Gen X at 40

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Paul of Kingston -

Yes the flesh of clones - it's all a bit too close to Oryx and Crake for me.

David -

cloned food: good -- had a great steak? now you can have it again!

hanging dictators -- very good; my exception to opposition to the death penalty. If it's worth going to war over with attendant risk of injury/death to civilians, it's worth hanging the bastard after. And let's face it, wherever Saddam is isn't Spandau -- he could be out and ruling the country in 3 years time or so. Put paid to the account.

CPC: a tax ruling didn't go their way.

Gore: read this. Not what you think!

But enough about you, let's talk about me. I'm in frigid St. John's enjoying a nice family new year, slight hangover, looking forward to more of the same.

gorthos -

RE: eating of clones. I fully support it. I support cloning of humans and the harvesting of the parts of such for use by the wealthy and attractive of the world.

Re Saddam: odd that we as a nation do not support capital punishment yet our leaders do not make this point in public when speaking of Saddam. I as well prefer dictators to be holed up in cells for eth rest of their days. Punishment for deeds done ends when one is dead, so execution sort of truncates that. Plus, if Saddam actually believed he was doing the right thing (keeping his people in check and not killing themselves left and right like they do now by ruling with an iron fist) and his supporters do as well, he becomes a martyr and his death will only fuel their ambitions.

Paul of Kingston -

David, Thanks for the Business Week piece on Gore's presentation. Very informative. I will refer to it for sure during the creation of future presentations.

Gordo -

<ul>
<li>I'm more disturbed by the non-requirement for labelling of cloned products. If this stuff is so safe and good, give consumers the ability to choose NOT to eat it. The fact that the FDA has decided that it's perfectly fine to hide the origin of the stuff is an admission that folks will vote with their feet given the chance. The same reason they don't require labelling of GMO's. I fully expect Health Canada to take the same tack.
<li>I'm with Gorthos on Saddam. The Yanks have listed 500+ "baskets of crimes" that he could be tried for, but he'll answer to none of them. A hanging is getting off easy. 30+ years in an Iraqi prison would be hard.
<li>David, I'm not sure of your point. Gore's a good speaker? Should we ignore the message simply because it's well presented?
</ul>

Paul of Kingston -

But of course Saddam isn't a singularity. The accountability trail is long and easy to follow. While the end of Saddam appears just it would be entirely hypocritical to leave it at that.

David -

What's this "we as a nation" business? Some Canadians support it, some are against it, some are ambivalent, some never think about it. And the whole don't-make-them-a-martyr think is totally overrated -- there'll always be some excuse for some people. Come to think of it, I can't think of a case where executing some monster made the situation worse.

Paul of Kingston -

In the words of the somewhat well know Little Walter;

"boom boom out go the lights".

Although I believe the "rope a dope" method is to be used so it might be more of a "thump, swoosh arghhh" - you get the point.

Alan -

"We as a nation" is a pretty safe phrase when majority supports a position. Some are unclear or a virtual tie but this is not. And each Albertan voice does not get three votes in the matter anymore than the other extra-democratic powers they crave. The silent non-conservative majority must be respected.<p>But perhaps you mean not the "we" but the nation? Is Canada now not enough of a nation to even have a majority view on anything? Have the Postal Unionist actually won out already?

gorthos -

David:
I don't know you but I am taking a wild guess that you may be of the conservative "always feeling my rights are threatened" persuasion :)

We as a nation have laws against capital punishment. That makes it a national desire to not support such. There are people in this country that think it is okay to create, own and distribute child porn as well, but the majority rules and we as a nation despise it and make it illegal to do so. Until these laws changes, our national stance is that we as a nation do not support capital punishment, it is a binary issue, 0 or 1.

As far as Saddam goes, he was a nasty guy, but as far as I can see, without him, the nation is much worse off.

gr -

My friend Paul up there, as usual, impresses me as I was thinking 'Oryx and Crake' too, which was a strange novel, of course, but like so much of Margaret Atwood, a sharp look ahead.
I do not even need to resist the urge to discuss celebrities here, even though Kim Bassinger and Alec Baldwin's breakup has been on my mind lately. (what kind of guy lets Kim Bassinger go????) In truth, I shall be right on here, and I actually see that the usual intellectuals here should seriously consider what I say: I am against the death penalty entirely, as I am uncomfortable with the state executing people. Pontius Pilate did it with Jesus, Hitler did it with nearly everyone, and sure, Saddam too. I like to believe that the gov't is us, and we should not as a people execute anyone, and as gov'ts sometimes go awry, they shouldn't be allowed the power. On the other hand, if during an arrest etc. a criminal is shot to avoid a worse outcome, well, that can be considered obviously as a case by case thing, same with self defense. I just don't like the state doing it (OK, that's the background, and I rather satisfyingly gave an impromptu speech along those lines on 15 minutes prep for a final exam in college public speaking and did rather well).
Here is my most important point: yes, some in the middle east and around the world will celebrate his death, but one must remember many others will use him as a martyr and rallying point, perhaps worsening the civil conflict in Baghdad and beyond. Some people are more powerful dead than alive, and I think that is Saddam's potential now. I also think a small damp cubicle with disguting prison food and nothing to do but sit there and go mad for a few decades would do Saddam a world of good. Death is too nice for him, too easy. Why not (humanely) let him sit there and rot, and suffer? Every year on January first, offer him a bottle of sleeping pills and a glass of water if you feel like being nice.
OK, there it is, in sum, I think his execution, as with so much of the mess in Iraq, could provoke a considerable amount of violence around the world.

David -

Actually, I'm quite secure in my rights and expect to keep it that way. What I don't believe is that parliamentary votes create an orthodoxy of opinion that we can all be assumed to be part of. We as Canadians believe in a charter of rights & freedoms, because well, most of us do. If the vote on gay marriage went the other way, would you sign on to a statement that "Canadians are against gay marriage"? That binary thing you mention? Or would you say reactionary troglodytes have temporarily derailed gay marriage in Canada? If abortion was banned by an Albertan controlled government would you say "Canadians are against abortion"? I'm guessing you wouldn't.

I'm figuring a way to work the Gore stuff in to presentations I'm working on. Bet you thought you'd never hear me say that!

Paul of Kingston -

The issue of martyrdom is a poignant one. But it is a shame that we allow such a backwards mythological concept to influence a fairly rationale debate. If we are concerned that Saddam's death at the hands of a puppet US government will envoke violent lunacy from one sect or another then we should say so. To bring the term of martyrdom into the equation provides quasi-justification to the religious crackpots that are quite willing to use it as reason for all sorts of badness.

David -

<blockquote>
OK, there it is, in sum, I think his execution, as with so much of the mess in Iraq, could provoke a considerable amount of violence around the world.
</blockquote>

Really? So you think Iraq is the cause of violence around the world? Sorry everyone I'm trying to right rhetorical questions all day, but there's a shitload of violence going on around the world and seems all pretty divorced from Iraq and those using it as excuse were not only doing it before but also using some other excuse at the time. It's always something with these guys; I'm not particularly interested in feces that dribbles out of mouths of people who thing sawing the heads of Jews with a dull knife is fun entertainment or run screaming with joy into the streets after 9/11, or Bali, or whatever the latest atrocity of the day is.

David -

Puppet government? All those people with purple hands disgusted you Paul?

Alan -

I think the abstract question is really a neat one: who is "us". This is not a tedious "what does Canada stand for" question but one of what is the relationship of the individual, the culture and the government generally.

Alan -

An election is only a precondition to responsible representative government not its proof.

Paul of Kingston -

Don't get me wrong David, I applaud either the imposition, facilitation or simple evolution of democracy and western notions of human rights - especially in places such as the Middle East. I am unapologetic on that note and have no time for the quaint notion of "cultural coservation".

My point, in more deatil, is that the legitimacy of the current, and perhaps near future, Iraqi governments will be questioned by those opposed to it or to US foreign policy in general. I'm not saying it's right - just that it is the prevailing perception.

David -

Well, that's a debate that could go on forever!

I was think more in terms of practicality; i.e. what can we claim for Canadians think, or do, and in particular with contentious issues. I think there's too much of a progressive "I am the world" thing going on; i.e. what a Paul Martin thinks is the "real" opinion of Canadians and the other crazy people don't count.

David -

Paul, I partially apologize for my previous comment. It comes of more aggressive than I really meant.

But to your point -- they're going to question it anyway (i.e. the legitimacy of anything the US is involved in; look Rumsfeld shook Saddam's hand therefore it's all his fault-sort of thing).

gorthos -

I am not saying that the aspect of potential martyrdom of the man should be the reason to not hang him, just that it is a potential outcome. It is also possible that the Wild Geese led by the an aged Roger Moore and the late Richard Burton rescue him at the last minute just like they rescued Rudy Hess from a date with an extension cord.. but I only hypothesize.

If the Albertan controlled government managed to pass a bill outlawing flag burning, I would say that yes, the national stance is that flag burning is a bad thing, but that isn't about to happen any time soon because small issues that can be thrown out when the next bunch get a majority elected are often not made into law.. Were it the case however, one could say "We as a Nation disapprove of flag burning, but I set one alight each weekend just for fun because I disagree with the electorate."

David -

I'm not sure that the flag analogy is a good one; i.e. I think most Canadians are against burning the Canadian flag, irrespective of it's legality. So it would be fair to say "Canadians are against flag burning" in either case!

Warming to theme (back to Paul) of govt. legimitacy, I would claim that we should respect (as a country and as individuals) Iraq or Afghanistan's governments much more that, say, China's.

Paul of Kingston -

As long as places like 140,000 strong PEI get four members of parliament it is hard for me to embrace the notion that Canadians think what the government decides.

Paul of Kingston -

David - I agree without reservation on that.

gorthos -

I dunno. I may be canadian but a flag is just a piece of cloth to me. Burn away. Burn my columbia jacket and you'll have an appointment with my right hook however.

Don't mind me, I've never been a follower of the crowd. Its like people who support the local hockey team even though no-one on the team comes from the local area. Would we support an army of ours that took over a small nation that we disliked if it was a mercenary army? Are the Frontenacs simply Mercenaries and we truly only cheer for the jerseys?

A flag is unimportant. The land, trees and bunnies are what is real. Call me a name just don't touch my stuff. :)

Whoops. SOrry alan, big digression.

I do not think a nation's government is legitimate if it is "elected" while in the control of another nation. The sheeple will always feel the need to appease their overlords. If Israel were in control of Lebanon, Hammas would never have been elected.

gorthos -

And if you REALLY want to get into democracy and legitimacy, so long as we have a party based system of government, we are not truly democratic. In some ways, China's govt. is more a people-based system on paper. Communism would work very well if it were not for greed, corruption and emotions. Silly human brains. I vote for the collective.

David -

Wow. That's insane. Like really insane.

Paul of Kingston -

Check the evidence. Communism works for ants, somewhat for meerkats and definitely not at all for people.

gorthos -

And the Borg. Don't forget the Borg.

Alan -

I worked in Poland in 1991 and left with a far less idealistic view of communism than I arrived with. I listened to Soviet machine gun practice as I had beer on the late summer patios of my Baltic coast resort. I heard about drunken kids with machine guns on corners during martial law, the delivery of only left shoes to the city and the daily grind of many public services that simply did not work. That being said, other things did work remarkably well - public schools though run down by our standards were full of bright and interested kids and the health care system was good. It was also a great place to be poor as there was plenty of affordable and diverse food. But Poland was a lucky place due to the power of the church and the strength of the culture - not a situation like Albania or North Korea. All in all, I would not choose to live in Poland of that era, but if only given my choice of dictatorial regimes, it would be #1. Otherwise, the miracle of the capitalist-socialist blended western state is fine by me.

gorthos -

Ah, but we then step into the oft-misunderstood difference (mainly in the heads of conservadroids) between an economic system (capitalist and communist) versus an electoral/governance system (democracy/somesortof-garchy)

Alan -

No, we step into the real product and the effect on real people. Theory as we have learned from Marx as well as Rummy is pretty frigging useless if the practical effect is failure.

gr -

Yes, David, without providing any linked evidence to back this up, the civil unrest in Iraq has provoked violence in other parts of the world, such as the subway bombings in London. It is also true that Sunnis and Shiites are actively fighting in Iraq, but also true that they live in other parts of the middle east. Saddam is a Sunni, so perhaps if Shiites are pleased he is dead, Sunnis may use him as a rallying cry, and yes, the mess can expand.
OK, it is a mess, but I can say with certainty: I will not mess with Gorthos' Columbia jacket....

Paul of Kingston -

Here here! Empirical evidence is the only way to evaluate or predict government effectiveness. Theories of political "science" are excellent for building curriculums and papers.

gorthos -

If one could create a party free, democratically governed nation that ran itself internally as a communist state yet traded externally,in nation to nation capitalist markets yet shared the wealth, they would take over the world. Then crash and burn within three decades. :)

Marian -

Sorry too busy to comment, but it's a great discussion. I feel like I'm coming down with the flu and we have guests.

I like this: "I dunno. I may be canadian but a flag is just a piece of cloth to me. Burn away." and think it is a lot more profound than it sounds. On the other hand, I'm with David and think this: "In some ways, China's govt. is more a people-based system on paper. Communism would work very well if it were not for greed, corruption and emotions. Silly human brains. I vote for the collective," is nutty.

Must go now.

Marian -

"If one could create a party free, democratically governed nation that ran itself internally as a communist state yet traded externally,in nation to nation capitalist markets yet shared the wealth, they would take over the world. Then crash and burn within three decades. :)"

Isn't this China?

Alan -

Three point shot and nothing but net! Home of the machine gunned villagers of 2005.

gorthos -

And I don't even give them three decades. :)

Re: Nuttiness.

Patriotism is in truth silly isn't it? Our ancestors moved to this land from another, we invent a flag and wrap ourselves in it like it is some sort of physical embodiment of all we collectively stand for? I would think as we age as a species we start to evolve away from that sort of thing. Except in the US where the elected dictator is the Commander in Chief and to be protected from scorn and disobedience even if you didn't vote for him.

Nutty Gorthos

David -

What you're talking about gr is "reductio ad blame some white guy". There was a large (for example) radicalized Muslim population in England; they can say what they want about Iraq [*] being the trigger for the tube bombings, but Richard Reid was ready to go long before Iraq became a reality. The kind of radicalization that made London happen was the work of a generation, not just a passing whim of some goofs. Bali wasn't the result of Iraq and is much the same thing. Look at any millenial map of the world trouble spots and almost certainly it will involve a Muslim country, often involved kill

[*] and whatever the hell they are saying makes no sense and is racist/muslim supremist garbage; paying attention to it is like looking for the wisdom about women from the words of Ted Bundy. What is it with going to Iraq to kill a bunch of other Muslims anyway? That'll show the US!

gorthos -

David: I am a firm believer in diplomacy to solve most if not almost all crises. To say:

"..whatever the hell they are saying makes no sense and is racist/muslim supremist garbage; paying attention to it is like looking for the wisdom about women from the words of Ted Bundy.."

is exactly that attitude that causes there to be so many nasty muslim extremist groups in the world attacking the US.

Chris Taylor -

Diplomacy may solve all things for those of us who have the luxury of being able to wait out the clock. In North America our liberty is <i>already</i> secured; there is no immediacy and urgency for us.

To those that suffered under the Iron Curtain for nearly 50 years, waiting nearly two generations for political liberalization was not exactly a walk in the park.

I have a feeling it will take a dozen generations before women, gay people and Jewish citizens in Saudi Arabia, for instance, can enjoy the freedom that we in the West enjoy today. And I don't see anything particularly heinous about pointing that out those deficiencies, either.

David -

Well, good luck with that. "you love pepsi cola, we love death" vs. "arms are for hugging". Maybe that will work for you, and if it doesn't, you've already got the blame set up.

gorthos -

Our job is not to impose "democracy" on those folks, but make it easier for people who do not wish to live there under said rules, to come here, or elsewhere. Eventually they will see the light as it were.

Paul of Kingston -

Right on. Nothing's going to change until we begin to shout down the eternal moderates and start calling things for what they are - and not what we want them to be in some utopian Trudeau moment.

As a parent of daughters in the western world I cannot imagine what must have been going through that fellow's head when he heard his ex, Miriam Bedard, might be toting their daughter off to Iran. You do not want to be a female there - and that has to change.

Paul of Kingston -

Gorthos - what have you been smoking for Christmas. Nations like Iran and others are engines that take innocent young minds and #@*& them up. Canada and other western nations cannot just keep taking folk from these places and think that is a solution to anything. The source of the problem eventually has to be turned off.

Paul of Kingston -

Here's a thought - one way to make it easier for those who don't want to live under said rules to come here is to go there and hang the generals, supreme emporers and any other criminals who think they have some form of divine or political right to torture, rape, enslave or otherwise kill good people.

gorthos -

I'm playing devils avocado ha!

gorthos -

I'm mostly joshin' you's all. I apologize folks.

I prefer diplomacy but damned if a good bit of shock and awe in a few countries and elsewhere wouldn't straighten a few bowties once in a while. I also am infavour of capital punishment for certain crimes: serial killers, mass murderers (there is a difference), serial rapists, child molesters etc. these kind of people will never be "cured" and IF they are released after serving their time (?) they will only hide their urges. I say, cure the ill.

I do however think Saddam is a bit of a scapegoat for ths US who are using him as a icon of the old "bad" regeime just because he tried to assasinate Bush Sr..

And no, I am a socialist liberal, not a communist.

Paul of Kingston -

Okay then. How about that baseball hall of fame? If the sport can manage to pay out hundreds of millions of dollars to individual players how come their legacy house has to resort to charity???

David -

<img src="http://mypetjawa.mu.nu/archives/Saddam_Noose.gif">

Paul of Kingston -

Well you can't get much cooler than that.

ry -

"If one could create a party free, democratically governed nation that ran itself internally as a communist state yet traded externally,in nation to nation capitalist markets yet shared the wealth, they would take over the world. Then crash and burn within three decades. :)" You mean the PRC then? For that is almost what they are. The only thing missing is the free party.

I'll let the naked insults(like conservadriod) go for now, gorthos. BUt not forever. I have a buttload of electrons and you don't want me to use them all here. Trust me.

Alan -

You should all be listening to <i>The Beat Authority's</i> Jame Brown Tribute. Another hour and a quarter still to be listened to.

Marian -

"Well, good luck with that. "you love pepsi cola, we love death" vs. "arms are for hugging". Maybe that will work for you, and if it doesn't, you've already got the blame set up."

Actually, you don't have to be kumbaya at all favour realism when it comes to U.S. foreign policy. Even W's father was a realist. And nobody thinks that women's oppression is good. We just wonder whether the US is really helping by trying to save the world from it (while also and not incidentally securing its oil interests).

I think the "securing the oil interests" part of the bargain (as well as previous interventions involving the CIA and the Soviets in Afghanistan as well as the propping up of Saddam in a previous era) makes it reasonable also to talk about the perceived self-interest of muslims and even the actual self-interest of muslims in these countries. That means we're not just making excuses for the 'enemy' we're attributing political motives to them.

Alan -

"I'M BLACK AND I <i>AM</i> PROUD!!!"

ry -

Reading thru this I have decided not to further engage. We're talking about people's self image here and that's usually useless to argue(as I get nasty) and insults and condesending words and 'tudes are already in full effect.

But I will say that I'm with the Flea on this issue. A dove is a person who asks whether to fight or not while a hawk asks only where and when.

gorthos -

My apologies RX.. But the word conservadroid just falls off of the tongue so easily and I haven't done any political blogging on my site since I swore off it after the leadership convention.. :)

gorthos -

ry that is not RX.. again, my apologies

Alan -

I disagree, ry. Unlike most web political discussions there is absolutely nothing being said about anyone's self. I do not understand how you can take a complaint about conservative theory and policy as a personal matter anymore than I can take it personally when someone says something against socialism. All center-left/center-right political systems and philosophies carry their good and their bad but they are separate from the adherents.

Alan -

I grant the right to use of the word <i>sociobot</i> in credit for every use of <i>conservadroid</i>. And a hawk is there to ask where or when only after the dove has confirmed the hope of whether has ended up in never.

Paul of Kingston -

Why can't you ask all three questions?

Alan -

"HAH! WATCH ME NOW!!!"

gorthos -

Paul:
Do you mean:
What is your name
What is your quest
What is your favorite colour?

Paul of Kingston -

I think that is perhaps a good argument for why hawks should always be in the employ of doves.

Alan -

"GOOD GOD!!"

Paul of Kingston -

Why not? If the question of "if" must be answered before "when" and "where" then there appears to be a heirarchy at work.

Alan -

That "Good God" was me being James Brown, not adding to the conversation.

Paul of Kingston -

The guy was great - and he had one jeezly big head.

Alan -

Right some jeezly big.

Alan -

Nice touch playing "Celebrity Hot Tub" from SNL.<p><center><object width="425" height="350"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/Ly_CGin6QS8"></param><param name="wmode" value="transparent"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/Ly_CGin6QS8" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent" width="425" height="350"></embed></object></center>

gr -

Man, Alan, you are so BUSTED. I have been accused of celebrity bogging and impromptu diversionary comments, and what is this James Brown side track??? Oh yeah, it's your blog.

ry -

Hmm, I think you missed where I was going Al.

Fundementally all of our philosophies are based on some rather unprovable assumptions. They're almost like a religion at times in that aspect. Appostasy is looked at poorly and heresy gets ugly, neh? Look at the trans-fat discussion(or was that deemed a debate?). That's rather strongly held and fervently believed stuff. Stuff people use to define themselves and the world they wish to live in/build---the two play off each other.

For instance, the position of martyrdom causing more violence. That, to me, identifies something key in which the utterer defines themself. That they're also ignoring the possibility that simply holding them in prison can lead to similar levels of violence to have them freed also said something about the belief and self definition.

Because these things are almost as unprovable as which sect of Christianity is the True Religion or whether the Atheists are right and the rest of us pure rubes I said it would be utterly useless to argue----we're dealing with unprovable assumptions that form the bedrock of who we are and how we see the world, and I'm not skilled enough in rhetoric to change anyones mind about their 'religion'. Not personal as in "I'm insulted" but in questioning someones self identity or world view at its roots, which will lead to "I'm insulted", eventually.

A couple days outside a fumehood laden room has given me pretentions of philosophy, yes?;(

No worries gorthos. I always come back. I'm a "punch 'em in the face then buy them a beer the next night" kinda guy. I once called the cops on a neighbor and then split the bail money costs with him, after all(loud ass drunk).

It(conservadriod and the 'you feel threatened' schtick) just struck me as odd. As odd as going immediately to the triple dog dare from the double dare and bypassing the triple dare, the dog dare, and double dog dare in the process. Took the discussion from reasonable with the possibility of actually looking at different view points to a position of total contempt and into a closed minded circle(that pretention of mine is showing again, neh?) of protecting ideological turf.

So how many times do I have to write on the chalkboard 'I'm a pretentious wanker'?

gorthos -

I have had two smallsherry glasses of my new cognaq liquor and played World of Warcraft for allof 4 hours straight. I am in a fine, happy, reserved mood. Alan, as far as new years goes, we do nothing. I dislike crowds of drunken fools even thought I resemble that remark when I go out so the idea of a PACKED bar etc. makes me itchin towhip out that Katana I don't really own and go all American Psycho.

I gather that Saddam is hanged. How better to educate a nation that the Jihadists that cut off people's heads as well as Saddam's previous regiem are/were barbaric and they should embrace modern civilization than to allow them to continue the act of state executions.. bad bad bad in my eyes.

David -

Saddam's dead. I was out with a CBC reporter last night (who shall remain nameless) and we got the news on his Blackberry. Funny world....

Need to followup on Marian's point but can barely see straight right now.

cm -

Greetings from the annoying internet kiosk in Montreal. Can't find a pinball machine so used my loonies for this instead. Waste of money, as blogger is a restricted site. Bell Canada owes me $2.

gorthos -

Hey its cm!

My site is not banned. And I'm awake unlike Alan.

gr -

CM, as you so famously said last week, (or two weeks ago?)you have not missed much.

Alan -

Hey - we had our New Years Eve party two days early and everyone got up after 11 am - even the kids. Gary is a grump as you missed the bath of black blood!.

Mike C -

Well, I thought we were all Whigs around here anyway.

Come on, everybody, get Whiggy with it!