Wednesday Night #2028

Written by  //  January 27, 2021  //  Wednesday Nights  //  No comments

International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust 2021
On January 27, 1945, Soviet troops enter Auschwitz, Poland, freeing the survivors of the network of concentration camps—and finally revealing to the world the depth of the horrors perpetrated there.

One year anniversary: Monday marked one year since 25 January 2020 when the first case of COVID-19 was detected in Canada, setting in motion a chain of events that would soon change everything.

The 2021 World Economic Forum (Davos) all-virtual forum kicked off on Monday with speeches by Chinese President Xi Jinping, who warned global leaders at the Davos forum Monday against starting a “new Cold War”, and urged global unity in the face of the coronavirus pandemic; and UN Secretary-General António Guterres, who highlighted the private sector’s role in pandemic recovery emphasizing that the recovery must be inclusive while also tackling climate change and biodiversity loss.
On Sunday, the World Bank released Global Economic Prospects 2021 while on Tuesday, the IMF warned that New coronavirus variants pose major risk to the global economy.
Suggested reading The Conversation: Davos 2021: to achieve a ‘great reset’, we can’t count on the same old globalists to lead the way

Our economists remind us to never confuse the stock market with the economy. Bearing that in mind, we nonetheless are following with interest/schadenfreude How Redditors Beat Hedge Funds at Their Own Game(Stop)

On Tuesday’s Diplomatic Community, Jeremy Kinsman and Larry Haas tackle “Covid, covid, covid” – Who’s getting the vaccine?
Supply chain problems are complicating government response, however, Jeremy points out that the world has never developed a common approach and thus, competition among nations to obtain vaccines. Larry Haas attributes the cause to the Trump administration’s refusal to lead international cooperation a year ago.

While Covid is a global issue, we regret that for the second week, Jeremy has not been given time to discuss the return of Alexei Navalny to Russia, his arrest and the protests that have followed, nor Tuesday’s first Biden-Putin conversation. (See Russia September 2020-)

Canada won’t receive a single vial of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine this week and only one-quarter of the previously promised delivery next week, due to an international shortage that has prompted finger-pointing in Ottawa and forced provinces to temporarily delay their vaccine rollouts. Federal health officials overseeing Canada’s vaccine plan insist the Pfizer delay is temporary and will not hamper the country’s long-term goal of vaccinating every Canadian by Sept. 30, which seems a long time away as we sit in Quebec in lockdown with the 8pm-5am curfew (unless you are walking your dog). Our OWN Julius Grey is representing mothers in their battle with the Quebec government over the requirement that  all children attend school, but otherwise generally supports the lockdown.

Julie Payette’s resignation in the wake of the consultants’ report that found she and her secretary, Assunta di Lorenzo, presided over a toxic work environment has set off debate about her tenure and the role of the GG. Condemnation of the lack of appropriate vetting before her appointment, criticism of her spendthrift ways as GG, and questioning of whether she should receive the standard expense account accorded to GGs after their term have given way to serious reflection (Julie Payette’s resignation is a chance to reimagine the role of Governor General) on the relationship of Canada and the Crown.
In his weekly Hill Times column, Andrew Caddell addresses the next steps: who should fill the Vice regal position; how that person will be chosen; and what to do with the office of Governor-General. Andrew argues that “There is a consensus on criteria for the next Governor-General: a bilingual indigenous person with diplomatic or political experience. At this time in Canada’s history, the need for an indigenous person as the representative of the Crown and the Commander in Chief of the military is without question. Reconciliation with our first peoples is of paramount concern, and it would be an inspiration for every citizen of this country with indigenous roots to see themselves in the effective head of state.”
Check out the Liberals’ to-do list as Parliament reconvenes

We can rest easier now that Dogs are officially back in the White House
There are reports that even before Champ and Major took their rightful places, people were indeed sleeping better since the Inauguration. (Heather Cox Richardson: People are sleeping so much better that the word “slept” trended on Twitter the day after the inauguration.)
We would also point out that a sense of humour has returned to public discourse. The Bernie meme has now reached saturation point, after he turned it into a sweatshirt for charity and a crocheted Bernie Sanders doll raised more than $40k for charity in an online auction. Next in line is the new cultural touchpoint while we await vaccinations – the “Fauci Ouchie”! (Thank you, Gloria Calhoun, for the heads-up.) We cannot imagine anything similar during 45’s administration.

Politico Nightly describes the Biden plan to be boring – programming the news coverage of their opening weeks in office through thematic days (Wednesday is about climate change – don’t expect an invocation of “Climate change in antiquity: mass emigration due to water scarcity” – thank you, Terry Jones) based around executive orders — each day involving “a slate of unilateral actions, a background briefing with reporters and a press appearance by a top aide, or, perhaps, the head honcho himself.” A refreshing change from the Twitter-fed chaos of 45.

As always, Heather Cox Richardson’s Letters from an American are excellent summaries of events in the U.S. Her January 26 Letter notes “We are now a week into the Biden administration, and President Biden has set some clear and surprisingly dominant markers at the beginning of his presidency.”

McConnell and Most Republican Senators Vote to Dismiss Trump’s Impeachment
The trial will go on as planned, but don’t be surprised if it’s abbreviated with the outcome so little in doubt and Democrats anxious to get on with the work of the Biden administration.

Campaigning in the U.S. never stops, and we are very happy to learn that Andrew Caddell’s impressive cousin, Jeff Jackson, who joined us for Wednesday Night #1987, is running for the North Carolina Senate seat that will be vacated by Republican Sen. Richard Burr. Depending on primary outcomes, he might face Lara Trump. Won’t that be fun!
Primaries for North Carolina’s 2022 US Senate seat are already heating up as another Democrat gets in

Events
Wednesday, January 27, 2 p.m. EST
What if…? Progressive, Libertarian, and Conservative Takes on the U.S. Constitution
Saturday, February 6, 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM EST
A Tribute to Human Rights Champion Paul Dewar
The Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies (MIGS) at Concordia University invites you join us in a tribute to the late Paul Dewar and his legacy as a human rights champion.
Guest speakers include Tom Mulcair, Lt-Gen. Roméo Dallaire, Alex Neve, and Hélène Laverdière.
Kyle Matthews will moderate the event.

Varia
Electric vehicles close to ‘tipping point’ of mass adoption
Sales increase 43% globally in 2020 as plunging battery costs mean the cars will soon be the cheapest vehicles to buy
The 5 Cities Ready to Build With Remote Workers in Mind
The co-living company Common has announced the cities vying to host the company’s “Remote Work Hub,” aimed at snaring digital nomads fleeing more expensive markets.
Even Before COVID, Superstar Cities Were Shrinking
Global cities all over the developed world started losing some of their magic years before the first COVID-19 case cropped up. Paris, Sydney, Philadelphia, Hong Kong, Tokyo: All have either shed population or seen growth slow to a standstill.
Hiring in Tech Today: The Role of Gender and Racial Bias in 2021
If you’re a Caucasian male, you’ve won the lottery when it comes to getting hired in tech, or so it seems. According to tech diversity reports, in the biggest tech companies, men represent between 77% and 88% of the workforce, and Caucasians between 40% and 51%.
Tony Schwartz: The Truth About Trump | Oxford Union Q&A 2016 Announcing his candidacy for the Republican nomination back in June 2015, Donald Trump stated, “We need a leader that wrote ‘The Art of the Deal.’ ”, Tony Schwartz was the ghostwriter of the book Trump calls “his proudest achievement”. Schwartz…provides a fascinating perspective into the personality and idiosyncracies of the Republican nominee. Tony Schwartz at the Oxford Union

Long reads:
A double-edged sword
How social media went from toppling dictators to platforming hate.
Three Weeks Inside a Pro-Trump QAnon Chat Room
For the past three weeks, a group of Trump supporters and QAnon believers met online, swapped theories and eagerly awaited the conspiracy’s violent climax. I was listening in. This is what they sounded like.
Tamara Cofman Wittes, a senior fellow in the Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings, where she focuses on U.S. policy in the Middle East writes What to do – and what not to do – in the Middle East
Cabinet Picks: Comparing Biden and Trump’s First Teams
President Biden has chosen policymakers, while 45 valued cabinet secretaries he saw as deal makers.

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