Wednesday Night #2031

Written by  //  February 17, 2021  //  Wednesday Nights  //  No comments

On Saturday, the 2nd impeachment trial ended with a vote for acquittal, as expected by all but the most optimistic. Heather Cox Richardson points out that the “57 senators who voted to convict Trump represent 76.7 MILLION more Americans than 43 senators who voted to acquit.” But that doesn’t change the outcome. Analysis and criticism will continue for weeks if not months, but for now, read David Frum: It’ll DoImpeachment did not prevail, but Trump still lost.

A certain liberating feeling comes with the closing of this chapter of the Trump saga. Trump and his entourage are not disappearing, but observers, pundits and the commentariat no longer need weigh every event and topic in light of actions/reactions of POTUS 45 and his administration.

We can take pleasure in seeing the Bidens on their morning walk with the dogs, inspecting the Valentine’s display that she had organized and chatting with some reporters. No drama, no rants, just humanity and decency.

We can enjoy this week’s discussion between Jeremy Kinsman and Larry Haas devoted to President Biden’s participation in Friday’s G7 (virtual) event; the proposed meeting with Justin Trudeau -also virtual-, and the value of the international declaration denouncing state-sponsored arbitrary detention of foreign nationals for political purposes.
The declaration was spearheaded by former foreign affairs minister François-Philippe Champagne, and was the result of a campaign to free Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, who spent their 798th day in Chinese prisons on Monday. However, the practice of arbitrary detention is widespread and, as Marc Garneau said is “country-agnostic.” He said he wants to recruit more countries as signatories with the goal of ending the practice everywhere and to discourage other countries from taking it up.

The situation in Myanmar continues to be serious The UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar has warned of the potential for a sharp uptick in violence on Wednesday, as protests continue against the 1 February military takeover of the government.
Following reports that a “secretive trial” of State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint began on Tuesday, Special Rapporteur Tom Andrews said in a statement that he is “terrified” that violence could break out, as additional soldiers have been deployed in towns and cities, including the commercial hub Yangon, where demonstrations are planned.

We can deplore the unforced errors of Canada’s and Quebec’s pandemic management without feeling the need to compare and contrast with the U.S. We can rage about Quebec’s  March break rules announced on Tuesday.
We can look with envy on Singapore (A doctor explains how Singapore has kept COVID-19 cases low) and Bhutan (How one tiny country is beating the pandemic and climate change)
Please note the addition of a page devoted to Covid ‘long-haulers’ – we welcome comments and links to stories and services.

Climate change is back at the top of lists: Bill Gates’ new book How To Avoid A Climate Disaster is provoking discussion that might have previously seemed disloyal in light of the Denial Administration in Washington. ‘Carbon neutrality in a decade is a fairytale. Why peddle fantasies?

And we may expect climate change to be a more than usually hot topic (sorry!) as much of the US is battered by storms

Heather Cox Richardson’s Letter of February 16 is even more important reading than usual. Her three subjects: the cause of the power failures in Texas (own power grid, which means both that it avoids federal regulation and that it cannot import more electricity during periods of high demand); the significance of the lawsuit brought by Representative Bennie Thompson, in his personal capacity not as a member of Congress, against Donald Trump—in his personal capacity—Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani; Proud Boys International, LLC; and Oath Keepers; and President Biden’s townhall in Wisconsin at which he demonstrated genuine concern for an individual’s problems – the new face of Washington – or at least the White House.

The death of Rush Limbaugh on Wednesday was met with characteristic reaction from both sides of the political spectrum – on the one hand, an outpouring of eulogies, led by Donald Trump and, on the other, a muted relief. Former Democratic presidential candidate Marianne Williamson tweeted best: “I believe in a God who is very tenderly explaining some things to Rush Limbaugh right now. Limbaugh I assume is very quiet and taking it all in.”

Andrew Caddell‘s weekly Hill Times column The latest case of police racism is yet another travesty of justice addresses the case of Mamadi Fara Camara.
Montreal is a great place to live. Unless you are a person of colour. A 2019 report by the city showed Indigenous, Arab, and Black people were up to seven times more likely to be stopped by police than a white person. This on a force that counts eight per cent of its officers as visible minorities, an increase of only one per cent in the past five years. …when asked about the investigation, Quebec Premier François Legault said, “We don’t have enough information to know if this was a case of racism” If Mamadi Fara Camara receives a gargantuan civil settlement to compensate for his treatment and false arrest, perhaps the police and even Premier Legault will begin to recognize systemic racism has a real, harsh price.
The good news is that the House of Commons voted unanimously on Tuesday in favour of a motion to grant M. Camara permanent resident status.

What is happening with the Air Canada-Air Transat deal? We have no more recent updates than Tuesday evening’s Air Canada takeover of Transat up in the air as deadline expires.
And what of Bombardier? According to Forbes: A Shadow Of Its Former Self, What Happens Next At Bombardier Is Crucial Bombardier has had a rough start as a business jet pure play. It reaped less cash than anticipated from the sales of its transportation unit to French rail company Alstom and its aerostructures division to Spirit AeroSystems, as the buyers used the pandemic and Bombardier’s financial predicament as leverage to negotiate better terms.

Happy to see Wednesday Nighter Kyle Matthews listed as one of the Prominent Canadians calling for a halt to changes at Radio Canada International. The changes, which were announced in December, are deemed by the signatories to their Open Letter to the Prime Minister and other members of Cabinet to be in contravention of the Broadcasting Act.

On Wednesday, Open Canada published Another Russian Revolution? in which Jeremy argues that Alexei Navalny is an existential threat to Vladimir Putin. “Navalny in prison evokes the character known as “Z” in the 1969 Costa-Gavras film about a martyr in the struggle against dictatorship; he’ll be physically in jail but virtually everywhere.”

Must watch:
After General Motors poked fun of Norway in Super Bowl ad, Norway painfully hits back
Brilliant BBC documentary – The first of a series, tells the impact of Trump on the EU from the beginning of his 4 years in office.
Trump Takes on the World – Season 1 Episode 1
In his first year and a half, Trump falls out spectacularly with some of America’s oldest allies as he relentlessly pursues his ‘America First’ agenda.

Good reads
Clever teaching tool:
Column: How I use George Washington to make kids care about ‘fake news’
As we consider the impact of climate change on migration:
When Climate Change and Xenophobia Collide
During a hurricane, migrants in the Bahamas were told that they could seek shelter without fear. More than a thousand were deported, reflecting a global trend.

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