Monday, December 30, 2013

You (and Harper) already blew it!!

Harper knob polisher, Michael Den Tandt offers up the results of gazing at the Conservative crystal ball with a set of 2014 predictions on what to expect from (missing in action) Harper. It's actually quite stunning. Den Tandt pines away for the "Charm Offensive" he has oft predicted from Harper but which has never happened. It seems to escape Den Tandt that Harper doesn't have it in him and if it's scripted for him, that fact becomes obvious. More on that in a minute.
... Harper in 2014 will make a visible effort to re-engage – likely through more frequent speeches, perhaps even more frequent press conferences. He will do so not by choice, but by necessity.
Really?! Because, the gods forbid, when he was handed a late 2013 opportunity to "re-engage" he refused to come out of his hole. If, at any point, he had wanted to appear to be a leader in any way, shape or form, all he had to do was actually show up. But that ice-storm was a natural, short-notice event - not something scripted well in advance by the short-pantsers running the PMO. Re-engagement, as Den Tandt is suggesting will happen, requires long, detailed preparation. No rehearsal - no show.
The Wright-Duffy mess, the sheer scale of the venality and dishonesty exposed within his own office, among people he appointed, has shaken his personal standing. The only practical remedy is to shore up his positives, namely his reputation for competence and intelligence. He can only do so by communicating.
Competence and intelligence in a leader would suggest being able to read the character and qualities of individuals appointed to positions of prominence and influence. We haven't seen any of that and Den Tandt says so before he makes the impossible leap in the other direction. I question Harper's intelligence at times but his competence is not up for debate. This is one of the least competent prime ministers Canada has ever endured. Owen has more to offer on that along with this very poignant observation:
For a man who doesn't like people, Harper has chosen a curious profession.
Which is why when hundreds of thousands of Canadians are without heat in the middle sub-zero temperatures at the darkest time of the year the "re-engagement" comes in the form of a solitary 14-word Twitter offering. 

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The spirit of man . . .


WINTER SOLSTICE, and the cycle of life continues: we celebrate the end of one year and the beginnings of our future and the re-birth of the world around us. That future belongs to the young, and some of them are up to the task. 

Consider 19-year-old Zack Kopplin; according to io9's article by George Dvorsky, “How 19-year-old activist Zack Kopplin is making life hell for Louisiana's creationists”, Zack's leading the battle against Christian ignorance in Louisiana. Way to go, Zackster!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Conniving CONs . . .



THE SENATE HOO-HA'S origins, as seen by my friend Scanner, who I believe has created an accurate account of how things came to be. I wish the RCMP every success, good luck and good weasel-hunting.
I have written this before but in light of SJH's unequivocal answer to the question whether he was aware at the time of a plan to have the Conservative party reimburse Mike Duffy for his questionable expenses, this is what I believe happened.
At some point two or more years ago, SJH and members of his closest clique came up with a scheme to increase Conservative fundraising while making the taxpayers of Canada pay for it. 
They schemed to recruit media stars like Mike Duffy to travel all over Canada attending Conservative fundraisers, but by making them Members of the Senate, have their expenses paid by the Senate. 
The PMO and the Privy Council were fully aware that the eligibility of Duffy and Wailin and others was questionable a best but since this has never been a problem before, did not even consider this.
These recruits were told to just expense what they needed to, that no-one ever questioned Senate expense reports and to get out there and start raising money.
I believe the PMO and SJH expected some level of discretion on the part of these flacks but made no attempt to monitor them. I bet Wallin's travel costs were a surprise even to SJH who has never tried to curb his own expenses.
Now they are caught in an ever expanding ring of lies to cover up the real crime - that the Prime Minister, The members of the PMO, the Privy Council and the Conservative Party of Canada colluded in a scheme to enrich the coffers of the CPoC by defrauding the people of Canada.
To cover this up, SJH is willing to lie at every turn and to destroy anyone near and loyal to himself and the Conservative Party. If the real facts come out they may all face prison. I hope they do. If you can't face the time, don't do the crime.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Y'know all those "made in BC" jobs Christy Clark promised ...

Well, the actual contract hasn't even been inked yet and Seaspan is looking offshore to fill the positions necessary for the vessels they will (supposedly) build.
Seaspan is a Canadian shipbuilding firm which has recently been given a contract to build 17 ships for the Canadian Navy.
Now they need skilled workers to move to Vancouver and help build the vessels – and they have got their eye on Portsmouth workers.
The real hairball will get coughed up if the Canadian public finally wakes up to the fact that Harper's ship procurement fairy-tale is actually way off the rails, seriously under-funded and probably won't happen in anything like what is being advertised by the Harper Hillbilly Government.

At least, according to Christy Clark, BC is "family friendly" and the unicorns sprinkle sugar everywhere.

Added: To enhance clarity, Portsmouth is in England, Hampshire County, UK. 

And you think you have it rough ...

Journalist Michelle Stewart can probably put those feelings to rest.

All the best, Michelle. All any of us can do is hope this is a Christmas that brings you some joy. You deserve it.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Airshow MacKay rolls out more of that "Compassionate Conservatism"

First it was James Moore, telling us he was fine with Canadian children starving; then it was that nasty little shit, Flaherty, making it clear that the elderly can continue to eat cat food.

Next up? None other than Elmer MacKay's entitled brat, Peter "Airshow" MacKay.
MacKay said poor offenders could pay the fine back over time or consider selling some of their belongings to pay off the debt.
Selling off their belongings? Most of them don't have any belongings. It's one of the reasons they're standing in front of a judge. And one judge had something to say about it.
“You have to understand these people have nothing. That’s the tragedy,” said Waterloo region Ontario Court Justice Colin Westman, one of many judges in Ontario who have found ways to minimize the mandatory penalty by doling out small fines that reduce the victim surcharge to as little as 30 cents.
“I’m not trying to be a smart-alec here but I think someone has to remind the minister there are broken people here who don’t have anything to give. It’s a bully mentality. It’s kicking people while they are down,” said Westman Tuesday. “The people we are dealing with, believe me, a high portion of them are just broken souls.”
The judge also recommended that MacKay actually spend some time in a courtroom. What a novel idea ... a Canadian justice minister actually having a clue what actually constitutes the parade of accused in a Canadian courtroom.

It's amazing isn't it? At this time of year when we actually think of the characters in a Charles Dickens novel, the ministers of Harper's government actually associate best with the worst of them.

What ever law school conferred a law degree on this self-absorbed, self-entitled shit-head should seriously consider finding a way to disown him.

The trouble is...

No one believes him about Wright, Duffy, etc.

EVEN IF Harper was by some miracle of time-space and multiverses kept in the dark then his leadership is an epic fail. As has been pointed out all over the internets, pretty much all the players in this are Harper picks. His people, his fault.

His survival strategy seems to be one of both distancing himself and playing the hapless victim. Aw, muffin.

I like that he's set on 'leading' the Cons in 2015. Famous last words and all that... Every month for the Cons under Harper is a game of scandal-roulette. Bookies might start taking odds on what'll take him down.   Popcorn?

Sunday, December 15, 2013

“Is it my job to feed my neighbour’s child? I don’t think so.” UPDATED

That, from Harper Industry Minister and Harper MP for Port Moody, James Moore when questioned on the embarrassing levels of child poverty in British Columbia. 

The only words that don't fail me are, Fucking selfish ... greedy ... scumbag. Typical bloody-minded right-wing puke. Charles Dickens wrote books about people like James Moore.

UPDATE: Moore is now claiming he was taken out of context. Sara Norman, who was interviewing him at the time, has something different to say about Moore's rushing to his own defence. So ... you need to hear it for yourself. Off to The Gazeteer with you where you'll hear the whole context and understand that my description of Harper government minister, James Moore need not be altered. 

Moore would watch Canadian children starve in the street.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Nelson Mandela scholarships

So the Harper crowd, never ones to miss an opportunity to cash in on the deaths of better human beings, are launching a series of Masters and PhD scholarships for African students.

Candidates will study in Canada in French or English at the master’s degree level or equivalent in the areas of public policy and public administration. They will be required to present their cases for their areas of study and demonstrate that they will contribute to shape Africa’s future through public service, the release said.

Coming from existing funds

There is also cash for Canadian students pursuing master's or PhD-level programs in social sciences and humanities at Canadian universities. Students who want one of the 20 annual Canada Graduate Scholarships to Honour Nelson Mandela will have to do research in one of the following topics:
  • National unity. 
  • Democracy, freedom and human rights.
  • Leadership.
  • Children’s participation in society.  
​Up to 10 master’s scholarships and up to 10 doctoral scholarships will be awarded for the first time in 2015, following the 2014 competition, the release said. Scholarships at the master’s level will provide $17,500 for one year, while those at the doctoral level will provide $35,000 annually for three years.
Several quick problems.

First, public policy and administration are pseudo-disciplines, and national unity, democracy, freedom and human rights [Oxford comma? Are these tied together?], leadership etc are a mishmash of feel-good concepts and topics that are the buzzwords of Canadian L/liberalism (and not really Harper, but again, way to poach!). Childrens participation in society? Worthy topic, but oh my heartstrings it makes us comfy wealthy white Northerners feel like a fuzzy Unicef box. And who on Earth is going to evaluate these applications? The PMO?

There are a number of highly functional African democracies, South Africa and Botswana being very good examples. There are also a number of good African universities and a larger number that could use some serious cash infusion so that their teaching and research capacity can improve and allow their academics to join the intellectual conversation dominated by institutions and researchers based in the global North.

A much better thing to do would be to provide support to African universities so that they may provide robust educations to African students in Africa and thereby improve the overall advanced education infrastructure and civil society in countries that need it. But hey, since we're not into supporting own universities, why the hell would we help those in Africa?

No, the universities who will most benefit from this are those in Canada. Especially since they will likely charge tuition fees to these scholarship recipients. They do this, mercilessly, because they are also strapped for cash. See above.

Moreover, a number of scholarship recipients will apply for residency in Canada following the completion of their degrees or move to other developed nations. This is what happens when you move from a poor to a rich country - you tend to want to stay. Unless the government intends open the can of worms that would be a prohibition on these students from applying for residency here, Africa may not particularly benefit from this noble gesture by our little grand emperor.

Lastly, the awards are equal to SSHRC (Social Science and Humanities Research Council) masters and PhD scholarships. Canadian masters degrees are almost all two-year programms meaning that $17 500 for one year leaves a student high and dry for at least one of those years. Universities also often charge tuition meaning that the money left over willl put the student around the poverty line.  What this means is that the children of African elites will get these scholarships because they will be the ones who went to the best schools (often other Euro or North American) and have the wealth to overcome the cost of living deficit imposed by our pathetically insufficient scholarships. Poorer Africans need not apply.

Sunday, December 08, 2013

Funerals and funnymen

Well, off they go to South Africa, our Prime Minister and assorted hang-arounds past and present from different parties. They all were, are, or want to be in the driver's seat, so they are all hang-arounds.

Chief among them but far from a chief is the current occupant of two-four Sussex Drive. The gall of someone like him showing up at the hero's funeral of Nelson Mandela, a man he would had tried to snuff, jail, or otherwise destroy were he Native and living in Canada is no surprise.


Maybe the RCMP will release some emails while he's gone. Bet that would be awkward flight home on Con Air, what with Mr. Mulcair licking his chops. 

Saturday, December 07, 2013

CON control . . .

SETTLER TREATY CARD: a fine concept from the folks at Briarpatch. Click on the link to see a giant-size version, 'cause the fine-print ‘some conditions apply’ is worth reading.

We Own You ...

At least that is the tacit message that comes from the excerpted emails from the PMO (Nigel Wright) to the Conservative house leader in the senate. Although not subordinate in any way to the frat boys in the PMO, senators are taking orders from Nigel Wright.


Now, I didn't do the heavy lifting so I will send you off to Creekside, where Alison has done just that.

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Patrick Lane, UVic commencement speech.

There are honourary degree holders. And then there's the poet Patrick Lane and his commencement speech at the University of Victoria, reprinted in the Times Colonist.


It is 65 years ago, you’re 10 years old and sitting on an old, half-blind, grey horse. All you have is a saddle blanket and a rope for reins as you watch a pack of dogs rage at the foot of a Ponderosa pine.
High up on a branch, a cougar lies supine, one paw lazily swatting at the air. He knows the dogs will tire. They will slink away and then the cougar will climb down and go on with its life in the Blue Bush country south of Kamloops. It is a hot summer day. There is the smell of pine needles and Oregon grape and dust. It seems to you that the sun carves the dust from the face of the broken rocks, carves and lifts it into the air where it mixes with the sun. Just beyond you are three men on horses.
The men have saddles and boots and rifles and their horses shy at the clamour of the dogs. The man with the Winchester rifle is the one who owns the dog pack and he is the one who has led you out of the valley, following the dogs through the hills to the big tree where the cougar is trapped. You watch as the man with the rifle climbs down from the saddle and sets his boots among the slippery pine needles. When the man is sure of his footing he lifts the rifle, takes aim, and then … and then you shrink inside a cowl of silence as the cougar falls.
As you watch, the men raise their rifles and shoot them at the sun. You will not understand their triumph, their exultance. Not then. You are too young. It will take years for you to understand. But one day you will step up to a podium in an auditorium at a University on an island far to the west and you will talk about what those men did. You know now they shot at the sun because they wanted to bring a darkness into the world. Knowing that has changed you forever.
Today I look back at their generation. Most of them are dead. They were born into the first Great War of the last century. Most of their fathers did not come home from the slaughter. Most of their mothers were left lost and lonely. Their youth was wasted through the years of the Great Depression when they wandered the country in search of work, a bed or blanket, a friendly hand, a woman’s touch, a child’s quick cry. And then came the Second World War and more were lost. Millions upon millions of men, women, and children died in that old world. But we sometimes forget that untold numbers of creatures died with them: the sparrow and the rabbit, the salmon and the whale, the beetle and the butterfly, the deer and the wolf. And trees died too, the fir and spruce, the cedar and hemlock. Whole forests were sacrificed to the wars.
Those men bequeathed to me a devastated world. When my generation came of age in the mid-century, we were ready for change. And we tried to make it happen, but the ones who wanted change were few. In the end, we did what the generations before us did. We began to eat the world. We devoured the oceans and we devoured the land. We drank the lakes and the seas and we ate the mountains and plains. We ate and ate until there was almost nothing left for you or for your children to come.
The cougar that died that day back in 1949 was a question spoken into my life, and I have tried to answer that question with my teaching, my poems and my stories. Ten years after they killed the cougar, I came of age. I had no education beyond high school, but I had a deep desire to become an artist, a poet. The death of the cougar stayed with me through the years of my young manhood. Then, one moonlit night in 1963, I stepped out of my little trailer perched on the side of a mountain above the North Thompson River. Below me was the sawmill where I worked as a first-aid man. Down a short path, a little creek purled through the trees just beyond my door. I went there under the moon and, kneeling in the moss, cupped water in my hands for a drink. As I looked up I saw a cougar leaning over his paws in the thin shadows. He was six feet away, drinking from the same pool. I stared at the cougar and found myself alive in the eyes of the great cat. The cougar those men had killed when I was a boy came back to me. It was then I swore I would spend my life bearing witness to the past and the years to come.
I stand here looking out over this assembly, and ask myself what I can offer you who are taking from my generation’s hands a troubled world. I am an elder now. There are times many of us old ones feel a deep regret, a profound sorrow, but our sorrow does not have to be yours. You are young and it is soon to be your time. A month ago, I sat on a river estuary in the Great Bear Rainforest north of here as a mother grizzly nursed her cubs. As the little ones suckled, the milk spilled down her chest and belly. As I watched her, I thought of this day and I thought of you who not so long ago nursed at your own mother’s breast. There, in the last intact rainforest on earth, the bear cubs became emblems of hope to me.
Out there are men and women only a few years older than you who are trying to remedy a broken world. I know and respect their passion. You, too, can change things. Just remember there are people who will try to stop you, and when they do you will have to fight for your lives and the lives of the children to come.
Today, you are graduating with the degrees you have worked so hard to attain. They will affect your lives forever. You are also one of the wild creatures of the Earth. I want you for one moment to imagine you are a ten-year-old on a half-blind, grey horse. You are watching a cougar fall from the high limb of a Ponderosa pine into a moil of raging dogs. The ones who have done this, the ones who have brought you here, are shooting at the sun. They are trying to bring a darkness into the world.
It’s your story now.
How do you want it to end?
Today, you are graduating with the degrees you have worked so hard to attain. They will affect your lives forever. You are also one of the wild creatures of the Earth. I want you for one moment to imagine you are a ten-year-old on a half-blind, grey horse. You are watching a cougar fall from the high limb of a Ponderosa pine into a moil of raging dogs. The ones who have done this, the ones who have brought you here, are shooting at the sun. They are trying to bring a darkness into the world.
It’s your story now.
How do you want it to end?
- See more at: http://www.timescolonist.com/patrick-lane-an-open-letter-to-all-the-wild-creatures-of-the-earth-1.717669#sthash.dxZJir8g.dpuf
Today, you are graduating with the degrees you have worked so hard to attain. They will affect your lives forever. You are also one of the wild creatures of the Earth. I want you for one moment to imagine you are a ten-year-old on a half-blind, grey horse. You are watching a cougar fall from the high limb of a Ponderosa pine into a moil of raging dogs. The ones who have done this, the ones who have brought you here, are shooting at the sun. They are trying to bring a darkness into the world.
It’s your story now.
How do you want it to end?
- See more at: http://www.timescolonist.com/patrick-lane-an-open-letter-to-all-the-wild-creatures-of-the-earth-1.717669#sthash.dxZJir8g.dpuf
Today, you are graduating with the degrees you have worked so hard to attain. They will affect your lives forever. You are also one of the wild creatures of the Earth. I want you for one moment to imagine you are a ten-year-old on a half-blind, grey horse. You are watching a cougar fall from the high limb of a Ponderosa pine into a moil of raging dogs. The ones who have done this, the ones who have brought you here, are shooting at the sun. They are trying to bring a darkness into the world.
It’s your story now.
How do you want it to end?
- See more at: http://www.timescolonist.com/patrick-lane-an-open-letter-to-all-the-wild-creatures-of-the-earth-1.717669#sthash.dxZJir8g.dpu
It is 65 years ago, you’re 10 years old and sitting on an old, half-blind, grey horse. All you have is a saddle blanket and a rope for reins as you watch a pack of dogs rage at the foot of a Ponderosa pine.
High up on a branch, a cougar lies supine, one paw lazily swatting at the air. He knows the dogs will tire. They will slink away and then the cougar will climb down and go on with its life in the Blue Bush country south of Kamloops. It is a hot summer day. There is the smell of pine needles and Oregon grape and dust. It seems to you that the sun carves the dust from the face of the broken rocks, carves and lifts it into the air where it mixes with the sun. Just beyond you are three men on horses.
The men have saddles and boots and rifles and their horses shy at the clamour of the dogs. The man with the Winchester rifle is the one who owns the dog pack and he is the one who has led you out of the valley, following the dogs through the hills to the big tree where the cougar is trapped. You watch as the man with the rifle climbs down from the saddle and sets his boots among the slippery pine needles. When the man is sure of his footing he lifts the rifle, takes aim, and then … and then you shrink inside a cowl of silence as the cougar falls.
As you watch, the men raise their rifles and shoot them at the sun. You will not understand their triumph, their exultance. Not then. You are too young. It will take years for you to understand. But one day you will step up to a podium in an auditorium at a University on an island far to the west and you will talk about what those men did. You know now they shot at the sun because they wanted to bring a darkness into the world. Knowing that has changed you forever.
Today I look back at their generation. Most of them are dead. They were born into the first Great War of the last century. Most of their fathers did not come home from the slaughter. Most of their mothers were left lost and lonely. Their youth was wasted through the years of the Great Depression when they wandered the country in search of work, a bed or blanket, a friendly hand, a woman’s touch, a child’s quick cry. And then came the Second World War and more were lost. Millions upon millions of men, women, and children died in that old world. But we sometimes forget that untold numbers of creatures died with them: the sparrow and the rabbit, the salmon and the whale, the beetle and the butterfly, the deer and the wolf. And trees died too, the fir and spruce, the cedar and hemlock. Whole forests were sacrificed to the wars.
Those men bequeathed to me a devastated world. When my generation came of age in the mid-century, we were ready for change. And we tried to make it happen, but the ones who wanted change were few. In the end, we did what the generations before us did. We began to eat the world. We devoured the oceans and we devoured the land. We drank the lakes and the seas and we ate the mountains and plains. We ate and ate until there was almost nothing left for you or for your children to come.
The cougar that died that day back in 1949 was a question spoken into my life, and I have tried to answer that question with my teaching, my poems and my stories. Ten years after they killed the cougar, I came of age. I had no education beyond high school, but I had a deep desire to become an artist, a poet. The death of the cougar stayed with me through the years of my young manhood. Then, one moonlit night in 1963, I stepped out of my little trailer perched on the side of a mountain above the North Thompson River. Below me was the sawmill where I worked as a first-aid man. Down a short path, a little creek purled through the trees just beyond my door. I went there under the moon and, kneeling in the moss, cupped water in my hands for a drink. As I looked up I saw a cougar leaning over his paws in the thin shadows. He was six feet away, drinking from the same pool. I stared at the cougar and found myself alive in the eyes of the great cat. The cougar those men had killed when I was a boy came back to me. It was then I swore I would spend my life bearing witness to the past and the years to come.
I stand here looking out over this assembly, and ask myself what I can offer you who are taking from my generation’s hands a troubled world. I am an elder now. There are times many of us old ones feel a deep regret, a profound sorrow, but our sorrow does not have to be yours. You are young and it is soon to be your time. A month ago, I sat on a river estuary in the Great Bear Rainforest north of here as a mother grizzly nursed her cubs. As the little ones suckled, the milk spilled down her chest and belly. As I watched her, I thought of this day and I thought of you who not so long ago nursed at your own mother’s breast. There, in the last intact rainforest on earth, the bear cubs became emblems of hope to me.
Out there are men and women only a few years older than you who are trying to remedy a broken world. I know and respect their passion. You, too, can change things. Just remember there are people who will try to stop you, and when they do you will have to fight for your lives and the lives of the children to come.
Today, you are graduating with the degrees you have worked so hard to attain. They will affect your lives forever. You are also one of the wild creatures of the Earth. I want you for one moment to imagine you are a ten-year-old on a half-blind, grey horse. You are watching a cougar fall from the high limb of a Ponderosa pine into a moil of raging dogs. The ones who have done this, the ones who have brought you here, are shooting at the sun. They are trying to bring a darkness into the world.
It’s your story now.
How do you want it to end?
- See more at: http://www.timescolonist.com/patrick-lane-an-open-letter-to-all-the-wild-creatures-of-the-earth-1.717669#sthash.dxZJir8g.dpuf
It is 65 years ago, you’re 10 years old and sitting on an old, half-blind, grey horse. All you have is a saddle blanket and a rope for reins as you watch a pack of dogs rage at the foot of a Ponderosa pine.
High up on a branch, a cougar lies supine, one paw lazily swatting at the air. He knows the dogs will tire. They will slink away and then the cougar will climb down and go on with its life in the Blue Bush country south of Kamloops. It is a hot summer day. There is the smell of pine needles and Oregon grape and dust. It seems to you that the sun carves the dust from the face of the broken rocks, carves and lifts it into the air where it mixes with the sun. Just beyond you are three men on horses.
The men have saddles and boots and rifles and their horses shy at the clamour of the dogs. The man with the Winchester rifle is the one who owns the dog pack and he is the one who has led you out of the valley, following the dogs through the hills to the big tree where the cougar is trapped. You watch as the man with the rifle climbs down from the saddle and sets his boots among the slippery pine needles. When the man is sure of his footing he lifts the rifle, takes aim, and then … and then you shrink inside a cowl of silence as the cougar falls.
As you watch, the men raise their rifles and shoot them at the sun. You will not understand their triumph, their exultance. Not then. You are too young. It will take years for you to understand. But one day you will step up to a podium in an auditorium at a University on an island far to the west and you will talk about what those men did. You know now they shot at the sun because they wanted to bring a darkness into the world. Knowing that has changed you forever.
Today I look back at their generation. Most of them are dead. They were born into the first Great War of the last century. Most of their fathers did not come home from the slaughter. Most of their mothers were left lost and lonely. Their youth was wasted through the years of the Great Depression when they wandered the country in search of work, a bed or blanket, a friendly hand, a woman’s touch, a child’s quick cry. And then came the Second World War and more were lost. Millions upon millions of men, women, and children died in that old world. But we sometimes forget that untold numbers of creatures died with them: the sparrow and the rabbit, the salmon and the whale, the beetle and the butterfly, the deer and the wolf. And trees died too, the fir and spruce, the cedar and hemlock. Whole forests were sacrificed to the wars.
Those men bequeathed to me a devastated world. When my generation came of age in the mid-century, we were ready for change. And we tried to make it happen, but the ones who wanted change were few. In the end, we did what the generations before us did. We began to eat the world. We devoured the oceans and we devoured the land. We drank the lakes and the seas and we ate the mountains and plains. We ate and ate until there was almost nothing left for you or for your children to come.
The cougar that died that day back in 1949 was a question spoken into my life, and I have tried to answer that question with my teaching, my poems and my stories. Ten years after they killed the cougar, I came of age. I had no education beyond high school, but I had a deep desire to become an artist, a poet. The death of the cougar stayed with me through the years of my young manhood. Then, one moonlit night in 1963, I stepped out of my little trailer perched on the side of a mountain above the North Thompson River. Below me was the sawmill where I worked as a first-aid man. Down a short path, a little creek purled through the trees just beyond my door. I went there under the moon and, kneeling in the moss, cupped water in my hands for a drink. As I looked up I saw a cougar leaning over his paws in the thin shadows. He was six feet away, drinking from the same pool. I stared at the cougar and found myself alive in the eyes of the great cat. The cougar those men had killed when I was a boy came back to me. It was then I swore I would spend my life bearing witness to the past and the years to come.
I stand here looking out over this assembly, and ask myself what I can offer you who are taking from my generation’s hands a troubled world. I am an elder now. There are times many of us old ones feel a deep regret, a profound sorrow, but our sorrow does not have to be yours. You are young and it is soon to be your time. A month ago, I sat on a river estuary in the Great Bear Rainforest north of here as a mother grizzly nursed her cubs. As the little ones suckled, the milk spilled down her chest and belly. As I watched her, I thought of this day and I thought of you who not so long ago nursed at your own mother’s breast. There, in the last intact rainforest on earth, the bear cubs became emblems of hope to me.
Out there are men and women only a few years older than you who are trying to remedy a broken world. I know and respect their passion. You, too, can change things. Just remember there are people who will try to stop you, and when they do you will have to fight for your lives and the lives of the children to come.
Today, you are graduating with the degrees you have worked so hard to attain. They will affect your lives forever. You are also one of the wild creatures of the Earth. I want you for one moment to imagine you are a ten-year-old on a half-blind, grey horse. You are watching a cougar fall from the high limb of a Ponderosa pine into a moil of raging dogs. The ones who have done this, the ones who have brought you here, are shooting at the sun. They are trying to bring a darkness into the world.
It’s your story now.
How do you want it to end?
- See more at: http://www.timescolonist.com/patrick-lane-an-open-letter-to-all-the-wild-creatures-of-the-earth-1.717669#sthash.dxZJir8g.dpuf

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

So a guy who has never played a team sport writes a book about hockey ...

... And we're supposed to believe that anything in it is in the slightest bit accurate? Because Stephen Harper is such a renowned historian ... on anything?

Stephen Harper has not provided a single satisfactory answer to any question about his involvement in the alleged attempt to subvert a senator and commit a fraud. Not one. And the thing just keeps getting bigger.

And we've got a line-up that's getting bigger by the day.

Where is Canada's newest hockey "expert"?

Hiding. It's what the coward does best.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

"Threads"

I have often thought the only way to "win" a nuclear exchange is to not use yours. That way you ensure at least some coherent civilisation remains. This British film explains why, and uses experts' views to build its scenarios and narrative. WARNING: This is a deeply disturbing film.

RCMP: Getting it wrong

So RCMP Corporal Ron Francis has some of his peers turn up to his residence and remove his uniforms, the last of which he returned under his own steam.

Why?

Because he was smoking prescribed medical marijuana whilst wearing it. Apparently this is such a high crime in the Informal Code of the RCMPness that it must result in public humiliation and disgrace by ones peers. Nevermind that in this instance the use of marijuana is exactly the same as taking prescription pills for serious medical condition.

Did a posse of Mounties show up at the homes of Constables Kwesi Millington, Bill Bentley, Gerry Rundel, and Corporal Benjamin Robinson after they utterly disgraced themselves at YVR and the consequent Braidwood enquiry? Nope. It actually took an unrelated DUI scam to turf the last guy and the first three actually kept their uniforms and employment.

How about this for a symbolic punishment? Admit the RCMP has a serious problem with its organisational culture, ban them from wearing the red serge dress uniform until they demonstrate that they've fixed themselves.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Mercer on Harper


Past wars and now...

Three suicides in a week.  Twenty-two among Regular Force members in 2011, an unknown number is 2012. [Evidently reservists are still treated as second-order soldiers by the system - plus ├ža change...] There will be more. There are things that can be done to prevent them, but not all of them. Like the former Yugoslavia and Somalia, Afghanistan's casualties will continue to mount long after the last troops leave theatre. This is a fact of war.



In past wars, armies were demobilised following the end of conflict and the soldiers faded away into civilian life. Most served only a few short years, either until they were invalided out, killed, or the war ended. They would fade into civilian life in the hundreds of thousands. Some would remain traumatised and unable to function, others would find jobs and families and new lives in a country that understand it was universally at war. Today, armies are already small and do not shrink by much post war, and life for most does not change. Soldiers now have careers and many carry on serving for years or decades. Those that return to civilian life, return to a society that unlike in the past, was never really at war and cannot connect to them. More will end their lives.


Thursday, November 28, 2013

That man

Harper's fate is being written these days. Creekside records as does this blog, and others. It's a bit strange looking across the Atlantic at events in Canada and the crude, juvenile nature of our politicians. Granted, all politicians are crude and juvenile, it's just that to me ours seem to be so...colonial. There's a naivety to their skulduggery that is missing in the more sophisticated crimes in countries where the politics are still ruled by private schools and classical educations.

Harper is too much of a thug. His remake of the institutions of Canadian government is botched and what emerges from operation will neither be what was, nor what he intended. As others point out frequently now, it's his own judge of character that's at fault. His hires, and his fires. All of them. I cannot think of another politician or gangster who has picked such low-grade talent and survived. Simple Darwinism eliminates them before they get anywhere serious.

There are emails to be sure, whether they are sitting in a back-up server or a thumb-drive under a mattress, we don't know. Whether they make the light of day, we don't know either. There's a question for me of a nano-Snowden simply dumping the lot of them on the internet. And there's the question of what you do if you're the RCMP staring a the big board full of photos of prominent Conservative staffers and your strings and pins are spirographing ever tighter around the photo of the pale-faced man? Canadians would expect the RCMP to do their job, but then we're a little sceptical these days when we see a phalanx of Mounties protecting fracking trucks in Elsipogtog or kneeling blankly on a dying man in YVR. And then there's that trusting deference to authority that blinds Canadians to so very, very much about ourselves and the world.

Sigh.

What actually, perversely, gives me the most hope is Harper himself. Just watch him. He simply cannot make wise decisions. I think he had a clear - if deluded - vision of turning Canada into some kind of fetid little neofascist-theo-Galt citadel, but he hired a Montreal construction firm to build it. Smarter politicians would have resigned by now and a competent GG would have made it known that this was going to happen.

No. Harper will hang on until the palace is ashes. The fanatics always do. But it never ends well.



Peter MacKay either lied or is too lazy to read his own bill

MacKay in his usual "Airshow" bluster told the House of Commons that even if internet service providers were voluntarily cooperating with law enforcement by retaining and sharing YOUR personal information that a warrant would still be required.

Just like Vic Toews before him, it appears MacKay has not read and does not understand the clear wording of the proposed legislation he tabled.

Michael Geist has the details.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Can you hear me now? I only have one bar left.

“It is not power that corrupts but fear. Fear of losing power corrupts those who wield it and fear of the scourge of power corrupts those who are subject to it.”

Freedom From Fear

  
Can you hear me now? 

Go read Creekside ... then read Northern Reflections.  


*Aung San Suu Kyi is a renowned Burmese opposition leader. She has spent a long portion of her adult life under house arrest imposed by the Myanmar military junta. In 2007, she was made an honourary Canadian citizen.  

Paget Brewster and Paul F. Tompkins "Here's To Us"




If Noel Coward didn't write this, he should have. I think it might be by Eban Scheltter.

Paget and Paul are best heard as Frank and Sadie Doyle: The Toast of the Upper Crust and Headliners on the Society Pages…and oh, yes!…………They see ghosts!

Also, their capacity for liquor is Beyond Belief.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Mealy-mouthed, scum-sucking, self-absorbed, egotistical ...

“My difficulty with the prime minister at this point, Peter, is that I don’t think he’s been forthcoming and honest on fairly simple questions when there appear to be contradictions," he said. "My instinct is when someone doesn’t answer questions, even simple and fairly innocuous questions in a straightforward manner, there may be something else.”

Stephen Harper 2005



Sunday, November 24, 2013

He knows nothing ...

Over to Cathie's with you. She picked up on the thought I was having this morning. The late John Banner's character, Hauptfeldwebel Hans Georg Schultz, became synonymous with seeing nothing and knowing nothing in the TV sitcom Hogan's Heroes.

As Cathie points out:
We're supposed to believe that not only did Harper know nothing about Wright's $90,000 cheque to Duffy, he also knew nothing about the previous plan to get the Conservative Party to pay Duffy's expenses and he knew nothing about the phone call to the auditors to try to stop the Duffy audit.
Do come back so you can hit this link to Buckdog, who directs us to today's PMO load of garbage.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper had no idea his staff had asked the Conservative Party to pay Sen. Mike Duffy’s ineligible expenses, his spokesperson said Sunday.
 Right. He saw nothing. He heard nothing. He knew ... nothing.

Another connection, and this is relevant for any number of reasons. The Cadman affair. You can get more of that one over at Creekside, and do pay close attention to the names.

In short, Harper has a history of being in the centre of bribery attempts and ... knowing nothing.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Why Is Peter MacKay's Anti-Cyber-Bullying Bill ... (updated)

... so goddamned big?

Because, it's simply a reworded regurgitation of the repulsive Vic Toews Internet Surveillance Bill. You know, the one that got killed because the public was outraged at the idea of giving the police and government the power to spy on your internet activity. Now they want the meta-data out of your smart-phone too.

Michael Geist breaks it down for you.

You just knew the Harperites wouldn't leave alone the idea of spying on ... just everyone. After all, if you've got nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear. Right? Except that a complaining email to your Conservative MP could land you in jail.

And you're being called to the barricades again.


UPDATE: Just on time, Sir Tim Berners-Lee weighs in with his world-view. And who, (I know you are asking), is Tim Berners-Lee?

Good question.

I can guarantee you the frat-boys from the PMO, as they consume hours of streaming data in the Mayflower in Ottawa, and Peter MacKay wouldn't recognize his name if you created an app for their government issued smart-phones. THIS is Tim Berners-Lee.


Monday, November 18, 2013

Sublime . . .


JEAN-CLAUDE VAN DAMME, an unusual human himself, has made a TV ad for Volvo trucks (not affiliated with Volvo cars, btw), part of which you see above. According to Jalopnik, in an article “Jean-Claude Van Damme's Split Between Two Moving Trucks Is No CGI” that's real, no CGI, J-C actually did that stunt.

Well, it inspired somebody to adapt it to the Rob Ford fiasco which Jalopnik kindly posted in an article, “This Bizarre Volvo Truck Parody Nails The Surreality Of Mayor Rob Ford”. Yup.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The secret sell-out . . .


STEVIE'S SECRET SELL-OUT: according to Sunny Freeman and Daniel Tencer at HUFFPOST BUSINESS, in an article “Trans-Pacific Partnership Chapter Released By WikiLeaks”, it's so secret it took WikiLeaks to get the details. And truly, the Devil is in the details.
A trade agreement Canada intends to sign will have “far-reaching implications for individual rights and civil liberties,” WikiLeaks says.
The group known around the world for publishing state secrets has released a draft chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade deal being negotiated under what it calls an “unprecedented level of secrecy.” Critics say the agreement favours corporate interests over consumers.
The leaked intellectual property chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement proposes sweeping reforms including to pharmaceuticals, publishers, patents, copyrights, trademarks, civil liberties and liability of internet service providers.
“If instituted, the TPP’s IP regime would trample over individual rights and free expression, as well as ride roughshod over the intellectual and creative commons,” WikiLeaks’ Editor-in-Chief Julian Assange, said in a press release.
There are 11 areas of concern. Click on the link to find out why you should get perturbed. Love liberty? Stop Stevie. It's that simple.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Marketing adaptation . . .

While Dubya scares the bejeezus out of you, ponder Puma’s new plus size logo… from The Meta Picture. I guess pouncing porky puddies are a possibility. 




Saturday, November 09, 2013

You've always wondered ...

How could George W. Bush reconcile the financial destruction of his country over the invasion of Iraq?

The "weapons of mass destruction" myth has long been buried under mountains of proof of manipulated and invented "intelligence".

The conquest of an oil-state was pretty obvious. Think though. Is George W. Bush really smart enough to get his head around that concept?

We have always held in the greatest skepticism the possibility that it was a religious crusade. People shake in their boots when they consider such a thing could have happened in the 21st century. They give it a pass with a shrug because it's just too terrible to absorb.

And how did Tony Blair get sucked in? He didn't seem to have a constituent group of fundamentalist Christians driving him forward.

Until Blair was dumped from the political spectrum and he suddenly decloaked. Turns out Brother Tony is a tambourine-bashing fundamentalist Roman Catholic of the type that scares, well, other Roman Catholics. He was as much of a religious nut-ball as Bush.

Well, take a look at what George W. Bush is up to now.  Then take a quick read of Ophelia.

Absorb that.

Hellfire . . .


DEATH FROM ABOVE. GQ has an article by MatthewPower, “Confessions of a Drone Warrior” that is worth reading. “Drones” have been effective, but there's a human cost paid by the young folks who do the killing. They're good at that, and it gives them nightmares, and no wonder the Taliban have been freaking and using their political influence to get this curtailed.
By the spring of 2011, almost six years after he’d signed on, Senior Airman Brandon Bryant left the Air Force, turning down a $109,000 bonus to keep flying. He was presented with a sort of scorecard covering his squadron’s missions. “They gave me a list of achievements,” he says. “Enemies killed, enemies captured, high-value targets killed or captured, stuff like that.” He called it his diploma. He hadn’t lased the target or pulled the trigger on all of the deaths tallied, but by flying in the missions he felt he had enabled them. “The number,” he says, “made me sick to my stomach.”
Total enemies killed in action: 1,626.

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Remembering the fallen. Part 2

In part 1 I offered the suggestion that people who were busy, uncomfortable or simply found it inconvenient to attend a Remembrance Day event should do what makes them feel comfortable. Certainly no thinking veteran will find fault in any decision along that line, keeping in mind that any and all are welcome at cenotaphs across the country.

I also included a sketched CV, so I won't bore you with it again.

This year, as in all years since 1919, a particular "class" of person will most certainly attend: politicians. (Please understand that I want to spit when I say or write that word).

The Canadian political class of the 21st century attends Remembrance Day services for one reason: optics. While there may be a numbered few who actually hold attendance at such an event a matter of sincere personal feeling, the majority, a huge majority, do not. They are there to be seen amongst the crowds, near the uniforms and to gain political traction. Too often they are offered a place of prominence or worse, a speaking part.

That has veterans rankled this year like no other year in the past. I have spent the past year communicating with thousands of my fellow veterans. I can count on one hand the number of those veterans who believe the political class of this country has any interest whatsoever in the welfare of veterans. When the question of the duty of the federal government to live up to its obligations to veterans is brought up there is one resounding answer: Failure.

The Harper government, for all its bellicose "support the troops" rhetoric, has been responsible for the worst treatment of veterans in the modern era. Denial of pensions, clawbacks of benefits and the perpetuation of lawsuits to quash legitimate claims by the wounded are just a few of the abuses heaped upon veterans by Stephen Harper and his ministers. Harper has publicly smeared veterans who attempted to voice their complaints, all the while making sure he gets a photo op amongst "the troops". And, if all that didn't make veterans mightily angry, Julian Fantino, the newly-minted minister of veteran's affairs, sealed the deal and generated pure rage when he tried to redefine a veteran to include himself.

Julian Fantino is not a veteran. Stephen Harper, who took it upon himself to lecture reporters on the conditions in the trenches at Vimy Ridge, has not one day of service. But you can make book on the fact that both of them will show up on Remembrance Day expecting a position of prominence and a speaking part.

There are approximately 900,000 living armed service and RCMP veterans in this country, a vast majority of whom find themselves enraged at the actions and words of Harper, Fantino and, to be completely frank, politicians generally. The current Veteran's Charter which is responsible for hacking disability benefits to veterans was introduced by the Liberals, supported by the NDP and implemented by the Harper Conservatives. No party is clean.

So, while I have heard a loud suggestion that politicians should stay away from Remembrance Day ceremonies and I understand the sentiment, I would disagree. No one should be refused attendance.

However, they should take great care as to how they appear. A place at the back of the crowd would be most appropriate but that's not likely. What is not appropriate though is a place in the front or on a podium. Given their abysmal treatment of veterans they would do well to keep a very low profile. If they intend to deliver a wreath they should do so in absolute silence.

And, if they think a speaking part is due them because of their high office they should be aware that a movement is in the works to have groups of angry veterans turn their backs on them.

Right now an elected school board trustee would have a tough time gaining political traction with veterans and it gets worse as one works up the political back-stabbing pole. Given the recent behaviour of prominent politicians most veterans have one wish for the Canadian political class: A plague on all your houses; you have broken faith with us. 




The print version is here.


Thanks to Alison for the video link.

Remembering the fallen. Part 1

Remembrance Day, when we are all expected to observe a time to pay our respect to the fallen of the wars past, is near upon us. As the 11th of November approaches some of you will be feeling the pressure to attend a ceremony at a local cenotaph. And, I know, some of you are feeling uncomfortable or maybe just inconvenienced about the thought of pulling yourself out into the bitterness of a Canadian November day to do that.

I understand. Before I go any further however, let me give you a sketch of a CV ... just so no one else misunderstands anything I'm about to tell you.

I am a long service veteran, now retired. I have served the same sovereign in three naval services. I have fought in two clearly definable wars, both of them much smaller in scale than either the Great War 1914 - 1918 or the 2nd World War 1939 - 1945. In fact, both were shorter in duration and the expenditure of resources than the Korean conflict. I have served on peacekeeping missions during which I saw some of the horrors humanity can serve upon itself when the distinction of power is reduced to possessing a bag or bags of UN distributed flour. I have been called upon to engage in "discrete" operations which were no less than close quarters combat engagements with an enemy intent on preventing me from completing the task I was attempting to undertake. I have had young men under my command killed in action and more wounded in action. I was wounded during an engagement. I have shared the post-combat depressions which plagued most of the people with whom I have served.

During all of this, I can't ever recall reminding myself how I had signed up to do these things for my country or your freedoms. That may have been a corollary effect, but believe that you were never on my mind - at least not in any guiding sense. My motivation came from pride in my fighting comrades, my ship, my commando or that larger organization which gave me the strength of an established unit. It came from a sense of belonging - belonging to something uniquely distinct from the mainstream of the society from which I had emerged. And there were occasions when my motivation was purely self-preservation.

So, Remembrance Day. What would I expect you to do?

How about, whatever makes you feel comfortable. If I choose to attend a ceremony and demonstrate remembrance for my fallen comrades does not mean I expect you to do the same. In fact, you can't. I can no more tell you what a trench in 1916 Ypres was like than you can tell me what it was like spending months away from home with my finger on the trigger during the Cold War. I spend more than a single day remembering the things that culminate in Remembrance Day. I would be close to accurate if I told you I think about my fallen mates every single day of my life. You can't possibly do that, nor should any rational person expect you to.

Do I expect you to stand there on a cold November day for me or my comrades' benefit? No, I do not.

A huge number of you wear a paper poppy. That little bit of time you took to pin it on and the contribution you made to get it is enough for me. To know that for a moment you participated in a small gesture and wear that little emblem demonstrates all that I need to know. You do understand and you're showing it.

Does this mean I don't want you to attend a Remembrance Day ceremony? Far from it. I would love to see huge crowds at every cenotaph in the country. If, however, you cannot do so, or feel uncomfortable or inconvenienced it's just fine if you don't attend. No one can force you and you should not feel pressured just because somebody else thinks it's "proper". Remembrance is a personal thing and you can do it any way you like. Sometimes that will be the thought you feel when you remove that paper poppy from your coat.

A group we can guarantee will attend Remembrance Day ceremonies will be the politicians. Unlike you, they participate for completely different reasons. While my words to you, in this post, are provided in absolute sincerity, Part 2 will address the cadre of politicians who are there to gain political traction.



Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Fallout. The result of Tony Clement's nuking of the federal public service.

I've watched in awe at the decade-long performance of Tony Clement. He's lied, he's laughed at the fatal results of a tainted food supply, he's misappropriated millions of taxpayer dollars to feather his own electoral riding with pagodas and pools, he's created the most inept "red-tape' elimination formula known in the developed world and then he was let loose to destroy the federal public service as only a freaked-out refugee from the Mike Harris "Common Sense Revolution" could - with no foresight and no thought of consequences. He creates wreckage with no plan beyond that which his single-firing synapse has developed over a five minute period. Clean-up, adjustment and adaptation? Not his problem. Anyway, it's just too hard for him. The perfect conservative.

So, if you haven't read Sooey Says today, you need to.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Monday, November 04, 2013

Take five . . .

CHILL WITH A QUADRACOPTER. Full-screen delight for the soul, nice soundtrack, called the In-Between by A New Normal. Way, way cool . . . Now, imagine the transistor had never been invented. What would it have taken to capture the same thing?
HT — Seboua, thank-you!


A sign of remembrance . . .



FOUND ON GOOGLE MAPS: a satellite photograph you see here. Do click on the link to find out more.

Something evil this way comes . . .


THERE ARE NASTY CRITTERS OUT THERE. BadBIOS is one of ‘em, according to Dan Goodwin at ArsTechnica, who has an article you should read, “Meet “badBIOS,” the mysterious Mac and PC malware that jumps airgaps”. Jumps airgaps? This is truly dangerous.

"We had an air-gapped computer that just had its [firmware] BIOS reflashed, a fresh disk drive installed, and zero data on it, installed from a Windows system CD," Ruiu said. "At one point, we were editing some of the components and our registry editor got disabled. It was like: wait a minute, how can that happen? How can the machine react and attack the software that we're using to attack it? This is an air-gapped machine and all of a sudden the search function in the registry editor stopped working when we were using it to search for their keys."

It seems that even your speakers can pass on the nastiness:

For most of the three years that Ruiu has been wrestling with badBIOS, its infection mechanism remained a mystery. A month or two ago, after buying a new computer, he noticed that it was almost immediately infected as soon as he plugged one of his USB drives into it. He soon theorized that infected computers have the ability to contaminate USB devices and vice versa.

• • •

Ruiu said he arrived at the theory about badBIOS's high-frequency networking capability after observing encrypted data packets being sent to and from an infected laptop that had no obvious network connection with—but was in close proximity to—another badBIOS-infected computer. The packets were transmitted even when the laptop had its Wi-Fi and Bluetooth cards removed. Ruiu also disconnected the machine's power cord so it ran only on battery to rule out the possibility that it was receiving signals over the electrical connection. Even then, forensic tools showed the packets continued to flow over the airgapped machine. Then, when Ruiu removed the internal speaker and microphone connected to the airgapped machine, the packets suddenly stopped.


Sunday, November 03, 2013

Now, this is scary . . .

ACCORDING TO Bruce Wilson at AlterNet, “Almost Two-Thirds of 18-29 Year Olds Believe in "Demon Possession" What Is Happening to America?”. Just like in medieval times, superstition is probably eternal.
Over one half (63 percent, to be exact) of young Americans 18-29 years old now believe in the notion that invisible, non-corporeal entities called "demons" can take partial or total control of human beings, revealed an October 2012 Public Policy Polling survey that also showed this belief isn't declining among the American population generally; it's growing.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

So this is how it ends(?)

With the Edmonton Sun calling for Harper's resignation because his lies are too much - even for them.

As Harper said of Paul Martin over the sponsorship scandal, either he knew and was guilty or did not and was incompetent. But Harper also lies constantly, including telling the House on Tuesday it was “regular practice” to cover legal expenses, like Duffy’s, while calling Duffy’s actions “shocking and unacceptable.” At least I hope that too was a lie.
As Tories gather in Calgary they should ask themselves, if they are to not become the problem they set out to solve, how they would feel if this web of deceit were spun by a Prime Minister Chretien or Mulcair or Trudeau Jr. And why, if they do not dismiss their chief, Canadians should not dismiss them.
I bet he never saw this coming. Some of us wondered. It would have to be something like this, which is probably better than the unkind and often brutal fates that are eventually meted out to the more successful of his ilk.





Men with strong occupation associated personal identities tend to suffer deep mental health issues when they lose the occupation that feeds their sense of self. Many never recover. Stephen Harper is not a lawyer, not a corporate executive, not a professor. He is a liar and a politician to the core and there is nothing for him to return to. He is also someone very uncomfortable with close personal scrutiny and unscripted events. All the spotlights are on him now and he is no longer in control. Watch him closely.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Arctic speculation . . .


STEVIE'S STEALTH SNOWMOBILE: the Harper concept of the future of Arctic conflict. Now as we know, the CONs are not the sharpest tools in the drawer and the acquisition of equipment for promoting our Arctic presence has been a Stevie problem.

And with global warming opening the Arctic waters, the future could be very interesting. Annalee Newitz has a post at io9, “The war that comes after global warming will blow your mind in new novel Arctic Rising” that is worthy of your perusal. 
A lot of science fiction about the Earth's warmer future is dystopian, showing us drowned cities and people reduced to Road Warrior desperados. But Tobias Buckell's new novel, Arctic Rising, offers a far more complicated and realistic picture of what the world will look like when the poles melt. 
It's a breakneck eco-thriller about "Arctic Tiger" nations like Canada clashing with green mega-corporations over what to do about the Earth's climate. At every turn, Buckell will surprise you with plot twists that fly in the face of conventional wisdom about environmental issues, and with cool ideas about how people will adapt to life on the Arctic Rim.
Do check it out. S-F has a funny way of turning into reality. In 1963, as a teenager, I read John Berryman's “The Trouble with Telstar”, about an astronaut sent up to fix a satellite. Thirty years later, I get to watch a Shuttle crew repair the Hubble space telescope on the TV in my living room. Two years ago, WIRED featured the airship you see above, in a post, “Airships Could Prove a Lifeline in the Arctic”. They might even make an appearance next year. Somehow, Stevie's stealth snowmobile just ain't gonna cut it.
Airships may soon soar in the cold skies of northern Canada and Alaska, bringing supplies to remote mining communities where planes can’t always fly and roads are cost-prohibitive.
British airship manufacturer Hybrid Air Vehicles has announced a major contract with Canada’s Discovery Air Innovations to build airships capable of lifting as much as 50 tons, delivering freight at one-quarter the cost of other alternatives. Though various militaries have expressed interest in airships, this is HAV’s first commercial contract. The first ship is expected by 2014.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Reefer sanity . . .

A Uruguayan man smokes cannabis during
a demonstration in Montevideo in May.
A senate vote to legalise the drug
is expected in November.
Photograph: Pablo Porciuncula/AFP/Getty Images
Uruguay sets price
of legalised cannabis
at $1 a gram


Uruguay sets price of legalised cannabis at $1 a gram, according to The Guardian's article by Uki Goni, who reports that

Uruguay is set to become the first country in the world where the sale of cannabis will not only become legal and government-controlled, but at around $1 a gram probably also the one with the most affordable marijuana anywhere.