Wednesday Night #2207

Written by  //  July 3, 2024  //  Wednesday Nights  //  No comments

To say that this has not been a great week would not be an exaggeration.
Starting with last Thursday’s simply awful presidential debate. Trump’s Gish Gallop and Brandolini’s law completely overwhelmed President Biden who looked and sounded frail, neither sound of body or mind at certain points. As Jeremy Kinsman states: A Broken Biden vs A Lying TrumpTrump’s boastful, mendacious, smirking performance was repulsive to many watchers. But he was vigorous, alert, and forceful – everything Biden was not.
Since the débacle, pundits, politicians and just about anyone else have debated whether President Biden should step down or continue the campaign, the hows and what-ifs of every possible scenario.
If he drops his bid for re-election, it could be the kind of reset many voters say they want or a chaotic mess. Democrats have been making their lists of pros and cons. Take your pick.
One thing does seem obvious, the President should be seen as stepping away of his own volition and not because of pressure from whomever, unless medical considerations are cited.
Biden says ‘I’m not leaving’ as cracks appear in Democrats’ support
White House denies reports president is weighing whether his candidacy is viable or not with spate of interviews lined up

The icing on the cake is the appalling SCOTUS immunity decision Putting Trump Above the Law And thus giving him permission for a despotic second term.
Please see Long reads below: The Trump Decision Reveals Deep Rot in the System
“Of the 6-Justice majority in today’s terrible immunity decision, two justices (Thomas, Alito) were violating federal law (28 USC 455) by not recusing from the case and three (Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, Barrett) were appointed by the man whom the decision essentially immunized.”

In the what-was-he-thinking category France‘s President Macron’s snap election heads the list.
Round one of France’s legislative elections did not end well for the President and the outlook for Round Two on 7 July -less than three weeks before the Opening of the Olympics- is not great.
Marine Le Pen Crushes Macron — Again: Special Balance of Power
Could there be civil war as Macron threatened?Macron warns of ‘civil war’ if far left or far right wins
Only Gwynne Dyer seems unconcerned: France – No Panic

Then there is Britain‘s July Fourth general election. Another gamble, this one by not-for-long PM Rishi Sunak.
A Labour landslide is predicted.
While we all would agree that the Conservatives have been in power too long, be careful what we wish for. Britain will not rejoin EU in my lifetime, says Starmer
Labour leader also says he cannot foresee circumstances where UK would re-enter single market or customs union At least that nasty piece of work, Nigel Farage has managed to alienate possible supporters with his statement that the West provoked Putin’s invasion of Ukraine

Meanwhile, back in Canada, Trudeau says he is ‘committed’ to staying as PM after byelection loss
PM says there will be ‘lots of reflection’ after the upset loss in Toronto-St. Paul’s
Can Canada’s Unpopular Prime Minister Win Again?
Steve Paikin is an outstanding (if not THE best) interviewer and his recent sit-down with journalist Paul Wells, author of Justin Trudeau on the Ropes: Governing in Troubled Times, is a must-watch.
The biggest question in Ottawa these days is will Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stay on to lead the Liberals into the next election, or is he simply too unpopular to win a fourth term?

Andrew Caddell is in the Far North this week, but manages nonetheless to write his column on The Bloc Québécois is no friend of Canada
Writing from the Yukon, “there are encouraging reminders we are in Canada, although far from the machinations of politicians in far-off Ottawa. In the streets of Whitehorse, Canada Day was celebrated in English, French, and Indigenous languages. With a population that’s about 10 per cent francophone, and French immersion everywhere, Yukon is a reminder of how Canada can work, despite the incessant complaints of Quebec nationalists.” We will most likely wait until next week for this debate.

Perhaps you did not know about the election in Mongolia last week?
Even there, official results confirm a setback for the ruling party
Mongolia’s governing party wins only a slim majority in parliamentary election

With all the other news, who noticed that on July 1, Russia took the helm of the UN Security Council  [for one month]  and announced that Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov would chair two Security Council meetings during Russia’s presidency. The problem is, Lavrov is under a travel ban and asset freeze by the United States for his actions related to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. … what are Russia’s plans for its month-long presidency?

The NATO 75th anniversary Summit takes place in Washington 9-11 July.
The Road to the 2024 NATO Summit
Ahead of NATO’s summit in Washington, DC, and its 75th anniversary celebrations, GMF [The German Marshall Fund of the United States] experts share their analyses of the critical issues shaping the future of the alliance.
It’s going to be a strange gathering. Trudeau has confirmed that he will be there, but how many familiar faces will be around the table?

Varia
Young Canadians prefer in-person and hybrid work, according to a new report
Our friend Ilona Dougherty, Managing Director, Youth & Innovation Project, University of Waterloo is co-author of the new report Facing challenges, finding opportunity: Young people in Canada navigating a new employment reality”  which shares initial findings from the RBC Young People and Economic Inclusion Longitudinal Study, funded by RBC Future Launch. This report reveals the trends that are shaping young people’s employment experiences today….

Hurricane Beryl roars by Jamaica after killing at least 6 people in the southeast Caribbean
A hurricane warning was in effect for Jamaica, Grand Cayman, Little Cayman and Cayman Brac. Beryl was forecast to weaken slightly over the next day or two, but still be at or near major-hurricane strength when it passes near or over Jamaica on Wednesday, near the Cayman Islands on Thursday and into Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula on Friday, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center.

The WestJet mechanics strike has ended after disrupting the plans of roughly 110,000 travellers over the long weekend. The striking mechanics surely endeared themselves to no-one after walking off the job despite a directive for binding arbitration from the labour minister.
We suspect that many Canadians agree with G&M Opinion contributor, Ashley Nunes Striking WestJet mechanics make only $109,000 on average. Oh, the humanity

We thought you should know that the Ville de Montréal is looking for someone to carry out the thankless task of Chef(fe) de division – communications et relations avec les citoyens (Borough of Lachine).

‘Protecting the Corridor of Freedom to America’s Asian Border’, Cleo Paskal‘s article for Journal of Indo-Pacific Affairs in the latest issue covers regional history (including the setting up of the Covenant and Compacts and a cameo by Pete Ellis), examples of PRC influence operations in Marshall Islands and elsewhere, ways to approach fisheries that ‘block’ malign influence and ‘build’ local economic resilience (yes, the Coast Guard needs help), the CCP’s braided approach to influence operations (commercial, strategic, criminal) and more.

Kyle Matthews spent Canada Day in Taiwan as part of a Canadian think tank delegation to the country. We look forward to hearing about his experience.

Marko Papic has re-joined BCA Research as Senior Vice President and Chief Strategist, BCA Access & GeoMacro. He will “create a new macro product…dubbed the GeoMacro Strategy. The thesis behind GeoMacro is that the world in which merely reading ISM prints or FOMC statements made you an investor no longer exists. Instead, we all must strive towards consilience of different frameworks and methods to generate alpha and reveal beta. I believe that macro-economics is a necessary but insufficient theoretical foundation with which to generate returns in today’s macro environment. Investors must add macro-geopolitics – GeoMacro – to their toolbox to navigate markets.
Geopolitical Alpha, a 2020 book by Marko Papic, explains how geopolitical analysis can be investment relevant [and] details his constraint framework and how to generate alpha.

Finally, this item from Boston, home of the MTA Song (who remembers The Kingston Trio?):
Organizers marched to get googly eyes on Boston trains. Officials listened.
Arielle Lok and John Sanchez led a march in Boston to demand the MBTA add cartoon eyes to the front of trains. The agency agreed.
The crowd of about 30 demonstrators that gathered at the Boston Common park in late April had a message to share. They were energetic and loud. They came armed with slogans, which they plastered on colorful poster boards and yelled in rhyming chants as passersby gawked. After about 40 minutes of demonstrating, they marched to the offices of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority to deliver their agenda.
And two months later, they got what they wanted. On Wednesday, the agency emailed the campaign organizers to inform them that Boston’s public transit network, the T, had acceded to their single demand.

Long reads
The Trump Decision Reveals Deep Rot in the System
By Laurence H. Tribe, constitutional law scholar, co-founder of the American Constitution Society. He is also the author of American Constitutional Law (1978), a major treatise in that field, and has argued before the United States Supreme Court 36 times. Among his notable students: Barack Obama; Ted Cruz; John Roberts [who apparently learned nothing]; Elena Kagan; Merrick Garland; Kathleen Sullivan; Jamie Raskin; Adam Schiff.

Gwynne Dyer The West: Enormous Changes at the Last Minute
So there we suddenly are, with three of the four biggest Western countries, containing about half of NATO’s population, facing elections that may radically change their political orientations. In the American and French cases, their next governments may be hard right, with fascist undertones.

At a Loss for Words -Conversation in the Age of Rage
In six, wide-ranging chapters, At a Loss for Words explores the mutating meanings and the changing political impact of six chosen words—freedom, democracy, truth, woke, choice and taxes—unpacking the forces, from right and left, that have altered them beyond recognition. Carol Off shows what happens when we lose our shared political vocabulary: we stop being able to hear each other, let alone speak with each other in meaningful ways. This means we are less able to deal with the complexity of the crises we face, leaving us prey to conspiracy theories, autocrats and the machinations of greed. At a Loss for Words is both an elegy and a call to arms.

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