Sunday, April 24, 2011

Ouch! Aha!

The Canucks have lost game six of their playoff series with the Chicago Black Hawks.  The Blacks Hawks won the game in overtime. 
The Canucks who once had a three games to nothing lead in the series, now have to play a game seven in Vancouver.  Hopefully, the home ice can help them.  Hopefully, their being competitive in game six is a good sign --  the Black Hawks shellacked them in games four and five.
But the consequences of the Canucks losing game seven would be monumental.  It would be the worst moment in Vancouver Canucks history, and it would be all the more bitter after coming off what was the Canucks' best ever regular season.
But it would prove what I realized twenty years ago.  The only thing you have to do in the regular season is qualify for the playoffs -- first place means nothing.
I hesitate to venture into political commentary but what the hell!
I listen to mostly political podcasts and I do try to listen to podcasts from the "other side."   I feel the opinions expressed on these leftie podcasts often laughable, sometimes infuriating, and rarely challenging to my beliefs (Never forget, I once was a leftie but I smartened up.).
I want to mention a couple of outrages I have heard on the Slate political gabfest.
First off, the hosts of this show seem to think that Keynesian Stimulus policies work, and so say that the Republicans are being irrational or petty because they won't get on board with President Obama has to do to get the American economy going again -- that is, the Democrats and Republican politicians should together try to get the economy rolling again..  Well, the fact of the matter is that Keynesian Stimulus policies don't work and retard economic growth.  If you don't think this is a fact, you should at least provide political analysis that shows that there are people who do sincerely believe it.  To say that Republicans oppose stimulus policies because they don't want Obama to have a good economy to run for re-election on is stupid.  
Second, the hosts of the show reacting to Trump presidential candidacy stunt, said the precedent for it was the Palin candidacy for Vice President.  "She set that bar" said one of the Gabfest hosts.  I would have countered that it was the 2008 Democratic Candidates for president who lowered the bar.  Let's see!  There was a junior senator from New York State who was considered the leading candidate for the nomination on the basis of being wife of a former president.  And there was a junior senator from Illinois, with no executive experience, no business experience,  who hung out at a anti-semite church -- and like Trump, he had an exoticness to him.  The latter candidate, unlike Trump who says what some people want to hear, said nothing so that supporters could see in him what they liked.   It shows you that a lot of Palin-loathers are irrational and hypocritcal.


Colin said...

Trump, "exotic"..?

He's a blowhard and depressing to see.

The mere fact this charlatan is even being paid attention to is a sign of how little credibility and substance there is on the political right in the U.S., and I say that's not a good thing. ANY system requires checks, balances and credible opposition in order to bring the best ideas and policies forward.

Don't even get me started about the pathetic situation in Canada...Harper should be in jail for contempt, or at the very least not deserving to even say the word "majority" -- his actions of the past 5 years prove him to be a bully and a liar. Both qualities make a person unfit for leadership.

The only positive thing I can say about our campaign is that the televised debate was civil and intelligent...not the free-for-all joke that campaigns in the US have degenerated into. But maybe I'm expecting too much -- civility, intelligence and honesty?

What do you say, I doomed to be a Western Confucius, wandering the land my whole life searching in vain for a just leader?

Andis Kaulins said...

From a political perspective, Trump is exotic. But then so was Obama when he came on the scene.

But then my point was that the people of the left who scoff at Trump, should look on their side before going out to say how unsubstantive they think the Right is. The election of Obama was one of the craziest things I had ever seen. Obama had no executive experience and made these gaseous no-content speeches. And he was running against the wife of another president. His election was a triumph of hope over experience.

Obama is the "best" the Left has to offer? He is truly awful, even on his own terms. When will the Left have anything substantive to offer?

This Trump flap is a publicity thing. He won't last long in the primary system. The checks and balances, you say are lacking, are there.

As for Canada. Harper has been a disappointment to me. I hope he does get a majority so he can least be a true conservative. I don't know what this contempt thing you mention is all about. But whatever you say about Harper, his opposition is pretty sad-sack.
At least that is what I see from China.

People who complain about democratic politics, could consider the alternatives. A democracy that isn't fractuous isn't a democracy at all. China's situation is truly not to be desired. The Chinese are scared to say that their leader is a nitwit. China would benefit from having blowhards and scoffers, and Kung Fu Champions running for office. There is civility, a cynical intelligence and dishonesty here. Give me down and dirty partianship anytime. If anything, our system is too civil.

It having been easter, I can say that one of the themes of our culture is that good men get crucified and villified by some portion of the population. But I know your idea of a good leader is much different from mine. I liked leaders like Thatcher, Reagan, and Preston Manning. Who is on your pantheon?

Colin said...

The problem with what passes for conservatives nowadays is that they all use their position to pillage the public good for the benefit of a select few.
I see the pattern repeat itself over and over and over again -- the Republicans today don't even bother hiding the fact that they use their positions to benefit the very wealthiest of the wealthy...and that's it. Once you realize that, their crazy policies and grandstanding makes sense (not morally, but logically).

It's no different here in Canada, either. It's why conservative governments rack up huge deficits (a great way to hobble government and justify cutting programs to help the majority of individual citizens) and almost always end in scandal.
Harper has had 5 years to show what he's made of, and he has coverups, a blatant attack on accountability and government watchdogs, and fiscal disarray to show for it...I'm sorry, but when you screw up you don't get a promotion.
A majority is not going to change a wretched record of incompetence, secrecy and lack of will just encourage even more contempt and laziness.

We'll disagree on this, but you should be really careful what you wish for -- this wish for "entertainment" in politics ends up with the fiasco in the United States. People screaming at each other, which is what that tendency always degenerates into, is destructive and tiresome. Give me boring and informative anyday...especially among the people who work for me.

As for leaders I admire, it's simple -- someone intelligent who uses their position to leave things better than they found them, and govern for the whole of a country (not a select oligarchy).
Reagan was responsible for the de-industrialization of America and the beginning of the war on the middle class...deficits rose under him and he never once cut taxes in his entire time in office. That's not what I call just or strong leadership.

Andis Kaulins said...

I don't agree with the premises with a lot of your statements. They are mostly old canards that have been refuted time and time again.

Most Republicans, and those who support the tea party believe that markets, not government is the source of wealth; and that usually any government efforts to redistribute or create wealth are doomed to create more poverty. Did the Left learn anything from the experience of Communism?

If anything, the Democrats are the party of the wealthy elites. Where does Obama go to start raising funds for his re-election? To his rich Hollywood buddies.

The deficits you talk of are not so easily pinned on conservatives. In the case of Canada, the huge deficits started with Trudeau. Mulroney took all his time in office to just to get the annual budget balanced. The other policies he put in place, that the Liberals didn't change, eventually bore fruit. In the case of Reagan, he was dealing with a Democrat congress, and Reagan budgets as they say were dead on arrival. Clinton had the benefit of a Republican congress to help him balance his budgets. Bush and the Republican congress, didn't balance the budgets, and they paid for it in 2006 and in 2008. But what did Obama do? He managed to out-spend Bush, and sacrificed any claims the Democrats would have to fiscal rectitude.

Say what you like about Harper, but enough Canadians see him as four in a sea of twos and threes. As for being a bully or a liar, the same was said about Trudeau, Chrietien, and Mulroney. One man's bully is another man's person standing on principles and not taking another's guff.

It seems you want to have a politics devoid of passion, or at best, one full of smug snearing elitists who says things in a high faluting tone. Rush Limbaugh has made a career for himself by analyzing what these kind of politicians say, and all while being entertaining at the same time -- he was giving politicians a scrutiny that they have never forgiven him for. Because they can't refute his arguments, they resort to calling him racist. As well, many of his liberal callers are devoid of any sense of humor.

People don't have to speak in low tones to be informative.

And there isn't any screaming at the People's Party Congresses in Beijing. No student that I know of can be bothered to watch these spectacles. Give me American Democracy anytime, it beats the alternatives which seem to be Civil War or Dictatorship.

I wish you could name me a specific political leader you admire.

And a few more words about Reagan. He won the cold war and thankfully the country of my parents' ancestry Latvia is free today. Reagan cut taxes. Reagan generated the boom of 1982-2010. Unfortunately, all good things come to an end. America will have to change to adjust to new realities -- Obama, and the political class which includes Democrats and RINOs is fumbling the ball big time. A few courageous voices have pointed this out, but they are put down as ignorant, racist, or xenophobic....

Who despises the American middle class? Obama. He thinks they are too fat, they drive too much, and cling to handguns and religion. He and his comrades have done their best to marginalize what could be the middle class's last stand -- the tea party movement.

Colin said...

I like Obama, because he's pragmatic and intelligent. I'm not so naive as to think anyone gets anywhere near that level of power without some compromises, but I think he realizes America can't continue to survive (let alone thrive) on slogans and nationalism.
And yet, the one party that stands in the way time and again of a sober, factual look at the nation's finances is...the Republican party.
It's absolute lunacy to think you can cut taxes and get out of a deficit that big. You just can't. It doesn't work on a household level and it doesn't work on a national one, either.

Mulroney skyrocketed our debt, and Harper did too. I maintain in both instances, it was done for ideological reasons -- when you hamstring government, you can point and say "see, it doesn't work".
Well, that's a specious argument and I think you know it.

I do like that you mentioned Mulroney, though -- as corrupt as I think he was, he did have a moral side and did 'think big'. I can't possibly imagine a dead fish like Harper standing up to the evil of apartheid, but that's just what Mulroney did and I commend him for it.

Canada under Harper, though, is a meaner and a smaller place. We've lot any soft power we ever managed to build up, and I am disgusted that on the campaign trail, Harper actually defended the export of asbestos. (Not to mention our insane refusal to believe in climate change).

We're having an election because Harper lied to Parliament. That shows contempt for all of us. And I'm sorry, but if I acted like that at work I'd be hard pressed to keep my job, let alone ask for a promotion.

Andis Kaulins said...

I will try to parse as much of what you have typed as I can.

Intelligent? No doubt he is intelligent. But the fact that one has to say this about him is scary. Let's face it. President Obama is the first affirmative action president in U.S. history. I find it horrifying that a person with no executive and business or military experience could be elected President. Obama's election was the triumph of wishful thinking, style, and dream projection over substance. Obama has shown time and time again that he is in over his head. And the Left and Democrats have blatantly ignored his obvious defects and his blunders. Case in point, from Day One, Republicans have been saying that his plan to close Guantanamo was impractical. Guantanamo hasn't been shut and Obama doesn't have the honesty to admit he was wrong. Then there was the association with the anti-Semite Reverend Jeremiah Wright. The so-called great speech Obama made about race in which he defended Jeremiah Wright was praised by the Left as being the greatest thing since I have a Dream. A week later, Obama had to quietly announce that he had ended his association with Wright's church. A lot less fanfare. No one from the Left has even bothered to try to defend this episode -- they would rather just ignore it.

Pragmatic? George Orwell wrote a great essay about politics and the English Language where he talked about the emptiness of much political language. You should read it. What exactly does pragmatic mean -- that one doesn't stick blindly to an ideology? But one man's being ideological would seem like standing for principles to another. The word "pragmatic" doesn't mean anything specific. And isn't compromise the essence of pragmatism?

At least you didn't say you liked him because he was honest and you agreed with his principles.

It is nice to see that Obama realizes that you need more than empty slogans! Especially after his campaign of "Hope" and "Change" -- refer to the paragraph about use of the word "pragmatic."

It is one thing to say that one is not blindly nationalistic but Obama seems to not like America. I have grown to admire America for its foibles, its culture, its freedom, its ultimate decency, its awe-inspiring generosity to other countries, its redeeming itself on its one great injustice, and its many accomplishment America has little to be ashamed of -- a country which has so much power has used it for the good of mankind. In Wuxi, I have seen Expats talk about America in the manner that Nazis would talk about Jews. One Expat told me that he would have liked to have seen America slide into the ocean. Another told me that all Americans are assholes. Another Expat, who told me that all Americans are hillbilly gap-toothed gun-toting racist evangelicals, proudly wore an Obama t-shirt. These bigots were high-fiving it when Obama was elected President. Of course, I was horrified. And I don't think this is an aberration. It is a reflection of what Obama and many of his supporter truly believe. Obama hates the country that has given him so much opportunity. And the fact that he represented this hatred was why so many cheered his election.

I see you have adopted Obama's straw man rhetorical techniques. Exactly, who is it that believes that a country can thrive on slogans and nationalism?

Andis Kaulins said...
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Andis Kaulins said...
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Andis Kaulins said...


I having trouble posting my comments to the blog.

Blame it on the Great Firewall of Communist China!

Andis Kaulins said...
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Andis Kaulins said...

Reverend Wright's former parishioner hasn't a clue about economics. He is if anything a vulgar Keynesian who believes governments can defy laws of economics and ultimately physics. And here's the thing! Lowering tax rates increase tax revenues! Why? Businessmen and individuals are better able to allocate their money to productive enterprises than bureaucrats. It has been proven three times. With Kennedy, Reagan, and Bush II. Confronted with this fact, Obama didn't refute it -- he said he was more interested in redistribution, and thus not with wealth creation which the way to deal with deficits and poverty. BTW, it is also been proven that governments are not capable of creating wealth -- read the history of the Soviet Union. Bush II in fact took in a record amount of tax revenue -- sadly he couldn't or didn't do anything about spending which is the problem -- not tax rates. Bush II created another entitlement program that Democrats supported whole-heartedly. Obama is determined to not do anything about spending except of course to cut the military budget which is the Left's mindless answer to all deficit problems. And if he confiscated all the wealth of the rich people, who should pay their fair share, he wouldn't even pay off one of his annual deficits.

Again, the deficits in Canada started with Trudeau. Mulroney's efforts to deal with the deficits were meet with opposition from the Liberals, who then didn't bother to repeal the Mulroney policies that ultimately brought the deficits under control -- Free Trade and the GST. The Liberals love to steal others ideas and then take credit for them. If Harper was not Conservative, Leftist Keynesian Economists would say he was justified in running deficits because there was a recession on. That is the justification that is being used for Obama becoming the biggest deficit creator in World History -- blowing out the #2 deficit creator Bush II by a mile. You can't have it both ways.

Whether a society is a mean and smaller place is determined not by its government but by its civil society. In China where the government still pretty much runs everything, volunteering is unheard of. People are still generous to relations and people they know, but none would dare do anything to help the community, like run a clean up campaign. To me the welfare state means a meaner society. It is a place where you couldn't be helped on a long weekend because the government workers are on holiday. It is a place where I don't have to think about my neighbour because that's the government's job. It is a place where to be a productive member of a society is a crime. It is a place where people are judged not on the content of their character, but by the color of their skin or ethnicity.

The Left has much to answer for making society a meaner place. In America, for instance, thanks to LBJ's great society programs, it created a black underclass and destroyed the black family. It was Obama's good fortune to never actually have been raised in this milieu. When he was doing his community organizing and associating with Reverrend Wright, he would return to his privileged suburban area. I hate to say but I think it will ultimately be tragic for African-Americans that a man like Obama was the first black president. I think of men like Thomas Sowell, Clarence Thomas, and Walter E. Williams -- conservative blacks who grew up in the terrible atmosphere of racism and toughed it out in a manner that Obama never did -- they saw the programs of the Left as destroying and corrupting their people. America should have elected a black President with these three's visions.

Andis Kaulins said...

Soft Power -- refer to the paragraph about Pragmatism. Soft Power didn't stop Hitler. The Chinese Communists love that term soft power -- they even claim to run their foreign policy on the concept. Soft power is ultimately an inane anti-American formulation. Soft power is the philosophy of mice standing on the shoulders of elephants. Might as well say I can't buy the car with hard cash -- but I have a lot of soft cash and good intentions. It is human nature is carp about what people with power or responsibility do -- one is not so pleased with oneself suddenly when one has to make decisions.

I will end by defending Harper. He has stood up to China on the issue of Tibet. And what you said about him and South Africa is ultimately a slur. I might as well say that Obama or Jack Layton, those soft power types, would never have stood up to Hitler. What is wrong with exporting asbestos? It is a commodity isn't it? I suppose you will get mad at Harper for exporting oil. And as I say, Harper is the best choice. You can't seriously expect to want Iggy or Layton as PM?

And as for Climate Change. I am not convinced it is happening. Call me insane but I need proof in terms of verifiable tests based on predictions made and tested. And even if Climate Change is occurring, the policies suggested by the watermelons will kill millions. If China stopped burring coal and oil, they would have famines greater than the late 1950s where the Maoists determined to industrialize intervened in the Chinese economy and killed millions. An industrial China now, with twice the population of a 1950s China, feeds its population better than ever in its history. I don't think the Chicoms are stupid enough to intervene in their economy again, this time to achieve the goal of less CO2.

Andis Kaulins said...

Finally, I got it all in there. I typed the comment on my notepad program, and then cut and paste it here. I didn't realize my comments were too long. Hence, it is truncated into three parts.

It also didn't help that my VPN is very unresponsive. My typing appears on the screen five seconds after I type it.