambles by both Russia and Saudi Arabia?

A sliver of silver lining is the documented effect of Coronavirus on the Environment.
Key environmental indices, which have steadily deteriorated for more than half a century, have paused or improved. In China, the world’s biggest source of carbon, emissions were down about 18% between early February and mid-March – a cut of 250m tonnes, equivalent to more than half the UK’s annual output. Europe is forecast to see a reduction of around 390m tonnes. Significant falls can also be expected in the US, where passenger vehicle traffic – its major source of CO2 – has fallen by nearly 40%. Even assuming a bounceback once the lockdown is lifted, the planet is expected to see its first fall in global emissions since the 2008-9 financial crisis. For many experts, it is a glimpse of what the world might look like without fossil fuels. But hopes that humanity could emerge from this horror into a healthier, cleaner world will depend not on the short-term impact of the virus, but on the long-term political decisions made about what follows.
The World Economic Forum weighs in: “The poor and most vulnerable will suffer most from both the health impacts and the economic crisis. Cleaner air for a few months may be a tiny silver lining to COVID-19’s dark clouds, but will do little in the long run to solve the problem of outdoor air pollution that kills more than four million people every year. For that we need to kick our habit of burning coal, oil and gas” (The deadly link between COVID-19 and air pollution)
Recent research has given more support to the idea that biodiversity protection in one part of the world can prevent novel diseases from emerging and leaping into another. If we want to stop the next pandemic, we need to Start Protecting Wildlife Habitats
And perhaps pay attention to Medicine According to Cherokee Legend.

Concluding on a lighter note
Comedians and many others are trying hard to be funny about Coronavirus COVID-19; so far this is one of our favorite takes One Day More Corona Parody

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