Wednesday, September 27, 2023

History is just one damn thing after another

Like everyone, I have been following the uproar with House of Commons speaker Anthony Rota and his ineptitude in hosting and applauding Yaroslav Hunka, who as a WW2 Ukrainian teenager was fighting for the Nazis against the Russians. 
When this first hit the news, I thought "Doesn't anybody know history anymore? Who couldn't have figured out that of course the people fighting the Russians in Ukraine in WW2 were the Nazis?" 
But it's actually not quite that simple. 
Justin Ling wrote a brilliant column yesterday that delves into the politics around that period of the war in Europe - About the SS Officer in the Gallery: History is messy, horrible, complicated. All we can do is face it:
 ...Dozens of veterans of the Ukrainian 14th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS, the Galicia Division, came to North America after the war. As did soldiers from the 15th and 19th Waffen Grenadier Divisions, the Latvian Legion. As did others from Estonia, Lithuania, and elsewhere. 
Back then, we considered their actions and, ultimately, welcomed them here. And then we tried to forget about it. 
While there are occasions where crying “Nazi!” should be the beginning and ending of the conversation, this isn’t one of them. 
 ...Yaroslav Hunka was 14 years old when Nazi Germany and Communist Russia signed the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, invading Poland and divvying up Ukraine. ...
Ling continues to summarize the events of WW2 in Ukraine, the shifting alliances as the war evolved, and how peace was achieved. He concludes: 
The Galician Division, like many aspects of the war along the eastern front, is caught in a tension. It exists in a difficult space between one genocidal regime and another. 
For those of us in North America, whose democracies sided with one over the other, we often pretend as though the choice was a simple one. 
It wasn’t. 
The compromise we settled on long ago is, I think, a good one: For those who fought with the SS in Eastern Ukraine and the Baltics, we looked for evidence of war crimes and, finding none, we accepted that war is hell. We let these men go about their lives, without ever forgetting that history. We chose not smear that fight for independence — which is still happening today in Ukraine — with the decisions made during the war. 
Rota’s decision to put Hunka in that gallery upset that fragile compromise. The histrionics have only made things worse. 
As Shkandrij concludes: “The force’s controversial, complex, and long story presents contemporaries with a range of lessons and challenges, and obliges them to consider how a previous generation reacted when trapped in the maelstrom of war.” ... 

Friday, September 22, 2023

Farewell to twitter, I guess

Apparently Musk is going to try to start charging for his platform.  
He simply doesn't understand Twitter at all - he never did. Its like a pulp and paper company thinking it can collect a nickel from everyone who reads advertising handout flyers. 
If he tries to charge us all just for using the site, Twitter as a social network will be over - it will spiral down very quickly to become just few people yelling at each other. Nobody will bother to pay for such a platform and no business will buy ads on it, so that will be the end it. 
Musk deserves some kind of "Christ, What an Asshole" award for destroying his $44 billion investment in less than a year!
And at that point I will finally have to delete my account. 
Its going to take a little while for Threads and Substack to pick up the slack but I don't doubt that they will do it. 
So here's a few tweets I can still share.

First, an excellent summary: I will miss all of the wisdom about COVID that Twitter distributed to everyone around the world. 

Sunday, September 17, 2023

Today's News: Brandolini's Law and the Gish Gallop and existential stupidity

As Samwise says, Well, I'm back! 
Lately I have been trying to figure out why everything in American politics has become such a shit-show -- the Trump disaster, abortion rights, LBGTQ rights, Jan 6 prosecutions, watching Republicans try to destroy Hunter Biden for the crime of his dad being president, the list goes on and on. 
I have been reading some stuff about what the media is doing wrong in adopting its usual "rowboat journalism" model - you know, when a journalist writes "on the one hand, this; on the other hand, that; journalists aren't supposed to pick sides, ya know!" 
The most recent example is Trump's abysmal NBC Meet The Press interview on Sunday. There may be several concepts that explain what happened. For example, this:
Brandolini's law, also known as the bullshit asymmetry principle (2013): The amount of energy needed to refute bullshit is an order of magnitude bigger than that needed to produce it. 
Or this:
Gish Gallop: a rhetorical technique in which a person in a debate attempts to overwhelm their opponent by providing an excessive number of arguments with no regard for the accuracy or strength of those arguments. ...a debater confronts an opponent with a rapid series of many specious arguments, half-truths, misrepresentations, and outright lies in a short space of time, which makes it impossible for the opponent to refute all of them within the format of a formal debate. 

Saturday, September 09, 2023

Wednesday, September 06, 2023

Why School Deadname Policies are wrong: "If a child cannot discuss their identity with their parents, the problem is with the parents, not the child"

I found both of these posts so shocking. 
The first one is a reminder about AIDS and how only within the last 20 years has our society learned to respect gender identity and gender expression. 
Post by @beingliberal
View on Threads
The AIDS crisis was a terrible time - and the casual cruelty experienced by LGBT people was so shameful.  
The second post is about how our society is reverting back to that terrible time, as conservatives seize on LBGT as a culture war issue:
And its happening in Canada too. Our Conservative politicians are pandering to the far right in New Brunswick and in Saskatchewan --and soon to come to Ontario and to the CPC convention - by promoting school policies which the media describes as innocuous "pronoun policies" but which are actually hostile "deadname policies".
Too many Canadian voters do not see these policies for what they are - a political pander to anti-trans homophobia. The Conservative goal here is a political one, not a social one. They aren't trying to protect parents' rights, but rather to create another culture war front. 

Friday, September 01, 2023

Trying out Threads

Threads is finally available on a desktop and it has an "embed this post" button!
So I am trying it out with this post -- I really really hope I can use it in addition to "X, formerly known as Twitter" for my posts. 
X seems to be a dying platform these days, and while I have tried out others (Bluesky, Post, Spoutible, Mastodon, Countersocial, Tribel), none of them have the "embed" capacity until Threads.
Unfortunately Threads doesn't seem to have Bookmarks yet to keep track of posts, nor can I keep track of people with Lists, so its harder to scroll through posts I am interested in and then keep track of items to use when I am blogging later. But maybe that will come too.