Wednesday Night #2043

Written by  //  May 12, 2021  //  Wednesday Nights  //  No comments

Somehow, some of us thought, or at least hoped, that with the defeat of Donald Trump, we might experience some reduction in daily stress and tension in a world committed to defeating -or allaying- the impact of Covid. However, we face challenges ranging from threats emanating from populist, supremacist and anti-science groups in the western world, along with assorted opportunists on every continent; disinformation, bullying, data theft and scamming aided and abetted by social media, suppression of basic rights by autocratic governments and dictatorships, and -at a more local level- draconian measures from Quebec’s CAQ government to reduce accessibility to services in English to the Anglophone minority and ‘reform’ of Bill 101 (CAQ government set to present reforms to Bill 101 on Thursday).

As we wonder if there is anything the humble citizen can do, it’s intriguing to consider how we might adapt the OSS-inspired Guide for Everyday Saboteurs. Unfortunately, it seems that various levels of government and subservient bureaucracies in much of the world have beaten us to it.

In bad international news, the Is have it.

Leading the pack would be Israel where the Israel-Palestine conflict raises alarm across the world. From calls for ‘restraint’ to worries about possible war crimes, political leaders and international courts weigh in on latest escalation.
Wednesday’s Bloomberg newsletter suggest: “Netanyahu has no great incentive to back down quickly. His rivals are seeking to piece together a government in Israel after yet another inconclusive election, and the violence is disrupting their negotiations to do so. And by sanctioning military strikes, he can burnish his credentials as a leader willing to protect Israelis when it matters.” – a thought that occurred to other Wednesday Nighters.

Nonetheless, Tuesday’s Bloomberg politics newsletter holds out the hope that “beneath the surface, a growing wariness of long-running conflicts in the Middle East has given way to quiet diplomacy, and with it the promise of patching over deep rivalries”, citing such examples as “Iraq, the poster child of Middle East instability for two decades, is playing the role of peacemaker, brokering talks between Iran and Saudi Arabia and seeking to mediate an end to the war in Yemen.”

Should we be concerned that Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has registered to run for president – again ? The good news is that Observers say that the divisive figure, who still has followers among some portions of the Iranian population, will likely be disqualified again.Taking a leaf from the Trump book, In a press conference following registration, the former president whose controversial re-election sparked the 2009 Green Movement and protests, cast doubt on the veracity and popularity of Iranian elections in the years following his presidency.

The devastating healthcare situation in India where the country’s health system is overwhelmed starts Tuesday evening’s Diplomatic Community discussion between Jeremy Kinsman and Larry Haas and quickly expands to include Latin America and Africa.
They then turn to the “classically awful political battle” (LH’s description) over the messy confrontation between  Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Enbridge over the governor’s demand that the company shut down its Line 5 oil and gas pipeline through the state.  It’s an annoying bump in the road of Canada-U.S. relations, and certainly one that President Biden doesn’t need or want, but it should be resolved by a  court ruling in favor of honoring the treaty.

The ouster of Liz Cheney from her leadership post in the House has been the subject of opinion pieces from the entire spectrum of political thought and may well give the impetus to a splintering of the Republican party (see The Republicans February 2021-)
She is, indeed an unlikely heroine (PLEASE do not suggest ‘shero’) for Democrats, but her steadfast attacks on Trump, his Republican loyalists and The Big Lie(s) have for now made her a standard bearer for more traditional Republican thought [The GOP Is a Grave Threat to American DemocracyUnless and until Republicans summon the wit and the will to salvage the party, ruin will follow.] and may have inserted the essential backbone to the over 100 former Republican leaders who will issue a letter on Thursday saying that if party leadership does not separate itself from former president Trump, they will start a third party. Anti-Trump Republicans threaten third party

The Colonial Pipeline hack story has far more serious long-term implications and not only for pipelines. We recommend Politico Nightly 3 ideas to stop the next Colonial Pipeline hack for its succinct summary of the threat, and thoughtful analysis of possible solutions.

A first, flippant reaction to the headline Canada is approaching four months without a Governor General. Can we do that? was so someone finally noticed. However, the article raises serious issues, notably concerning the relationship between First Nations and the Crown, and the fact that Canada’s judicial, executive and legislative branches are all in the hands of Chief Justice Richard Wagner.

Andrew Caddell is NOT happy
The 2021 budget: a disaster unlike any we have known
“the recent federal budget. It is the antithesis of everything I ever learned, and mocks the fiscal prudence of Chrétien and Martin. It is understandable the government had to support the economy in a crisis, but we now know Canadians saved $200-billion during the pandemic, and wealthy hedge fund managers benefited from the $100-billion Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy program meant for struggling businesses. There is no need for further government spending.”

Despite the negativity of the headline, How the Zoom era has ruined conversation concludes on a highly positive note: “for people who don’t particularly like the idea of fighting to be heard, the Zoom era — which creates more orderly queues for commenting during conversation — has been a boon. When the conversation is virtual … you hear from people that aren’t always the best at getting their voices in there. …the Zoom era may have been an opportunity for us all to discover just how much conversational styles differ. Whether it’s sussing out how to accommodate overlap virtually or bring non-overlappers into chaotic in-person chats, allowing varied conversational styles enriches discussions and broadens perspectives. It may also leave participants feeling better.” The discussion relates to classrooms, but in our opinion, applies equally to other Zoom calls. How say you?

Late Show First Drafts: Mother’s Day 2021
Who writes these things anyway? Join the amazing and talented Evie Colbert and her husband Stephen for this special Mother’s Day edition of “First Drafts

Events
Thursday, 13 May
1-2 pm EDT
The “Fourth Option”: how does Canada reduce its dependence on China?
Join the Canadian International Council in Montreal to discuss ways Canada can advance a more strategic approach in dealing with China.
5pm EDT
Notwithstanding Clause; its impacts, history and future
Premier Legault has recently stated his willingness to use the Clause to defend Bill 21 and sweeping changes to Bill 101, but what does this mean?
Join Marion Sandilands, Matthew Harrington and Julius Grey, May 13th at 5 p.m. as they explore how this Notwithstanding Clause has been used in the past and the implications it could have in present day .
To receive the Zoom link,  please sign up here.

Long reads
The extraordinary Inheritance
A project about American history, Black life, and the resilience of memory
Why Confederate Lies Live On
For some Americans, history isn’t the story of what actually happened; it’s the story they want to believe
A Global Accord for Sustainable Finance
With national climate commitments and a renewal of multilateralism both gaining momentum, there is a unique opportunity to forge a global consensus on issues such as carbon pricing, the green transition, and sustainable finance. In each case, the European Union offers a promising model for others.
POLITICO Canada
Corridors: An inside look at Canadian politics and power in Ottawa.

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