Wednesday Night #2109

Written by  //  August 17, 2022  //  Wednesday Nights  //  No comments

A lot of disquieting news, but first:
Biden signs massive climate and health care legislation
President Joe Biden signed Democrats’ landmark climate change and health care bill into law on Tuesday, delivering what he has called the “final piece” of his pared-down domestic agenda, as he aims to boost his party’s standing with voters less than three months before the midterm elections.
Scientists say new climate law is likely to reduce warming
Massive incentives for clean energy in the U.S. law signed Tuesday by President Joe Biden should reduce future global warming “not a lot, but not insignificantly either,” according to a climate scientist who led an independent analysis of the package.

Canada eyes cash for critical minerals in Biden’s big new climate bill We wonder how this optimism jibes with the long-read piece below China has encroached on Canada’s critical minerals industry, with almost no obstruction from Ottawa. We cannot imagine the U.S. will be happy about that.

U.S. politics
As expected, Rep. Liz Cheney lost her bid in the Wyoming Republican primary, but she is not going gentle into that good night Liz Cheney says she’s ‘thinking’ about running for president in 2024.. She has also announced the formation of a political action committee, the Great Task, that would educate Americans about threats to democracy and oppose any effort by Mr. Trump to return to the White House. AND she remains vice chair of the January 6 bipartisan commission
Meanwhile, Lisa Murkowski and Sarah Palin Survive Primary Battles, but a Democrat Breaks Through
We need to take political violence seriously
The rise both of threats and actual violence shows the dangerous levels of polarization, extremism, and radicalization that we face in America today. In the current period, people see opponents as enemies and many do not trust the motives or actions of opposition leaders. The lack of civility has reached such a dangerous level that it threatens the safety of leaders, the functioning of law enforcement, and our society’s ability to address major problems.
As Right-Wing Rhetoric Escalates, So Do Threats and Violence
Both threats of political violence and actual attacks have become a steady reality of American life. Experts blame dehumanizing and apocalyptic language.
The Mar-a-Lago raid brings the United States a step closer to civil war

And lest we become smug, the Globe & Mail editorial board writes, A highly contagious political virus is pouring over the Canada-U.S. border – the party most at risk from cross-border emissions these days is the Conservative Party. There’s a lot of crazy in American politics right now, and the majority of it is coming from the people that Conservatives think of as their American cousins. The Republican Party is increasingly going off the deep end. Once the party of law and order and small government, it now often sounds like the party of anti-law, disorder and no government. … Many political analysts worry that, if the Conservative Party’s next leader (to be elected Sept. 10) adopts the resentment-based politics of the Trump GOP, then the party is doomed to failure. We worry about something different: that it might succeed. It is, after all, working down south.

If you have not been paying attention to what is happening in Alberta, it’s time to do so: Andrew Coyne says Alberta is on the verge of the constitutional abyss the likes of which this country has not seen. Because the front-runner for the UCP leadership is Danielle Smith, and because the centrepiece of her campaign is a wholly unworkable, flagrantly unconstitutional and massively destabilizing proposal called the Alberta Sovereignty Act. What’s worse than Premier Kenney calling Danielle Smith’s big idea ‘nuts’? Her idea – Also bad: Smith insisting nobody criticize her bill until she’s already won and it’s drafted.

With the anniversary of the Taliban takeover of Kabul, comes criticism of the failure of Canada to settle the announced target of 40,000 refugees. Opposition MPs, non-profit groups urge Ottawa to step up efforts to help stranded Afghans
Read Erik Richer La Flèche’s strong piece Canada’s Tradition of Neglecting Local Hires Continues and then listen to Minister Sean Fraser defend the progress of the program on As It Happens – we leave it up to you whose arguments you find convincing.

Following Friday’s shocking attack on Salman Rushdie, as of Sunday, “He’s off the ventilator, so the road to recovery has begun,” his agent, Andrew Wylie, wrote in an email to Reuters. “It will be long; the injuries are severe, but his condition is headed in the right direction.”

C Uday Bhaskar examines [email protected] and concludes “Much to be proud of, amid some worrisome trends”
The ideological shift in politics towards prioritizing the majority religious denomination that has morphed into assertive political Hindutva goes against the fabric of the ‘Idea of India’ enshrined in the constitution

Cleo Paskal continues to warn that “Beijing has studied the importance of the vast Pacific Islands region—for instance, you need to be able to hold it, or deny it to others, to take Taiwan. It also knows the cost and difficulty of taking it by force, as those on Bloody Ridge remembered. So, Beijing has worked on its consolidation of the region by using political warfare to “island hop” beyond the first island chain and set up political, economic and, increasingly, force-capable forward operating sites across the region.” Right to vote being snatched from Solomon Islanders by PRC-backed PM
At least the WaPo is paying attention China’s growing reach is transforming a Pacific island chain

‘China threat’ emerges in elections from UK to Australia
Nations for years have sought to balance promoting trade and investment with the world’s second-largest economy with concerns about China’s projection of military power, espionage and its human rights record. The pendulum is swinging toward the latter, as evidenced in U.S., European, Japanese and Australian opposition to the threatening Chinese military drills that followed U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan last week, and growing warnings from Western intelligence agencies about Beijing’s snooping and interference.
Note also: China to send troops to Russia for ‘Vostok’ exercise

We do not pretend to understand quantum computing, but this seems to be good news.
These Canadian startups are taking quantum computing mainstream
While quantum computers are still in their nascent stage, experts already point to them as having the potential to solve complex problems like climate change and cybersecurity. The technology is beginning to creep into business plans too, with Goldman Sachs using quantum computers to improve calculations in options financing and Volkswagen looking to use them to optimize its manufacturing.

Another world beyond our comprehension is that of cryptocurrencies. Our scepticism is not diminished by the news that Quebec pension fund manager Caisse loses $33.6-billion in first half of 2022 – including a controversial US$150-million wipeout in a major cryptocurrency investment. (our emphasis)

For other topics related to the economy , we will wait until next Wednesday (24 August) when Peter Berezin will join us.

Longtime CTV anchor Lisa LaFlamme ‘blindsided’ after Bell Media ends contract
“Recognizing changing viewer habits, CTV recently advised LaFlamme that it had made the business decision to move its acclaimed news show, CTV National News, and the role of its Chief News Anchor in a different direction,” Bell Media said in a statement.
Reaction has been swift and very negative regarding Bell Media’s decision and how it was carried out. “A national treasure”: What people are saying about CTV firing Lisa LaFlamme
The business of journalism is ruthless. Lisa LaFlamme is just the latest casualty

Rob Galbraith: The Three Pines in St Armand, Quebec
They filmed here last year Even though the production was right next door, I didn’t go looking for the stars…. The production folks hired a lot of local folks which was great. Merci Louise Penny!!!

Varia
Terry Mosher (Aislin) writes: Here is an interview I did Monday evening [15 August] with AS IT HAPPENS, our excellent national CBC radio show. My segment runs from the 28th to the 37th minute. Fellow cartoonists, please listen, because it addresses an issue that we might be addressing: Corporations we work for trying to monitor our own private communication platforms.
Aislin cartoon at heart of discrimination lawsuit in the U.S.
‘Phototoon’ depicting then-president Donald Trump wearing a Ku Klux Klan hood “is the most popular cartoon I have ever created on the internet.”
For Sandy W and John Curtin
Alan Dershowitz Doesn’t Understand Why Trump And Hillary Received Different Treatment Besides All The Facts And Law Being Different
There’s not being in the same ballpark and then there’s not playing the same sport.
Lawyers could have electronic chips implanted in their BRAINS to enable them to scan through documents in a fraction of the time, report suggests
Brain implants could reduce the number of lawyers required to work on a case
Clients could pay for their services by unit of attention rather than by hour
A report claims neurotechnology in society could pose new ethical issues
Lawyers may have to consider that their defendants’ chips could be hacked
How will brain-monitoring technology influence the practice of law?
No two tigers have the same stripes — just like human fingerprints. And conservationists are now trying to use artificial intelligence to identify and protect the animals from poaching. Wildlife detectives had been manually cross-referencing tiger stripes against a database to find the origins of tiger skins seized from criminals. But the UK’s Alan Turing Institute in London is now creating software to make it easier to sift through the imagery. 🐅
Listen to the story by The World’s Patrick Winn.
Largest-ever gift to McGill’s School of Continuing Studies will establish unique professional development program for members of marginalized groups
$2-million investment from Scotiabank to help members of underrepresented local communities and newcomers to Canada, including refugees, build essential skills
‘So very tired’: Inside the thoughts of Justin Trudeau’s official jet
In Dear Diary, the National Post satirically re-imagines a week in the life of a newsmaker. This week, Tristin Hopper takes a journey inside the thoughts of the RCAF VIP jet that carries the prime minister.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is one of the world’s most outspoken national leaders on the subject of climate change. At the same time, he racks up more hours of private jet travel than almost any other Canadian in public life. Last July, Trudeau was riding the prime ministerial jet for all but 11 days, burning an incredible 33,000 litres of jet fuel. And his annual vacations never fail to be as intensive as possible. Right now he’s kicking back in Costa Rica; an 8,000-kilometre roundtrip from Ottawa.

Long reads
A very long and important read that reflects poorly on Canada’s long-term policy planning – with thanks to Peter Frise for drawing our attention to it.
China has encroached on Canada’s critical minerals industry, with almost no obstruction from Ottawa
For the past two decades, China has built up a powerful position in Canada’s critical minerals and mining sector, with little oversight from Ottawa
John J. Mearsheimer: Playing With Fire in UkraineThe Underappreciated Risks of Catastrophic Escalation
To understand the dynamics of escalation in Ukraine, start with each side’s goals. Since the war began, both Moscow and Washington have raised their ambitions significantly, and both are now deeply committed to winning the war and achieving formidable political aims.
Note, not all our diplomat and geopolitical experts agree with this view For more on Putin’s War and Ukraine
The Mar-a-Lago raid brings the United States a step closer to civil war
the forces that believe in American democracy should not confuse this moment with the system working or normalcy returning to political life. It isn’t. The arrest of an ex-president is a catastrophe – a necessary catastrophe, perhaps, but a catastrophe nonetheless.
Read also the review of The Next Civil War “a chilling and deeply researched work of speculative nonfiction. “

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