Wednesday Night #2151

Written by  //  June 7, 2023  //  Wednesday Nights  //  Comments Off on Wednesday Night #2151

Yet another talent has left us Astrud Gilberto, ‘The Girl from Ipanema’ singer, dies at 83. How many comments have we read since this sad news was posted, all saying how much this song and the Getz/Gilberto album meant to them.
As Byron notes: “This year we’ve lost 3 iconic women entertainers, all around the same age: Raquel, Tina and Astrud.”

The beginning of the end/the end of the beginning of Putin’s War??
It seems we have been waiting forever for the launch of Ukraine’s counteroffensive and on Monday came the news that the Nova Kakhovka dam and hydroelectric plant had been blown up. Russia and Ukraine trade blame for destruction of Kakhovka dam, power plant
If you do not read anything else currently available, see:
The long-term consequences for the rich agricultural region of southern Ukraine are incalculable at this time but there are fears that the dam’s destruction could ‘forever’ change the country’s ecosystems and
Did Russia Just Destroy a Dam to Thwart Ukraine’s Counter Offensive?

Last week we cited Ian Bremmer: No, the US didn’t “provoke” the war in Ukraine in which he took issue with Jeffrey Sachs who argued in a recent op-ed that the United States is responsible for Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to attack Ukraine 15 months ago. The War in Ukraine Was Provoked—and Why That Matters to Achieve Peace. We were delighted to hear from our WN follower George Archer who pointed out that “Jeffrey Sachs is neither the first nor the most prominent American to argue that the War in Ukraine was engineered by the US. John Mearsheimer, Distinguished Professor of International Relations at the University of Chicago has been writing and speaking out on this subjects since the Ukraine coup in 2014.
“I strongly recommend looking up his public speeches on YouTube.
The current narrative religiously repeated in the North American press which calls the Russian invasion «unprovoked « is the most egregious example of failure of our so-called free press in several decades. The pervasiveness of a narrative that fails to deal with recognized historical and diplomatic facts is terrifying.
Please check out Mearsheimer’s arguments.” NB Links supplied by WN.
In response -or as a companion piece to Professor Mearsheimer’s views- you might like to read The Realist Case for Ukraine by Jeffrey Mankoff, Distinguished Research Fellow at the National Defense University’s Institute for National Strategic Studies and a Non-Resident Senior Associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

As we contemplate this week’s crises, we can at least rejoice that Biden signed the debt ceiling bill aka H.R. 3746, the “Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023,” two days before Monday’s default deadline, on which the U.S. would run out of cash to pay its bills.. It would be good to think that the people and politicians could unite behind Robert Rubin in his plea  –Get Rid of the Debt Ceiling Once and for AllRegularly putting the entire economy at risk is in no way “fiscally responsible.”– but sadly, that won’t happen. Indeed, Speaker Kevin McCarthy “whose victory lap following last week’s crucial debt ceiling win was cut short by a small but dogged group of conservatives who have essentially taken the House floor hostage to their still-undefined demands”. (House floor paralyzed by conservative revolt)

Canada as a soft power
Donna Logan suggests reading Diane Francis’ scathing: Canada’s Mediocracy
“In January, most Canadians were embarrassed after their federal government announced that four Leopard tanks would be given to Ukraine as it fights for its very existence, as well as Europe’s. Four more came a month later, but these were measly gifts, considering that Canada is wealthy, home to the second largest Ukrainian diaspora in the world, and America has given disproportionately more to Kyiv. It’s also fair to assume that Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has not phoned President Joe Biden or NATO or Ukraine offering help along the way, or suggesting that Canada will ship substantially more energy to help reduce energy inflation and replace Russian fossil fuels. Trudeau has been in power since 2015 and yet to meet NATO military spending commitments. He also has worrisome connections with China, has impeded Canadian economic growth with his anti-resource policies, and neglected his country’s military. Canada has the longest coastline in the world and a navy smaller than Sri Lanka’s without a presence in a vast Arctic region that it shares with a militarized Russia.”

Although not recognized as equally internationally important as many other events we follow, the situation in Quebec has deep implications for rights across the country, and, in addition to its constitutional ramifications has an immediate impact on our economy and immigration. Not to mention that some of the latest draconian measures can only serve to make us the butt of many jokes which will not be kind.
On Quebec, for starters read Allison Hanes: Now we’re seeing what Bill 96 is made of
It’s hard to know whether to laugh or to cry.

Quebec, Bill 96, C-13 and court cases galore
The most recent court challenge announced on Wednesday
Twenty-three municipalities unite to fight Bill 96 and they are represented by our good friend and Wednesday Nighter, Julius Grey.

Meanwhile, Canada is on track for its worst-ever wildfire season. Our cities are wrapped in deep smokey smog which is also making its way to major neighbouring cities. As always, we are struck by -and immensely grateful for- the alacrity with which rescue organizations arrive from around the world.
Reinforcements arriving to fight Quebec fires as premier warns of more evacuation orders – we wonder if the teams have to pass a language test before going to work.

In view of all the other news, we will give EVs a rest this week, but return to another favorite –cryptocurrencies– given developments which Reuters suggests represent “a dramatic escalation of a crackdown on the industry and one that could dramatically transform a market that has largely operated outside regulation.”

Tuesday was the first anniversary of Désirée McGraw‘s entry into elective politics after agreeing to serve as the Quebec Liberal candidate in NDG. As MNA, she works hard to advance key issues related to her role of critic on the Environment and Climate Crisis. Most important, she is tireless in promoting and attending community events, which enables her to be acutely aware of issues and and to be a strong voice for the community. Bravo Désirée and keep up the excellent work.

‘Travesty’ or ‘forward thinking’? Hundreds weigh in on one-click citizenship oath
Allowing new Canadians to take the oath of citizenship by clicking a box online is a disgusting idea that will cheapen the process and open the door to fraud _ or a forward-thinking notion that will help decrease a backlog of citizenship applications, depending on who you ask.

CNN turns off the Licht
Hoping someone will bring us up to date on this story CNN Chairman and CEO Chris Licht is out after a brief and tumultuous tenure

Royal wedding fever grips the Middle East: Meet Jordan’s bride and groom
Crown Prince Hussein, 28 — the son of King Abdullah II and Queen Rania — has wed Saudi aristocrat and New York-qualified architect Rajwa Al Seif, 29, following a tradition of cementing ties between the two kingdoms.

Long reads
Ian Bremmer: Has China’s power peaked?
China faces an increasingly hostile external environment. This is embodied by the United States’ explicit policy of containment of China’s tech sector as well as China’s growing strategic encirclement in its own backyard – where Japan and South Korea are increasing their defense spending, Taiwan grows more defiant by the day, and new anti-China alliances like the Quad and AUKUS are blooming like algae. Relations with India, meanwhile, have become more competitive on the back of military clashes on the shared border, causing Delhi to draw closer to Washington. Anti-China sentiment more broadly has increased as China’s global footprint has expanded, with more than 10 countries having suspended or canceled high-profile projects funded by the Belt and Road Initiative. Meanwhile, China’s closest allies are imploding, with Russia now a pariah in the West, Pakistan’s economy in tatters, and North Korea having gone fully rogue.

At Harvard, Tom Hanks offered an increasingly rare moment of grace
Bracing as the words were, the actions spoke louder. For those of us in the truth business — which is to say, all of us — it was an actor who never finished college who set a standard we can work to live up to

Disinformation, Dictators & Democracy: A discussion with Maria Ressa and Ron Deibert
“Part of what globally we’re going through is that there is impunity online. If you have impunity online, you have impunity offline. And that has weakened our rule of law, which is the foundation of our democracies,” Ressa said.
“Without facts, you can’t have truth. Without truth, you can’t have trust. If you don’t have these three, you don’t have a shared reality.”

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