Wednesday Night #2014

Written by  //  October 21, 2020  //  Wednesday Nights  //  No comments

Breaking news – Snap election averted as Liberal government survives confidence vote in Commons. Bless the NDP; we agree with Jagmeet Singh: “People need help right now. They need confidence in the future. They’re not looking for an election.”

On the eve of the final Biden-Trump debate, whose new rules are a welcome development — and with only one more Wednesday before the reality of  November 3 —  after so many months of anticipation combined with dread, we offer random items for consideration.

As usual, I highly recommend Heather Cox Richardson’s excellent summaries October 19, 2020 and October 20, 2020 with their links to the relevant news stories.

The build-up to Election Day is not pretty. Last week’s judiciary committee hearings (SCOTUS, Trump & the US courts May 2020 –) left many of us appalled and angry.
So now, Sen. Ted Cruz and five other Senate Republicans have introduced a constitutional amendment to prevent Democrats from packing the Supreme Court if Joe Biden wins the White House and Democrats capture the Senate. Don’t fret: any amendment must pass with a two-thirds super majority in both the Senate and the House and be ratified by three-fourths of the states, or 38 of the 50 states, within seven years after its submission for ratification.

Trump’s encouragement -if not incitement– of his right-wing mob and conspiracy theories like QAnon is ugly and terrifying, prompting many of us to be increasingly fearful of the aftermath of the election -whatever the results-. Trump continues to spew venomous remarks Trump Calls Fauci ‘a Disaster’
Meanwhile, Joe Biden Has Changed [and is] preparing for a transformative presidency.
Meanwhile, as many worry about the damage Trump could do during the interregnum after being defeated, here is another scenario: What if Trump loses the election and is all too eager to give up power? Throughout his term, Trump has treated governance as a chore — not the reward for a successful presidential campaign but the necessary slog to get to the next one. So if and when Trump is a loser with no campaigns left to run, the pathetically defeated caretaker of a government that’s about to be handed over to Sleepy Joe Biden, what’s to stop him from ceasing even the most perfunctory performance of the duties of office and moving down to Mar-a-Lago in time for Thanksgiving? We live in complex times. A potential Biden administration would be picking up a coronavirus response with many complex parts. What if Trump’s participation in that transition process were so peaceful as to barely exist at all?
Hard to imagine, but we’ve long since given up predicting Trump.

With the unerring timing for which he is known, Aaron Sorkin’s “The Trial of the Chicago 7” was released so that we might reflect on parallels with the tumult of 1968.

But in 1968, while there was certainly bias in the media, there was not the free-for-all of today’s internet, social media, bots and trolls, presidential tweets, aiding and abetting ‘fake news’ and disinformation. Is that video real? – Fake images and videos are everywhere. Here’s how to spot them. Thank you, Robert Sinclair.

The Hunter Biden “story” that broke last Wednesday in the New York Post was quickly unmasked as flimsy if not a complete fabrication generated by the dreadful duo, Stephen Bannon and Rudy Giuliani. New York Post Published Hunter Biden Report Amid Newsroom Doubts.
More than 50 former intelligence officials signed a letter outlining their belief that the recent disclosure of emails allegedly belonging to Hunter Biden “has all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation.”
To say that the story was clumsy, is to put it mildly. We cannot resist copying this devastating critique, posted on Facebook by Matthew Cope:

which leaves me wondering about the blind repair shop guy who reads all the emails – in Braille?

While voters and observers around the world fret about the U.S. elections, New Zealand can be proud that Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has won a resounding election and will  form the first single-party government since New Zealand adopted a proportional voting system in 1996.

Whether there should be rejoicing over the results of the Bolivian election remains to be seen.   Evo Morales’ handpicked successor, Luis Arce, will take the country left again. He has appealed for calm  saying he would seek to form a government of national unity under his Movement Toward Socialism party, but it is early days and the country is bitterly divided.

The struggle over Nagorno-Karabakh continues as Turkey, which supports Azerbaijan, accuses the OSCE’s Minsk group – formed to mediate the conflict and led by France, Russia and the United States – of trying to keep the issue unresolved and supporting Armenia, both politically and militarily. Prospects for rapid resolution appear bleak.

In Nigeria, protests against police brutality in Lagos have turned bloody despite a state-wide curfew.
The protests began this month, a renewed outburst of anger over a familiar grievance: the continuing abuses perpetrated by the Special Anti-robbery Squad (Sars), a police unit with a reputation for corruption and torture. But the demonstrations soon evolved into a much broader expression of the anger and frustration felt by huge numbers of Nigerians.

In From 1962 to 2020, India’s China error C. Uday Bhaskar evokes October 20, 1962 as he criticizes successive Indian governments’ “inability or reluctance to comprehend the fine print of strategic geography, the lessons of history, the abiding relevance of credible military capability and the correlation of these strands to national security [that] have led to a series of “surprises” that peak with an all too familiar post-crisis Delhi fumble.”
In Is the ‘Quad’ Asia’s new Nato? (Uday has been busy!) he addresses other developments that “point to a discordant Indo-Pacific, with a grouping that includes Australia, India, Japan and the US – known as the “Quad” – coming to the fore. The countries’ foreign ministers met in Tokyo a fortnight ago. The event will have a bearing on the emerging post-Covid-19 Asian and world orders.”

Canada-China relations deteriorated (again) thanks to a threatening statement from the Chinese ambassador to Ottawa regarding Hong Kong-based Canadians if Ottawa offers asylum to protesters from the territory. Chrystia Freeland and a parliamentary committee raised the ante by citing China’s treatment of the Uyghurs.
Jeremy Kinsman and Larry Haas discuss in the second half of their weekly Diplomatic Community. Does debate number two help Trump or dig the hole deeper? And rash threats from a Chinese ambassador

Is it time to for Canada to abandon its historical “Pearsonian approach” to world diplomacy and focus more on power?  Ben Rowswell, president of the Canadian International Council joined Jennifer Welsh, director of the Centre for International Peace and Security Studies at McGill University; and Lloyd Axworthy, chair of the World Refugee & Migration Council, and former foreign minister of Canada on TVO’s The Agenda with Steve Paikin to discuss the issue.

Cleo has joined the Board of the China Democracy Foundation which supports and defends scholars, journalists, and others who work on issues of democracy and human rights related to China.Their first case is Prof. Anne-Marie Brady from University of Canterbury, New Zealand, who does excellent work on United Front activities.

Webinars of interest
21 October 7:00 PM to 8:00 PM EDT
The Pearson Centre for Progressive Policy TRUMP-BIDEN UNCOVERED :What Will the U.S. Election Results Mean to Canada and the World?
“a star-studded panel of Canadian and American voices on the major issues at play in the 2020 presidential race. …this event is sure to be your Canadian primer for all that will ensue in the days ahead, both in the US and its effects for Canada.”

19-21 October
The International Political Science Association (IPSA), in partnership with Concordia University and in collaboration with the Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAS) and the Greater-Montreal and Quebec branches of the United Nations Association in Canada, is holding a virtual conference on the Challenges and Prospects for the Future of Multilateralism to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations.

Friday, 23 October at 11 AM EDT
MIGS is hosting a virtual book launch for the co-authors of La liberté n’est pas un crime”, Shaparak Shajarizadeh and Rima Elkouri. This bilingual event will be streamed on the MIGS YouTube channel as well as Facebook.

Sunday, 25 October 7:30 PM
Taste Canada/Les Lauréats des Saveurs du Canada Virtual Awards Ceremony
Diana Bruno‘s Lexique français-anglais de la cuisine et de la restauration is shortlisted in the French language category Narrations culinaires.
The Live stream on Facebook starts at 7pm EDT from the historic Fairmont Royal York in Toronto.

20 November 7-9 PM (Zoom)
The Thomas More Institute  presents an evening of conversation with Professor Jason Opal on the recent American elections. …an opportunity to probe the significance of the results not only for various constituencies that make up the American Republic, but also for Canadians, who share the destiny of this continent. What can Canadians learn from what has taken place over the last twelve years in the American political experiment? How fragile is the US republic? Is democracy itself in danger?

MIGS’ Awarded Grant by the Government of Canada to Confront Online Anti-Semitism and Holocaust Denial
The project will set up a task force comprised of six eminent Canadians who will help guide the project, build a strong network of experts and provide practical advice on combating online anti-Semitism.

Good reads

Andrew Caddell‘s weekly column pays tribute to his alma mater, as Carleton School of Journalism marks its 75th anniversary, and ponders the future of the craft in a time of crisis.

Mike Pence’s fly: From Renaissance portraits to Salvador Dalí, artists used flies to make a point about appearances … Flies have long held symbolic meaning in the history of art. In portraits made in Renaissance Europe, the presence of a fly symbolizes the transience of human life (buzzbuzzpfft!).

The Attempted Murder of the Kielburgers
by Mark Bourrie
To believe WE was founded and run by crooks, you have to buy into the idea that a downtown Toronto forensic accounting firm, a former top official in the Ontario Solicitor General’s office who now runs an investigation firm, a retired Ontario Court of Appeal Judge (Stephen Goudge), who reviewed WE’s operations and real estate holdings and wrote a report saying they were legitimate, an international accounting firm that handles WE’s money in Kenya, and a small army of consultants who have advised WE on best practices over the years, are either incompetent or corrupt.
Or you can believe [Canadaland’s] Jesse Brown, Pierre Polievre and Charlie Angus.

A VERY long read: excellent profile David Frum Fights the Right – The controversial conservative export on his fears for the US election and the future of the Republican Party in The Walrus. Bonus: many references to his extraordinary mother, Barbara.

A reminder of why we miss West Wing so much

Finally, for a moment of joy, this lighthearted video – you must watch to the end.
Don’t go to Canada – Travel film by Tolt #13

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