Wednesday Night #2177

Written by  //  December 6, 2023  //  Wednesday Nights  //  Comments Off on Wednesday Night #2177

Ceremony honours 14 women killed in École Polytechnique mass shooting
‘There has been some progress over the past 34 years but not enough,’ says Prime Minister Trudeau
One by one, the names of the women were called out before a moment of silence in their memory. White roses, one for each victim, were laid by their photographs. The flags were flown at half-mast until dusk.
Thirty-four years ago today, on Dec. 6, 1989, 14 women were killed and another 13 were injured at École Polytechnique by a man motivated by hatred of feminists.

The news this week is more dire than ever.
Ian Bremmer starts The dismal state of global affairs with:
As I look ahead to 2024, there is one phrase that keeps coming back to me: The wheels are coming off.
For years I’ve been warning that our G-Zero world – characterized by a lack of global leadership and the geopolitical conflict that grows as a consequence – was gathering speed. That acceleration is only increasing today, while channels of international cooperation – multinational institutions, traditional alliances, and global supply chains – are losing their ability to absorb shock.
Today, when we mention war, we have to specify which one we’re talking about. The war that ended the peace dividend, remaking the security architecture of Europe? Or the war destabilizing the Middle East, threatening global religious conflict? Serious doubts have emerged about the economic well-being of China, the nation that along with the United States has done most in recent decades to power the global economy. Serious doubts have also emerged about the political well-being of the United States.
These urgent challenges make for an unprecedentedly – in my lifetime at least – dangerous state of global politics.
Scroll down to check out what he says about the Russia-Ukraine war and add to the mix a recent comment from Tony Deutsch “the Russians discovered that bribing/blackmailing key individuals is a cheap way of conducting foreign policy. In the current instance manipulating Hamas to attack Israel has brought no benefit but huge losses to both Gaza and Israel. It provided very significant gains to Russia by getting the Ukraine war off the front pages, and effectively forcing the US to now divide support between Ukraine and Israel. The current Putin effort is directed at prolonging the military needs of Israel.”
He adds: “Details suggest that the long-term planning for the October 7 attack is likely to exceed the resources of Hamas.” Meanwhile, as winter sets in,  Ukraine is in  a  stalemate;  the counteroffensive has failed. Miscalculations, divisions marked offensive planning by U.S., Ukraine
For more, see
Putin’s War Russia-Ukraine March 2023

The Israel-Hamas war
This pretty well sums up the disastrous state of affairs in the Middle East Israeli offensive in southern Gaza leads to ‘apocalyptic’ conditions
Earlier in the conflict Israel had urged Palestinians to evacuate to Southern Gaza as the IDF pounded targets in and around Gaza City in the north.
But on Tuesday, Israel confirmed its forces had reached the heart of Khan Younis, the largest city in southern Gaza, characterizing the day as the most intense yet since the start of the ground operation. The WHO’s representative in Gaza, Richard Peeperkorn, said conditions are getting “worse by the hour.”
Now Palestinians in Southern Gaza have been ordered to evacuate by Israel, but it’s not clear where they can go.
Generation after generation, Israeli prison marks a rite of passage for Palestinian boys
The effect on the youth on all sides of the conflict is beyond tragic. It is hard to imagine that future generations can be anything other than highly distrustful of one another and any authorities that seek to direct them.

COP28 aka UN Conference on Climate Change
Reports, analyses and opinion pieces on every possible aspect of the meeting are everywhere. And it is not one meeting, but hundreds -if not thousands- of mini meetings, many of which have greater substance and import than the public dialogue.
At COP28, Cities Will Show Us the Way
For the first time, the United Nations Climate Change Conference will allow mayors and governors to engage directly with national and international leaders, and to demonstrate how “subnational” governments are already delivering the solutions we need. The timing could not be better.
But the big sticking point is -and will continue to be- fossil fuels.  UN climate talks near end of first week with progress on some fronts, but fossil fuels lurk
Wednesday Nighter Désirée McGraw is attending in her capacity of elected official (NDG & Montreal West MNA ) and climate change critic, and as Quebec’s only opposition MNA. You can follow her live on LinkedIn  as she answers her own question: will this be a “bon COP or bad COP”? (Quebec in-joke)

U.S. Politics, Republicans and Trump
The GOP primary campaign could be over just as Trump’s trials are getting underway
March is shaping up to be a big month for the Republican presidential field.
It’s when the GOP nominee will be essentially locked down in terms of delegate votes — according to a Republican National Committee planning document released this week — just as the first criminal case against former President Donald Trump is getting underway.
That means the primary campaign could basically be over before Trump’s trials are in full swing.
After Super Tuesday — March 5 — Republicans will have allocated almost half of their delegates, as there will be 16 contests that day.
A week later, 54% of delegates will be set and, by the end of the month, 71%.
Trump’s federal trial for attempting to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election is set to begin March 4, the day before Super Tuesday
Former GOP Rep. Liz Cheney is mulling a third-party run for president and will decide in the next few months, she said in interviews published today while promoting her new book. “I think that the situation that we’re in is so grave, and the politics of the moment require independents and Republicans and Democrats coming together in a way that can help form a new coalition, so that may well be a third-party option.”
Rachel Maddow’s brilliant Liz Cheney interview is a must watch
Rachel Maddow’s Interview With Liz Cheney Leads Cable News With 3.2 Million Viewers
It was one of the most unusual interviews in Rachel Maddow’s long tenure at MSNBC: former Republican Rep. Liz Cheney, who joined Maddow on set Monday night. As Maddow told viewers, “I disagree with Liz Cheney about everything. My whole adult life on everything in politics, I would not just say that Liz Cheney and I were on different proverbial teams, I would say we are from different proverbial planets. And they are planets that are mostly at war with each other.”
This headline says it all.
‘This Is Grim,’ One Democratic Pollster Says
The predictive power of horse-race polling a year from the presidential election is weak at best. The Biden campaign can take some comfort in that. But what recent surveys do reveal is that the coalition that put Joe Biden in the White House in the first place is nowhere near as strong as it was four years ago.
These danger signs include fraying support among core constituencies, including young voters, Black voters and Hispanic voters, and the decline, if not the erasure, of traditional Democratic advantages in representing the interests of the middle class and speaking for the average voter.
Any of these on their own might not be cause for alarm, but taken together, they present a dangerous situation for Biden.

Global economy
Mohamed A. El-Erian warns: Beware the New Consensus on the Global Economy
Despite an increasingly challenging economic and geopolitical environment, the global economy performed better than expected over the past year. But although analysts’ projections for 2023 were too pessimistic, it appears that consensus forecasts for the coming year may have have swung too far in the opposite direction.
EU Takes Tough Line to China to Level Economic Playing Field
As the world’s largest single market, the European Union stands shoulder to shoulder with the US and China on trade matters.
That makes the 27-nation bloc an attractive partner for Beijing at a time when it’s trying to encourage international investment to bolster its economy amid intense competition with Washington.
It’s a fact not lost on the EU’s leaders as they travel to China for the first face-to-face summit in four years.
Peter Berezin notes that in a recent Bloomberg piece John Authors cited the BCA kinked Phillips curve framework, and adds “The framework predicted the surge in inflation of 2021/22 as well as the immaculate disinflation of 2023. That very same framework is now predicting that a global recession will begin in the second half of 2024”. Confirming what he has shared with us.

The student associations’ Petition requesting Cancellation of the tuition fee increase for students from outside of Quebec is now closed. Total signatures: 33,342.
Bill 15 petition tabled as CAQ races to the finish line
(QCGN) After two weeks in circulation, our petition demanding more consultation on Bill 15 – the Coalition Avenir Québec government’s plan for the massive centralization of health and social services – garnered some 6,400 signatures
…over the past three months, the government has proposed hundreds of amendments to its own bill indicating just how ill-conceived it was. Health and social services are vitally important to all Quebecers and deserve more than cavalier treatment by a government focused more on command and control than care and compassion. It is truly disturbing to note that from a policy and regulatory perspective our community is not systematically consulted on changes that will have significant impact on the ability of English-speaking Quebecers to receive critical services in their own language.

If, after all this, you still have room for one more anger-inducing item
Poilievre says Conservatives will table thousands of amendments to keep Parliament sitting over Christmas
Threat comes after Trudeau Senate appointees amended carbon tax exemption for farmers
“You will have no rest until the tax is gone,” Poilievre said in a message to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Liberal MPs.
The party maintains it will carry out its obstruction tactics until the Liberals lift the tax on all home-heating energy sources, pass a bill to grant carbon tax relief to some farmers and exempt all First Nations from the carbon levy, as some chiefs have demanded.

The future of electric cars could be at stake in 2024
Sales are still growing in the U.S. and abroad, but headwinds are building. And auto executives are sweating upcoming elections in the United States and Europe, which could impact EV-friendly policies that have been put in place to juice sales.
Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares raised eyebrows last week when he told reporters he was prepared to adjust his company’s electric vehicle strategy if the political tides turn against EVs ahead of key ballots in 2024 on both sides of the Atlantic.
“There are two important elections next year — the European Parliament elections in June and the U.S. elections in November. It could be that politics will be different then.”
How Mounting Demand for Rubber Is Driving Tropical Forest Loss
The growing market for rubber is a major, but largely overlooked, cause of tropical deforestation, new analysis shows. Most of the rubber goes to produce tires, more than 2 billion a year, and experts warn the transition to electric vehicles could accelerate rubber use. … Being substantially heavier than conventional vehicles, they reduce the life of a tire by up to 30 percent, and so could raise demand for rubber by the same amount.
The New Vic, McGill University
For over a century, the former Royal Victoria Hospital has been a place of healing the body and mind. Now, McGill University is embarking on a reinvention of the historic site as a place for helping to heal the planet as well. The principal grounds and heritage buildings of the former hospital will transform into one of the world’s leading centres for teaching, research, and innovation, with an explicit focus on sustainability.
How assistance dogs can make a big difference at university
The public often do not understand the difference between guide dogs and assistance dogs, who help with a wider variety of tasks and disabilities.
There is also a lack of clarity over legal guidance, training standards, and funding, leaving owners protected but lacking a formal definition under the Equality Act. Equalities and Human Rights Commission guides are the most detailed available.
Do you have ‘rizz’? Oxford picks its word of the year from Gen Z slang.
The victory for “rizz” — which Oxford said is believed to be short for “charisma” — could be because a word that encompasses swagger, game and style reflects people’s more “positive” outlook in 2023, Casper Grathwohl, president of Oxford Languages, said in a phone interview.

Long reads
If Trump Wins
The staff of The Atlantic on the threat a second term poses to American democracy.
For The Atlantic’s January/February 2024 issue, 24 contributors consider what Donald Trump could do if he were to return to the White House. Trump’s second term, they conclude, would be much worse.
Contributors include:
David Frum on autocracy
Anne Applebaum on NATO
McKay Coppins on the loyalists
Caitlin Dickerson on immigration
Barton Gellman on the Justice Department
Sophie Gilbert on misogyny
Zoë Schlanger on climate
George Packer on journalism
Sarah Zhang on science

Thomas Friedman: The Debate That Israel Needs Over the War
The reason I was so wary about Israel invading Gaza with the aim of totally eliminating Hamas was certainly not out of any sympathy for Hamas, which has been a curse on the Palestinian people even more than on Israel. It was out of a deep concern that Israel was acting out of blind rage, aiming at an unattainable goal — wiping Hamas from the face of the earth as one of its ministers advocated — and with no plan for the morning after.
Gerald Ratzer forwarded this very long piece by Jonathan Leighton
Transcending anger and blame: building a compassionate future for Israel and Palestine
The explosion of violence in Israel and Palestine has created huge suffering and further polarised the region and the world. Rational discussion about how to bring about peace seems more difficult than ever. But if enough people on both sides can find the courage to transcend anger and blame, there is a way to a solution, based on an inspiring, compassionate vision for the future.

Ego, Fear and Money: How the A.I. Fuse Was Lit
The people who were most afraid of the risks of artificial intelligence decided they should be the ones to build it. Then distrust fueled a spiraling competition.
AI’s Pugwash Moment
Anne-Marie Slaughter and Fadi Chehadé
Leading scientists, technologists, philosophers, ethicists, and humanitarians from every continent must come together to secure a broad agreement on a framework for governing AI that can win support at the local, national, and global levels. Fortunately, they would not need to start from scratch.

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