Wednesday Night #2008

Written by  //  September 9, 2020  //  Wednesday Nights  //  No comments

Breaking news: WE Charity winding down operations in Canada after student grants scandal
In a media statement, the charity said the fallout from its failed effort to administer a $912-million contribution agreement on behalf of the federal government has made fundraising difficult and the “financial math for the charity’s future is clear.”

On Diplomatic Community, Jeremy Kinsman and Lawrence Haas discuss whether Russia (Putin) cares about Western reaction to the revelations that Alexei Navalny was poisoned with the Novichok nerve agent, and what he may or may not do about ongoing protests and repression in Belarus. They raise a couple of intriguing dilemmas.
They did not, however, address the suspicion that the poisoning could be directly linked to  an attempt to halt the completion of the the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.

Andrew Caddell returns to his theme of the internet and its failings The internet: where ‘globalist’ is an insult cheerfully accepting that he is a globalist, and pointing out that although used as an epithet by right wingers, “a globalist is both realistic and compassionate—someone who recognizes we live in a global world with trade between countries, and where each of us is affected by, and cares about, events elsewhere” – a description most of us bear proudly.

Michel Kelly-Gagnon of the Montreal Economic Institute defends low wages in the interests of low-income consumers
“A key part of the business models of low-cost retailers is hiring less-skilled workers for modest pay; wage increases would drive up prices. A firm like Dollarama or Walmart provides much-needed goods to low-income customers, for whom access to low prices is absolutely crucial. While the media focus almost exclusively on these companies as employers, the contribution to the marketplace of low-cost providers of goods has very strong societal value.” No mention of the obscene amounts of money paid to Walmart executives, or the fact that the Waltons are the richest family in America.

Return to Lebanon: Destruction, despair and dignity
Reflections on covering Emmanuel Macron’s visits to Beirut, where the professional and personal collide.
An earlier column that we had missed Grassroots groups hold Beirut together, yet big NGOs suck up the cash deserves wide circulation.

‘End of Singapore’ for expats as government tells firms to hire locals in coronavirus crisis – no mention of limiting migrant workers who do the work Singaporeans won’t.

Brexit – remember that crisis?
Prime Minister Boris Johnson, his chief negotiator David Frost and various anonymous U.K. government briefings have teed up plenty of negative mood music ahead of the eighth round of future relationship negotiations, which started in London on Tuesday.
Johnson has set a hard deadline for a deal (the European Council summit on October 15) and insisted that failing to secure one would be a “good outcome.” Frost gave a rare interview to insist the U.K. wouldn’t “blink” in the talks. Meanwhile, briefings to the Times newspaper put Downing Street’s estimate of the probability of a deal at 30-40 percent and it was even suggested the U.K. was prepared to undermine the foundations of the talks themselves by altering the withdrawal treaty struck with Brussels last year. (Tough talk and fresh deadlines: Brexit’s back)

It is almost a year since Montrealers and tens of thousands more turned out to welcome Greta Thunberg. But since then, little has been accomplished.
In 7 lessons Canada should use from WW2 to fight the climate emergency Seth Klein urges Canada to fight Climate Change by mobilizing as we did in World War II “in common cause across society to confront an existential threat”, reminding us that in doing so, we retooled our entire economy in a few short years.” The McConnell Foundation is hosting a virtual event marking the release of Seth’s new book, A Good War: Mobilizing Canada for the Climate Emergency, with guests Diane Bérard, Marie-Josée Parent, Karel Mayrand and Claude Vachet.

Once again, Trumpian turmoil dominates the media.
It has become increasingly obvious that The Constitution, now 231 years old, cannot safeguard governance, rights, freedoms and justice when the country is dominated by someone who has no qualms about trampling on the checks and balances for which it has been lauded. But how could it be modernized? What kind of a constitutional convention could be convened – and how? Think about it.
Trump’s widely reported disdain for the military is a puzzling theme for the Republican campaign. Why alienate hundreds of thousands of serving officers and enlisted individuals, veterans, their families and the relatives who grieve for the “Losers and Suckers”? To whose benefit?
More important is the increasing amount of conjecture  that Trump will successfully steal the election, or if decisively defeated, will refuse to leave power. There  is frequent reference to the possibility of civil war.
While most of us know about the role of the Electoral College, there are other somewhat arcane procedures outlined in What happens if we don’t know who our president is on Election Day?. The states have an important role to play, but will they?
Heather Cox Richardson writes more encouragingly: Trump has repeatedly suggested that he will not leave office because the Democrats are going to cheat. So we should definitely worry.
But should we despair? Absolutely not.
Convincing people the game is over is one of the key ways dictators take power. Scholars warn never to consent in advance to what you anticipate an autocrat will demand. If democracy were already gone, there would be no need for Trump and his people to lie and cheat and try to steal this election.”

Handy reference for my fellow consumers of US news
Interactive Media Bias Chart®
The Interactive Media Bias Chart® is a data visualization that displays measures, generated by analysts and staff of Ad Fontes Media, of news (and “news-like”) articles and sources. It reflects our most up-to-date ratings of all our rated articles and shows over time. We also frequently publish static versions of the Media Bias Chart®, which display a select number of these sources.

Food for thought
Can America Benefit from Covid? Ask 14th-Century Florence
We may be getting some of the most positive lessons of plagues wrong.
The Florentine lesson isn’t that a plague is good for you. No one wants thousands or millions of people to die so that others can have the opportunity to take their place.
But it shows clearly that the right systems and opportunities are crucial to benefit from a crisis.
Florentines managed to use their experience of the plague, partly on purpose and partly by accident, to bridge wealth gaps and create whole new kinds of opportunities and new visions of the world. Right now, it appears Covid-19 is doing the opposite, widening the inequality gap even further, letting it divide our society even more radically.
The U.S. Is Facing the Possibility of a Truly Illegitimate Election
But Americans can still fight to protect democracy this year and beyond
The Last Time a Contested Presidential Election Nearly Tore the Country Apart
The Compromise of 1877 was long regarded in conventional histories as a huge step towards peace and regional reconciliation, but it was hardly a harbinger of good feelings. Nor did the Compromise or the Electoral Commission precedents create a clear future path to the resolution of disputed presidential elections, as we may learn later this year.
… This year, it’s unclear the two parties have enough they can offer each other to overcome a contested election. Will those in Trump’s evangelical super-base be willing to support any action that forfeits the judicial appointments they think are necessary to end an abortion “holocaust?” Will Democratic voters who fear an imminent national descent into fascism be willing under any circumstances to go along with a second Trump term? Could there really be a Compromise of 2021 that doesn’t risk triggering civil conflict as much as any deadlock?

Leave a Comment

comm comm comm