Thursday, November 30, 2023

Today's News: From Trudeau v. Poilievre, to "effective altruism"

Well, well, well -- so Trudeau was right about India's responsibility for the murder of Canadian Hardeep Singh Nijjar. 
In his National Intelligence and Security Newsletter, Wesley Wark brings us up to date in tonight's post Murder Inc. New revelations about Indian government-directed assassinations
...This sordid tale adds further weighty credibility to the Canadian government’s public claim that there was Indian official involvement in the murder of Mr. Nijjar, a claim that the Indian government has strenuously denied. The Indian government response had a ring of protesting (way) too much. New Delhi then reacted by creating a freeze in diplomatic relations with Canada, expelling a large number of Canadian diplomats from India, suspending visa applications for a time, and suggesting Canada had failed to provide the Indian government with any material evidence of a supposed plot involving Mr. Nijjar.
In response to the unsealing of the US indictment, the Indian government has now pivoted to announce that it has created a “high level inquiry” into the matter. That is more of a concession than the Canadian government was able to obtain, but it also shifts the focus onto the higher plane of India-US relations....
Now I'm waiting for all the apologetic tweets from all the Canadian right-wingers who were so quick to take Trudeau to task for insulting poor Modi ...guys? ....I'm waiting... (crickets)

Monday, November 27, 2023

Well, here's some upsetting news

Hamas apparently doesn't know where at least 40 of the hostages are.
In his nightly Ukraine post at Balloon Juice, Adam Silverman is also keeping up with the latest news about the Israel-Hamas War and the hostages being held in Gaza. 
And the news is not good.
Under the terms of the truce, no Israeli men – of single or dual nationality – are to be released. Additionally, the only American-Israeli released today was Abigail Idan. The remaining eight, which is the current published estimate for American-Israelis being held, are still unaccounted for. I expect that Sinwar will claim that they cannot be located or will try to hold them as a final bargaining chip should all else fail. I do not expect they will be released.
Except we now know that Hamas DOES NOT have many more hostages to actually exchange! The Financial Times has the details:
...Efforts to extend a temporary truce between Israel and Hamas depend on the militant group locating dozens of women and children held hostage in Gaza by civilians and gangs, Qatar’s prime minister has said.
But Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani told the Financial Times that more than 40 other women and children were being kept captive in Gaza who were not believed to be held by Hamas
He said the truce could be extended if Hamas was able to use the pause in the conflict to locate those hostages.
“We don’t yet have any clear information how many they can find because . . . one of the purposes [of the pause] is they [Hamas] will have time to search for the rest of the missing people.”...
The estimates have been that there are between 70 and 100 Israeli women and children being held hostage in Gaza. If more than 40 of them are not in Hamas’s custody & Hamas doesn’t know where they are, then Hamas will run out of women and children hostages to exchange either tomorrow or Tuesday.
What happens then? The Israelis are going to go in hard. They are going to throw everything at Hamas. They are going flatten anything standing, bounce the rubble. The preferred course of action is to get as many of the women and children out first. But if Hamas cannot release any more after Tuesday, because they do not have them, cannot find them, or cannot get them from PIJ or the Gazan criminal gangs that have them, then they, like the men being held hostage, will be written off.[Emphasis mine]
Written off? 
OMG, this is what I have been afraid of for the last seven weeks - that the remaining hostages, close to 200 of them - will never be released. 

Saturday, November 25, 2023

"Conservative' means never having to say you're sorry

The stupid, it burns! 
Yesterday following that awful crash at the Niagara Falls border crossing, somebody in Pierre Poilievre's office was listening to Fox News when they jumped the gun by calling it a terrorist attack and saying it was all Biden's fault. 
Well, here in Canada we can't have that -- it must be all Trudeau's fault! 
So the CPC staff jumped the gun and fed the story to Poilievre. 
Who jumped the gun and called it a terrorist attack. Which turned out to be wrong, it was just a terrible accident. 
But of course, nobody in the Conservative party, including the leader, can ever accept responsibility for any error, no matter how trivial, by just saying "sorry, I made a mistake" or even using the Political Passive Aggressive tense of "a mistake was made". 
So if Poilievre can't blame Trudeau and can't blame the Liberals, he will of course blame the Canadian media. At his Routine Proceedings blog, Dale Smith picks it up from there - Roundup: Trying to falsely blame CTV
At his media availability yesterday, Pierre Poilievre was asked if it was responsible for him to declare the explosion on the Rainbow Bridge in Niagara Falls to be “terrorism” before anything was confirmed. And what did Poilievre do? True to form, he attacked the Canadian Press reporter asking the question (including lying about the substance of the corrections that a recent CP story made to a story about comments he had made), then lied about why he said “terrorism.” Poilievre claimed this was from CTV reports, and tried to get the CP reporter to try and denounce CTV. The problem was that CTV didn’t publish anything before Poilievre began his questions in QP. And what we do know is that Fox News was definitively calling it terrorism, as were several disinformation merchants who pose as journalists over Twitter. But rather than admit that these were his sources, Poilievre lied, continued to lie, and then post the video of him attacking the CP reporter to his followers, because right-wing populism has a huge hard-on/wide-on for putting people in their place (particularly if they’re vulnerable minorities or someone they suffer no repercussions for attacking, like media). 
And then things got stupid online, as Poilievre’s fans and apologists kept trying to “prove” that CTV was still the source, really, relying on screenshots that came from a different time zone. And at least two MPs shared these screenshots before they were called out and deleted them. 
I will say that between these lies, and the ones he has been telling about the Canada-Ukraine trade deal legislation, it seems to finally shaking up some legacy media outlets to actually start calling him out on them. Somewhat. Some outlets are still egregiously both-sidesing the lies, as they always do, but you had Power & Politics host David Cochrane finally interjecting in places saying “That wasn’t true,” or walking through the timeline of lies in the case of yesterday’s attempt to blame CTV. It’s not nearly enough, but it is a start, but we’ll see how long it can actually last. 

Maybe that is happening already:

Thursday, November 23, 2023

Dogs, bruh!


Post by @dogsarethefunniest
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Wednesday, November 22, 2023

"As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly"

Using the excuse of American Thanksgiving, I just need to post the funniest line ever said on television:

and here's the back-story:

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Today's fascinating stuff: from Saskatchewan Batman to outstanding truckers

Historian Craig Baird is doing more interesting AI stuff -- this one is from his series on The Provincial Batman: Apparently this isn't really from Campbell's. But it should have been!
Post by @mikeachim
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Monday, November 20, 2023

Surveying the Substacks: from the Wingnut Grievance Bubble to the imminent end of the baby boomer generation

I’ve written before about the Wingnut Grievance Bubble. it’s that enclosed feedback loop where lunatic fantasies, feverish delusions, nutty conspiracies, repugnant behavior and harebrained notions are amplified. these people watch themselves on Fox News all day long. whatever crackpot ideas rattle around in their heads are never challenged.
for example, inside the Wingnut Grievance Bubble, everyone knows that Joe Biden took bribes from China because everyone knows that Joe Biden took bribes from China. it’s doctrine. it’s tautology. it’s an article of faith. it goes unquestioned.
it doesn’t matter that there’s no evidence.
which is why, every time one of these nudnicks steps outside the Bubble and opens their mouth, they fall right the fuck on their stupid face.
This one hits close to home -- at Crushed By Margaret Cabourn-Smith, MCS writes Secretly Fat CW: Fat and fatphobia
...what happens when you call a woman “fat”:
“The accusation is so strong, it is still effective even if it has no basis in truth whatsoever. I have seen size 10 women being silenced by this line – as if they feel the accuser has somehow sensed that they secretly have a fat aura or will become fat later in life, and called them on it.”
The first time I read this I both gasped and cringed (gringed?), it hit so hard. Recently I read a piece by a fat activist where she mentioned that size (UK) 14 was where fatphobia kicked in and I realized the truth of it....

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Today's News: My List about the Israel-Hamas War

Credit: WarMapper

I have started a new Twitter List of people who have useful perspectives on this awful war -- I call it just "Israel-Hamas War" and you can sign up to follow it here: 
I wish Threads had a "list" function - I like Lists because it makes less likely I will miss newsworthy posts on specific topics from people I want to follow. Hopefully eventually Threads will add this. 
But in the meantime, I will just have to continue to use the twitter list functionality. 

Catching up on recent news stories:
First, here is some recent reporting about the Oct 7 attack, which seems to have been virtually forgotten: 
Matt Gurney: What I watched Hamas do The screams I heard on Monday weren't fake. The monsters at the door weren't actors in a lot of latex. These monsters were real. 
I view these clips with something of a trained eye, and noted quickly that the shootings are methodical and efficient. The attack force was well-drilled and organized. The killers are mostly task-oriented and focused. They had objectives and stuck to them. But that doesn't mean they weren't having the time of their lives. The National Post's Sabrina Maddeaux was there on Monday as well, and in her column about the briefing, she made a point of flagging something I'd noticed too — glee. Pleasure. Delight. Whooping cheers, selfies with the boys (carefully framed to put dead or captured Jews in the background), huge grins. The attacks were efficient, but not joyless. The Hamas terrorists are thrilled to be doing what they're doing.
The survivors in the Re’im shelter played dead for hours. Ms. Yosefzon was shot in the leg and her boyfriend in the arm. Their two other friends were dead. All the while, they could hear shooting and yelling in Arabic outside.
Eitan Halley, 28, a student, was drifting in and out of consciousness on the floor. He was full of shrapnel, and the fragments of someone else’s skull lay on his leg. Two of the friends he had arrived with had been killed. “I saw the face of death,” he said.
Reuters: Hunted by Hamas: 27 hours of slaughter and survival inside Israel’s Kibbutz Be’eri
The survivors, just beginning to process the nightmare they endured, spoke in the days after the attack. Many described how spouses, children or grandparents were killed by the Hamas gunmen who had invaded their homes. Some were shot dead, others burned alive. In some homes, entire families were slaughtered or kidnapped.
“It’s like a 9/11,” said kibbutz secretary Alon Pauker, referring to Al Qaeda’s 2001 attacks on New York and Washington, but with a difference: “You know everyone who died.”
Some of the survivors cried as they spoke, others were stoic. Some were enraged, their ire directed at the killers but also at Israel’s leaders, who they said had failed to fulfill their most fundamental duty – protecting them.
Like many Israelis, whose sense of security has been shattered by the attacks, they wanted to know how Hamas militants had so comprehensively breached Israel’s border defenses, and why the army they trusted had been so taken by surprise and taken so long to respond.
Anger at the government is intense. Some ministers who have tried to visit the injured in hospitals or displaced survivors have been berated and forced to leave.
The Israeli state “failed us totally,” said kibbutz secretary Pauker.
Washington Post Hamas envisioned deeper attacks, aiming to provoke an Israeli war 
Even if its current leadership is effectively destroyed, she said, Hamas and its followers will continue to regard Oct. 7 as a victory. That’s partly because the group unquestionably succeeded in focusing the world’s attention on the Palestinian conflict, she said.
“It’s the first time I can remember that Hamas has become so prominent on a global scale,” Katz said. “So many people have already forgotten Oct. 7 because Hamas immediately changed the discussion. It put the focus on Israel, not themselves. And that’s exactly what they wanted.”
Next, some analysis about public reactions and protests: 

Sunday, November 12, 2023

Oddities and funny stuff: from the Valeriepieris circle to a bull riding a motorcycle

First up, the Valeriepieris circle, which is sorta fascinating. Out of a total world population of 8 billion, there are 4.2 billion living in this circle.
And this is fascinating too:

Wednesday, November 08, 2023

Today's News: Ain't it the Truth!

Just a whole bunch of comeuppance news tonight. 

First, from Canada:
Scrimshaw has an interesting column about the recent "Trudeau is Toast!" polling: Comebacks, Challenges and the Connoisseur's Curse
...Poilievre has spent millions – which he has to spend, and good for him – on a relentlessly positive ad campaign. It’s Harper’s sweater vest, except with a bigger ad buy behind it and Poilievre’s kids are young enough to look cute in the B-roll.... The kids do look cute, and he looks normal.
It’s also not going to matter when the Liberals eventually go on air with an ad blitz of their own about crypto as a way to opt out of inflation and banning all vaccine mandates and all the other crank lunacy that Poilievre’s said. We see them trial ballooning the eventual TV spots with all these digital videos – they’ll find the one that works best and hit him with it, in time. Will it matter? It’ll probably blunt his rising favourables (up to 40% per Abacus, and the ascent coinciding with the ad blitz’s start), when it comes. But what will matter is how the economy is when the election’s called, and whether people come to believe that Poilievre will win.
Another two years of columns from everyone about how Trudeau’s dead and Poilievre’s inevitable will probably have the effect of hurting Poilievre....
I am afraid Trudeau isn't going to get another two years - I expect Poilievre and the entire CPC are trying every trick in the book to get Singh to abandon his agreement with Trudeau next spring -- but I expect the Liberals will be ready for that one, too.

Saturday, November 04, 2023

Today's News: Updates about the Israel-Hamas War

I think Israel is finally trying to inform the world about what it had gone through, and what it is trying to do - we're seeing more stories about what happened to Israelies on Oct 7, and what the IDF is now achieving in Gaza. 
Unsurprisingly, Israel is refusing to consider a cease-fire until the hostages are returned, placing the responsibility squarely on Hamas for endangering the safety of Palestinians in Gaza. 
Several articles I read this week provide nuance and detail on this war: 
 Reuters reporters Stephen Grey, Maayan Lubell and Ryan McNeill have written an outstanding article - Hunted by Hamas: 27 hours of slaughter and survival inside Israel’s Kibbutz Be’eri 
Malcolm Nance - HAMAS Needs Children to Die 
But the pro-Palestinian or anti-Israel marches around the world today are uninterested in nuance - just angry at Israel. 
There were massive pro-Palestinian marches today in Washington: