Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Today's News: About the Foreign Interference Scandal, from May, Wark, Smith, and Scrimshaw

So I've been sort of following the NSICORP (National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians) report revelations about foreign interference in Canadian politics, except there really hadn't been any, nothing concrete at any rate, about exactly who did what and to whom.
Until this happened:

Wednesday, June 05, 2024

80th anniversary of D-Day: "We will remember them"

Too much going on this week to do a longer post, but here's some interesting stuff about D-Day and the 80th anniversary.  
First, posted above is the Veterans Affairs video commemorating the 80th anniversary - "We will remember them".
Next, check out historian Craig Baird's Canada on D-Day podcast:
,,,The Canadian troops had managed to push farther inland than any other force on D-Day, but only one Canadian unit made their objectives.
Regardless, the first line of German defences were completely smashed.
One Canadian journalist said,
“The German dead were littered over the dunes, by the gun positions. By them, lay Canadians in bloodstained battledress, in the sand and in the grass, on the wire and by the concrete forts. They had lived a few minutes of the victory they had made. That was all.”
In the mayhem of Normandy, progress was made...
Plus, Baird has a great story about James Doohan, who played Scotty on Star Trek!

Thursday, May 30, 2024

Guilty X 34 = two solitudes in America

In Canada in the 1940s, we were experiencing what we described as Two Solitudes  between our French-speaking and English-speaking peoples:
...two peoples within one nation, each with its own legend and ideas of what a nation should be. ...the chasm between French and English communities growing deeper. ...a perceived lack of communication between English- and French-speaking Canadians.
We worked through several confusing, divisive, sometimes painful decades filled with questions about whether our Confederation could ever work for the whole country -- the Quiet Revolution in Quebec, the FLQ crisis, the Quebec referenda, the founding of parties like the Parti Quebecois and the Bloc Quebecois, stupid arguments against bilingualism, idiotic complaints about French on cornflake boxes and other excuses for periodic spasms of western alienation, etc. etc -- it is part of Canadian history and culture.
Today, I think we are seeing the same dynamic happening between progressives and right-wingers in the United States, with Trump as their personification. The MAGA true believers and their media enablers seem to have created their own world and they are determined to live in it, regardless of how delusional they are.
Today's Trump verdict is a case in point.

Tuesday, May 28, 2024

And on the lighter side!

This is one of those weeks for me personally -- so here's some funny stuff to lighten the mood:
First, some Poilievre makeup jokes:
Next, haven't we all done this?

Thursday, May 23, 2024

Great threads: from sculptures to libraries, from Curb Your Enthusiasm to Cow 88, from TikTok to Kermit (NEW: update on Cow 88)

Here are some fascinating threads I have seen recently on Twitter - click to see all of the posts: 

Amazing sculptures:

Sunday, May 19, 2024

Into the long weekend: mosquitos and Poilievre and polls, oh my

Ahh, summer is starting at last!
Moving on to something even more biting, I think Pierre Poilievre is now finding there is a downside to being up 20 points in the polls -- people actually expect to hear something sensible from him sometimes, not the usual anti-Trudeau deflection three-word-slogan talking points. 
Some examples: 
In the Globe and Mail, Shannon Proudfoot describes why it matters that Pierre Poilievre pretends all the media is against him and refuses to even try to answer press questions: Pierre Poilievre is pretending he doesn’t know how his job works because it makes it easier
...Mr. Poilievre has spent the past two years energetically insisting that any journalist who asks him a spiky question is enacting some greasy partisan agenda. There are entire swaths of the media that he’s been training the public to see as #JustinJourno grifters....
...What he’s doing is insulating himself from any future unwelcome questions or scandals that might surface. And he’s teaching the receptive public to automatically distrust anyone critical of him. That means Mr. Poilievre doesn’t even have to be there to yell at some annoying reporter, because he’s already set the table for people to discount them.
Imagine what this looks like three years from now when – if current polls hold – Mr. Poilievre will be prime minister and perched atop a stout majority in the House of Commons.
Spending issues, policy choices, dumb programs, stinky e-mails, ugly behaviour from public officials – why, to poke at any of it is to be part of the conspiracy. To deny this, or to insist these are valid questions that the public deserves answers to? That’s what bought-and-paid-for stooges would say...

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Today's News: Trump makes cowards of them all.

The more I see of the Congressional Republicans, the more they remind me of The Sopranos.
And anyone who doesn't fall into line gets sent to the Gulag.
The cowardice is appalling.
Why isn't all of America pointing and laughing at these guys? This is the guy they're supporting: And by the way, the New York Times also owes America an apology for acting as Trump's steno:

Monday, May 13, 2024

More writings about the Israel-Hamas War: Biden's dream, IDF goals, casualty statistics, Israel divestment

I have seen several recent useful posts and comments about the Israel-Hamas War so I wanted to share them.
First, an interesting analysis from Dan Rather about Biden's Big Dream For The Middle East:
...why did Hamas attack [on Oct 7] seemingly out of the blue after years of, if not peace, then detente, in the Middle East? Perhaps because of a “grand diplomatic bargain” or “mega-deal” being negotiated among the United States, Saudi Arabia, and Israel — a deal that would include normalization of relations between Tel Aviv and Riyadh. Yes, the Biden administration had been quietly working on this deal for months, and Iran-backed Hamas reportedly wanted to blow it up. The ambitious agreement has far-reaching and game-changing implications.
... “Five leaders in the Arab community were prepared to help rebuild Gaza, prepared to help transition to a two-state solution,” Biden told CNN.
If Biden can hammer out an agreement with Saudi Arabia and Israel, it could be a diplomatic masterstroke that has many upsides: forging a pathway for Israel and the Palestinians to live as neighbors, improving Arab-Jewish relations in the region, reducing Iran’s power, perhaps appeasing voters at home, and finally bringing peace. The president is dreaming big. And in the Middle East, dreams die hard. Will this dream have a different ending?

Saturday, May 11, 2024

Happy Mother's Day and other comedy bits

I liked this New Yorker cartoon -- says it all. 
I also saw this thread on X and yes, I could appreciate this sentiment:
Another constituency heard from:

Monday, May 06, 2024

Today's news: the stupid, it burns!

What a crazy week it has been -- we've all been sick with what I am calling the Black Death Cold, plus a family member fell and now has a broken pelvis. I'm afraid to leave the house. It's been a crazy week politically too -- just when everyone was starting to pile on Pierre Poilievre for that meandering babbling stop at a Freedumb Convoy camp, he started to talk about how "his laws" were going to be passed with the Notwithstanding clause -- which means that he plans to chop our Supreme Court off at the knees before they find all "his laws" unconstitutional. 
So what horrors is he planning to inflict on Canada anyway?

Sunday, April 28, 2024

Animal crackers

Just a few tweets about animals to enjoy! 

I'm sure by now the whole world has recoiled in horror after hearing that South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem boasted about killing her dog. She really deserves the title "Christ, what an asshole!"

Friday, April 26, 2024

"Never Again for anyone" - Discussions about ending the Israel-Hamas War: Shulman, Fox, Alkhatib, Friedman, Ganz, Elbein

Here are some interesting and useful commentaries about the Israel-Hamas War, including some discussion about how it can be brought to an end

First, this article is recommended by Eric Loomis at Lawyers, Guns and Money -- at the New York Review of Books, professor David Shulman writes Israel: The Way Forward - If Israel is to survive, physically and spiritually, it needs to undergo, collectively, a sea change in its vision of reality and face some unpleasant though obvious facts:
...Israelis will have to face unpleasant though rather obvious facts:
-Palestinians are human beings, no different from the Jews or anyone else. (They have a rotten political system, but so do we.)
-They are not going anywhere.
-There are two national movements in the territory west of the Jordan River, with their own legitimate claims and bloody record of atrocities; the two populations are now equal in size, some seven million each.
-Israel cannot suppress Palestinian and other Arab resistance by force alone. (The foundational axiom of the Israeli polity has always been that only brute force works.)
-Survival depends on sharing the land between these two peoples.
-The settlement project in the West Bank has to end.
-The barbarian extremists on both sides, as if colluding together, will, given half a chance, kill us all.
-God, if there is a god, is unlikely to save us from ourselves.
None of these points is going to be easy for Israelis to swallow. I can attest that most people find it easier to sacrifice the lives of their spouses, siblings, and children in a futile cause than to change how they feel and how they understand the world.
We have wasted several blood-soaked decades on the obscene dream of annexing the territories and expelling the Palestinian population there. ....
There is only one way out of the current morass. As it happens, it’s a good way and, in theory, feasible if we had a minimally rational government capable of articulating a way forward for the people of Israel. What we now call the Biden plan would revolutionize Israel’s place in the Middle East and in the world at large; at the very least it would reverse the present murderous escalation. Its guiding idea is that Israel would become part of a regional system bound together by ties of normalization and full diplomatic relations between it and each of the moderate Sunni states, thus creating a bulwark against Iran and its proxies; the new configuration would necessarily include, indeed depend upon, some acceptable solution to the Palestinian thirst for freedom. That means a demilitarized Palestinian state and the dismantling of the occupation. In the absence of some such systemic solution, Israel will continue to fight recurrent, catastrophic wars. In the end, the state will be overwhelmed. That, in fact, is the Hamas plan, with Iranian backing. The Iranians think they can destroy Israel by 2040, if not earlier...
We will be lucky if this government doesn’t precipitate a full-scale war in Lebanon or beyond. So far it lacks any intelligible plan to end the fighting in Gaza and any political goal of some positive import. Even worse, from the start it has been playing into the hands of Hamas’s leader, Yahya Sinwar: first draw the Israeli army into Gaza, then turn it into sitting ducks in a guerrilla war that can continue indefinitely; let Israel kill enough Gazans and wreak enough destruction to turn international opinion against it, while Hamas hangs out safely in the tunnels it has created until the Israelis go away, with nothing to show for their sacrifices. Wars are won only when they have an attainable political goal.
Meanwhile, Israel is well on its way to becoming a pariah state. The wave of anti-Israel feeling that is engulfing large numbers of people in the Western world has emerged not merely from the Gaza war, with its unbearable civilian casualties and now mass starvation. What that wave reflects, more profoundly, is the justified disgust with the ongoing occupation, its seemingly eternal and ever more brutal continuation, and the policies of massive theft and apartheid that are its very essence....

Sunday, April 21, 2024

Support for Ukraine and Israel

(And read to the end for a Trump fart joke!)
Today I was very glad to see the US support for Ukraine and for Israel approved by the House -- now only was it great to see the aid approved itself, but also it was a demonstration that Trump and his crazy MAGA aren't really running the United States. 
At least, not yet. 
But why, oh why, is it just so hard for these people to do the right thing?

Thursday, April 18, 2024

"Protect the rich" is NOT going to catch on

Recently I've been seeing many articles that tut-tutted about how awful it would be for rich people and Canadian corporations to have to pay more taxes. 
I couldn't understand why this had suddenly become such a hot topic and then I realized: why, of course!  There's a new Liberal budget coming up, and chances are it is going to raise taxes for the wealthy. 
So of course the corporations and the millionaires made sure to get their media out in force beforehand, to try to set the tone of the debate and generate sympathy for the trials and tribulations of the rich. 
But I don't think it will work -- even Poilievre's Baloney Factory won't likely promote a "Protect the Rich!" slogan, because Canadians won't be fooled:

Friday, April 12, 2024

Great stories

Just sharing some stories tonight:
“I was headed into Jackson to go to work and I noticed a couple cars pulled over,” Dusty Jones tells “I looked off to the left and saw a couple of guys beating on the ice with a herd of elk right there in front of them.”
Jones ran down to the ice and called a friend to bring him a chainsaw. There were around a dozen elk in the frigid water, which Jones says measured 8-10 feet deep, and suddenly people started appearing to help.
“Before you knew it, there were 30-40 people there,” Jones said. “We began cutting a little path toward the shore so the animals could walk out but they were so cold they couldn’t move. That’s when we just started grabbing them and pulling them out.”
“Somebody had a backhoe that we were able to put two calves into the bucket and transport them to the Alpine Feed Ground,” Wyoming Game & Fish Biologist Gary Fralick told SVI’s Dan Dockstader.
Jones worried the ice might collapse but said it was around 4 inches thick and nobody fell in. The elk just happened to be standing in an area where the ice was thinner due to thermal spring action, according to Fralick.
“There normally isn’t any water there at all,” Jones said. “We had so much snow last winter that lake runoff caused this part of the reservoir to be full all summer and fall.”
One by one, each of the 13 elk was pulled to safety. Two of the calves were severely stressed and could not get up, according to Fralick. Once they were taken to another area, they were released and stood up with the rest of the herd.
“No elk died, which is awesome,” Jones said.
Moving on:
I hope George Springer can find this fan.