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Recovering backpacker, Cornwallite at heart, political enthusiast, catalyst, writer, husband, father, community volunteer, unabashedly proud Canadian. Every hyperlink connects to something related directly or thematically to that which is highlighted.

Monday 28 November 2016

Hate isn't a Purifying Force - It's a Poison

Is it that bad?  Is that really what the alt-white fear?

Maybe it's just rhetoric, a line to draw attention.

“My strong suspicion is that it’s really not about the policy. It’s about controlling the conversation. What is everybody talking about?”

Just business; hit the button that gets the result you want, even if it means hurting someone else in the process.

It's like a boxing match, right?  When the bell tolls, the match is done, the competitors shake hands and go out for drinks.

Politics is a blood sport, they say.

Except it isn't.  It's not an arena, it's not entertainment - and winning isn't the end of the match.

That was the basic ideology behind Apartheid.  Apartheid, like any oppressive regime, isn't about sport, friendly competition, aggressive play.  It's about dominance, which is about suppression.

The political platform is part of the problem.  

It has fed the fears, stoked the angers, ignored some voices, picked fights.

Yes, there are latent issues, historical contexts, all the rest of it.  But we ended up where we are because we lacked leadership to see the path ahead and head in a different direction.

Tuesday 22 November 2016

New Playbook

I admire your resolve but I think you (pl.) could do with a new playbook.

On this, I agree.

Look at the basic framework - there is "us", and we're right, and there's them, not so much.  Why is that?  Why are they not as intuitive, fact-oriented, educated, etc. as we are?  Except for the ones we know are smart and educated and like as people, but you know - they're the exceptions.  They're playing the game, or - like a drunk uncle - they're good folk, but there's just that one thing about them that's problematic.

You can't get mad at someone like Trump for calling all Muslims terrorists or all Mexicans rapists without questioning that frame.  Except people do.  So what does that say about them?

From the other side of the equation, there is a similar thing happening - the other guys seem to be short-sighted, too caught up in their emotional rhetoric.  How can they possibly ignore the real danger to the masses of their policies and positions?  Ignoring A, embracing B, actively encouraging C which can't but lead to catastrophe.

A = the threat of immigrants, or the threat of climate change.
B = green tech or traditional fossil fuel
C = abuse of workers or crippling social programs

Lots of other options available, but you get the picture.

But we have facts, you say.  They don't have facts, they have rhetoric.  

Let's be honest - do we have the facts?  All the facts?  Who does an in-depth, academic-like study of anything to get the good and the bad?  The convenient or inconvenient facts?

Who tries to prove the other guy's argument, see it through their eyes, before responding?

We don't communicate - we message.  Facts are not seen as starting points, but as arrows in our quivers.

Society can't function if it's questioning everything, all the time - no more than it can by moving forward with nothing but untested ideas, nor relying on the status quo in a dynamic world.

But - if we question our assumptions, uproot and look at the evidence we hold to be indisputable, but know that there are risk and harm in the positioning of the other side, then who is right?  Where's the answer?

That's where we need to be right now.  Uncertainty, but not with fear, but a sense of the possible.

Wednesday 9 November 2016

Tuesday 27 September 2016

The Magician

Inline image 1The Magician Tarot card typically appears in a Tarot reading at a time in your life when you have the creative power and energy to create a new life cycle for yourself. You have the ability to take the power of the Universe and manifest your desires. The Magician Tarot card suggests that a situation has been (or soon will be) presented to you that has all the inherent components to allow the manifestation of your desires. Those desires may be spiritual (fire), physical (earth), emotional (water), or mental (air), and are each aligned with the four elements of the Tarot. You have the ability to make it happen!
With the Magician Tarot card, you are inspired to apply skill and initiative to accomplish all your goals. You have a strong desire to begin something new, to ‘do, act, or go forth’. A ‘can-do’ attitude and strong sense of optimism will dominate a new beginning and thus the decisions that you make will have positive results.
The Magician card sees you creating success in everything that you do. This is a Tarot card about manifesting your goals by utilising the skills, tools and resources that are available to you. The Magician suggests that you will come up with creative ways to solve problems and you will be able to use your existing knowledge and networks to arrive at solutions.
The Magician Tarot card is a good omen when you have a specific wish, when you begin a project involving creativity, or when you need to make a transformation of any kind. This is a great Tarot card for meditation when you need to call all the elements for help and wisdom.
The Magician Tarot card indicates that you can benefit from your creative forces if you can claim your power and act with awareness and concentration. This card is a signal to act consciously and act now provided you understand exactly what you want and are committed to getting it. You need to know what you are doing and why you are doing it. Be clear about your underlying motives and intentions.
The Magician is also a Tarot card of deep concentration on a specific task or activity. You need to be focused on a single goal or purpose at this time and you need to channel all of your energy, tools and resources towards this one goal. Commitment to the task is essential and as such, you will need to eliminate any distractions that will take your focus away from what you want to achieve.
The Magician shows that you are doing a great job at pulling together all of the skills, resources and tools that are available to you in order to bring about an outcome that suits you. You are keeping a very pragmatic head about you and you are trying to remain as objective and ‘can-do’ as possible, even if you are worried on the inside. Keep this up as it will help you to create as much success as possible. Keep thinking about what other skills and resources you can use and keep focused on the task at hand.

Wednesday 21 September 2016

Not in it for the Wynne - but for us

Kathleen Wynne has been down before. She always gets back up.

I personally think there's one simple reason why this is the case.

Winning isn't why Wynne is in politics. Fighting the system isn't why she's in politics either. She truly believes that we can do better, be stronger - and that together, we have the tools to make this happen.

She believes in the people. That's it.

I believe that cynics are optimists yearning for the confidence to have faith.

With authenticity, with empathy, with scrappiness and and an unwavering faith in us, Wynne will always be THAT voice, especially when we need it most.

Saturday 17 September 2016

Trump - Canary

Donald Trump is the last hope for America! The globalists have hijacked our country & now it is time to take it back! !

Bernie Sanders supporters kinda felt the same way, didn't they?

Whether it's economic elites, immigrants, or mainstream media, there are a ton of people who feel particularly left behind.

It's not hard to see why.

There's a way back from this cliff, but we're going to need more than  words from those in positions of power.

Wednesday 31 August 2016

The Card I Chose

I can live with this!

The Three of Wands indicates that your plans are now well underway and you are starting to consider even more opportunities to expand your current plans and maximise on the potential of your future. Everything is progressing steadily and as expected, thanks to your solid planning and ongoing motivation to persist.

The Three of Wands indicates opportunities to expand your horizons, through study, travel, business enterprise and learning. You need to become more aware of the opportunities that exist for you right now as there may be more than you are aware of. To best see and take advantage of them you must concentrate, cooperate and remain open-minded. You may be more aware that your best opportunities lie outside of your current environment, so it is time to think BIG. Consider what you can do to open doors for yourself and create more development and self-exploration opportunities. It also signifies the changes and challenges that are up ahead and that are associated with expanding your horizons and entering new territories. Given the man in this card can see far ahead of himself, then you are likely to already be aware of the upcoming changes and challenges and can prepare for them ahead of time.

Similarly, this card is also about embracing change and adopting a longer-term view. It indicates you are in a position of strength as you control what happens around you. Thus, this is a card of vision and foresight and looking for greater possibilities. You are being encouraged to become a visionary and to dream beyond your current limitations. Now is the time to accept your vision and be confident that you will achieve it. Move fearlessly into new areas. 

Given the expanse of the water in the card, the Three of Wands often depicts travel. This card encourages you to think big in terms of where you want to travel to and what you will discover along the way. This card sees you travelling over water to a far-away country, where you will then have the opportunity to fully develop yourself and learn many new things. I see this as a wonderful card of opportunity that encourages you to be bold and take this leap of faith to truly develop who you are.

Tina, The Spiritual Counselor's photo.

Friday 12 August 2016

Probably not an official Trump handle.  Probably won't see an official one denounce this.

The only thing Hillary can campaign on Being a woman

Thursday 4 August 2016

Trump Talks Turkey

Significant wording, this.  

Trump's clearly seeing that the tea leaves aren't reading in his favour.  Despite all his talk about winning so much, he could very well be about to lose big.

So, he's framing.  If he loses, it won't be that the American people rejected him, but that the election was rigged.  How else could he lose when he's clearly the best, smartest, longest-fingered dude with the most sacrifice/success/hot women on the planet?

It's his victory, period - and if he doesn't win, well, someone had to have taken that victory from him, right?

So here's the big concern that has to be on Homeland Security's mind.  Let's say Trump tells his supporters that the election was stolen from him using some of the rhetoric he's used in the past.  Maybe he doesn't tell them to fight back against the system and put him in power - but maybe he just says some things that, when each word is connected to the next, kind of insinuate that.

Trump has a lot of angry, gun-owning people in his base.  There are white supremacists and other bigots who see this as their moment and might be just as angry to see it taken from them.

Remember that failed coup in Turkey?

We know who could trump that.

Wednesday 6 July 2016

Complexity, Discomfort and Plato's Paradigm Shift

How many people care or think at all about "what kind of person they want to be" vs what they want to have?

The number one piece of advice given to people looking for work or starting a new business or whatever is "find your value proposition, target market and sell, sell, sell." I see this all the time - people develop their narrative, build brand, and then spend the rest of their work lives selling the same thing over and over, with as little variance as possible so as to minimize effort/maximize profit.

The goal is to get - money, property, status, position, etc. The "kind of person they want to be" is the one that has enough of that stuff, or more than the next person.

And so we fight change. We fight changes to the social models that help us get what we want - or, if we're in the growing "can't access" column, we fight against that status quo with increasing tenacity and aggressive tactics.

When it's at the societal level, though, it's about more than just discomfort and "being what we want to be" - it's about sustainability.

Nobody wants to look at this picture from a systems level, though. It's too hard and too boring to weigh multiple factors, perspectives and temporal pieces all together.

Complexity makes us uncomfortable, don't you know.

Thursday 9 June 2016

Priorities in Context

Why on earth would swim times matter?  Why would anything about the rapist matter?

Swim times are a measurement of performance, of individual, competitive success.  This is what we judge people by - their ability to perform, to compete, to get ahead of others.  

This is the kind of success we say matters.  It's the kind of success we encourage.  Work hard, train hard, fight hard, know what you want and get it.  Get to yes, always be closing.  If you're not tough enough, aggressive enough, then you are a failure.  No one wants to hire you.  No one wants to care about you.

It's the lesson everyone who puts people before profit gets told, again and again and again.  You don't make money because you don't demand it.  You're not selling yourself enough, you're not pushing hard enough.  

Your swimming times aren't fast enough for anyone to care about you, and that's all they care about - not what you do, what you're willing and able to do to succeed.

Of course, this doesn't mean rape.  Apples and oranges, right?  Rape might be about power and dominance, about aggressively asserting yourself over someone else and taking what you want, but that's not the self-first, sell-hard, always-be-closing lessons meant to be about.

Yet the swim times get mentioned, don't they?  They always do.

It's a bit like getting mad about war, but selling weapons anyway.  Clearly, the provision of weapons is in no way shape or form connected to the use of weapons, right?

Tuesday 7 June 2016


Settlement services in Canada are great.  Just ask them.  The policy and plans that guide them are equally perfect - just ask the government.

The risk of this happening is clearly not evident in this.  That's stretching things.

Besides, everyone is doing research - the lay of the land is clear, thank you very much. Methodologies aren't broken, or people wouldn't keep using them.

To this point Mark expressed concern that CIC lacked transparency in these decisions and implemented the caps on sponsorship with little consultation with the individuals and groups the decisions would impact. 

Thursday 2 June 2016

Let Them Eat Condos!

Not too hard to read between the lines here.

More people are struggling to buy exorbitantly-priced homes.  The basic dream of settling in a house, having a family, having a garden or a garage to putter in - that's increasingly out of reach for many, especially younger professionals.

They want what their parents had, what their grandparents had, what they may have experienced in their youth - an owned home and the security and flexibility that comes with it.

There are less well-paying jobs, much less job-security, is getting harder to come by in Canada, especially in big cities like Toronto.  You ran hustle twice as hard, work twice as much as the previous generation and still fall behind the home-ownership dream.  

It's very frustrating.  

Especially when youth are told that they simply need to "get over" the fact that the world is different than it was for their parents, and that expectations about security and ownership and all of that need to adapt.  "Accept that you're going to get less for more," the line seems to be - "so we can reduce the risk to the financial system."

Which feels a bit like a pollster blaming the people for poor results, not their methodology.

Is it smart long-term strategy to make it harder for people to settle down and start making investments in their future - like houses, or cars, or kids, or their theoretical kids; education?  

Especially when the people making these tough choices on behalf of the under-resourced have no financial pressures of their own, because holding the levers of the wealth of others pays pretty decently?

Where are the commiserate pressure on employers, on VC, on grantors?  What's the lateral repercussion in terms of money spent, productivity decreased, innovation lost, health costs increased?

The pressures being placed on the "middle class" and the growing percentage of those below it doesn't make them more competitive - it makes them more frustrated, concerned, and irrational.

All of this is a very short-term strategy creating more problems than it is solving.  You can't reduce gains, increase pressures, increase time commitments, place dreams further out of reach or tell people to stop even hoping they can acquire what you have, because that isn't the way the world works.

There are clear consequences when you do.

Tuesday 31 May 2016

I'd Tweak Warren's #9

Ideas?  Absolutely.

From the leader, though?  From the backroom folk?  That's not really the conservative brand, is it? That brand is about avoiding the nanny state and giving agency to Canadians proper, isn't it?

Trudeau is a likeable leader, a strong presence, and - if the Tories frame him the right way - a bit of an autocrat.  

The way to counter this, carve out turf and actually do right by the country isn't to have a Britannica of ideas to sell the nation, but to develop a Wikiplatform where Canadians can express their own hopes and dreams, challenge each other's narratives, explore options and then map everything out to see where their are gaps to be addressed.

Happens to tie into one of the Harper government's narratives, too, and could help reframe some of Canada's concerns about that era.

Just sayin'...

Wednesday 25 May 2016

God's Starship

There is a beautiful hadith sharrif saying "when my servant fixes what's between Me and him, I will fix everything between him and the rest of creation."

An observant Muslim friend of mine and I have an ongoing discussion about religion, traditions and why a God would have need of veneration.

I maintain that the rituals and practices of religions - everything from cleansing rituals to the giving of thanks to the following of commandments - are of clear benefit to humans.   

You clean before you eat so as not to get sick.  The giving of thanks is the earliest form of CBT; days of rest are mandated holidays where people can charge their batteries.  Commandments and such are like any law - designed for the good of the commons.  A driver may talk on his phone while driving and ignore a stop sign and kill a pedestrian, oops - if they aren't mindful.  And we do tend to be mindful of consequence.

It's not always easy for parents to explain the complex, long-term benefit (or harm-reduction) of some activities; ultimately, the best parents lead by example and nurture a relationship whereby the child, or the pupil, exchanges compliance for recognition.  The beneficial act is given to make the parent or teacher proud before it is recognized how that the act helps the learner grow into their own.

For their part, the parent, the teacher or the leader is the true servant, giving of themselves to an individual for something greater than themselves.

Moon shots bring people together - they are magnetic attractors, the visionaries behind them stones in the soup.  The best ones recognize that the leader and the vision are all really about just one thing - bringing people together on common ground, and providing them a direction.

God doesn't need homage.  Allah doesn't need a starship.  

Humans do, though - both as vessel for the journey and home for a community.

Therein lies the secret.

Sunlight fell upon the wall; the wall received a borrowed splendor. Why set your heart on a piece of earth, O simple one? Seek out the source which shines forever. 
- Rumi

Thursday 5 May 2016

Had Mark Steyn Lived in 1885...

... he probably would have written stuff like this.

The paranoid mind (and the seeker of attention) will always have zombies and conspiracies to rail against.  

 . . . It is a notorious fact that the Monarchs of Europe and the Pope of Rome are at this very moment plotting our destruction and threatening the extinction of our political, civil, and religious institutions. We have the best reasons for believing that corruption has found its way into our Executive Chamber, and that our Executive head is tainted with the infectious venom of Catholicism. . . . The Pope has recently sent his ambassador of state to this country on a secret commission, the effect of which is an extraordinary boldness of the Catholic church throughout the United States. . . . These minions of the Pope are boldly insulting our Senators; reprimanding our Statesmen; propagating the adulterous union of Church and State; abusing with foul calumny all governments but Catholic, and spewing out the bitterest execrations on all Protestantism. The Catholics in the United States receive from abroad more than $200,000 annually for the propagation of their creed. Add to this the vast revenues collected here. . . .

Leading on Inappropriate Touching

The article itself is more about transparency and accountability - you can read it for Ferguson's take.

What I find myself most fascinated by is the culture, ethics and human economics around physical contact.  When is it good, when is it bad?  What are universal standards? What tips and tricks are there for quickly assessing individual contexts?

Good leaders do a lot of physical contact - the two-handed shake, the hand on the shoulder, and for good reason; that kind of contact, in most cases, produces oxytocin.  The laying on of hands actually makes a person's chemistry change for the better.  Many leaders, consciously or unconsciously, use physical contact as a way of creating a gravitational pull with their audience.  

It's a powerful communication tool; I recently met and chatted with an internationally recognized young leader in millennial entrepreneurship - a petite Asian woman by appearance, but a strong presence in any room.  The conversation involved a ton of contact - she literally put her hand on my chest when speaking about me and whatever impact I have, and held my hand when the person that introduced us talked about similarities between us and why we should have a follow-up chat (that never happened).  All this could have been inappropriate, and certainly would have been had I been the instigator, but in this case it was part of her power.  

Does this woman do the same thing when speaking with other women?  If there is a gender-based difference on her approach, does that imply some form of inappropriateness, or is an altered approach an acceptable thing?

I have two friends with anxiety order; one also has ADHD, the other has depression.  When the friend with ADHD has an anxiety attack, physical contact of any kind is a terrible idea; what is meant to be a gesture of affectionate assurance comes across as an assault, producing cortisol instead of oxytocin. With the other friend, a reassuring hug is exactly what she's looking for; the comfort reduces the discomfort and helps create the feeling that things will be okay.

Two different people, both women, completely different responses.

Then, there's introductions.  If I'm introducing a friend to a group, contact is almost always involved - but do I do it differently for different genders?  Do I put a hand on the shoulder for a guy, on the back for a gal?  Maybe.  Maybe it's instinctive, or maybe it's an underlying inappropriateness that I need to explore.

There can easily be a masking of intent, even internally; what we tell ourselves is our rationale and what our actual rationale are don't always align.  This is different from clear and deliberate inappropriate touching as an assertion of authority or simply copping a feel.

And as I read more and more stories about what women suffer through on a daily basis, I am recognizing a whole layer of societal behaviour that is as offensive as carding and as problematic as wheelchair-unfriendly societal infrastructure.

Having and enforcing a clear code of conduct is key; in such circumstances, it's better to err on the side of caution, maybe establish comfort zones with intentionality so everyone is on the same page.

At the same time, there's an incredible opportunity in all this for individuals to take a look at themselves, their intent and perceptions and explore more of this social-emotional stuff that we humans tend to do poorly.

It's new ground, though long overdue.

Thursday 28 April 2016

In Light of the Seven

Faith of the Seven

The Father

The Mother - Dany?

The Maiden

The Crone - Melisandre

The Warrior

The Smith

The Stranger


Twice a year, a few folk selected by the PM and his team from a selective and partisan group retreat from the world together and chat about the interconnectivity of issues and broader partisan/government strategy.

Let that think in for a second.

There's a better way to do this; a hub-and-spoke model of civic engagement that better suits our current circumstances than a model of governance that predates the industrial revolution, much less the post-industrial world.