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Whether the USA survives as one nation and not two or several…

it was 20 years ago…

Mosque atrocity – hate driven or coincidence?

Goodbye yellow brick road. Hello Mordor.

Whether the USA survives as one nation and not two or several…

Posted in: Politics, American politics | Comments (0)

…is anyone’s guess. I ain’t no psychic.

So. Something I’ve been saying since Obama was elected and the right-wing vitriol fallout is that this was the beginning of the end of the United States of America.  I hoped I was wrong but am increasingly thinking that I’m dead on.

A black man occupying the highest office in the land was abhorrent, the supreme affront to the views of a significant portion of Americans. Birthers. Conspiracy theorists of all types jumped on the anti-Obama, anti-black, anti-liberal (although 99% of this cohort haven’t a clue what being a liberal means) bandwagon. It unified them. Common cause.

Then Trump came along. A cartoon character reality show personality whose business acumen was questionable, his personality was grating to most sensible folks, but, paradoxically, he struck a chord with about a third of the American voting population. Keep in mind that much of the one-third was already predisposed to the kind of anti-establishment verbal diarrhea spewed by Trump. They dug him. Somehow beyond belief, the super-rich cartoon character was a hero.

He shot from the hip.

He didn’t fit the mold.

He wanted to drain a contrived swamp.

The one-third felt separated. Trump hated the same people that the one-third hated. Hate is emotional, raw, it makes people say and do things that they wouldn’t consider normally. Blacks, Mexicans, gays, lesbians, Muslims, liberals… hell, probably Pokémon and leprechauns! The list is pretty long. Hate ’em all!

And they liked that and came out in droves to vote for the guy.

He won.

And that one-third? They were emboldened! Holy shit, one of their own (remembering the whole rich guy paradox) was in power and he was repping him.

Now, the PRESIDENT Trump gets this and realizes (more likely one of his kids realizes) that he has to keep that one-third of slathering mouth breathers very happy. Because his scope of accessible voters isn’t going to grow much. He cannot alienate his base. At. All. Or he’ll have zero chance of re-election. Nada.

So he doesn’t condemn the Charlottesville assholes. No way! They’re the base, yo. They’re his biggest fans! Those racists, fascists, homophobes, bigots and all-round assholes rightfully see ol’ Donny as their best bet at a place at the table of power since 1864-ish.

And these racists, fascists, homophobes, bigots and all-round assholes are armed, dangerous and of generally sub-average intelligence. This is a problem and this is a real and present threat to the future of what was arguably once the greatest democracy on the planet.

The racists, fascists, homophobes, bigots and all-round assholes have never left town since the last Civil War. The good ol’ boys have been chatting in the diners and on the front porches just like their great grand-daddies did. And sadly, I think they’ll be the catalyst for the next internal conflict.

When? I give it ten years. At most.

Bonne chance, America. But I think you’re screwed.

Here in Canada, we’re sure not angels and not immune. We have our own issues. Extremist media pretenders like Levant’s Rebel Fascist outlet preach hate every bit as much as the David Dukes of the world. We have to be vigilant.

As a sidebar, driving into work this morning after I had written the above last night, I got to thinking about a conversation I had with my son a few years ago. I’m very vocal about my political likes and dislikes at home, as is my wife. Our kids are very much politically-attuned for their age.

My son would have been about 7 at the time and he asked me what I would do if I met the then-PM Stephen Harper. Much to his amazement, I said something to the effect that I would shake his hand and say “it is very nice to meet you, Mr. Harper.” My son then was confused. He knew what I thought of Harper and needed an explanation. I told him: “as much as I dislike his policies, his personality and pretty much everything about his party, he is a democratically-elected leader and we have to respect that”.

So back to the commute this morning and I replayed that conversation but substituted Trump for Harper.

And, you know what, I don’t think I could react in the same manner upon meeting the current POTUS. Harper truly believed that what he did was best for his country because, despite everything else, he was and is a proud Canadian who put his country first. Can anyone say the same for Trump?

No. He is in this for himself and could give a rat’s ass about his country. Therein lies the difference and why I would decline to shake the man’s hand.

 

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trashee @ August 16, 2017

it was 20 years ago…

Posted in: Politics | Comments (0)

… last Friday when I started my career in Canada’s Public Service.

What was intended to be a stopover gig until I got what I really wanted (a job as a policy wonk on the Hill) had turned into a full-fledged second career.

I began at the comparatively late of 34 as an Economist/Sociologist Recruit working on developing a leading indicator for the environment industry and later on working with waste management statistics. And, by and large, that’s still a big part of what I do today.

Yeah, I’m a Manager now and my job is more around administration and process than working with and analysing data (which I miss) but I’m in the same Division that I started with and have a fantastic team and great colleagues. I count myself fortunate.

There have been few days in those 20 years where I had to drag myself to the office, and that is mostly due to the professional, fun and hard-working people I see every morning (some later than others).

Would I go back and change directions given the opportunity? I don’t think so. There are certainly some things in those 20 years and before that which I would tweak, but not my decision to stay where I am and to do the interesting and important work I do.

So,to my colleagues at StatCan and throughout the federal Public Service, I say “thank you”! While being a cog in a huge bureaucracy is sometimes frustrating, you all help to make it worthwhile.

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trashee @ June 13, 2017

Mosque atrocity – hate driven or coincidence?

Posted in: crime, Quebec | Comments (0)


Canada has its First mass shooting in years. So tragic, and can’t help but note that a mosque was targeted.
This is amid all of the hate being spewed by Trump and his brown shirts, as well as their Canadian apologists like Kellie Leitch.
Police haven’t yet confirmed it, but it looks like Alexandre Bissonnette and Mohamed Khadir have been arrested. No motive yet, but the normalisation of Trump’s ideas into the mainstream emboldens those who are already on the edge. This may or may not be the case here, but one cannot help but wonder.
Looks like shit is getting real.
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/quebec-city-mosque-gun-shots-1.3957686

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trashee @ January 30, 2017

Goodbye yellow brick road. Hello Mordor.

Posted in: Politics, The US of A | Comments (1)

Very soon, a racist, classless and misogynist piece of trash moves into to the White House.

Be above this swamp rat, American friends. You are better than him and his sputtering jackals. Most of you are fine people.

Fight and obstruct everything he and the GOP for the full four years, just like the GOP and their gun-totin’ cohorts did to the policies of a fine and honourable President for 8 years. Liberals must not allow the destruction and division of America.

I wish you all bonne chance for the next four years. You are going to need it.

 

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trashee @ January 20, 2017

Keyboard warriors!

Posted in: ottawa, social media | Comments (0)

Maybe it’s because I am getting a bit older and my skin is thinning somewhat, but more and more, I am getting annoyed with these Keyboard Warriors© who like to furiously and constantly hammer out their frustrations with <insert topic here> and the incompetence of the . That is all well and good. We are free to tappy-tappy on our screens or keys to our hearts’ content when the universe is perceived to be askance.

And hey! Exercising this freedom is one way to hold politicos to account. No more can your local School Board Trustee, Councillor, MP, MPP, Prime Minister or Assistant Dog Catcher (if you’re in the States, cuz they elect EVERYONE down there!) hide in their leather appointed offices sipping their lattes and pretending not to hear the mobs at the door! No way, uh-uh! Those warriors will track you down and give you a good whippin’ on Twitter or on Facebook or Instagram, etc., etc. You will be humbled, humiliated and dragged through Swamps of Digital Slime!©

But for the sake of all we volunteers and activists everywhere: if you’re not happy about something, please do more than take pot-shots!

Keyboard Warrior© guys and gals are everywhere – quick to point out faults, deficiencies or inconveniences in their communities but slow to step up and get involved and do something to change the things that they finds so objectionable.

There are a couple of these Keyboard Warriors in my community and on my Twitter feed. Most of their venting is aimed at a couple of the local Councillors, but the Mayor himself is often the target. I mean, this one guy blames the local politics for EVERYTHING! Hydro trucks blocking bikes lanes, dirty road signs, faulty card readers at city parking spots, snow on the sidewalk… the list goes on ad nauseum. I’m not saying that local pols shouldn’t be informed if services levels are not up to snuff, but geez, do they HAVE to be berated for EVERYTHING?

And when they run out of tangible things to complain about, said targets are then told they are wasteful spending, ego-driven, budget-unconscious, deaf-to-the-community, anti-cyclist demagogues.

So fine – feel free to complain. But you know what? I never seen one of these Keyboard Warriors out in the community working to improve it in some way. I don’t see them volunteering at a school, their community association, their place of worship, their kid’s hockey team.. nada. I’m a pretty plugged in guy in my neck of the woods but have never seen one of these Keyboard Warriors© or have heard their name mentioned in a community involvement context.

So, Keyboard Warriors©? Go ahead and whine all you want. Because to me and lots like me, until you pick up that clipboard, run some soccer drills, volunteer at a community health centre or organise a potluck community dinner, I’m paying little attention.

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trashee @ January 16, 2017

Show up. Dive in. Persevere.

Posted in: Politics, American politics | Comments (1)

Last night, President Obama eloquently expressed one of the wonderful things about being in a democracy (or at least as close to a democracy as we will achieve).

We are free to engage.

We are free to participate.

Yes, by all means, if something rankles you or angers you, or you think that you can do better – do something about it! Engage!

Volunteer!!!!!

I whistle that tune to anyone who will listen to me. Ask my kids.

So of all of the words that the President said last night, these words about civic engagement and the responsibilities of citizenship – well they rang the clearest for me. Thank-you, Mr. President.

It falls to each of us to be those anxious, jealous guardians of our democracy; to embrace the joyous task we’ve been given to continually try to improve this great nation of ours. Because for all our outward differences, we all share the same proud title: Citizen.

Ultimately, that’s what our democracy demands. It needs you. Not just when there’s an election, not just when your own narrow interest is at stake, but over the full span of a lifetime. If you’re tired of arguing with strangers on the internet, try to talk with one in real life. If something needs fixing, lace up your shoes and do some organizing. If you’re disappointed by your elected officials, grab a clipboard, get some signatures, and run for office yourself. Show up. Dive in. Persevere. Sometimes you’ll win. Sometimes you’ll lose. Presuming a reservoir of goodness in others can be a risk, and there will be times when the process disappoints you. But for those of us fortunate enough to have been a part of this work, to see it up close, let me tell you, it can energize and inspire.

President Barack Obama, Chicago, January 10, 2016

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trashee @ January 11, 2017

For those Canadians who think that the election of Trump is of no matter to us…

Posted in: crime, Politics, Ottawa | Comments (1)

… wake up. I have literally no patience for those people anymore. Zero.

He has emboldened racists everywhere. Even in my own backyard.

A Synagogue not far from where I live and even closer to my kid’s school was defiled with anti-Jewish and racist slop the other night. This Synagogue is a special place for many people who I know and call friends or colleagues.

I have set up tables for school events alongside these people, served with them on Parent Council. I respect them and they are part of my community.

And their children are my children’s’ friends. They play sports together… go to each others’ birthday parties.

I am angry. Really, really pissed off. And I am more determined than ever to do whatever I can to stop the spread of this filth perpetrated by beings that are lower than pond scum. It is the least I can do for my friends, colleagues and their families.

And if you care at all about our inclusive, tolerant and open communities, you too will speak out against this.

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trashee @ November 17, 2016

A fine capital project brought to you by the Government of Canada

Posted in: The US of A | Comments (4)

wordmark_bl_rd_rgb

  Request for Proposal (RFP)

Canada Wall Project

  Date: November 9, 2016

  aussi disponible en français

1.     Summary and Background

As a result of the change in government in the United States, the Government of Canada (GoC) finds it necessary to take unusual measures to protect its frontier with the U.S. from incursions by U.S. citizens who:

  • Espouse similar views to the new President-elect
  • Are members of the National Rifle Association
  • Are named “Newt”

To this end, the GoC is requesting Proposals from qualified Canadian firms to construct two (2) separate walls along its borders.

2.     Proposal Guidelines

This Request for Proposal represents the requirements for an open and competitive process. Proposals will be accepted until 11:59 pm EST January 31, 2017.  Any proposals received after this date and time will be returned to the sender.  All proposals must be signed by an official agent or representative of the company submitting the proposal.

If the organization submitting a proposal must outsource or contract any work to meet the requirements contained herein, this must be clearly stated in the proposal. Additionally, all costs included in proposals must be all-inclusive to include any outsourced or contracted work.  Any proposals which call for outsourcing or contracting work must include a name and description of the organizations being contracted.

All costs must be itemized to include an explanation of all fees and costs.

Contract terms and conditions will be negotiated upon selection of the winning bidder for this RFP. All contractual terms and conditions will be subject to review by Ace Consulting legal department and will include scope, budget, schedule, and other necessary items pertaining to the project.

3.     Project Purpose and Description

The purpose of this project is as follows:

To build a Wall to keep out undesirable U.S. citizens in order to prevent them from spreading their hate, misogynistic, gun-happy and racist ideas north of the border (or east, in the case of Alaska).

Project Description:

The Government of Canada is looking for interested and qualified parties to submit a comprehensive and costed proposal to build two walls – total length of 6,786 kilometre –  along the borders of Canada and the United States. One along its southern contiguous border and one along the border with the State of Alaska.

Specifications.

  1. Wall must be constructed of materials that are long lasting, sustainable and durable.
  2. Height – no less than 8 metres at any point along the length of the wall.
  3. Thickness – no less than 1 metre.
  4. Access points – one every 100 kilometres. Design of access points must include provisions for guard station and passport, visa and security check facilities.

 4.     Project Scope

The scope of this project includes all design, development, building and quality testing, of Canada’s new Wall.

The selected bidder will be responsible for planning and conducting a thorough environmental and hydrogeological study of the immediate area where the Wall will be located. However, the GoC is committed to carry forward with this project even if Red-tailed hawks and rare tortoises are found nesting on the sites. All easements from First Nation Communities, municipalities, utilities and private landowners have already been obtained by the GoC (given the reason for the Wall, this process was remarkable quick and simple). 

5.     Request for Proposal and Project Timeline

Key dates:

  1. RFPs must be received at the date above by 11:59 pm, January 31, EST
  2. RFPs will be assessed by April 1, 2017 and successful proposal submission will be announced the following day.
  3. Construction must begin by November 8, 2017 and must conclude by November 8, 2019

 6.     Budget

All proposals must include proposed costs to complete the tasks described in the project scope. Costs should be stated as one-time or non-recurring costs (NRC) or monthly recurring costs (MRC).

NOTE: All costs and fees must be clearly described in each proposal.

7.     Bidder Qualifications

Bidders should provide the following items as part of their proposal for consideration:

  • Description of experience in planning and building walls
  • List of how many full time, part time, and contractor staff in your organization
  • Examples of 3 or more major walls designed and built by your organization (IKEA folding walls do not count)
  • Testimonials from past clients wall building
  • Anticipated resources you will assign to this project (total number, role, title, experience with walls)
  • A full testing plan to ensure wall integrity
  • Timeframe for completion of the project

8.     Proposal Evaluation Criteria

The GoC will evaluate all proposals based on the following criteria. To ensure consideration for this Request for Proposal, your proposal should be complete and include all of the following criteria:

  • Overall proposal suitability: proposed solution(s) must meet the scope and needs included herein and be presented in a clear and organized manner
  • Organizational Experience: Bidders will be evaluated on their experience as it pertains to the scope of this project
  • Previous work: Bidders will be evaluated on examples of their work pertaining to web site design and hosting as well as client testimonials and references
  • Value and cost: Bidders will be evaluated on the cost of their solution(s) based on the work to be performed in accordance with the scope of this project
  • Technical expertise and experience: Bidders must provide descriptions and documentation of staff technical expertise and experience
  • Each bidder must submit 5 copies of their proposal to the address below by January 31, 2017, at 11:59 pm EST:

 

Public Works and Government Services Canada

Wall Procurement Branch

Attention – Wall RFP coordinating unit

21 Sparks Street, Ottawa, ON, K6H W0W

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trashee @ November 10, 2016

An election that Rod Serling would be frightened by…

Posted in: The US of A | Comments (1)

Seriously.

This past year or so has been something out of the Twilight Zone. So surreal and way beyond the bounds of imagination.

So today is the day, my dear neighbours to the south.  For the sane ones – don’t drop the ball on this one. get off your chesterfields (I think you call them “sofas”) and vote for the red team.

To the blue team supporters – the sane ones, anyways – suck it up and vote for Hilary or stay home.

To the GOP Trumpster whack-jobs: being beneath my contempt, I don’t even acknowledge you.

Bonne chance, America. The world is watching.

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trashee @ November 8, 2016

Had a weird dream last night…

Posted in: ottawa | Comments (0)

I haven’t posted for a while, but I had this weird dream last night that involved:

  • being attacked by a black bear and my gut was ripped open by it in a gravel pit
  • me killing the bear with my bare hands
  • both the bear and yours truly turning into zombies
  • but I was a good zombie and my wife stayed with me in this shelter until she bolted when the bad zombies started streaming in because she had promised to meet a friend for drinks
  • and the bear zombie defended me
  • but I was eaten anyways…

The was probably the weirdest thing I have experienced in a long time.

But then I saw the proposed changes to the Château Laurier, and my weird dream didn’t seem so “out there” anymore.

chateau-laurier-expansion-ottawa

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trashee @ September 15, 2016