Wednesday Night #2005

Written by  //  August 19, 2020  //  Wednesday Nights  //  No comments

Richard (Rick) McConomy, a clever, witty and wise friend of many Wednesday Nighters, exemplary husband of Pierrette Sévigny, devoted father of Liz, and a personality with a capital P., has died. Beryl Wajsman’s evocative tribute – Rick,”We hardly knew ye….”, captures the essence of our uniquely accomplished friend. We offer our deepest sympathy to Pierrette and Liz, as we, along with so many others, share their sense of loss.

We also note the deaths of two influential — and very different — media figures this week, Richard Gwyn and Alan Fotheringham
Steve Paikin’s column One of Canada’s greatest journalists is losing his battle with Alzheimer’s of June 2019 is a loving, sad tribute that forcefully underscores the inadequacy of our healthcare system to cope with the growing numbers of dementia sufferers.

Last Wednesday’s news —  with the exception of the aftermath of the Beirut explosion and the long-anticipated announcement that Kamala Harris was the choice for Joe Biden’s running mate — was tame in comparison to this week’s developments.

Canada
The rumours that Bill Morneau would soon be out were confirmed on Monday in a somewhat strangely argued statement that included his intention to run for the post of Secretary General of the OECD. Were OECD members given a heads-up on this? One Wednesday Nighter with experience in international financial organizations commented “no finance minister of a G7 economy would happily resign to [go to] the OECD (and even there, he’s saying he’s going to “run” for the position, which is even more absurd).” Although a magnificent apartment goes with the job. We might also wonder whether the ethical issues trailing behind him might make Mr. Morneau a less than welcome candidate. He is no Donald Johnston!
Conjecture that Mark Carney might replace Morneau was quickly snuffed out when the PM announced that Deputy PM Chrystia Freeland would add the title of Finance Minister to her portfolio, but gets to let go of relations with the provinces and territories.
Morneau’s departure and the mini-shuffle served as a distraction from the WE probes as further inquiry was quickly shelved with the prorogation of Parliament. Next stop, the Speech from the throne on September 23rd – but will Julie Payette be reading it?
Andrew Caddell muses about privilege and politics in this week’s Hill Times column Do Canada’s elites have a mentality of privilege and entitlement?

As media underlined that Chrystia Freeland is Canada’s first female finance minister, few mentioned the happy coincidence of her swearing in on 18 August — the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment of the US Constitution. Marking the occasion, Trump announced that he would pardon women’s suffrage leader Susan B Anthony – at first glance, it seems awfully out of character, but read Why the Susan B. Anthony pardon is perfectly Trumpian and all becomes clear.

While North Americans are focused on this week’s Democratic National Convention, observers elsewhere are keeping an eye on events in Mali, where President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita resigned hours after soldiers seized him from his home as part of a coup, and Belarus. It is reported that a Kremlin security force intervention into Belarus on behalf of President Alexander Lukashenko is underway.

We haven’t heard much (anything) about Brexit for a while, but on Tuesday, a statement from #10 says that the UK still believes it can agree a post-Brexit trade deal with the EU next month. However, Politico Eu’s Barbara Moens is less sanguine about prospects

Trump and his loathsome acolyte Postmaster General Louis DeJoy have had to back down on changes as at least 20 states sue over potential mail delays ahead of election, but before anyone gets too complacent, U.S. postal chaos prompts Democrats to reassess mail-ballot plan Turmoil at the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) is causing some Democrats and local election officials to rethink their vote-by-mail strategies for November’s presidential election, shifting emphasis to drop boxes and early voting that bypass the post office.
Oh, By the way, the new (yet-to-be-confirmed) US ambassador to Canada is Mrs DeJoy (Postmaster General Louis DeJoy donated big to GOP, Trump — his wife got ambassador post. There are some glaring conflicts of interest for some of the members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, but when has that stopped anyone in this administration?

The Democratic National Convention is unfolding as it should and with a star-studded lineup of speakers.
Michelle Obama’s Speech at the 2020 Democratic National Convention Michelle Obama’s eloquence on Monday evening seems to have riled Trump more than a little.
On Tuesday, Democrats Nominated Biden for President, Delivering Long-Sought Prize At the pandemic-altered convention, the usually dull roll call became a travelogue of American diversity and comeback squid. The D.N.C. Offers Calamari Counterprogramming

If you only read one extensive account of Tuesday night, we highly recommend Jill Biden outshines Bill Clinton, and more takeaways from Night 2 of the Democratic convention
The platform of the “explainer-in-chief” was a shadow of what it had been in the past.
Politico applauds the use of real people as effective, and a virtual convention as better at showcasing them.
Instead of a single keynote, the party featured 17 “rising stars,” including Georgia’s Stacey Abrams and Reps. Colin Allred (Texas), Brendan Boyle (Pa.) and Conor Lamb (Pa.). The Republican National Committee, referring to the full program on Tuesday, called it a “hodgepodge of has-beens, resistance leaders, and socialists.”
AOC created quite stir when she nominated Bernie Sanders, but it was all good.
Responding to confusion on Twitter about why her speech didn’t mention Biden and focused on Sanders instead, Ocasio-Cortez explained that it was part of convention procedure.
“If you were confused, no worries! Convention rules require roll call & nominations for every candidate that passes the delegate threshold. I was asked to 2nd the nom for Sen. Sanders for roll call. I extend my deepest congratulations to @JoeBiden – let’s go win in November,” she tweeted after her speech aired.

What to watch on the third night of the Democratic convention
Biden’s running mate, California Sen. Kamala Harris, is set to be officially nominated as the Democratic vice presidential pick — making her the first Black and South Asian woman to appear on a major political party’s ticket and potentially the country’s first female vice president.
And former President Barack Obama will make the case for his former vice president’s election.
The speeches from Obama and Harris will be the most closely watched elements of a night that will also feature 2016 Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who was one of Biden’s toughest 2020 Democratic primary rivals but in recent months has worked closely with his campaign on economic policy matters.

Well, the Republican convention should be quite a contrast:
Gun-toting St Louis couple to speak at Republican convention
The Republican National Committee has invited to speak at its convention next week the gun-toting couple from St. Louis, Missouri and Nick Sandmann the teenager from Kentucky whose confrontation with a Native American elder went viral last year.

A good read that may save you from having to read all these books:
Elizabeth Drew: Deconstructing Donald
Recent books on Donald Trump by authors representing a wide range of perspectives help to shed light on some of the under-appreciated or already forgotten features of Trump’s presidency. If there is one takeaway, it is that the last four years have been every bit as disastrous for America as they seem.
John Bolton, The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir, Simon & Schuster, 2020.
David Frum, Trumpocalypse: Restoring American Democracy, Harper, 2020.
Philip Rucker and Carol Leonnig, A Very Stable Genius: Donald J. Trump’s Testing of America, Penguin Press, 2020.
Stuart Stevens, It Was All a Lie: How the Republican Party Became Donald Trump, Knopf, 2020.
Mary L. Trump, Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man, Simon & Schuster, 2020.
The Fact Checker Staff of The Washington Post, Donald Trump and His Assault on Truth, Scribner, 2020.

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