Friday, March 29, 2013

Posturing . . .

STEVIE LOVES UNIFORMS. Maybe he should visit and stay there, and take Airshow with him, too, come to think of it.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Priorities . . .

STEVIE THINKS PANDAS ARE MORE IMPORTANT THAN PEOPLE, even those who have walked 1,600  kilometers.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Boris out...

I started blogging here in April 2006 after Dave kindly offered me a space for my voice. Thank you Dave! That's pretty much SEVEN years ago. I'm not sure how that's happened, but there it is.

I've had much less energy for blogging over the past while, my posts have gotten shorter and from my view, aren't the same class as some of my earlier stuff. I've shifted quite a bit in my thinking over the years. I look around Canadian politics and society, and see the mainstream in a different light than maybe I did a back in 2006 or 2008. Then, I had some naive hope that our institutions and public were strong enough. But thrice times Harper, and well folks, the rot is set. Our political institutions are a gangrenous limb and won't recover even if we manage to send the current group of hagfish back to the depths from whence they came.

If you ask me, I'll say bluntly that on the whole we are a country that has grown too self-satisfied, too rich, and too idle. Too many generations of ease have passed, and the liberal and social ideals that drove the Grits and Dippers  have hollowed out into mere platitudes. All are caught up in that same mindless Ottawa Shore TV series, its own fantastical deviation from realities of the world we're in. I suppose I should stop being surprised at the complete lack of balls eminating from the elected government as well as the civil service. There's barely a peep despite the loss of the long form, muzzling of scientists, and other vandalisations. Docile and complacent, thinking it all end someday, few act - like when they're out of jobs. As I've said before on this blog, they way to beat the Harper crowd is come down hard and fast. They win because they play on our docility and our niceness. Hell, they even rigged the last election and didn't even need to use the army and secret policy to do it or repress the aftermath.

Efforts focussed on the politicians and their silly little games are wasted, and probably do much to perpetuate the problem. The national high-level big-picture asylum that is our politics now feels increasingly irrelevant. The Conservatives, Liberals, NDP, Greens, etc are all part of the same problem. They all feed into a system of governance that has changed little since the days before the telephone and universal suffrage, when states were often part of Empires, and wealthy elites by birth or audacity ran the show until this point. We're beyond that now, here at the forward edge of social evolution. In this universally connected world, there's little need for states and the nationalisms and othering they inspire. For the first time in human evolutionary history we are not strangers to the world we live in and each other. We have a pretty good idea of our origins, both as a species and as life. We're written into the DNA of stars. The means now exist to have us standing almost anywhere on the planet in about 24 hours. The chance to be the first person to set foot on Mars actually exists for many of us. We now, beyond any doubt, have shattered the legs of arguments promoting bigotry of all kinds.

There is no reason to fear each other anymore. There is no "other," and hence no reason to continue to rely on institutions and people that embrace the "othering" of anyone, including adversarial politics. Our best interests, means of universal survival in the face of climate change, depleting oceans, nuclear weapons, economic disparity, etc, is to focus on the intersections, the commonground and our shared identity as human beings. We cannot afford anymore the sophisticaed tribal warfare that defines state relations, community relationships, and our blinkered political systems and cultures.

Yet we are still stuck with these laggards, these old gods of conflict and anger. Best to bypass them and their institutions as much as possible. And resist them where they actively try to impede this new world we're building. Progressive change here won't come from them. If you listen carefully you can even hear them desperately try to justify themselves to us, or in the case of the Cons especially, force themselves upon us and then demand tribute for their trouble.

As is happening now, it'll come from the margins, the outliers, the Idle No More and Occupy types of movement, the students in Quebec arrested in the hundreds for daring to act for their future, and the people who will put their lives down to stop a pipeline and tanker jamboree from savaging the West Coast. It'll come from scientists who speak out. It'll come from the small groups of dedicated people promoting progressive change in their own communities through such simple things community gardens, Transition Towns, and a social justice that does not seek restribution but inclusiveness, compasssion, and understanding. It'll come from the growing number of people who simply live and act as the change they want to see.

So I'm going to take some time to take advantage of a few life changes in this vein. I may periodically return to the Beaver, and will likely comment on others' blogs, but blogging from me will be rare and quiet for the foreseeable future. If you'd like to carry on the conversation, I may still be reached at boris.gallopingbeaver at

Thank you all for reading all these years.

Friday, March 22, 2013

On a positive note . . .

INHABITAT reports that clever young people exist, with an article you should read, by Morgana Matus, "17-Year-Old Builds Algae Biofuel Lab in Her Bedroom to Win $100K Intel Science Talent Search Prize".

Sara Volz

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Dimmit . . .

THE WORLD'S A MUCH brighter place when you're not too bright for it, according to the folks who make MinusIQ | The pill to lower your IQ permanently.

Friday, March 15, 2013

“Our military is an armed military.”

That's DefMin Airhow's Spokesspeaker on the rebrand/naming/emphasizing of the Canadian Forces to Canadian Armed Forces, accent on the armed, just in case the Glorious Canadian People forget the military is armed and also because Jean Chretien.

OK. I've long been mildly annoyed at the Canadian government's habit of including "Canada" in department and agency names for those tailored to internal mandates. I mean it isn't like Canadians would somehow find themselves confused as to which country's national agency was responsible for their affairs. Maybe it makes sense to avoid duplo(tm)cation with the provinces, but I'd like to deal with a government, not a self-aggrandising jingoistic cadre of patronising morons. I know, a dream it shall remain. I digress.

I'm now of the view that these Cons are increasingly suffering from the same encephalitic militarism that affects nearly every reactionary rightwing cadre of morons ever to find themselves running a country. People in this cohort tend to know nothing about military organisations or what makes for sustaining an effective warrior class. What they like though is uniforms and medals, parades, funerals, Great Struggles, shiny and expensive pieces of kit, and well mainly the whole idea of having a bunch of armed people at their whimsical disposal. 

What you get when all is said and done is a parade square army, gutted of ethos and brains, hauled out for show and tell and sent overseas without a so much as an "hey, is this actually a good idea?" on whatever shitshow crops up next because it is to "deploy." Remember way back before Bush Gulf War Two, all that news footage of Hussein's troops marching up and down looking all slick and disciplined? Remember the late dicator's goddawful war with Iran, Kuwait, etc? His army consistently bit off more than it could chew and killed a lot of people who didn't need to die including its own troops and public because it's leadership at both military and civilian levels was a cadre of jingoistic self-aggrandising morons.

You know, I'd take that bitter, angry, dysfunctional Chretien era army over whatever the hell these manchildren playing with Airfix soldiers on lawn are trying to create.

PMsh chat with The Spaceship Commander

Is it just me, or does anyone else feel like throwing-up a little at the very concept?

Plus I also want very badly to make a joke about the PM asking the Spaceman about what the underside of the Earth looks like.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013


...never ceases to live up to his callsign. "Not my fault" he says over his department's inability to find a replacement for DHC Buffalo SAR aeroplanes. As department head, it is his fault, and the faults of any other ministers of public works and industry involved.

It really is embarrassing that these people are still in power.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Future perspectives . . .

THE CRASH AND BURN of the GOP in the US election can be seen as the consequence of the neo-con Dubya regime, which leads me to wonder if future historians will see Dubya as the Mr. Bean of the GOP: the Man Who Made It All Fall Apart.

Seriously, post-WW2 American conservatives had the whole world, in spite of Uncle Joe's best efforts. Uncle Joe had incredible advantages, the unbelievably pervasive espionage penetration of every important area of America being foremost.

No foolin', even though Uncle Joe had Dirty Harry, aka Harry Dexter White, on the inside, at the Oval Office level, it it still went all pear-shaped in the end.

Benn Steil has a fascinating article in FOREIGN AFFAIRS, "Red White: Why a Founding Father of Postwar Capitalism Spied for the Soviets" which you should ponder.

In July 1944, in the midst of World War II, representatives of 44 nations gathered in this remote New Hampshire town to create something that had never before existed: a global monetary system to be managed by an international body. The gold standard of the late nineteenth century, the organically formed foundation of the first great economic globalization, had collapsed during the previous world war. Efforts to revive it in the 1920s proved catastrophically unsuccessful. Economies and trade collapsed; cross-border tensions soared. In the 1930s, internationalists in the U.S. Treasury Department saw a powerful cause and effect and were determined to resolve the flaws in the international economic system once and for all. In the words of Harry Dexter White, a then little-known Treasury official who became the unlikely architect of the Bretton Woods system, it was time to build a "New Deal for a new world."

Harry even helped Uncle with a set of printing plates for the Occupation currency, which was paid for, ultimately, by the US taxpayer. The Allies put into circulation a total of about 10.5 billion Allied marks between September 1944 and July 1945; the Soviets likely issued more than 78 billion.

But capitalism prevailed because of capitalist innovations like the transistor and computers and fax machines and mutated into the Wall Street System we had when Dubya came along. And now, things are changing . . .

Friday, March 08, 2013

It's only money . . .

GAZILLIONS OF BUCKS of world debt, graphically created out of US Benjies for your edification by the folks at DEMONOCRACY. Click on the link for the whole compendium. Ya gotta wonder about the sustainability. Reminds me of Kipling:

Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew
And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true
That All is not Gold that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four —
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more.

Sunday, March 03, 2013

The best of times, the worst of times . . .

MOSCOW, 1937: time of terror. The Atlantic has a fine article/book review by Benjamin Schwarz, "Moscow Under Terror". It's a wonderful description of a surreal environment with real horrors, and worthy of pondering.

Genrikh Yagoda

Yezhov and Stalin

Caution . . .