Wednesday Night #1990

Written by  //  May 6, 2020  //  Wednesday Nights  //  No comments

There is so much conflicting and/or confusing news and opinion about coronavirus and Covid-19, its effects on the population, the economy and on society, including multiple contradictory prognostications regarding the future of dictators and individual nations, international trade relations, globalism, not to mention short-term political developments, that this week we have given up on relatively clean thematic lines and simply submit a hodgepodge of stories which may, or may not, grab your attention for further discussion.

Scientists say a now-dominant strain of the coronavirus could be more contagious than original
On an optimistic note: Hoping Llamas Will Become Coronavirus Heroes
Antibodies from Winter, a 4-year-old llama with great eyelashes, have neutralized coronavirus and other infections in lab experiments.

We are relieved that -at least for now- Trump, has reversed course, stating that the coronavirus task force will continue ‘indefinitely’. This follows on earlier news that Dr. Fauci under fire from Trump?

Tony Deutsch points out How ignorance makes us cocky, a disturbing reminder of the applications of the Dunning-Kruger Effect in today’s world (especially in Washington?). If one needs real-time illustrations, check out any and all of Trump’s self-anointment as one of a rare breed of “super genius”  See also: Save us all from Jared Kushner with links to reports from the WaPo and NYT.

Larry Haas and Jeremy Kinsman discuss the effects that the differing approaches to Covid-9 will have on U.S.-Canada relations in the medium to long term, before continuing to examine the advantages taken by strongmen Bolsinaro, Dutarte, Erdogan and Orban (to name a few) in the face of the pandemic crisis.

On the topic of strongmen, what was the strange disappearance and reappearance of Kim Jong Un all about? Not that it is likely we will ever know.

The Pandemic Has Revealed the Weakness of Strongmen
Women leaders are a symptom of a political system’s success, not necessarily its cause.
Choose your coronavirus fighter: Will it be Germany’s Angela Merkel and her calm explanation of the COVID-19 infection rate? Scotland’s Nicola Sturgeon and her government’s helpful, nuanced strategy documents? Or New Zealand’s Jacinda Ardern, with her empathetic Facebook Live addresses and decision to lock down the country early?
All a bit mainstream for you, huh. How about Iceland’s Katrín Jakobsdóttir, who has offered free coronavirus testing to all the country’s citizens? Or Norway’s Erna Solberg, who held a press conference just for children, telling them it was okay to feel scared?
Looking through this list, it’s tempting to reach the conclusion that women must be better at dealing with this crisis because of their gender.

As John Buchanan remains a resolute defender of Sweden’s coronavirus policies, although recent reactions from Dr. Anders Tegnell Sweden’s answer to Dr. Fauci indicates that the latest figures have come as an unpleasant surprise.
We cannot resist quoting a dear Nordic friend’s reaction to the praise lavished earlier on Sweden:
The basic difference between Swedes and other Nordics is that Swedes do not make decisions if they do not have to make them. That way nobody is ever responsible and no-one will ever be fired. You just sit in a committee or a work-group and talk until the case solves itself or goes away. It seems to work. … The reason Sweden has gone with Corona her own way is not based on any decision by consensus at all, but because there quite simply has not been anyone else except Dr.Tegnell who would have had an opinion to begin with.
When the death-toll will reach really high, there will be an investigation by a Royal Commission and after a year or two it will find out that nobody is guilty as nobody ever made any sort of decision.
Dr.Tegnell has now rocked the boat. It is the second time he does so. The first time it turned out to be a lethal mistake. This time he gets his way, not because he is right or wrong, but because there is no-one willing to stick their neck out and say something. Anything. For now there is no evidence that one could become immune after having experienced the malady.

John also suggests a thorough read of Five Key Facts That Argue Against Continuing the Lockdown

For those who prefer to consider the future post-pandemic world, Cleo has forwarded an intriguing proposal
Time for an Indo-Pacific New World Order by Rishabh Gulati. Before outlining his proposals, the author offers a brief, sweeping historical view that may serve as a refresher course for many.

Not everyone rejoiced over Mr. Trudeau’s May 1 announcement of the ban on assault-type weapons. Aside from the expected knee-jerk reaction from Andrew Scheer and Peter Mackay, Andrew Caddell takes issue in his weekly Hill Times column with how it was done: by an order-in-council from cabinet. Initially, I was astonished a 69-page document could be put through without parliamentary debate. Then I discovered the changes were amendments to regulations in a 1995 gun law, allowing for the “making of regulations prescribing anything that by this Part [firearms offences] is to be or may be prescribed.
Meanwhile in Quebec, a much noisier debate is raging over the Quebec government’s proposed reopening of elementary schools and whether English school boards have the power to delay opening their elementary schools, despite concerns that resources won’t be in place to ensure the safe return of students.

On Sunday, Warren Buffet announced that his company Berkshire Hathaway has sold all of its shares in the four largest US airlines. And on Monday, Air Canada announced a billion-dollar loss and announced mandatory temperature checks for customers amid the coronavirus pandemic. Air Canada CEO Sees ‘Darkest Period’ in Aviation History
Oh God, the Cruises Are Resuming. Hard to believe that there are actually people who are prepared (eager?) to venture aboard the giant cruise ships whose (alas) temporary disappearance from beautiful ports like Venice we applauded. Let’s just re-purpose the behemoths, fumigate them from bow to stern, equip them with a helicopter landing pad and turn them into floating disaster relief centers that can be deployed to the coast of whatever nation is in need. Maybe give WHO responsibility for their deployment?

Yes, many more topics for discussion including the threat –or not- of the ‘Murder Hornet’? Its sting is excruciating to people, but it is a bigger threat to honeybees vital for agriculture

Feel free to bring your own topics, concerns, opinions to WN on Zoom.

Also, if you wish to join Historian and big thinker Niall Ferguson  on the Munk Debate tonight at 8,  feel free to come in to WN a bit late.

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