6 dead in Quebec mosque mass shooting

Last night, two masked gunmen entered a Quebec mosque during evening prayers and opened fire, killing six.

Two men were arrested after six people were killed and eight were wounded in a shooting inside a mosque during evening prayers Sunday, in what Quebec’s premier described as a “murderous act directed at a specific community.”

Thirty-nine people escaped the Centre Culturel Islamique de Québec (Islamic cultural centre of Quebec) in the Sainte-Foy neighbourhood without injuries, according to Quebec provincial police Sgt. Christine Coulombe.

Coulombe said the people who died ranged in age from 35 to 70. Some of the wounded were in critical condition.

One of the men was arrested near l’île d’Orléans, five kilometres from downtown Quebec City, following a police chase of the SUV he was driving.

Police called special technicians to where the chase ended, because they believed explosives may have been inside the SUV. Radio-Canada, CBC’s French-language service, reported a gun was found inside the vehicle.

Police are investigating whether the two men attended Laval University, a source close to the investigation told Radio-Canada. A search is underway at a home in Sainte-Foy.

This same mosque was targeted during Ramadan with a delivery of a pig’s severed head the summer prior.

I’ll post updates after the local vigil tonight.

It’s unclear if there were two perpetrators or not. So far one has been arrested and charged, the other was named as a witness and not a suspect.

At least one Quebec mosque shooter is a white supremacist. And he has been charged with all six murders and five additional attempted murders. Still no clarification on the initial reports of two gunmen.


Signal boosting: Stealth is not safe

Y’all should be reading Alyssa already, but in case you aren’t, let me signal boost a post to get you started.

“Stealth,” for the uninitiated, refers to pretending one’s gender doesn’t bear the adjective “trans.” It means pretending to be a cis representative of one’s gender, to have been recognized as a member thereof for one’s entire life, and to have never borne a different name. “Going stealth” means hiding a large chunk of one’s past and papering over the resulting gaps with denial and occasional lies. This was once medically mandated for transgender women, who were expected to leave their hometowns and live somewhere where no one knew their history. And it doesn’t work.

Even this picture is overly rosy. Many of us get found out, not because of our path through time, but because of our path through space. Especially in a world where I felt I had to deny this piece of myself in order to survive, I would require the support of the local queer community, but being seen in association with such a community is itself dangerous. I would be spending time among other transgender women and be flagged by association. Deadly raids are the incident that sparked the Gay Pride movement, and still occur in some of these places. Even if I keep my honesty confined to online conversations, these generate records that can be accessed to identify me and my associates. The level of denial and concealment I would have to maintain to make sure that my actual public presence holds no trace of my transness would undo many of the gains I have achieved by transitioning in the first place, and make all of my surviving friendships dishonest and distant.

Read more here.

Public input on DAPL now open — send letters!

The Environment Impact Statement from the Dakota Access Pipeline is now receiving public comments.

A standard pipeline EIS proceeds as follows:

  • Notice of Intent (official announcement of the EIS) is issued.
  • Scoping Period (public input on which impacts and project alternatives should be studied).
  • Army Corps drafts EIS document.
  • Draft EIS is published, and the public is invited to comment (on whether the report is complete or which alternative is best).
  • EIS is modified based on public comment.
  • Final EIS is published (possibly with another comment period).
  • Army Corps decides whether or not to approve a permit for the pipeline crossing.

Though the EIS process itself cannot deny the pipeline, the environmental information gathered through the process can be used by the Army Corps to deny a permit if the project is “injurious to the public interest”—in other words, if the project’s impacts outweigh its benefits.

One problem with that is past EISs have only looked at environmental impacts to the immediate project site and surrounding area (in this case, the sliver of land that the Army Corps owns and Lake Oahe). On the other hand, the Army Corps will be weighing those spatially-limited impacts against the overall benefits of the project, such as jobs and tax revenue.

If this seems like an unequal comparison to you, now is your chance to speak up and say so.

The EIS Notice of Intent was published in the Federal Register on Jan. 18. During the 32-day scoping period that began simultaneously, the Army Corps is reaching out to the public for input on which environmental impacts should be studied within the EIS, and what the alternatives to Dakota Access’ “preferred route” should be. Unlike the second comment period, this first comment period is solely to decide what the scope of analysis should be.

Send your public comments by Feb. 20 to:

Mr. Gib Owen

Subject Line: “NOI Comments, Dakota Access Pipeline Crossing”

Sample Comment:

Mr. Owen,

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the Dakota Access pipeline crossing. I have grave concerns that the scope ignores key impacts that the Army Corps’ approval would cause, and that the “no-action” alternative, as proposed in the environmental assessment, does not constitute a realistic alternative.

The EA’s no-action alternative assumes that, if the pipeline is not built, the oil will be transported by truck or rail instead. This argument is flawed, however. The EA itself points out on page 5 that truck transportation is not realistic, and goes on to state that rail transportation would require massive infrastructure investments, far larger than any currently existing in the United States. For these reasons, the no-action alternative should assume that the oil is not extracted, as there will be no realistic way to transport it to the intended markets.

Additionally, the Council on Environmental Quality has directed federal agencies to evaluate projects’ direct and indirect, long- and short-term, and broad-scale greenhouse gas and climate change impacts through the EIS process. Approving this crossing would complete the project, allowing a flow of oil that, when all is accounted for, would have the same annual CO2 emissions as 29 coal-fired power plants. These emissions would have a significant impact on air quality, water quality, human health, and wildlife, and would not occur if this pipeline crossing was denied. Please evaluate these impacts as part of your review, in accordance with the guidance provided by CEQ.

Finally, I support your decision to include a thorough analysis of the effects of an oil spill on Lake Oahe and the people of Standing Rock. Even the strictest precautions today will wear with age, as we have seen with other projects where poor maintenance led to disastrous results. The impacts of a spill on the local population and environment cannot be discounteda spill 30 years from now would be just as impactful as a spill on day one, and should be treated as a near-certainty in the requestor’s preferred alternative.

Thank you again, and I look forward to your inclusion of the project’s full impacts, as well as a no-action alternative that takes into account the infeasibility of other forms of oil transportation.

Read more here. And please consider contributing public comments on the nature of the project.


Imagine how quiet things would be

I’m busy writing up stuff for BBC’s shitstain documentary, “Transgender Kids: Who Knows Best?” (Spoiler: The answer, apparently, isn’t scientists still considered credible in their fields of psychiatry and youth psychological development, which tells you half of what you need to know). Then I’ve got to put a dent in the presentation where I put in hours of effort carefully citing my claims (none of which will be actually checked, knowing presentations. tsk tsk). Then I’ve got some material I can probably turn into a long-form blag post. Lots of detailed takedowns in the near future, but they still take time to actually write.

I’ve also got another fact check of another Jordan Peterson episode but I’m on the cusp of selling this one to Real News™ so it won’t make an appearance here unless editing falls through.

At any rate, Piers Morgan decided the Woman’s March was misandrist, or something, so he suggested this:

And all I have to say is: Man, imagine how quiet things would be if we actually emasculated men.


ThinkProgress dedicates an entire column to Trump’s Gish Gallop

ThinkProgress is starting a series called “This Week in Trump’s America,” where they summarize the fountain of manure flooding forth from the White House. The editor noted:

There is a concept in the debate world called “spread.” You just throw out as many arguments as possible to overwhelm the opposition.

Trump is operating a spread presidency. Much of what he does is sloppy, dishonest and unpopular. But there is lots and lots of it.

It is hard to keep track of, even when IT IS YOUR FULL TIME JOB TO KEEP TRACK OF IT.

What about everyone else?

That’s why we’ve created this series. Each week, anyone can spend a few minutes and find out what Trump was up to.

You can read the positively dizzying summary of Week 1 in Trump’s America here. Unenforceable, illegal executive orders; a god damn Nazi speech; Spicer lying to a degree that even the Beltway media can’t be obsequious to; global gag rule on healthcare organizations that even mention abortion; closing the borders to countries whose citizens haven’t actually committed terrorist acts on Americans; conflicts of interest–the list goes on. And on.

And on.


Signal boosting: “Nonviolent”

Ijeoma Oluo is back for another signal boost, this time questioning the supposed merits of the Women’s March being “nonviolent.” It’s a photo essay, so click on the link to get the full impact.

When you say that your protests were peaceful, I wonder how much credit you are taking for that.

When you take pictures with smiling cops and thank them for protecting you, I wonder, who are you marching for?

When you say that your protests were nonviolent, I wonder, how do you define violence?

Is it a brick?

Is it a rock?

Is it a baton?

Is it pepper spray?

Is it a firehose?

Is it a police dog?

Or is it poisoned water?

Is it a school suspension?

Is it mass incarceration?

Is it grinding poverty?

Is it that “random” airport security check?

Is it yet another traffic stop?

Is it the toy gun in that kid’s hand?

Is it that stop and frisk?

Or is it the thought that you could march a million white women down the street without fear — and high five the same cops who wouldn’t hesitate to pepper spray black and brown faces begging for nothing less than their lives — and then call it progress?


I’m starting to “get” Maryam Namazie’s difficulty

Back in 2011, Maryam Namazie, then a participant on FtB, wrote a report about the difficulty of addressing institutional misogyny in Islam without being swept up in xenophobic, reactionary politics from the far-right. Whereas Namazie’s many criticisms advocate for the limitation of Islam in government as an institution, the far-right sails straight past this distinction to then scapegoat Arabs and Middle Easterners as a whole.

And I finally got a taste of it myself following a #MyStealthyFreedom forum.

This forum was a discrete way for Iranians to send out pictures of what it was like being subject to the Revolutionary Court. It released videos of arrests performed by the so-called “morality” police, and also published the aftermath of public whippings for violating various fatwas. The hashtag refers to an act of subtle rebellion in Iran, taking pictures without one’s legally mandated hijab in public.

The founder of the campaign, Masih Alinejad, is obviously then pissed off at the United States for closing its border to Iran. And what is remarkable is that the same American commentators who claimed to support the struggle of Iranian women trying to escape the oppressive thumb of the Iranian Islamic Republic flipped on a dime to justify their xenophobia.

“It’s to keep out terrorists.”

This, on a page, about supporting individual liberty.

I don’t understand the extent moral relativism would have to infect your brain for this to be a logically consistent position.

You support the individual liberty of Iranian women to unveil without penalty from their government…

…but they should stay where they are because terrorists??

The patriot’s capacity for cognitive dissonance will never cease to amaze me.



Canada Primer p3: GOP North, eh

Back before 2003, Canada’s right-wing existed in two parties: the “socially progressive fiscally conservative” Progressive Conservatives of Canada; and the Reform Party, which is what the tea party would be if they had maple syrup rather than tea. Then in 2003 the two parties merged and formed an effective political strategy using the “big tent” under the banner of the “Conservative Party of Canada,” wherein “respectable” conservatives would court less savoury voting blocs under the assumption that the demands of these blocs would be defeated in government so as to continue winning their vote without actually implementing their shitty policy, whereas the respectables would get their agenda through.

This was the function of Conservabot Model 4.16A, aka Stephen Harper. Harper was able to somehow project the image of being a moderate, even handed conservative, even whilst he executed an alarmingly Randian agenda. People seemed to fixate on the fact that some Conservatives voted in favour of legalizing gay marriage in 2005, forgetting the rest of the big tent that had been screeching brimstone and hellfire the entire debate. Harper refused to put abortion rights to a vote, maintaining a quasi-legal status quo, but his religious backbenchers huffed and puffed. Rinse and repeat for a number of important progressive causes–Harper didn’t support them, but simply not antagonizing them was somehow seen as a sign of Conservative moderation, even as vast tracts of his party nearly burst at the seams any time it was suggested the government ought to acknowledge the humanity of anyone who wasn’t white, straight, cisgender or a man, and even as he made some pretty fucked up policy.

But, you know, it’s hard not to notice those Conservative backbenchers with the sort of voting records you’d expect from a tinpot dictator. Those of us who’ve been watching closely identified nearly a decade ago that Harper was the only thing filtering out the worst of his hoary-throated reactionary dipshits under the new “big tent,” but these people still had seats of government and they were clearly jonesing for some regression, even as the rest of the country marched on. American readers are familiar with this too, given that their de facto two party system by definition tries to mash together political alliances that often manifest as separate parties in other countries.

Then Harper resigned after his 2015 defeat, in which the country gave the Liberal party a majority in Parliament.

With the party’s filter removed, the big tent appears to be unraveling spectacularly.

The first question, then, is whether the new “big tent” will fly the flag of so-called moderates, or whether it will fly the flag of Canada’s aluminum-sheet-flailing-anti-reality bloc. The second question is whether they will maintain their big tent at all. And the third, if the big tent is preserved, will the so-called moderates gamble on the rights of minorities to vote for tax cuts in their favour or will they finally have the sense to see the pus-filled pimple growing steadily in their midst and consider the not-terribly-liberal-anyway Liberals?

It will all depend on who wins the leadership race. The political geoscape at the federal level can change rapidly depending in the course of the right-wing cruiser.

And here’s a fun game for y’all: Let’s play Spot the “Moderate.”

The Conservative leadership race (or who I’m paying attention to, at least)

[Read more…]