Monthly Archives: helmikuu 2017

It’s the Ecomony, Silly

Normaali

Viikko 8


 

Year: 2013
Motion
THW give ECB, IMF and WB more power to solve the financial woes that plague the world right now
Role: MP (opp.)


The international crisis in finance began in 2008. Now it is 2013 (2017, really). During the five years that have passed, it has become clear what went wrong. One clue came from Charles Ferguson’s award-winning movie Inside Job, but the problem with the film was that it did not simplify the game other than in terms of infographics. My ambitious goal is to simplify to such a degree that even children can understand the roots and nature of the collapse.

Let’s put it like this: comparison with a card game. The game of choice is an old one going by the name of Old Maid. The name is a reference to how some people, men or women, are left without a spouse in the game of Life to share their joys, money and sorrows with. Hence the name. It might also be called by any other name that evokes outsiderdom, marginalisation, being the odd one out etc. The idea of the game is that most other cards represent points or wealth, whereas the primary objective is to be among people who avoid getting the freak; the old maid/boy, spinster, widower or widow, whatever you call h**.

In finance, the wide boys created a bad card of their own: Subprime housing mortgages, aimed at unemployed or otherwise discredited people. The idea was to pass this bad card onto any other player in the game, until things came to a head. The card or casino game would come to an end by the time those subprime loans turned out worthless and defaulted on. Post-game-over, whoever had that bad card would be the loser, but the compensated loser, as it later turned out that the losses would be paid for from various taxpayers’ pocket. Changing that card from hand to hand was called a ”credit-default swap”. This much we know to be true.

In other words, the big boys created a type of gamble that would generate money to them while they played, and whose loser would be compensated for by other people than the players themselves. It would be a win-win situation for the players. It would also be a case of privatising profits and socialising losses, an accusation that has often been repeated and which seems to be legitimate. The big boys played with other people’s money, pocketed a lot of it and made sure there would be another round on the horizon.

What should be done about this? The same laws that apply to illegal gambling should be used against Wall Street. Mob bosses of the kind that were seen on the Sopranos are mainly known to stage illegal gambling sessions. A sports-goods dealer took part in one of them and lost his business and fortune. A lot of other businesses have also gone under thanks to the 2008 shady deals. Barack Obama did not do anything to fix any issues of this kind. He was probably warned from high enough to not do anything. From a legal point of view, people who took part in this game of ”Old Maid” are equally complicit and culpable. Some sort of a class-action suit should be filed for their undoing in the near future(s). Gambling on anonymous people’s money is worse than a Ponzi scheme with a name.

What would IMF, ECB and WB do about someone or some country losing control of their finances? They would pour some new money to them, so that they could start all over again, flush with cash. Money can be made from thin air. It’s not a solution in itself, if it is not earned through honest work. Also, it comes with an interest.

For this reason, our side is opposed to any help from the aforementioned banking institutions. They couldn’t fix anything that existing legislation couldn’t fix. They are more a part of the problem than part of the solution.

Thank you.


Arvio: Puhe ottaa tietäväisenä kantaa akuuttiin, vaikkakin jo osittain hälvenneeseen ongelmaan. Siinä esitetään lääke, joka saattaa olla jo vanhentunut — hieman samaan tapaan kuin antibiootit eivät enää paranna kaikkia bakteeriperäisiä epideemisiä tauteja. Toisaalta kyse ei ole välttämättä oikeassa olemisesta vaan vahvan vastarinnan tarjoamisesta. Oman puolensa viimeisenä uutta ainesta sisältävänä puheena tämä lopettaa näpäkästi.

Mainokset

Post-It Society

Normaali

Viikko 7


 

Date: Feb 9th, 2017
Motion: THB that we have entered the Age of Post Truth
Role: Rep. (opp.)


As a or the representative of the opposition, I’d like to reject the motion of the government. Whereas my colleagues who stand by myself right now, focused more on the aspects of ”post” and ”truth”, I’d like to bring the discussion to a head in offering my own synthesis of the heart of the matter.

”Post-Truth”…. is a word that is in line with the earlier coinages that have the similar post-prefix before them. We’re reminded of such words as ”post-modern”, ”post-punk”, ”post-drama theatre”, ”post-September 11th” and ”post-debate”. Some of these expressions are temporal in nature, while the others evoke some kind of a synthesis or a reformulation of the word that follows the prefix. What is post-truth about?

Post-truth is about the fact that one cannot trust news(sites) anymore. Or that politicians are lying in our faces, without consequences. But you should trust me, when I say that it has happened before. Remember the early days of the internet? Spam began to get through, after the first cordial messages had been sent. These days, I may receive a msg from, say, ”Instagram”, which announces that I will get a ”special prize” for being the millionth ”customer”. When I look at the sender’s address, it may be <gary123tops@loudandclear.com>. (Instagram won’t allow anyone to mess with their address proper.) When I encounter something like this, I routinely toss it out as trash. Post-truth is not dangerous, if we can practise criticism of sources in that way. We’re being lied to from other quarters than fake media and dubious politicians. So, we’re not helpless in front of this kind of wrongdoing. And the sifting is not that hard, either. Common sense does not require a University degree.

Established media outlets are worried that we can not navigate our way through news and fake news any more. This, however, was in the cards anyway. Namely, it all began with the arrival of social media. Now we may discuss items of news with like-minded people from all over the world. It used to be that we could discuss something at our school or in the workplace with the people who happened by coincidence to be part of that social setting. Traditional media is worried because in the past it had the monopoly on a) facts and b) their interpretation. Now we receive only the facts from the media but we interpret those facts on our own. We don’t need their help anymore, and that’s why they are pissed off. Still, we receive more facts than ever. We notice every deceased entertainment figure. We know of exits, divorces and separations, engagements, crushes and sealed deals. Information is not thin on the ground.

Media representatives have not either stayed where they used to be. As it has been pointed out, media folks now form a kind of Opposition of their own instead of opposition politicians. The press used to be called the ”Fourth Estate”. Now, instead of being that, it has become a or the counterforce to the government. There was a time, when newspapers announced that they were unaffiliated, unbiased or independent of politics. That was when the amount of ambient populism was at its nadir in public. There was no need for Guardianship of any kind. Now, as that has passed, the press feels it is obligated to react to the events (of the world), since members of the print industry would not otherwise have a clear conscience. As if they otherwise gave their blessing to a World Gone Mad. That is why every conservative government in the world has the liberal press on its back instead of the country’s sometimes non-existent opposition forces. The degree varies, but it’s the same whether we are talking about Russia, Turkey, Great Britain, Finland or the United States. We should remember, however, that the world has been described and regarded as mad ever since the mid-Sixties during any decade. If you don’t believe me, try to recall the words to the Barry McGuire song Eve of Destruction. It has the lines

My blood’s so Mad, feels like coagulating / I’m sitting here just contemplatin’. / . . . / This whole crazy World is just too frustratin’.

The song was released as early as 1965…

In consequence, I’d like to consider it proven that the talk about a or the post-truth world has been introduced merely because the press has redefined its relation to both its readers and to itself. We have not entered an Era of Post Truth. We remain topical and truthful.

Thank you.


Arvio: Toimiva puhe, jonka hyviä ominaisuuksia ovat sopiva pituus ja rakenne sekä se, että laulun tullessa kohdalle siihen voi suorastaan puhjeta omista taidoista ja presenssistä riippuen.

Judge Dredd’s Backyard

Normaali

Viikko 6


🏯🌄

Date: Aug 6th, 2013
Motion: THB that smaller municipalities should always be incorporated into bigger communities or units
Role: Rep. (opp.)


Some years ago, two decades to be precise, Finnish author Ms. Anja Snellman published a book called the Geography of Fear (literal, but likely the eventual title, if translated). It purported that women better not go to certain places in towns and cities lest they be raped or worse. Snellman’s thesis was that per the human liberties outlined by Isaiah Berlin, a known Jewish-British philosopher, women would lack the positive or administrative liberty of going where they want.

I would like to say, on the other hand, that the geography of fear, or that of Ill Feeling, is everywhere, and not just for women. All of our inhabited towns and that one (capital) city are pervaded by fear and loathing, but not in Las Vegas. Let me explain in detail what I mean.

Anxiety and negative feelings characterize emotion in living anywhere. In a big place, the anxiety is of the unmysterious sort: population density. It is on such a level that the anxiety is mostly caused by competition, congestion, crowds, pollution, scarcity and risen prices. People often prefer this kind of anxiety to downright dread, panic or fright. How else could we explain the popularity of a place like Helsinki to live in? The upside of living in a city is the relative feeling of safety in numbers. Mystery is to be found elsewhere.

In smaller, often migration-depleted localities, two forces prevail: a) mystery or b) bleakness/squalor. External factors determine to some extent if a place is bleak or not, as it does for mystery as well. Mystery, however, is a touch-and-go thing, or not something that one can buy. It either exists in a place, or not. Sometimes it hinges on the history of the place, its location under the stars, or just the nature and the movements of wind and water around the place. One can sense it clearly, though. If, in the quiet hours of the afternoon or evening, the place is permeated by a sense or spirit of impending ”something”, mystery is present indeed.

If there is no(t) mystery, bleakness takes its place instead. Bleak places are on the bottommost rung of existence in inhabited, man-populated places. However, they may have some redeeming qualities. They may be close to some natural wonder (which would probably tilt them more toward mystery). They may be the place where the sole person in the world who makes love with one lives in. They may provide quiet that is necessary for sleeping, dreaming or creating. They may hold a vacant lot one wants to guard over and sell up.

It is a matter of taste whether one places an anxious,  bleak or mysterious place first to take precedence. Sometimes there is no choice, sometimes variety is the spice of life, and sometimes materialistic considerations get the upper hand in what needs to be done. But, I would say that a true emotionalist & idealist might want to live in a mysterious place for long stretches of his or her life, because then there is always something to feel. On the other hand, I’m willing to admit that a mission in life or social ties (which are part of Life’s Mission) compel us to seek ourselves to the biggest available watering holes.

If you imagine your person to generate mostly a positive electric charge, then the inherent negative charge of the place in which you live may be seen to generate the tension or voltage that exists to keep you going. It’s the voltage of existence, based on the geography of ”fear”.


Arvio: Tämä puhe tekee osittaista, hidasta vastarintaa motionia kohtaan. Vastustuksen ei täydy olla aina kovaäänistä poikkiteloin asettumista, tuttua päivänpolitiikan tekemisestä. I puhujan täytyy olla ”poikkitelainen”, ja II puhujankin tämän peesaajana enimmäkseen myös, mutta III puhuja ynnä Whip voivat luottaa melankolisempaan meininkiin. Vastustus käy ilmi siitä, mitä sanotaan, eikä pelkästään siitä, miten sanotaan.

 

Serving Swedish on a Plate

Normaali

Viikko 5


 

Motion: THW remove Swedish off the list of compulsory subjects at school
Role: Rep. (opp.)


Swedish in Finland is a tough subject. In theory, it should be easy to bilingualise a people to ensure mutual communication, interaction and understanding, but in practice, it has turned out to be nigh on impossible. To make a comparison, we may try to recall and revisit any of the creoles and pidgins that were once created during colonial empires and eras.

My thinking borrows from the triad of peoples’ characteristics that were put forward by a PR consultant and etiquette trainer called Richard D. Lewis. According to him, the world’s people(s) divide up into three kinds of interactors: multi-tasking (later multi-active), straight-forward (later linear-active) and reactive. They each have a signature style of communication, which can be applied to the issue at hand.

My solution to the issue is clear and simple. Let us declare that there are three levels of linguistic competence or proficiency, while we only have to be competent at one and only one of these levels to be entitled to adequate, proper, sufficient constitutional citizenship.

One of these levels is, or I dub it ”the low official”. It means that whatever one does, when one is employed in customer service or service industries, even servile industries (as a janitor or a caretaker of some kind), one needs to be able to speak Swedish on a level that is sufficient for giving appropriate responses to individuals who need to run their errands with the help of the person in question. This is the reactive pole per Lewis’s demographic categorisation. Reactive peoples in the world include many Asian nationalities, such as Vietnamese, for instance.

Another of these levels I dub ”the high official”. It means that one is employed as an expert or an authority or a symbol analyst (whom one might be considered after a term coined by Robert B. Reich [1991].) In this case, one needs to be able to give convincing words, expert opinions, ideological viewpoints, statements and solutions in one’s own field of expertise. This means a specialised vocabulary, longer lines (sometimes whole paragraphs), finesse and a command of the (high) register. This level is far more demanding than the previous one, but neither does it require knowledge of and knack for colloquial expression. Professions that belong in this category include those of a comedian, doctor, executive, journalist, priest, teacher, researcher, and so on. This is the straight-forward pole in Lewis’s world. Straight-forward peoples in the world include Lewis’s own and — in general — many of those countries that have a tricolour (especially red, blue and white) in their national flag.

The final level that does NOT HAVE TO be reached is what I dub ”the kitchen privacy”. This means the ability to speak about cultural, domestic, jocular, trivial and/or vernacular matters in fluent Swedish, or at the level on which most ordinary Finnish Swedes are. This level may be reached by an ordinary majority Finn (as a monoglot at first) only when (s)he changes his or her circumstances to more Swedish-oriented ones in e.g. moving to a predominantly Swedish-speaking area, marrying a Swede or becoming a coach, mentor or teacher to Swedish-speaking children or teenagers for lack of competent authentic personnel. This is the multi-tasking pole according to Lewis. Multi-tasking peoples in the world encompass (but aren’t restricted to) those that come from latino countries and speak Romance languages.

The road to bilingualism is iffy and rocky, but it can be reached more easily if one does not set the bar too high, or, if one at least knows where the bar lies — appropriately, ideally and optimally. Sadly, most Finns do not recognize that they do not have to attain that ”privacy” level, when it is perfectly okay to remain on one’s job-performance level. Once this is attained — perhaps with the coming of better-equipped, newer generations — our peculiar Finnish situation can be compared and juxtaposed with the situation in other bilingual countries. In our otherwise progressive society, this one is an issue of aggression and regression.

Thank you.


Arvio: Puhe on riittävän pitkä mutta vaatii kuulijalta täyden huomion hitaasti avautuvan rakenteensa takia. Voidaan arvioida, että aiemmat puheenvuorot (1. & 2. puhuja) ovat käsitelleet asian historiallista ja juridista puolta väsyksiin asti, jolloin on retorista tilausta puheen ajamalle käytännöllisemmälle ja (teoriassa) kaikkia koskettavalle mutta silti analyyttiselle katsantokannalle. Puhe on kuitenkin sikäli ”haihattelua”, että kielitaidon usein määrää altistus eikä hyvä tahto.