Sunday, September 24, 2023

News roundup, 24 Sept 2023

Apologies as usual for the missing days.

- Meta's block on (most) news sites for Canadian users has, predictably, had a negative impact on political literacy in Manitoba (and presumably also the rest of the country). No doubt Meta is eagerly looking at how they can monetize this.

- Alberta premier Danielle Smith is trying to push ahead with her plan to pull Alberta out of the Canada Pension Plan, despite a great deal of skepticism among the electorate as well as experts. The claim that Alberta should be entitled to half of the CPP's assets is more than a little hard to swallow.

- On the positive side, Ontario premier Doug Ford is backtracking on the plan to open up the Greenbelt for development (though only because of the negative publicity for the apparent corruption involved, not the principle that the Greenbelt should be, you know, protected from development).

- As with the neo-Confederate bleating about "states' rights", there's a lot of talk about "parental rights" these days. In both cases, the obvious question to ask is, "rights to do what?"

- The federal government reportedly has gained access to the communications of Indian diplomats concerning the murder of Hardeep Singh Nijjar and raised the matter with India, though India denies this. Joe Biden has apparently raised the issue as well; interestingly, this occurred at the G20 summit, before the suggestion of Indian state involvement became public.

- Attempts are being made to negotiate an international treaty regarding how to manage future pandemics. Sadly (though predictably) it's proving extremely difficult to get countries to agree on how this would work.

- A natural gas provider in New York is trying to turn its customers into lobbyists to get the state to reverse its opposition to a proposed new pipeline. Note, though, is that they aren't telling customers that their own gas supply would be in trouble (because this is obviously nonsense) but that new hookups would be impossible in the future (which might also be nonsense, but would be good if true because it would hasten the transition away from natural gas). Hopefully the state will stand firm.

- When the Outer Space Treaty was signed in 1967, it only (explicitly) covered the actions of governments; it wasn't anticipated that the private sector would be able to get into space. Now that they can, there are questions about what can be done if a private company does something that states aren't allowed to do under the treaty.

- Noam Chomsky once said that the only thing that has prevented the US from sinking into full-blown fascism is the fact that virtually every president since WWII has been a crook. Certainly if anything saves the world from another Trump term, it will be his crookedness. That's a pretty flimsy protection; all it takes is a true believer who is "lawful evil" in the D&D sense and things will get much worse right quick. Fortunately Marine Le Pen is facing her own corruption accusations in France, which may save France from that fate.

- The wildfires of the summer were so severe that our forests were net emitters of carbon.

- Rishi Sunak's proposed environmental rollback plans may interfere with the UK's ability to meet international commitments; this may lead to legal challenges to the plan. Hopefully.

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