Excited Delirium

Stories about Excited Delirium, the Shock Economy and a little fiction here and there.

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Should our police forces take a pledge to end bullying?

School boards across Ontario are in the right by trying to address school yard bullying, but what are we doing to reign in bullying with our police forces and federal politicians?

What’s the point of teaching kids to be mature and sensible and to do their best to avoid conflict when our police ‘kettle’ innocent protesters and our Prime Minister is picking fights with several countries?

So, OPP, other police forces, Prime Minister of Canada:  take the pledge.  Promise to negotiate before resorting to expensive taxpayer-funded weapons of mass destruction.  Promise to respect the rights of the Citizens of Canada by respecting their right to peaceful public protest.

Take the Pledge.

CASL Sucks – My Solution to Spam & Mass Marketing Calls

Think about how many times you’ve received calls about the following:

  • Issues with your Microsoft security
  • Duct cleaning
  • Credit card opportunities from your very own card service, CRDNNN uh NRC uh CRC

The CRTC and CASL have been useless when it comes to stopping them.  Asking people in countries outside Canada to never call you again falls on deaf ears. Making complaints to our regulatory bodies is a complete waste of time.

CASL as it turns out was a complete waste for everyone in Canada as it only applied to Canadians and Canadian companies.  It is largely unenforceable on a global scale so is a complete fail on the part of policy makers when it comes to understanding the intricacies of communication on a global scale.

In Canada, the main perpetrator of spam and mass marketing calls are our phone companies and Internet service providers that sell our phone numbers to bulk calling companies, but it may also be something as simple as moderately complex technological and database-driven ‘scraping’ tools that allow fraudsters to collect our personal information.

The latter issue is unenforceable, but any Canadian company should be banned from selling personal or account-related data to third parties without our express permission.  In other words, these practices must be made illegal.

Also, all of these calls come from somewhere, most likely somewhere in Asian-Pacific countries like India, Malaysia and so on.

I would like to say that I’m more enlightened and global in my social circle, but I NEVER make calls to these countries and I do NOT receive ‘normal’ calls from these countries.

With that in mind, there is a rather elegant and simple solution to this massive problem and annoyance:  I should be able to contact my technology or phone company and tell them that I do not want to receive messages from any country other than from a list that I indicate is ‘safe’.

This is a simple, tidy solution that our governments need to force on our media companies and tech providers.  We block content from the US and elsewhere on a regular basis to ‘protect’ our Canadian content (a bullshit issue I can get into another time, but won’t here) or ‘parental blockers’ to protect our kids from porn (even though we don’t seem to need to block them from being brainwashed by security industry funded movies like ‘Ironman’).

Why can’t we block ‘content’ when it’s unwanted?

If we don’t, fraud will escalate in this country on an exponential scale as unsuspecting citizens fall prey to a growing plague of scams.

Elon Musk is My Hero

Story here:  http://www.pcworld.com/article/2846132/spacex-working-on-microsatellites-for-internet-access.html

Elon Musk.  Inventor, venture capitalist, entrepreneur.

My hero.

Elon Musk is a true man of the world:  born to Canadian-English parents in South Africa, he’s now an American resident and occasional cameo expert in Hollywood movies that has brought us the following:

  • Zip2, a competitor to CitySearch
  • X.com and PayPal:  financial gateways that we all use today
  • Tesla Motors, one of the first car companies in North America to truly focus on battery-operated vehicles
  • SolarCity, the largest solar power operator in the US representing a massive effort to bring affordable solar energy to the United States
  • SpaceX, his private space exploration program

After all he’s done, it’s the last activity that’s truly grabbed my attention and has quickly vaulted him to the top of my list of true heroes when the world needs one.

Seriously.

Elon Musk is going to leverage SpaceX to launch a micro-satellite program that will deliver the Internet on a global scale on a “free and unfettered Internet access for the masses”.

The mainstream media seemed to miss this opportunity to sing similar praises, mainly because they’re crapping their pants.  We now have one of the world’s most daring and innovative entrepreneurs about to become one of the world’s biggest and newest media and internet services companies, literally overnight.

Elon Musk is living proof that anything is possible.

War: For Wankers, Bankers and Tankers

I celebrate peace on Remembrance Day.  I do not glorify war.

I respect the lives lost for our benefit and will not expand on this discussion, but for today’s bit about Remembrance Day, I want to remind all of you that I personally feel that War(TM) is brought to us by Wankers, Bankers and Tankers.

In other words, Wankers are those that are incapable of finding a solution other than bombing houses of civilians and bystanders.  They are those that are incapable of negotiation, tact, a sense of decency and respect for the lives of our children.  They want one thing:  endless war.  It may be a war on ‘terrorists’, ISIS or other made up enemies or it may even be a war on the people the brought them to power, with the end of civil liberties and privacy.

Bankers are those that are all too happy to line up and help the Wankers push our countries deep into debt because of their inept abilities as leaders.  They allow greed to trump life when it comes to financing Wankers.  They look at war as an opportunity to enslave governments with endless piles of debt and IOUs.

Tankers are those that mindlessly produce weapons of mass destruction.  For centuries now, this enterprise has been passed to private businesses, many of which are now publicly listed for all of us to profit on as we supply an endless parade of bombs, grenades, planes, tanks and other tools of destruction to allies and enemies alike.

Wankers, Bankers and Tankers keep a tight circle.  They fund each other, ensure Wankers are always in charge and keep the cash flow going.

I would bore you with statistics and charts showing the exponential growth in purchase of weapons, issuance of debt and declarations of war since the beginning of the 20th century, but I think it’s safe to say it’s too much.

And who pays for this cycle?

We do.  We are the enablers.

Taxes, fees, levies and other costs paid to our governments make this cycle happen and we need to break this cycle.

On this Remembrance Day, think about why we allow our governments, financial institutions and industry to continue to destroy the lives of millions around the globe.

And as the months pass and you actually decide it’s time to take action to break the cycle, stop being an enabler and consider filing a Peace Tax Return, via Conscience Canada.

The dividends may be your life, your child’s life or, dare I say, Peace on Earth.

An Easy Solution for Climate Change

The UN has made a more dire announcement than ever that will likely go unnoticed a few days from now.

‘We told you so’ will hardly make up for our collective lack of action.

That said, if the UN and our governments actually decide that they want to do something to save our planet, the answer is really quite simple:  we all agree that we will STOP allowing companies and individuals around the world from deducting anything related to fossil fuels as expenses when we do our taxes.

I run a small business.  I do a lot of driving.  Every year, my fuel bill has been increasing, but I’m the classic ‘boiling frog’.  I don’t do anything different because taking action in the short term seems more financially onerous than doing what I’m doing.

I then deduct about $3000 worth of gas expense from my tax bill.  It’s not a big deal, but I’m a small business.  What would this expense be like for, I don’t know, say a trucking company?  Or airline?

If we alter the rules by which everyone has to play, everyone will stop using fossil fuels.

Go a step further:  make investments in renewable energy and other alternatives more financially attractive.

Not bloody likely?

The UN has to walk the walk.  They can’t just tell us we’re bad and then not take ownership of the issue.

The UN oversees or at least holds moral suasion over a number of bodies that could help it implement such an initiative:  the World Trade Organization (WTO), the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and even the accounting body known as the General Agreement on Accounting Principles (GAAP) that dictates accounting standards, particularly those related to deductions and treatment of expenses.

Anything is possible if we all commit to doing it at the same.

Call it the Big Leap Forward.  If we don’t, it’ll be the Slow Painful Death.

Please Vote Today

Many people say – and I agree completely – that the municipal vote is both the most important and, in many instances, the most boring as well.

It’s the most important because municipal politics influence and control most of our daily activities, be they road construction, development, planning, real estate activity and value, traffic controls, trustees for education boards and so on.

It’s also really boring because campaigns aren’t glitzed up with promises about slashing taxes or elaborate spending schemes.  Well, Toronto is an outlier in this respect, given the subway plans that are required for this town (yes, I just said that), but most voters in municipal elections are confronted with worries like flouride & pesticide bans, parking fees and other seemingly trivial issues.

However, the KEY issue in all municipal politics are traffic and planning.  Cities are no longer being planned, they’re being built without thought.

Today, be sure to vote for someone that will do everything they can to avoid turning your municipality into another Detroit.  Endless sprawl must end and find the right person who is committed to delivering the best bang for the buck by intensification.

And please, for the love of the creator(s), DO NOT vote for someone that promises to run public office like a business.

VOTE.

Ottawa

Today in Ottawa.

The Cons brought this on Canada.

George Bush may have converted 9/11 into a heroic moment which saved his profile – for a short time – but I can’t help thinking that events in Ottawa today are a direct result of the horrifying and misdirected politics of the Stephen Harper Conservatives.

Whether it’s a couple of gun nuts blasting away at the public, blow-back from the radicalized Canadians (assuming such a beast hasn’t been manufactured by the MIC) or massive incompetence on the part of our security establishment as a result of spying on Canadians and environmental groups, it’s more clear than ever that the Cons are firmly on the wrong side of history after today.

I am disgusted with where this government has taken Canada and the rest of Canada should be as well.

The Harper government has invited attack on our soil because of their misguided political agendas.

This is a sad day for Canada.

The greatest fear I have is not gun toting criminals or terrorists, but that Harper will quickly leverage this to his advantage to eliminate any of the few freedoms that we have left.  He will continue his crusade and make Canada an even uglier face in the world of politics.

When it all goes down, who does Harper call?  Benjamin Netanyahu, like he’s the frickin’ boss of Harper.

Much like 9/11 shielded Donald Rumsfeld’s disclosure of truth about Pentagon spending, today’s attacks in Ottawa will prevent anyone from questioning Harper’s new legislation that will put us all in a permanent state of lock-down.

It is a sad, sad day and my kids will one day ask why we did nothing to prevent it from happening.

Ottawa Shooting

What a sad day.

Ottawa’s in lockdown.  It’ll probably never truly recover from lockdown.

My immediate concerns are for friends and family in the area.  I hope they’re all safe at home and comforting each other.

If you haven’t heard, Ottawa was ‘under attack’ by an unknown number of gun men earlier this morning.

For updates, I’m following Twitter:

  • #ottawa
  • #ottawashooting
  • #prayforottawa

There’s so much to say and ask, but that will happen in time.

On Empty Campaign Promises

Democracy is brilliant.  Unfortunately, people are stupid.

Why else in the run up to the municipal elections would there even be a ‘debate’ concerning specific candidates?

I loathe the expressions that libertarian types use when running for election:

  • I’ll stop the gravy train
  • Zero budget increases for 4 years
  • Run the town like a business

But people still flock to their sides, pledging support and damning those that suggest public office should be run by professionally trained public officials.

I don’t mind a professional approach to things.  In fact, maybe that’s the ‘between the lines’ suggestion from candidates that pledge to stop gravy trains – candidates that don’t take this approach are pathetic, communist slobs?

When you pledge to run a city like a business, do you know how many people you’re insulting?  Are PEOPLE from other types of organizations not invited to the table?  What about non-profits and charities?  Firemen and police services?  Planners and city workers?  Other organizations that don’t fit into your square hole?

Are they not professional?  Do they not focus on their jobs with care and pride?  Or are you simply trying to suggest that as a business, you’re ready to play favourites, enter the grey zone of regulations using public funds, cater to the highest bidder but not necessarily the best provider and sell off anything that doesn’t turn a profit?  Or even lose money, like some of the world’s largest corporations have in the past?

Or will you be corrupt and vile, like some of the greatest corporate disasters in our history like Enron, WorldCom, the dotcom boom/bust and bankers, all of whom have robbed the average citizens of trillions of dollars in personal savings and real estate?

And how will you be accountable to your stakeholders, the voters?  Will your first act be one to introduce recall, an important way for the public to remove someone from office once they prove to be inept?  How do we fire you if you’re incompetent?

We can’t.

And that’s why public office cannot be run like a business.  You have to be experienced, accountable, equitable and yes, bureaucratic.

The good news is that you’re only one vote of many.

C’mon people:  put your emotion and libertarian sentiments aside for a few minutes and use the brain you were born with.  When you vote next week, please consider experience, knowledge and look at the people that are endorsing the candidates.

Municipal Vote Thoughts: Don’t Promise to Run a City Like a Business!

A City is NOT a business.

Period.

The people that use the ‘I’ll run it like a business’ mantra have run too many businesses (probably into the ground or not in Canada) to understand and appreciate that not everyone thinks and acts like a ‘businessperson’.

It’s true.

There are bureaucrats.  These pockets of people who make our governments work have acquired such a negative tone as a result of decades of right-wing politicians and lobbyists attacking them, but they have an armada of endearing qualities that I actually admire.  They are patient, knowledgeable, usually helpful (especially when you treat them like decent human beings), connected, grounded, responsible and passionate about public services.

There are social workers.  There are teachers and educators.

There are employees of the public services, including a diverse range of talents and demands, like police, health unit workers, firemen (and women), garbage collectors (those that haven’t been privatized).

There are city planners and developers that must account for different situations that a typical ‘business’ environment may not allow.

In my experience, none or few of these people respond well to the authoritarian and controlling dictates of the business-person mindset.  In fact, they have chosen their vocations specifically because they do NOT want to work for a large corporation.  For those of you who have worked in ‘businesses’ let me remind you that it ain’t pretty at the best of times, so I hope you appreciate what I’m saying.

Corporations are simply reflections of people, usually very bad people.  As people rise to the top, corporations tend to start to reflect the absolute worst traits that humanity has to offer.  Greed.  Control.  Authority.  Inflexibility.  Manipulation.  Reckless regard for the world around us.  Limited Liability.  Those that engage in charities only do so because they calculate the marketing benefit to it.  If they do otherwise, they’re not a good business.

With this in mind, why the hell would I ever vote for someone that promises to run a City (or Province or Country) like a business?

I’ve had enough of this rhetoric and will ask the simple questions:

  • What is your public service experience?
  • What is your public service education or training?
  • Describe the different types of groups that you work with and your thoughts on working with unique groups of people.

If you don’t have public experience, you really shouldn’t be running for public office.  It’s that simple.