Wednesday Night #2108

Written by  //  August 10, 2022  //  Wednesday Nights  //  No comments

A hybrid Wednesday Night, chez Alex, with Paule Robitaille to discuss her recent trips to Ukraine.
While anxiously following the progress of Putin’s War and digesting the analyses that range from encouraging to dismal, we have also been glued to the Globe & Mail stories about Canada’s abandoning of embassy local employees and the distasteful sight of Melanie Joly trying to wriggle out of any responsibility by claiming total ignorance. (Canada: International relations and foreign policy June 2022-)

First, some good news:
Congratulations to Aphrodite Salas, MIGS’ new John Lemieux Faculty Fellow. Kyle Matthews and Marie Lamensch introduce her, noting that “Her fellowship work will focus on preserving freedom of the media and combating misinformation and disinformation in Southeast Europe. Alongside her extensive experience as a journalist, Aphrodite is also a workshop leader and Quebec Trainer for the Journalists for Human Rights Misinformation Project. In 2019, she was one of the first cohort of journalism trainers for Journalists for Human Rights (JHR) and the Misinformation Project.”
Our dear friend Brett House is a talented economist turned talented renovator, who has “spent the last two months restoring this 1880s Victorian gem on my block in Cabbagetown and I’d love to fill it with friends who appreciate its grand spaces and classic old Toronto features.”
316 Berkeley Street
This Gorgeous 3-Storey Home Boasts Over 3000Sqft Of Living Space With 4 Bedrooms, 3 1/2 Bathrooms, And 2 Car Garage Parking Spaces. Some Of The Original Features Include Beautiful Stained Glass Windows, High Ceilings, Moulding Throughout And Large Ceiling Rosettes in The Dining & Living Rooms.

Every week there is news of the death of an important and/or beloved public figure This week it is
Olivia Newton-John, forever remembered for Grease, but whose life was both successful and exemplary in the many ways she gave back to the world.
No pop star, but an important figure in Canadian politics and international affairs, as well as academia the Honourable Bill Graham. His memoir, The Call of the World, is an excellent read.

Some encouraging news from Ukraine, including reports of a very active resistance movement, and explosions that rocked a Russian air base in Crimea
But the situation at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear complex is fraught as Ukraine, Russia trade blame for nuclear plant shelling amid global alarm, As Russian missiles struck Ukraine, Western tech still flowed, and a report by NewsGuard, a New York-based firm that studies and tracks online misinformation, has now identified 250 websites actively spreading Russian disinformation about the war, with dozens of new ones added in recent months (Russian disinformation spreading in new ways despite bans).

U.S.- China relations
We continue to scratch our heads over Nancy Pelosi’s stubborn insistence on going to Taiwan, (Pelosi’s ‘reckless’ Taiwan visit deepens US-China rupture – why did she go?) Ian Bremmer’s take: Pelosi’s Taiwan trip is a gift to China.

It is heartening to see the favourable coverage of Joe Biden’s presidency, along with the uptick in his approval rating. Seemingly, with the Passage of the Inflation Reduction Act , the media has become aware of multiple achievements of his time in the White House. one of the most legislatively successful presidents of the modern era (The politics of making history) is not a phrase that we have seen previously.
Heather Cox Richardson also lists the many legislative accomplishments of the Biden presidency and cites Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne‘s comment “that what these measures do is far more than the sum of their parts. They show Americans that democracy is messy and slow but that it works, and it works for them”.

Compare and contrast with The FBI search of Mar-a-Lago provided Donald Trump and his sympathizers with fuel for outrage and Trump with a (pathetic) excuse for fundraising: Trump solicits donations after FBI search of his Mar-a-Lago home. While there is much conjecture about precisely what the FBI is seeking, various experts reassure that warrant for this type of undertaking would not be signed lightly by any judge.
Most important, The Mar-a-Lago Raid Proves the U.S. Isn’t a Banana Republic – A bedrock principle is that no one—not even the president, much less the former president—is above the law, and if they commit crimes, they must answer for them.

Meanwhile, The GOP is Viktor Orban’s party now

Stephen Harper’s endorsement shows no boost for Pierre Poilievre, new poll suggests. “[A] new Nanos Research poll commissioned by The Globe and Mail says that Canadians are more than two times more likely to say Mr. Harper’s endorsement has given them a more negative impression of Mr. Poilievre than a more positive impression.” And what of this?
Conrad Black: Pierre Poilievre the man to raise Canada out of its infantile stupor

Not as harsh as Lord Tubby, and therefore deserves attention:
Justin Trudeau’s reality: Much of the country dislikes him
The Prime Minister is seen by many as a woke virtue signaller, more concerned with image than substance. … Fair or not, Mr. Trudeau is taking the blame for just about every travel woe these days: security delays and chaos at airports, days-long lineups for passports, flight cancellations. It’s all because of the federal government’s COVID-19 mandates and the ArriveCAN app, his critics protest. It’s not, of course, but the PM is wearing it anyway.
André Pratte: Trudeau’s departure could cause problems for the Liberals in Quebec
The latest numbers from the Abacus polling firm are disturbing for the Liberals. The Conservatives, who have been without a leader for months, lead the Grits by five points. … Mr. Trudeau’s personal popularity is sagging; at 51 per cent negative impressions. … If such a situation persists, the pressure will be high on Mr. Trudeau to leave before he inflicts more damage to his party. …

Alex Jones’ $49.3M verdict and the future of misinformation
Alex Jones is facing a hefty price tag for his lies about the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre — $49.3 million in damages, and counting, for claiming the nation’s deadliest school shooting was a hoax — a punishing salvo in a fledgling war on harmful misinformation.
But what does this week’s verdict, the first of three Sandy Hook-related cases against Jones to be decided, mean for the larger misinformation ecosystem, a social media-fueled world of election denial, COVID-19 skepticism and other dubious claims that the Infowars conspiracy theorist helped build?
Note:Alex Jones may pay less in punitive damages to Sandy Hook family. Why?

Varia
Peek inside a $1.7M condo for sale inside Montreal’s iconic Habitat 67
I wonder what Moshe Safdie thinks of the extensive renovation? I love the solarium.
‘Undignified’ 100-year-old hospital gown design in desperate need of redesign, doctor says YES!
Dr. Brian Goldman explains why patients hate the traditional hospital gown but why doctors love them. Plus Brian takes a look at what might be an improved version of the hospital gown.
A revelation – Jody W-R ‘a hoot’?
On the recommendation of Louise Penny, we explored The Women Of Ill Repute, podcasts by Wendy Mesley and Maureen Holloway, who chat with sassy women about sex, family, politics, and media.
Jody Wilson-Raybould: Good Trouble caught our eye and we were intrigued by the summary:
“Former Justice minister and Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould is not just angry–not just determined to improve the lives of indigenous people. She’s all that, but we discover she’s also a hoot! She dishes on how hugs from prime minister Justin Trudeau made her skin crawl. ”

Long reads
Olivia Newton-John: That Headband Was a Crown
When the singer smudged her classy image, she “unlocked something new that shot her to the top of pop’s Olympus,” our critic writes: “The vestal vamp.”
As Russian missiles struck Ukraine, Western tech still flowed
Despite what the West has described as an unprecedented series of strict sanctions against Russia, many commodity electronic components still aren’t subject to export controls. And even if they are, there’s a global galaxy of suppliers and traders in East Asia and other countries that are willing to ship them and are often beyond the control of Western manufacturers.
Fascinating backgrounder
‘America First’: From Charles Lindbergh To President Trump
Trump has never made the connection to Lindbergh and his group, and there are both similarities and differences. In foreign policy lingo, Lindbergh and his group were isolationists. They wanted to keep the U.S. out of most foreign entanglements. Trump is more commonly described as a unilateralist — someone who thinks the U.S. can be engaged around the world, but on its own terms, unconstrained by alliances or multinational groups like the United Nations.
After the Fall: What Afghanistan Looks Like Since the Taliban Takeover

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