Wednesday Night #2055

Written by  //  August 4, 2021  //  Wednesday Nights  //  No comments

August 4 is a particularly poignant anniversary for Wednesday Nighters. Exactly a year ago, a deadly explosion in Beirut shocked the world and our dear friend Joumane Chahine (Buchanan) was gravely injured. To our joy, Joumane has made a remarkable recovery, but the same cannot be said for Lebanon.
Thousands of Lebanese call for justice 1 year after massive explosion
Thousands joined demonstrations Wednesday calling for justice on the one-year anniversary of a major explosion in Beirut that killed 214 people. Some demonstrators threw rocks and molotov cocktails, and were hit by security forces with tear gas and rubber bullets.

As there is pretty much blanket coverage of the Tokyo Olympics, I have chosen to avoid medal count and limit my page to stories about individual achievements and analyses of some of the events or issues surrounding the Games in the hope that you may find something that you would have otherwise missed. I would draw your attention, however, to the disgusting actions of the American conservatives Rooting against Olympians — meet today’s conservative movement.
Jeremy Kinsman and Larry Haas discussed the sad case of the Belarus sprinter, Kristina Timanovskaya, briefly before turning to the murder (likely) or suicide (unlikely) in Kiev of Vitaly Shishov, the Belarusian activist and the long assassination arm of the despicable President Alexander Lukashenko, whom Jeremy considers truly mad.
They then turned to the consequences of the withdrawal from Afghanistan and the grim outlook for educated women and girls.

Donna Logan highly recommends Our democracy is under attack. Washington journalists must stop covering it like politics as usual. by Margaret Sullivan. While especially applicable to U.S. media in the present circumstances, a balanced treatment of an unbalanced phenomenon distorts reality should be a guiding principle in this era of wokeness.

Deadly heat waves, flooding and wildfires are occurring around the world. Heat wave fed by hot air from Africa has led to wildfires in the Mediterranean region. Satellite imagery showed smoke from the fires in Antalya and Mersin was extending to the island of Cyprus.
At least 6 dead in Turkey wildfires; blazes in Italy, Greece prompt evacuations and in Iran, drought and water mismanagement have sparked deadly protests.

Meanwhile, California’s largest wildfire explodes as hot weather threatens new blazes and Rain brings some relief to B.C. wildfires, but not enough for long-term impact. Nor has Russia been spared as forest fires spread by a record margin on Monday, making the current wildfire season the country’s third-largest this century as smoke from the blazes wafts over huge expanses of Siberia.

If you have not discovered it, I highly recommend The Conversation. An independent source of news and views from the academic and research community,it is always topical and very often features topics not treated elsewhere, for instance How wildfires are tainting grapes and threatening the wine industry. Along with Heather Cox Richardson, it has become a first-thing daily must.

As Kitty pointed out last week, China has underplayed the devastation caused by flooding in Zhengzhou and other cities of Henan. On Monday, the death toll was revised to “more than 300”, no doubt far less than the actual toll.

Among the politicians we really do not want to hear from/about is Maxime Bernier who says he won’t take the COVID-19 vaccine, not because he is anti-vaccination but because he is pro-freedom. Fine, feel free to not attend his rallies and not to vote for him. And in case you were wondering, NDG-Westmount has its very own People’s Party candidate David Freiheit aka Viva Frei.
Mad Max should absorb and apply Paul Krugman’s timely column ‘Freedom,’ Florida and the Delta Variant Disaster in which he argues when people on the right talk about “freedom” what they actually mean is closer to “defense of privilege” — specifically the right of certain people (generally white male Christians) to do whatever they want.
Joining Mad Max on my list tonight is – wait for this!… Sarah Palin, hinting at running against Senator Lisa Murkowski. The WaPo take is priceless – “human gaffe machine”.

While on the topic of dislikeable -or laughable- political figures, enjoy the Guardian’s scathing piece on Jared Kushner’s ‘retirement from politics’ Jared Kushner’s hidden genius? To make terrible decisions – yet keep failing upwards Arwa Mahdawi opines that “It must have been hard for Kushner…to give up his political career. Still, the decision was probably made easier by the fact that said “career” was simply a cushy “senior adviser” job with his father-in-law, and that ended when Donald Trump lost the election.”

Everyone has now taken for granted that a federal election will be called within the next two weeks. The Broadbent Institute’s Andrew Jackson asks: How will the Prime Minister justify an early election to the public and to the Governor General while making it look like he is not just seeking crass partisan advantage when the pandemic public health and economic crisis is still with us? and argues that “An early election call could well backfire for the Liberals given the potential of the resurgent NDP (now polling at about 20%) to articulate and promote a progressive alternative focused on fair taxes to finance long-term investment in social programs, reconciliation, and securing a rapid transition to a sustainable and inclusive green economy.” A political bias, of course, but some valid points.
On the other hand, as our economists might say, A fall election? The Liberals may not get a better window. Philippe J. Fournier: The latest 338Canada model suggests it will be a challenge for the Liberals to win a majority, and it’s unlikely to get any easier. Politico Canada (Corridors) points out that “With the August long weekend in the rear-view mirror, federal Liberals got to work handing out checks. Summertime funding announcements are an annual tradition. … And the projects aren’t purely pork-barrel politics. But it’s hard not to tally up the dough and keep a close eye on where it’s spent.”
UPDATE Pork barrel or pander?
Justin Trudeau announces $6-billion transfer to Quebec to bolster child care
The federal government is transferring about $6 billion to Quebec over five years in connection with Ottawa’s national child-care program, but the money comes without conditions and Quebec’s government can spend it how it pleases.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made the announcement Thursday alongside Premier Francois Legault in Montreal, who said a significant portion of the $6 billion will go toward “completing” the province’s child-care network.

Task Force on Linguistic Policy fights for Quebecers’ rights
Quebec’s new language legislation and Ottawa’s Bill C-32 to revamp the Official Languages Act are a double-whammy for Quebec anglos.
Andrew Caddell joined with Colin Standish to publish the goals of the Task Force on Linguistic Policy, recently formed by a group of concerned citizens. See: Prominent anglos unite to fight changes to language laws — The group says it decided to proceed with a task force because members feel they have been abandoned by the major political parties in Quebec’s legislature and federal parliament.

Varia
We are used to negativity about G.M.O.s, reinforced for many of us by Annabel Soutar’s remarkable Seeds, [see review by Alan Hustak]recounting the battle between Saskatchewan farmer Percy Schmeiser and Monsanto Inc. The examination of the evolution of thinking about G.M.O.s and the story of the purple G.M.O. tomato Learning to Love G.M.O.s with anti-inflammatory and anticancer properties will require a major re-think for man, and may not convince the ‘the W.W.W.s: the well, wealthy and worried’.
What’s in a name? Apparently as much as $100,000
Montreal investment fund sued over use of founder’s great-great-grandfather’s name

Long reads/listens
The Right Way to Split China and Russia
Washington Should Help Moscow Leave a Bad Marriage
COVID-19 has shone a light on how globalization can tackle inequality
In our recent research, we detail the pandemic’s impact on the world economy via three components of globalization: economic, social and political. The pandemic and the economic policy response to the crisis have had an impact on these three aspects to varying degrees.
Farhad Manjoo: Has Technology Made Global Cooperation Impossible?
[W]hat if we’ve hit the limit of our capacity to get along? … Are we capable as a species of coordinating our actions at a scale necessary to address the most dire problems we face?
Learning to Love G.M.O.s
Overblown fears have turned the public against genetically modified food. But the potential benefits have never been greater.
Advancing and Promoting Democracies (podcast)
THE GLOBAL EXCHANGE PODCAST
In this episode of The Global Exchange, Colin Robertson speaks to Dr. Jennifer Welsh and Dr. Roland Paris about promotion of democracies at home and abroad.
Read Dr. Welsh and Paris’ op-ed in the Globe and Mail, “The world’s democracies, including Canada, face a historic choice“.
David Brooks, creator of the term Bobo should stick to columns and commenting on PBS, or find a good editor. How the Bobos Broke America is far too long, however, as Gloria Calhoun says: he raises some “fascinating points about class formations, markers, antagonisms, and shifts”. If you persevere to the end, you may feel enlightened.

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