Wednesday Night #2000

Written by  //  July 15, 2020  //  Wednesday Nights  //  1 Comment

OH MY GOODNESS, in the blur of Covid-induced time warps, we missed the fact that THIS IS THE 2000th WEDNESDAY NIGHT!

Tumult and shouting on a number of fronts.

But first, Belated Bastille Day greetings!
Enjoy Bastille Day in pictures: 100 years of France’s national celebration
This year, France gives health care workers “historic” pay raises for Bastille Day

Meanwhile, Polish president, Andrzej Duda, has been reelected after a campaign that was waged as an ugly culture war, with Duda and his supporters deploying anti-Semitism, xenophobia and homophobia to attack Trzaskowski.
The Washington Post’s Ishaan Tharoor echoes Anne Applebaum’s concerns that “Law and Justice propagandists have, over the past decade, successfully manufactured, cultivated, and promoted a tribal division that is every bit as powerful as those that are based on skin color or language.” He adds: Law and Justice propagandists have, over the past decade, successfully manufactured, cultivated, and promoted a tribal division that is every bit as powerful as those that are based on skin color or language.”
Not unlike Hungary under illiberal Prime Minister Viktor Orban, the powers that be in Poland may set about reshaping the political system so that the splintered opposition can’t regain power. Just days before the first round of the election, Duda appeared in Washington alongside President Trump. But U.S. observers doubt the Polish government can count on even the Trump administration — never mind if Joe Biden wins the November election — to mitigate whatever E.U. blowback comes its way.

Although in characteristic news cycle fashion  it has yielded top billing to other concerns, the Trudeau/WE story isn’t going quietly into the good night. Justin Trudeau drops into another pitfall of his own making – lapse of judgment (again?) or Liberal entitlement? It depends on your point of view and/or perhaps political affiliation.
The Hill Times reports on Wednesday: “Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet renewed his call for Mr. Trudeau to temporarily step down and have Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland take over while the investigations into the WE Charity deal play out. He said the controversy that’s dogged the prime minister in recent days is affecting his ability to properly lead the country. “That by itself is a good reason for him to step aside,” Mr. Blanchet told reporters. We have had dealings with the deputy prime minister for the last week and months. … Things went rather well back then.”

Trudeau’s penchant for political appointees shows lack of appreciation for ambassadors’ work: former senior diplomat despite the headline, is  very balanced analysis by Neil Moss of the pros and cons of the Bob Rae (and other political) appointment to the UN and a good follow-on to last week’s discussion. If you have not read it, Paul Wells’ Meet Bob Rae’s new UN colleagues makes a strong argument for diplomatic experience  It’s possible to admire Bob Rae’s contribution to Canadian public life and, at the same time, to notice that other countries normally send people with far more diplomatic experience to the UN.
Bob Rae’s statement regarding the impact on Canadian policy of the high-tension situation between the U.S. and China is pragmatic, but puts him at odds with Irwin Cotler.

On Tuesday’s Diplomatic Community Jeremy Kinsman and Larry Haas tackle -in Jeremy’s words- The China-US mess…….Hong Kong, Huawei, South China Sea, and now, Iran………it’s domestic politics in both countries, leaving Canada staggered.
The “China-US mess” refers to the rapid deterioration of relations between the two countries. On Tuesday, China’s foreign minister summoned the U.S. ambassador in response to Trump’s ending of Hong Kong’s preferential trade treatment, signing into law a bill requiring sanctions against foreign individuals and banks for contributing to the erosion of Hong Kong’s autonomy. The moves were Washington’s latest salvoes over Beijing’s imposition of a sweeping national security law in Hong Kong.

The announcement that Huawei is to be stripped out of Britain’s 5G phone networks by 2027 means that Canada is now the only Five Eyes member to not ban or restrict use of Huawei 5G equipment.

News from the U.S. is (if possible) increasingly alarming.
Start with Friday’s headline: Trump commutes sentence of confidant Roger Stone who was convicted of lying to Congress and witness tampering –  one of his most egregious uses of presidential . Other presidents have acted questionably once or twice, but the Stone commutation has to be looked at in the context of other Trump pardons  or commutations, e.g. ” disgraced politician Rod R. Blagojevich, convicted junk bond king Michael Milken, former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, right-wing provocateur Dinesh D’Souza and former Army officer Clint Lorance, who was convicted of second-degree murder in 2013 for ordering his soldiers to open fire on three men in Afghanistan.”
Be of good cheer, however: Roger Stone Can Be Tried, Again

Not a great week for Trump
First, the rulings on his financials from the Supreme Court did not let him off the hook, although it is unlikely we will see anything before the November election.
Mary Trump’s book, “Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man” has generated widespread news coverage for its intimate look into the president’s upbringing and personal life before he came to the White House. It was released by Simon & Schuster on Tuesday and tops the Amazon bestseller list.
As portrayed by the LA Times review “The most devastating thing about Mary Trump’s portrait is her empathy for Donald Trump”, Donald seems more to be pitied – we cannot imagine anything that would annoy him more!
With Covid-19 cases still soaring in the US South and Southwest and dozens of states pulling back on reopening plans, public health experts say the end of the pandemic remains out of sight. Coronavirus surge was ‘inevitable’ after states reopened, Fauci says
So, the White House shoots the messenger.
White House attacks on Dr. Fauci continue, but Peter Navarro went too far on  Wednesday, provoking an endorsement of the good doctor from none other than Mike Pence. Meanwhile, the White House has now ordered hospitals to bypass the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and send all patient information to a central database in Washington.
He’s had to reverse himself on deporting international students
If he were paying attention to international affairs, Trump might also be worried abut the Iran-China deal which would give China a permanent foothold in Iran, enhance Beijing’s regional position and undermine US strategic supremacy in the Gulf – but Jared will fix that, no doubt.
At his ‘press conference’ on Tuesday, Trump spoke for just over an hour in what was termed a meandering monologue featuring multiple attacks on Joe Biden.

Meantime, Joe Biden released his updated climate initiative which would set the United States on “an irreversible path” to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

For your calendar:
Mon, July 20, 2020
6:30 PM – 8:00 PM EDT
Join Lisa Napoli, author of UP ALL NIGHT, and Merrill Brown for a conversation about CNN, cable news and the 24-hour news cycle As mentioned before, we highly recommend the book; it is a “page-turning hybrid of biography, media analysis, and business history.”

Terry Mosher (Aislin) will be with us as we fête his latest book “Professional Heckler: The Life and Art of Duncan Macpherson” which has received only rave reviews – see The Life and Work of One Great Canadian Cartoonist—by Another

And finally, the good news story of the week
Meet This Popular Essential Worker. And Give Her a Scratch Behind the Ear.
Children in the hospital lost many of their activities during Covid-19. More than ever, they rely on the contact and comfort of therapy dogs.

One Comment on "Wednesday Night #2000"

  1. Diana Thebaud Nicholson July 17, 2020 at 1:58 am ·

    Dear Diana,
    What a lot of wonderful memories come flooding back on this 2000th Anniversary of Wednesday Night. The 1000th was a fantastic celebration – so many good friends present, David in his red Tux you in your HRH The Mouse role. I can’t help but be nostalgic for all those friends and the joyful times we had together.
    How the world has changed. We could not have imagined the 2000th WN. The technology that can connect us, the horrible virus that keeps us apart. But our good memories are irreplaceable especially of our friends and what we have shared over the years. Congratulations for making all this possible, you are – what is regarded here in Oz as a great compliment – a Force of Nature in having achieved this.
    Please give my warmest good wishes to all the Wednesday Nighters.
    Stay safe and well.
    Big hugs
    Margo xx

    Margaret Somerville AM, FRSC, DCL
    Professor of Bioethics
    Affiliate of the Institute for Ethics and Society
    University of Notre Dame Australia

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