Wednesday Night #2130

Written by  //  January 11, 2023  //  Wednesday Nights  //  No comments

Peter Berezin is with us and will explain (and defend?) the conclusions of his most recent Strategy Report, encouragingly titled Rays of Light
The consensus amongst investors is that stocks will fall in the first half of 2023 in anticipation of a US recession, but then recover in the second half once the proverbial green shoots appear.
– We think the opposite is more likely: Stocks will rally in the first half as recession fears abate but then level off or decline in the second half as it becomes clear that a tight labor market will limit the Fed’s ability to cut rates.
– Even if the US economy does succumb to a recession, it will be a very mild one, owing to the fact that there is neither a major glut of homes, as there was in 2008, nor a major glut of capital equipment, as there was in 2000.
– Growth in the rest of the world is turning the corner. Economic sentiment in the euro area is improving, driven by plunging gas prices. China’s reopening, along with increased stimulus and more market-friendly policies, will also spur growth.

Brett House, is, since 1 January, professor of professional practice in economics at Columbia Business School; he is also a fellow with the Public Policy Forum, the Munk School, and Massey College. He writes in the Financial Post: Canada’s greying economy needs more employee ownershipAdd retiring entrepreneurs to the list of economic existential threats posed by Canada’s aging population. This is a long and very worthwhile read.

World Bank walking tightrope as it mulls increased lending to poorest

Last week we asked for a volunteer to read “Spare“. No takers, but the acid reviews should be enough for most.
This week, is there a volunteer to read and review Bill Morneau’s Where To from Here? Although not as provocative as Spare, it seems to have generated some serious criticism, e.g. John Ivison’s Morneau finds true flaws in his former boss Trudeau but appears blind to his ownIf the political winners write history, the political losers write revisionist memoirs.

Early Saturday morning (7 January), after 15 votes, the Republicans finally elected Kevin McCarthy Speaker of the House of Representatives (See U.S. Government & governance Speaker of the House for a round-up of news and commentary on the sordid story). In the words of Heather Cox Richardson “…there is no doubt that the concessions he made to extremist Republicans to win their votes mean he has finally grasped the speaker’s gavel from a much weaker position than previous speakers.” There is no joy to be derived from this news – at best we can only hope that the Republicans will be so overcome with infighting that the Democrats will be able to attract whatever moderate Republicans are left to join them on key votes. Meantime, we dread what is coming from a Speaker whose concessions to the MAGA mob have made his own position virtually untenable. And to think that this man is 3rd in line of the presidential succession!
What it means for Canada if the new U.S. Congress can’t get anything done
(CBC radio/The House) Kirsten Hillman, Canada’s ambassador to the United States, joins host Catherine Cullen to discuss the concerns this new Congress might raise for Canada, and what’s on deck for Canada-U.S. relations in the new year.

Brazil
Jair Bolsonaro supporters storm Brazil’s presidential palace and supreme court
The attack on public buildings and government offices in Brasilia may not have come as a surprise to regular observers, but has shocked the more casual follower of Brazilian news. No coincidence that Bolsonaro, a great admirer of Trump, is ensconced in Florida.

Putin’s War
For the first time in many months, Russian forces -or at least the Wagner Group of mercenaries- have made some gains (Russia’s Wagner Group chief says troops have taken Soledar – Eastern Ukrainian town renowned for its salt mines has been at the centre of days of fierce fighting.), while pundits ponder Top Russian general put in charge of ‘more dangerous’ Ukraine war – Move makes Valery Gerasimov directly accountable for the fate of the campaign as Sergey Surovikin, nicknamed ‘General Armageddon’, is effectively demoted.
Meanwhile, we take some comfort in opinions like Putin’s faltering Ukraine invasion exposes limits of Russian propaganda

NAFTA – Three Amigos 2.0
Biden, López Obrador, Trudeau met in Mexico City for summit for a series of talks on migration, trade and climate change on Tuesday as the three leaders try to mend tensions that have divided the continent.
Jeremy Kinsman is encouraged that “we are finally pitching a strategic approach” to North American economic growth and cooperation. After no meetings during Trump, the Three Amigos meet again!

Travel woes continue
Air chaos after U.S. grounds hundreds of flights when computer system goes down
The scale of the air traffic disruption reminiscent of the day after 9/11 attacks but U.S. Transportation Secretary said there was no ‘direct evidence’ of a cyberattack
At various points throughout the day on Wednesday depending on where you lived, you couldn’t fly, buy a bottle of wine online, or even hope for a letter from Britain.
By early afternoon, 1,200 U.S. flights had been cancelled and more than 8,200 delayed, according to flight-tracking website FlightAware. Airports in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and Atlanta were seeing between 30 and 40 per cent of flights delayed.
Canada’s NOTAM entry system also experienced an outage between 10:20 a.m. and 1:15 p.m. ET on Wednesday, said Nav Canada’s manager of government and media relations.
While
Government looking to strengthen air passenger protection rules after holiday chaos, minister says
Transport minister says he’s looking at changing rules to impose more responsibility on airlines
Transportation Committee Chair Promises Parliamentary Hearing Over Holiday Travel Chaos
Liberal MP Peter Schiefke, who is the chair of the federal government’s transportation and infrastructure committee, tweeted 03JAN that he’s going to call both companies onto the carpet about how many Canadians’ disastrous holiday travels. “I will be convening a meeting of the transport committee and will be calling on VIA Rail and Sunwing to appear,” Schiefke tweeted.

The collection of looking forward/looking back surveys and opinion pieces continues. These survey results from the Atlantic Council give some pause: Welcome to 2033: What the world could look like in ten years, according to more than 160 experts

Andrew Caddell leaves aside his usual preoccupation with politics to write a charming piece in praise of local outdoor rinks
An appreciation of the outdoor rinkCanadians are philosophers of the wintertime, revelling in the cold, creating a community landmark.

Tony Deutsch calls our attention to Howard Levitt: What’s happening to Jordan Peterson could happen to anyone now “the complaints against him have nothing to do with his practice of psychology but were exclusively political complaints from the left about his conservative political pronouncements”
While we are no fans of Jordan Peterson, the threat to legitimate freedom of expression should be of deep concern.

Varia
I’m a psychology expert in Finland, the No. 1 happiest country in the world—here are 3 things we never do
1. We don’t compare ourselves to our neighbors.
2. We don’t overlook the benefits of nature.
3. We don’t break the community circle of trust.
Finland ranked No. 1 of 41 European countries on resilience against misinformation for the fifth time in a row in a survey published in October by the Open Society Institute in Sofia, Bulgaria. Officials say Finland’s success is not just the result of its strong education system, which is one of the best in the world, but also because of a concerted effort to teach students about fake news. Media literacy is part of the national core curriculum starting in preschool.

When good intentions about combating climate change clash with beloved traditions
How the humble gas stove became the latest flash point in the culture wars
Regulators have no plans to ban gas stoves, but Republicans are slamming the Consumer Product Safety Commission for announcing it will examine the health impacts of the appliances.

From mubble fubbles to zwodder, Susie Dent has a word for how you feel
(CBC Radio The Sunday Magazine) In the latest installment of our ongoing language segment Word Processing, Piya Chattopadhyay is joined by the popular British lexicographer Susie Dent. Dent is known for her appearances on the British game show Countdown, and on social media, where she’s amassed a huge following by sharing words from days gone by that somehow perfectly fit modern times

Long reads
Russia’s Eugenic War
Four policies of racial cleansing
The GOP Goes Down the Rabbit Hole
Welcome to the Republican Wonderland.
Nouriel Roubini: The Age of Megathreats
we are entering a new era that will more closely resemble the tumultuous and dark decades between 1914 and 1945.
Terry Glavin: The Trudeau Liberals’ long, sordid history with McKinsey McKinsey’s influence in developing federal policy has mushroomed

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