Monthly Archives: Touko 2017

Fugees on the Charts

Normaali

Viikko 21



Date
: May 23rd, 2017
Motion: THW hold a referendum on policies, practises and quotas regarding asylum-seeking
Role: PM (gov.)


The question of refugees is a pressing predicament of our times. They keep pouring in, and we don’t know what to do with them. If it was a THR/THW/THB that Question subjected to a debate society, the pro and con sides, the champions and brakers and the accusers and defenders would all be out there and ready with ammo to shoot at the other party with. At least now that the internet is filled with ”hate speech” and a lot of Western democracies have ”protest” or ”populist” parties that try to stem the tide of asylum seeking in a given country.

I think that it’s clear that the question is not as simple or simplistic as the man on the street would let you understand. There are several aspects of the issue that have to be taken into account.

Only a minority of people fall into the neat categories of ”pro-refugees” or ”contra-refugees”. These two opposites could be described as those who will blindly say ”yes” or ”no” to someone who is seeking asylum. I think these camps only account for about ten per cent, or 10 %, of the population, respectively. Only 10 % of people say a ”blind” YES to refugees, and only 10 % of people say a ”blind” NO to refugees.

The rest, the majority of people, base their opinion on statistics. They want to know lots and lots of things about refugees; basically, the same kind of data that we get and know about native citizens of a given country. Ordinary people want to know how (well) refugees a) integrate into society, b) find employment, c) marry across racial and religious boundaries, d) drink, e) smoke, f) have a presence in penitentiaries, g) go for higher education (universities, polytechnics, etc.), h) know birth control, i) travel abroad, j) vote at elections, k) know what to eat to avoid obesity, l) remain as citizens after the initial benefits have been spent and m) pay their taxes. 

And so on and and so on. Ordinary people are not blind naysayers to asylum seeking, nor are they blind yeasayers to it either. If the group that is coming in behaves in a lot of ways like the native population does, the natives are more prone to have positive and permissive views of immigration. If the group that tries to sneak in behaves in a lot of ways unlike the native population and breaks its norms flagrantly and over and over again, the natives are prone to have negative and dismissive views of immigration.

I think that this simple framing of the field has the benevolent impact of establishing the fact that people cannot be divided into ”racists” versus ”good people” or ”tolerantsia” anymore and any longer. The margins get divided into the fringe ”lunatics” of blind naysayers and yeasayers, WHEREAS the middle majority may be characterised as the ”statisticians” or the ”immigration-critical” or the ”fool-sufferers”.

A lot of people in the West consider it their moral duty or obligation to be ”pro-immigration”; the reason being the fact that the West (Europe, North America, Australia) has enjoyed the highest rate of development and economical prosperity of all nations in all of the hemispheres on all of the continents. However, this is a general ethos of blind yeasaying. Empathy, guilt and solidarity are the watchwords which are used time and again to justify a mass influx of strange people into countries where they have fit in, whether they want or not, willy-nilly.

The reason why populist regimes pop up in unexpected places has to do with this kind of blind yeasaying. People know what the media think and tell us, but independently they have A MIND OF THEIR OWN and their minds on the statistics. If they suspect and see it confirmed that foreigners commit more crimes than natives, their view of seeking asylum is likely to be antithetical, no matter how hard the blind yeasayers are trying to prove the opposite to be ”true”!

I think that it’s vital that authorities on immigration begin taking into account the true status of seeking asylum and immigrants. They cannot rely on people’s support for it anymore. They need to prove that asylum seekers a) settle, b) establish themselves and c) begin to build their new country of choice — rather than a) maintain ties with their old country, b) support its burgeoning terrorist networks and c) refuse to even learn the language that the host country speaks. It is a question of whether the newcomers are a workhorse that feeds the breast whose tit it sucks on, or are a Trojan horse that only exists in order to attack and subvert the order that exists at the receiving end.

So far, work-based ”trickle-down” immigration has been a far greater net contributor to national economies than asylum-based ”floodgates-up” immigration. Nation-states and authorities and civil servants should make sure that the gap between these two should be as narrow as possible, in order to retain the status quo as close to the status quo that existed in the receiving ends before the mass influx of immigrants.


Arvio: Vaikka pakolaisuudesta on selvästi jakautuneet mielipiteet, liberaalit väittelyseurat eivät halua väitellä asiasta polarisoidusti, jotta eivät kenties leimaantuisi. Tässä on reippaasti kantaa ottava puhe turvapaikkapakolaisuutta vastaan, sillä voidaan ajatella mahdollisen kansanäänestyksen jakavan kansan juuri niihin, jotka rajoittaisivat tulijoiden määrää asetuksin ja niihin, jotka sallisivat tulemisen kansainvälisten sopimusten viitoittamalla tiellä. Pääministerin kuuluu olla kärjekäs ja painokas, vaikkakaan ei räikeän puolueellinen, ja muut voivat jatkaa haluamallaan tavalla.

Mainokset

Owning Up

Normaali

Viikko 20


 

Date: April 4th, 2013
Motion: THW equalize the level of dividend taxation between different shareholders to the same level
Role: Rep. (opp.)


At this point in time, big business is being dealt a hand by the government in the form of dividend taxation. The intention is Good. The idea is to have big proprietors remain in the country in helping them to keep more of their money. Otherwise, their intention in all likelihood were to escape to the tax havens of Estonia first and different island tax havens secondly (the Cayman Islands being the proverbial example, but Jersey, Malta etc. following in its heels). Finland decreasingly offers a lucrative place to operate a business. ”Safety” and ”stability” are no longer watchwords to run a business by. Namely, volatile nations have learnt to please investors and possibly protect the formers’ interests more than those of their native citizens.

The people at the losing end (small investors) are a marginal group. Their dividends are taxed strictly, but at least they get to keep most of it, over a half. It is money they have not personally worked for. Rather, they should demand other money-friendly investment instruments from their banks and fund managers. It’s the latters’ job to come up with lucrative investing schemes. On the other hand, Finland cannot afford to lose any of its holding-company capitalists. Their importance as employers, consumers and spenders is way too important. Personally, I can say that when I got money out of a holding company I had a share in (9 %), I spent all of the money I got within a year and that money was further slapped with the VAT on most occasions or transactions. Alcohol expenditure, for instance, was significant, and that in itself is a great source of tax revenue for the govt. of this country.

Even if this recent development was a bad collective decision, it can be made right with a slew of other personal decisions. If holding companies get the warm shoulder, maybe people should form holding companies. Maybe the state itself should get a lot of its revenue from holding companies, including Finnair, Senate Properties or some other state-owned corporation. If direct taxation sucks, why wouldn’t we all use indirect taxation then instead; at least, those who can?

Any tax reform may feel good, if one is at the receiving end of the said, specific tax reform. A holding company doesn’t necessarily have to be a corporate behemoth’s piggy bank. It can be Your piggy bank, and if you are a good citizen/consumer, you will then spend what you get in capital income, and that in turn will fuel and lubricate our shared, joint economy and weal.

Thank you.


Arvio: Puhe on hieman sekava, mikä johtuu siitä, että sen kirjoittamisajankohtana tapahtui jonkinlainen muutos osakkeiden ja osinkojen tuomien pääomatulojen verotuksessa. Muutos oli sellainen, että se asetti erilaiseen asemaan ne, joilla oli yhtäältä suoria osakeomistuksia ja toisaalta erilaisia rahasto-omistuksia pankkien kautta tai hallinnointiyhtiön osakkeita. Jos tätä ei tiedä, puheessa ei ole juuri järkeä. Vastustuksen pointti on siinä, että opposition edustajana haluan jonkin pääomatulon muodon, johon kohdistuu matalampi verotus, kuin että kaikki pääomatulo olisi raskaasti verotettua. Lyhyenä, vaikeasti pidennettävänä puheena tämä puhe jättää toivomisen varaa.

Miles and Children

Normaali

Viikko 19


 

Date: May 11th, 2017
Motion: THB that parents are greedier than singles
Role: Rep. (gov.)


Assemblage, Chair, Ladies & Gentlemen,

We have been wondering what the cause of divorces is and what to do about that and what next. I’d like to present my own view on the mechanism of easy marriage and easy divorce.  And do not draw any parallels of this with brexit. Britain’s divorce from the EU was not an easy one. The UK had a liaison, relationship, and finally a marriage with the EU for over 40 years.

OK, that was the comic relief. Now, back to business.
First, there are two people who are strangers to each other. Then they start seeing each other. This deepens into dating. They start liking each other. This deepens into co-habitation. They start doing each other favours, i.e. pleasing each other. This deepens into engagement. They start planning ahead. This deepens into marriage. They start loving each other. This deepens into a marriage with children. They start thinking of themselves as one Family Unit. This deepens into…. Divorce. (They start hating each other.)

Many people see divorces as failures in a linear progression from the neutral to the good to the bad, but I’m claiming that a divorce was in the cards anyway, as these people were not entirely honest and/or mature to begin with.

What I’m saying is that people who go from singlehood to single motherhood or single fatherhood have not sorted out who they are and what they want from life.

On the one hand, they want the freedom that is associated with being eligible but not taken, the freedom of being untidy, of spending one’s leisure time at will, of travelling to faraway places, of holding the strings of one’s own purse, of being mysterious.
On the other hand, they want the security of family life, the tight schedule imposed by work and children, the restrictions to debauchery and the comfort of sharing a bed with someone who might want to get intimate once a week as well.

What all of this boils down to, is that in the end the irresistible pawn in the game are the children. Having a child or children brings social capital to a given average citizen. A lot of grown-ups have surplus energy that they can put into taking care of other people. Nurses, for example, have to take care of a far wider collective of inmates on a daily basis; feeding them, clothing them, giving them activities and putting them to sleep (which is what life with children is often about). This ability to foster and nurse life is so ingrained in so many of us that a lot of people view having children as a ”no-brainer”, a deal that has mainly pros but not cons. They want children and the easiest way to obtain children is to be together with someone for a while and then go for a divorce.

After a divorce, the children are still blood relatives to the father or mother, and they are forever linked to him or her. Thus, that person will have amassed a LOT of social capital, compared with someone who does not have children. What is different with the earlier situation is that now there is also the freedom of singlehood that beckons. Compared with nuclear families, divorced parents with children enjoy aspects of both family life and the singledom. In an odd week they can live like hedonists (as the children are not there). In an even week they must live like monks or nuns (since the children are there). For twenty years in a row. What a Blast.

Easy and fast divorces are signs of a society where grownups have still not made up their mind about whether they want freedom or tradition. Because we live in capitalism, they need to gather capital, in this case of a social kind, in the process, for all that.

If you want to read more about the subject, here’s a column by a foreign correspondent who has been mentioned at least once on this blog before. She writes about the same subject (in Finnish):
http://www.hs.fi/paivanlehti/07052017/art-2000005198668.html
She got a response right thereafter as a letter to the editors (in Finnish):
http://www.hs.fi/mielipide/art-2000005203527.html


Arvio: Puheessa tökitään murtuvia liittoja. Aloite on suhteellisen tasapuolinen kummankin puoliskon edustajille; on ehkä hauskaa olla tälläkin puolella, vaikka edut eivät ehkä heti näytä ilmeisiltä. Toivon mukaan edelliset ovat jo ladanneet tiskiin rankan puoleisesti taloudesta, ekologiasta ja ylikansoittumisesta.

Fit as a Fiddle

Normaali

Viikko 18


 

Date: May 2nd, 2017
Motion: THW focus on exercise as a cure for ills on a broader spectrum
Role: MP (gov.)


Most people think that the present boom in the sport that is called ”fitness” is something that it is not. The popular image of FITNESS is as something to do for those who are (spray)tanned, like to look at themselves in the mirror, do other sports equally well, do not care about school that much and like to travel (showing off their muscles and stuff). Something could be farther from the truth, but this, too, is far from the truth.

Fitness suits those who like to dwell on the physical and who have little time over for things other than the physical ones. But the key thing to know is that fitness suits also all other kinds of people. And now I’m going to focus on those other kinds of people.

The basic, core idea of fitness is that it elevates the body to a status that it should have in its own right, as a given thing. But, unfortunately people have been neglecting their bodies ever since the end of World War II. I suppose the war was such a crucible of famine, plight, thirst and typhus that it felt necessary to gain a lot of weight and lose a little muscle mass in the following few decades after the war. However, that was then and this is now.

The core idea of fitness is that it tries to put the dot on the i, when the ”i” is already well-formed. The best example is the Intellectual. When we have someone who is above average in intelligence, an erudite person, a well-read citizen, (s)he is already well on his or her way to becoming elected (for marriage, or an office, or something). When that person begins to invest in his or her looks and bodily presence as well, it is like saying that ”now I should be irresistible”. In other words, if a person already possesses brains, and then that person goes on to possess brawn as well, it is kind of hard to say that the person is ”not enough” (to win us over).

Fitness is an extension of our already well-formed egos, that i with a minuscule. When the small ego ”i” is augmented with the secret ingredient of fitness, it turns into an Ego with a majuscule, an ”I”. I is better than i, in a manner of speaking.

This, of course, has its roots in the idea that the body is a temple of the soul or mind. If we’re really good and really clever, it should somehow manifest itself in our bodies as well. Smart people should have nice clavicles, slender biceps, bulging pecs, shaved armpits and V-shaped cotton shirts on. It sounds vain, but if we’re honest, it’s more in keeping with having something to offer also on the intellectual plane. If one is a Chess Champion of the World, it doesn’t leave a good impression if the person has cellulite on the thighs at the same time. The chess skills do not have to be gotten rid of, but the cellulite should go.

And this can be extended to other areas as well. If you’re a poker-playing pro, you look better if you don’t have to choose XL-sized clothes for the tournaments. If you’re a stand-up comedian, it’s better if you can run for a quarter of an hour instead of walking for an hour, because that helps you perform better and makes you more convincing. And so on. And so on.

Fitness is a way of sealing the deal, of bringing the spectator of yourself as an object to make the conclusion that you are better than the rest or at least good enough. Youthfulness, vibrancy and a general buoyancy are never a bad thing (except in political, closed cabinets, perhaps, but even there a lot of politicians make an effort to not look like dried-up halibuts). Fitness is not you, because the real you cannot be contained by kettlebells, gyms and mirrors. But until you make the grand old age, fitness is good way of keeping that grand old age at bay.

Thank you.


Arvio: Jos puolen aiemmat puhujat ovat puhuneet urheilun, liikunnan ja kuntoilun terveysvaikutuksista, II-tiimin edustaja lähtee hieman eri suuntaan puhumalla niiden terveys- JA ulkonäkövaikutuksista. Puhetta olisi voinut vielä pidentää eri esimerkein seitsemännessä kappaleessa.