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2008 US Election


Mont Royale
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You're right that this gets done more often than not - as a matter of fact I find that you usually have little chance to be awarded a project based on a RFP if you were not involved previously during pilot projects, RFIs, etc - however it is not necessarily always because of corrupt practices, bribes or anything like that. Large compagnies as well as ministries usually spend a lot of time working on pilot projects, testing solutions, and working on specifications before they enter the RFP process, they usually know exactly what they want, and more importantly they do not want to get stuck with some inferior cheaper solution that hey know nothing about.

This happened to us last year with a Ministry, they wanted to work with us, but some cheap toolkit solution won the RFP by about 10K (out of a lot more). So they wasted months of time and money trying to get that piece of junk software to work, until they they kicked out that lowest bidder. Then they called me to see if our bid was still valid, I met with them, we imlpemented the solution, and they're now very happy. To resume, they lost a LOT of money because they were forced to select the bidder who was a lousy $10,000 lower even though our solution was by far superior (for example our proof of concept took a few hours while the other company's lasted 3 days)...

Here's the way we see typically see it go down(but there are obviously variations):

We work with a customer, any customer, not just government.

Product is specified.

RFP goes out.

Contractors carry a really tight number to win the job.

Contractor gets awarded the project

Contractor trys to substitute the base spec with "equivalent" material

Engineer refuses

Contractor finds errors by the engineer within the project...

Engineer doesn't want to "eat" the cost of the errors, or they "owe" the contractor from a previous error, so they approve the substitution to help cover the cost of fixing other issues.

So, the customer, who MAY get a SMALL credit for the substituted product will never see the FULL credit and thus OVERPAYS for an inferior product. If it was specified with the inferior product the customer would have at least saved on the initial cost...now they lose there and over the total life cycle cost.

This is the most common reason for crappy work by contractors on any project...people don't question the "or equal" enough.

The "cash allowance" spec allows for the consultant to provide a detailed cost/benefit analysis upfront. Most consultants just don't want to do this because it's time consuming and additional responsibility. Also, consultants themselves are "bidding" for their portion of the job and THEY TOO are bidding jobs low to get the consulting contract...lol

So, selecting the person closest to the average bid and using cash allowance specs are the best of all worlds. They eliminate a lot of commoditization, encourage people to use current technologies(and thus drive innovation), would lead to lower total costs of ownership, and cut down on potential for systemic abuse/corruption.

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Then move to Germany.

Everone helped in the WW2 i am aware of that. America has done more to protect countries then any other country in history. Many coutries use the US as allies for protection, Canada included.

Canada uses the US for protection? Really? When has anyone ever tried to attack Canada?

I suppose you could say that our proximity affords Canada SOME "protection"...but the geography is what it is...

I think if you believe that Canada is only allies with the US for "protection" then you really need to figure some shit out. JMHO.

It's pretty clear that Canada and the US are allies for a great many other reasons.

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Same can be said about space programs. Fact is, innovation comes from motivating the most brilliant minds to pursue a specific field of research. Geniuses and scientists are like the rest of us, they're more motivated when there's money around, ie. salaries and research budgets.

If the money is put in the military, then that's where the innovations will come from. But put that money in another field, say environmentalism (make stricter anti-pollution laws on both the supply and demand side) and voilà, you've just made people and companies customers of environmental innovations.

Would be much smarter too. To date, the Iraq War has costed 570 billion dollars, and it's costing 1k more every second. Iraq's oil field is estimated at around 400 billions barrels. If you average (with inflation) the cost of a barrel at 25$, and production costs at 1.5$/barrel, and other expenditures, you get something like 44 billions profits per year. Meaning it'd take 12 years to recoup the costs of 6 years of war. That's a mighty pricy oil-grab dont you think?

If that half a trillion would have been concentrated on finding an alternative to oil (either through a new source of energy or new motor technology), you can bet your ass we'd have real results and progress right now.

Fact of the matter is: this is 2008. Conventional militaro-geo-politics based on armament (deterrent & etc.) capabilities is simply an obsolete matrix of analysis. Lot of people -- mostly right-wing social conservatives -- are still following that old Cold War model.

This era we live in is much more akin to the post-Carolingian Empire High Middle Ages (13th century and on), where things were blurred and in great motion. Back then the true power wasn't in military anymore, but in the newly expanding urban centers, the science & technology innovations, the creation of institutions like Universities, and the newly created, inter-national trade associations.

I agree, innovation comes where money is spent. There are very few market segments that have the funding to match the space program or military(which is often tied to the space program now). Genuises and Scientists have, over history, often shown a complete INABILITY to market products or create products in a manner the public can find useful...see Bill Gates buying DOS, Edison buying the light bulb patent (not many know that), it's a LONG list of smart marketing types who took other people innovations and took them to another level. Innovators typically can't run a business, can't come up with funding, can't sell the products, don't know what people actually want/value. They need a large market that is well funded directing their initiatives. The military and space programs have provided that since they are government entities. Sometimes the private sector can create enough demand to drive something, environmentalism is probably the current driver. Computers were one. Electric Light was one. But the space and military programs are always there...and we wouldn't have microwaves, cells, velcro, heat pipes, and hundreds of other innovations without those industries developing the base technologies...

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Canada uses the US for protection? Really? When has anyone ever tried to attack Canada?

I suppose you could say that our proximity affords Canada SOME "protection"...but the geography is what it is...

I think if you believe that Canada is only allies with the US for "protection" then you really need to figure some shit out. JMHO.

It's pretty clear that Canada and the US are allies for a great many other reasons.

I don't believe Chris said we're allies "just" for protection - but that's certainly a benefit to us. It's allowed us to keep our military spending at maintenance levels (if that) - and allowed some of us a holier-than-thou attitude on use of military power (not directed at you).

When has anyone ever tried to attack Canada? They haven't - that's the point. The U.S. deterrent is enough. If the U.S. wasn't around, I wonder if anyone would be interested in a industrially-advanced, resource-rich land with poor defences. Hmmm. :rolleyes:

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I don't believe Chris said we're allies "just" for protection - but that's certainly a benefit to us. It's allowed us to keep our military spending at maintenance levels (if that) - and allowed some of us a holier-than-thou attitude on use of military power (not directed at you).

When has anyone ever tried to attack Canada? They haven't - that's the point. The U.S. deterrent is enough. If the U.S. wasn't around, I wonder if anyone would be interested in a industrially-advanced, resource-rich land with poor defences. Hmmm. :rolleyes:

Ugh...

That so-called "US deterrent side effect" is a myth more than anything else.

The Ruskies were frequent visitors of the Northern-most shores of Canada. They'd get off, walk around and go back home because they realized that basically most of the country is an inhabited tundra wasteland, not because of some US "deterrent". But you could also look at it the other way and say that the US didnt deter the USSR to "violate" Canadian soil.

The Canadian military is still mostly unable to enforce its sovereignty in the Artic circle. So much for the US' deterrent capabilities helping us, uh? But still, we're unharmed because what nation would be crazy enough to invade Canada? Russia? Russia met its Waterloo in Afghanistan, they're in enough trouble with their ex-provinces. China? Dont you think they'd try places closer to home, say Japan or Korea? Canada isnt exactly the easiest land to invade. It's vast, goes coast to coast and has a tough, harsh climate. In that regard, it's pretty much similar to Russia and both Napoleon and Hitler failed to grab Russia.

If anything, the biggest invasion threat to Canada is the USA. The US military even had a plan for that back in 1935.

Poor defenses... We already have poor defenses yet we're not threatened by anyone. We dont have enemies because we didnt make any. That's the first and foremost reason we're at peace. Of course it helps to have the USA on our side, like it helps to have the UK and France and Portugal and Italy you know, the NATO nations. Also helps to be part of the G8.

Do I believe in the necessity of military spending? Yes, of course. I never argued against a reasonable minimum defense. I dont believe in an utopia, anyone with half a brain can make that distinction. I believe Canada should have a primary role in anything that has to do with the UN Peacekeepers. We invented the damn thing and we cant even be good at it because we lack the resources. I also believe Canada should be able to assert its sovereignty in the Artic. A couple of boats wouldnt hurt there. At worst, they could also be used to sink all those damn japanese whalers in the Pacific.

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Ugh...

That so-called "US deterrent side effect" is a myth more than anything else.

The Ruskies were frequent visitors of the Northern-most shores of Canada. They'd get off, walk around and go back home because they realized that basically most of the country is an inhabited tundra wasteland, not because of some US "deterrent". But you could also look at it the other way and say that the US didnt deter the USSR to "violate" Canadian soil.

The Canadian military is still mostly unable to enforce its sovereignty in the Artic circle. So much for the US' deterrent capabilities helping us, uh? But still, we're unharmed because what nation would be crazy enough to invade Canada? Russia? Russia met its Waterloo in Afghanistan, they're in enough trouble with their ex-provinces. China? Dont you think they'd try places closer to home, say Japan or Korea? Canada isnt exactly the easiest land to invade. It's vast, goes coast to coast and has a tough, harsh climate. In that regard, it's pretty much similar to Russia and both Napoleon and Hitler failed to grab Russia.

If anything, the biggest invasion threat to Canada is the USA. The US military even had a plan for that back in 1935.

Poor defenses... We already have poor defenses yet we're not threatened by anyone. We dont have enemies because we didnt make any. That's the first and foremost reason we're at peace. Of course it helps to have the USA on our side, like it helps to have the UK and France and Portugal and Italy you know, the NATO nations. Also helps to be part of the G8.

Do I believe in the necessity of military spending? Yes, of course. I never argued against a reasonable minimum defense. I dont believe in an utopia, anyone with half a brain can make that distinction. I believe Canada should have a primary role in anything that has to do with the UN Peacekeepers. We invented the damn thing and we cant even be good at it because we lack the resources. I also believe Canada should be able to assert its sovereignty in the Artic. A couple of boats wouldnt hurt there. At worst, they could also be used to sink all those damn japanese whalers in the Pacific.

Myth? Really? I think you are letting an anti-American bias affect your reasoning. I'm not the biggest US fan either, but I try to be a realist.

To be clear, when I speak of a deterrent effect, I'm not talking about deterring someone from doing some unauthorized snowshoeing in the Arctic. And although you can cross various countries off the list as having potential to attack Canada at this time, it hasn't always been the case. Would we have been attacked by the Soviets in, say, the 60s if there was an similarly impotent country to our south? Would Japanese aggression found its way to Canada after they were done island-hopping in the 1940s? There were fears of both occurring during those times, and that was with the U.S. there. These possibilities can't be ruled out, although obviously it's purely hypothetical and the absence of the U.S. as a great power would have had unknown impact on the whole geopolitical system.

Fact is, attacking Canada is attacking the U.S., and it's suicide. If a country attacked, would the UK, France, or NATO (if the U.S. wasn't in it) save us? Of course not.

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. . . We dont have enemies because we didnt make any. That's the first and foremost reason we're at peace. Of course it helps to have the USA on our side . . .

The last 10 years or so, being on the same side as the USA has hurt Canada's international reputation and threatened our peace IMO.

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Myth? Really? I think you are letting an anti-American bias affect your reasoning. I'm not the biggest US fan either, but I try to be a realist.

I dont have an Anti-American bias. I took USA Studies as a specialization of my Poli. Sci. BA. Politics & policies were invented to be dissected, criticized and argued. There's a whole lot of difference between arguing a point and being anti-something. And there's alot of myths and exagerations that have been repeated so often people have started to believe in them.

Does arguing that Canada's healthcare system is wasteful makes you anti-Canadian?

To be clear, when I speak of a deterrent effect, I'm not talking about deterring someone from doing some unauthorized snowshoeing in the Arctic. And although you can cross various countries off the list as having potential to attack Canada at this time, it hasn't always been the case. Would we have been attacked by the Soviets in, say, the 60s if there was an similarly impotent country to our south? Would Japanese aggression found its way to Canada after they were done island-hopping in the 1940s? There were fears of both occurring during those times, and that was with the U.S. there. These possibilities can't be ruled out, although obviously it's purely hypothetical and the absence of the U.S. as a great power would have had unknown impact on the whole geopolitical system.

Fact is, attacking Canada is attacking the U.S., and it's suicide. If a country attacked, would the UK, France, or NATO (if the U.S. wasn't in it) save us? Of course not.

The snowshoeing walk is funny. Military submarines unloading ground troops to test our defenses isnt, and that's what happened in the 60's.

If you want to talk about all the possible scenarios of possible attacks, you can't simply say that the US would defend us henceforth the US deter anyone from attacking. The deterence arguement simply doesnt stands. The US have more odds to be attacked than us, so how can their big military be a deterent from someone to attack us!

Second of all, is the US would get attacked, we'd help them too. We're neighbors, that's what good neighbors do, not just here but all around the world.

Third of all, if we'd be attacked, UK/France/NATO would help us for various reasons. They still owe us for WW2 too. They'd just take more time to do it than the US for pure geographic reasons, which same reasons makes an attack on Canada less likely, unless you're talking about someone from overseas somewhere launching ICBM missiles at us, which makes no sense in the first place.

Fourth of all, let's not forget that even though they are underfunded, the Canadian troops arent Zouaves. They are renowned to be tough soldiers. Canada wouldnt be an automatic push-over.

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I'll just say this about spending / not spending on military in the US .... if the day China , Russia , Iran , Afghanistan and North Korea all come together to counter NATO ... I hope we're still spending money on having more advanced weapons than those countries. And I'm sure everyone else in the world will be happy we are too.

Also, another reason Canada will never be attacked by anyone is

1) distance from any other country besides the US

2) distance from US to Canada.

I don't think a country say like Russia for example will send it's military over the ocean only to jump into the back yard of the one country that can kick it @ss

oh and one last thing ... if the U.S. didn't get involved in WW2 it would have been lost. England was getting bombarded by air raids every night, France was done and Russia wasn't even really involved yet until Hitler got greedy and thought he could just walk in there and take them.

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Does arguing that Canada's healthcare system is wasteful makes you anti-Canadian?

I never argued that, so I'll assume it's a hypothetical question. Of course the answer is no. I definitely got the impression that you had an anti-American bias because of this and various other posts. Maybe I'm confusing it with an anti-Bush bias (which I have myself).

If you want to talk about all the possible scenarios of possible attacks, you can't simply say that the US would defend us henceforth the US deter anyone from attacking. The deterence arguement simply doesnt stands. The US have more odds to be attacked than us, so how can their big military be a deterent from someone to attack us!

Deterrence is something that can't be proven, that's for sure. To me, it's just something that seems to be self-evident. I mean, if the U.S. can deter an enemy from even placing warheads in a nearby enemy country (Cuba), surely there's a deterrence effect to attacking a friendly neighbouring country.

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Honestly, I think Canada is under MORE of a threat due to it's proximity to the US...

If you honestly thought Russia would have attacked Canada (which would be pure speculation) you would have to think it's primary reasoning would be as a strategic geographic location relative to the US. So, essentially, the US would have been the reason behind Canada being attacked IF you believe this would ever have happened...also, without the "cold war" would Russia have actually acted in the manner they did? Who knows...clearly the arms build-up was largely driven by the US, in part, to collapse the Russian economy in their attempts to keep up.

The first and second world war? Canadian soil wasn't really at risk and it was a war of ideology. You could argue that eventually it may have spilled into Canada if the Germans waged a successful european war...but there was really no way they could maintain/control such a large war, across huge geographies, and on so many fronts for so long. JMHO.

Why would a terrorist ever attack Canada? Likely because we're allies with the US and went to Afgahnistan in support of the US.

Over the course of time someone will likely look to Canada, and it's rich resources, and perhaps a war would ensue...but I think the most likely threat in this regard is probably the US and likely it wouldn't be a military battle but a trade/economic battle. We already see the US trying to increase control/access of Canadian resources through trade and economic "battles". In almost every instance the big ones always happen over Canadian resources such as lumber, fish, oil, water, energy, etc...rarely do the trade battles go sour with other goods/services items...

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Deterrence is something that can't be proven, that's for sure. To me, it's just something that seems to be self-evident. I mean, if the U.S. can deter an enemy from even placing warheads in a nearby enemy country (Cuba), surely there's a deterrence effect to attacking a friendly neighbouring country.

See, I would actually have thought about Cuba as a proof of the opposite, that proximity to the US actually puts neighbors in danger and the limitations of the US' "deterrent sphere of influence".

Cuba was scared that the US would invade them after their revolution (another case of the US meddling in other countries' affairs contributing to real anti-Americanism) and they did almost just that with the Bay of Pigs fiasco.

It was in reaction to that fear that Cuba wanted to install missiles. So it was the opposite of deterrence, really, that lead to the Cuba crisis. Even though the outcome looks like deterrence on the US' part, the cause of the whole ordeal was created by the US' incapacity of stopping Communism to spread to Cuba and its subsequent military threat of Cuba. You see that we're very far from deterrence here.

Cuba was friendly to that the USSR, and both were willing to go as far as putting nuclear warheads right on the doorsteps of the US. To me that's a proof that the US' sphere of influence isnt that strong... and that the US are more targeted than Canada. And that we'd have suffered (from fallouts) because of our proximity too. It took a blockade, the maximum military pressure without fire to undo the situation. That's far from conventionnal deterrence, that was pure nuclear deterrence

In any case, Cuba was the height of the Cold War and the closest we ever came to a conflict that'd hit N-A (aside from u-boats marauding in the St-Lawrence in WW2). Now is a very, very different world situation. The only country that'd really have the means to attack us seriously is... the US. Which is why I'm concerned about their goddamn overkill arsenal, because you know that when a nutjob buys guns by the boatload he'll just be itching to use them and will find any excuse to do so. See Iraq for example.

As for the anti-Bush bias... I dunno, I do have a strong anti-idiocy bias, so you tell me.

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  • 2 months later...
Ding dong the witch is dead. Obama officially President. Thank gawd.

Any bets on how long it takes for the media to start attacking his administration? And I'm not just talking about the blatant republican outlets...

My guess is 6-9 months and the shine will be off, the wolves will be out...

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Any bets on how long it takes for the media to start attacking his administration? And I'm not just talking about the blatant republican outlets...

My guess is 6-9 months and the shine will be off, the wolves will be out...

Inevitable, such is the fickle nature of politics. I'll debate Obama's decisions as they come, but for now, there's only one direction, and that's up. Actually, I'm more interested in how the historians will start to piece together Bush's legacy, if you can call it that. Sure, it's a little early to talk about "history" as such, but there will be a flood of literature summarizing his stay at the helm of the free world in the next couple of years. I have my own beliefs on how his 'legacy' will be told, but these next two years will start to shape how it's understood in later generations.

One project I have over the coming years is to learn as much as I can about Bush and put that in my own 'book.' No intention of publishing, but I'd like to crystallize my own thoughts on what I consider to be one of the most noteworthy Presidents ever, and certainly over the last half decade. I find the end of his term especially interesting - when he was escorted to the chopper by Obama and shook hands as two old friends might do. It didn't strike me as being a sarcastic gesture from Bush, but time will tell, I'm sure. If these two diametrically opposed leaders can come to a personal understanding and some kind of solid acquaintanceship, it's quite a feat.

Edited by Colin
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Any bets on how long it takes for the media to start attacking his administration? And I'm not just talking about the blatant republican outlets...

My guess is 6-9 months and the shine will be off, the wolves will be out...

Do you consider Fox news to be part of the media? If so, they've had that covered for awhile...

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I woke up this morning by thinking of the security that, I guess, might have been HUGE on the site yesterday. Ended up thinking about Donald Sutherland in JFK. :(

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Inevitable, such is the fickle nature of politics. I'll debate Obama's decisions as they come, but for now, there's only one direction, and that's up. Actually, I'm more interested in how the historians will start to piece together Bush's legacy, if you can call it that. Sure, it's a little early to talk about "history" as such, but there will be a flood of literature summarizing his stay at the helm of the free world in the next couple of years. I have my own beliefs on how his 'legacy' will be told, but these next two years will start to shape how it's understood in later generations.

One project I have over the coming years is to learn as much as I can about Bush and put that in my own 'book.' No intention of publishing, but I'd like to crystallize my own thoughts on what I consider to be one of the most noteworthy Presidents ever, and certainly over the last half decade. I find the end of his term especially interesting - when he was escorted to the chopper by Obama and shook hands as two old friends might do. It didn't strike me as being a sarcastic gesture from Bush, but time will tell, I'm sure. If these two diametrically opposed leaders can come to a personal understanding and some kind of solid acquaintanceship, it's quite a feat.

I think the way Bush's legacy will be told relies heavily on the future outcome of his actions in Iraq. If somehow this becomes the beginning of more stable and peaceful times in the Middle East - and regardless of whether or not it will be due to his actions/decisions - he'll be portrayed as a man with a vision, a pioneer who took a lot of heat to prepare the field for his successors.

I'm not saying this is right... and it won't happen in the next few years... but if the Middle East becomes safer and more stable, somehow I'm sure a lot of people will credit George W. Bush...

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I think the way Bush's legacy will be told relies heavily on the future outcome of his actions in Iraq. If somehow this becomes the beginning of more stable and peaceful times in the Middle East - and regardless of whether or not it will be due to his actions/decisions - he'll be portrayed as a man with a vision, a pioneer who took a lot of heat to prepare the field for his successors.

I'm not saying this is right... and it won't happen in the next few years... but if the Middle East becomes safer and more stable, somehow I'm sure a lot of people will credit George W. Bush...

or that Obama turned rubble into gold. People might credit W in the same way people try to give credit to Hoover or Nixon. He might get a think tank named after him in 50 years, but the average person will remember him as a failure.

Jon Stewart said it best when Bush cited Truman as proof that unpopular presidents can be rehabilitated in history books - "yeah, but we still think Harding was a dick."

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or that Obama turned rubble into gold. People might credit W in the same way people try to give credit to Hoover or Nixon. He might get a think tank named after him in 50 years, but the average person will remember him as a failure.

Jon Stewart said it best when Bush cited Truman as proof that unpopular presidents can be rehabilitated in history books - "yeah, but we still think Harding was a dick."

I fully agree, but that's only in the short term. A couple of generations from now, and people won't know or care how much of an idiot this guy was...

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I fully agree, but that's only in the short term. A couple of generations from now, and people won't know or care how much of an idiot this guy was...

While Bush may or may not be remembered for public gaffes and an apparent lack of intelligence (in the view of many), he has had significant political failures that will likely stand the test of time even if we don't think of him as "bumbling."

As to Bush's personality - quick, what does the average person know about Calvin Coolidge? Or Ulysses S. Grant? Personal flaws, if large enough, can be remembered over the long term, even to the exclusion of on the job achievements (what few there are). Does anybody remember Caligula's infrastructure policy?

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