business, censorship, economics, Stephen Harper

China in the Bull Shop

So, I’m supposed to take the word of the Chinese government, one of the most repressive and brutal regimes in history, that the Dalai Lama is a dangerous insurgent? That’s what they’re asking me to accept – that this self-deprecating, eternally cheerful, thoughtful and gentle individual is a danger to anyone?

Not gonna happen, sorry.

I for one am a bit dismayed that China expects us to solemnly accept and take seriously the fact that they threaten ‘repercussions’ to Der Harpenfuehrer’s meeting with the Dalai Lama. Can they possibly expect us to accept this and do as we are told? Can they realistically expect Canadians to even listen with a straight face anymore?

Seriously, the rest of us, outside a small cadre of power-brokers, have long ago figured out that the ‘Chinese Century’ now refers to the number of beer shots it takes to believe that China is in some way an economic driver of the world of the future. You can bet your investing dollar that the lead-paint sweetness of the initial rush to embrace China has turned somewhat sour. I’m interested in how quickly Mattel was able to shift blame away from their own leadership and onto the Chinese people – the decision to offload manufacturing of Barbies to the cheapest common denominator was not made there, but here, in the corporate boardrooms of America the grasping and avaricious. Nobody but the U.S. parent company is to blame if there was no proper oversight of manufacturing  – although, as a mode of conquest, gradually poisoning and reducing the intellectual capacity of the next generation of your enemies stands right up there in the annals of long term planning. Maybe there is enough blame to go around.

Now, as I understand it, there are athletes from several countries currently in China, acclimatizing themselves to the conditions there in advance of the Olympics next year. Just about anywhere else outside of China, and perhaps Eastern Europe, that would be a sound strategy, but in this case some of the athletes are getting sick because of the absolutely horrible air quality. China, as it is becoming obvious, is somewhat lacking in the stewardship department on a number of levels. The coming Olympics, I believe, will be a fiasco, and I, for one, will be watching the action between the sporting events.

So, in terms of an example for the world to follow should we choose to execute and harvest the organs of our own citizens, China stands as a shining beacon. To those of us who think we have a terrible track record with the environment, you can at least take temporary respite in the knowledge that there is someone far worse. Again, setting an example for the world. I would ultimately dismiss China completely as having any realistic chance of maintaining influence on the world stage before everyone there dies of a combination of lead poisoning and terminal asthma, except for…

That one guy.

The one guy, in the white shirt, carrying a shopping bag.

Staring down an entire row of tanks. Tienanmen Square, 1989.
I don’t know if ultimately that guy survived beyond the events of Tienanmen Square, but I hope he did. And that he reproduced, and his children all become teachers. That’s the guy, one of many, who may have died for what they believed in, not because it was doctrine, not because they were threatened with a horrible fate if they did not ask for basic human freedoms, but because it was the right thing to do.

China, and the current Chinese leadership, meh. Who cares what they think in their Animal Farm palaces while others die around them.

But that guy. I’ve never met him, I’ll never know him. But he inspired me like very few others have. That’s the type of person I’d listen to. Thanks, man – wherever you are.


Can’t we like simple movies?

Let me expand:

Can’t we like simple movies for their simplicity and complicated movies for their complexity?  I enjoy movies that teach me something, or expose some great injustice, or just happen to be unique and fresh.  But I also like movies that make no pretenses about delivering messages, moral lessons, and are recycled stories.  Sometimes I see a movie just to be entertained (be it a “non-new” action, comedy, or horror flick).

PS – This question was inspired by Mark Palermo in The Coast and his seeming hatred for all moving pictures.  I probably shouldn’t single out any particular critic, but I get annoyed so often by Mark’s reviews of movies that are technically sound yet not necessarily ‘original art’.  It may be true that Guy Incognito made a film similar to Generic Action Flick #9 back in 1962, but I don’t care that much (aside from the potential for trivia).  I want to know if the movie on screen X with the similar plot in Park Lane will entertain me, despite my complete ignorance of the essential reading for Film History 301 at NSCAD.

PPS – There are movies that I think are stinkers…typically they are trying to be “real”, but get the physics all wrong, have huge plot holes, suffer from serious continuity problems, feature bad acting or poor cinematography, or are based on old TV shows in a most annoying and crass way.  I won’t be seeing “Love Boat: The Motion Picture” if it ever gets made, probably for all the listed reasons.


The Plight of the Rich and Famous, Parts 1 and 2

1) Paris Hilton says she’s matured.

Well, that’s what pure cheese does. Ask the French.

2) Lindsay Lohan is Broke after Spending all her Money on Drugs and Alcohol.

That’s sad. No, wait, not sad…

Fucking hilarious.

Nova Scotia, Rodney MacDonald, Stephen Harper

What’s worth more? Money today or money in the future?

Although I haven’t seen the actual text of the offshore deal made between the Diddler and the Harpocryte (has anyone?), I feel qualified to comment based on the news reports I’ve come across.  Let me preface this by saying that every single report I’ve read has been awash in speculation.  Either the press hasn’t seen the deal, or it’s so complicated that the various reporters don’t understand it/are unable to explain the terms in a few inches of newsprint.

 Anywho, here are my impressions:  It’s a good deal for Nova Scotia in the long term if we can trust future federal governments to honour the deal.  In other words, it’s a bad deal.  The Harpercryte himself has already shown that he can’t be trusted to honour provincial revenue-sharing agreements.  That’s the whole reason why Casey voted against the budget, got kicked out of caucus, and forced the Diddler into sloth-like action.  The current brand of Republicans did not honour an agreement signed by John Hamm (who?) and His Eeliness, Paul Martin.  What makes anyone think that, should we suffer Conservative governments for the next 12 years, the Federal government won’t just go ahead and dishonour the new agreement come 2019, when the revenue sharing is supposed to begin favouring Nova Scotia?  Will a new Liberal government honour a deal signed by two Conservative entities?  I personally find it hard to trust politicians and lawyers for five minutes, let alone 12 years.

The other problem I have with the agreement is the notion that Nova Scotia will have any sort of meaningful oil and gas revenues come 2019.  The Sable Project ran into a size problem (the two largest fields were smaller than anticipated), and will not last as long as originally hoped.  Deep Panuke is likely only large enough to last for 7-9 years, so production there (assuming that project even goes ahead) will be in decline or finished come 2019.  No substantial new fields have been found since Deep Panuke, and the industry hasn’t been exploring meaningfully for the past two years.  Oil and gas is cyclic, but even so it’s a very bad sign when companies aren’t exploring your basin at today’s oil prices.

 So really, unless exploration picks up and someone finds the fabled elephant in our offshore, a back-ended deal makes very little sense.  Nova Scotia’s offshore revenues from Sable are peaking now, and really should be projected to peak again 3-4 years into the life of Deep Panuke.  Banking on a long-term deal that wishes for sustained production until 2019 and beyond would probably make more sense for Newfoundland than Nova Scotia.  I’m not sure who advised the Diddler on this deal, but whoever it was probably has a far more optimistic outlook for Nova Scotia’s offshore future than is currently warranted, or than is shared by the various companies who once explored here.

 I’m interested in hearing other opinions.  I ask:  has anyone out there actually seen/understood the text of this agreement?