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Michael Hardner

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Everything posted by Michael Hardner

  1. Because the debate is almost never about facts, but about personalities and cultures. Compromise and hybrid solutions don't seem to come out of the type of dialogue that goes on now. The US system produced better results in the early mid 20th century, I believe because there was a better quality of debate. If it's about culture wars and personalities, then we will never elect leaders who will provide solutions to our problems.
  2. Comparing Obama to Fidel Castro ? Pretty worthless. The US needs to find a way to improve the quality of debate very quickly. Large institutions are now being revamped without the public's full understanding of what is happening and comic-book-level discussion will only hasten a full collapse.
  3. Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario seem to lead in hours worked, with Alberta 12% or so above Ontario: Stats Canada
  4. 'Right and left' should be tossed out.... it's like playing 'cowboys and indians'.... the important right/left struggles have been fought... we need to align along different parameters now. Leading me to myata: We have this internet thing now... which has arrived (like many technologies) right at the time it's needed. It's binding us together and tracking what we're all doing without us even asking it to.
  5. Leftists and rightists won't accept generic terms like 'freedom' and 'social involvement'. They would say that their way (whichever one it is) is the way of "freedom"... Rightists often want more social controls on individual behavior (discipline in schools, less tolerance of gender diversity, etc.) and leftists will wade into social control territory from time to time too... diversity quotas in hiring... etc. Maybe we can redefine how left/right think of themselves in a less Cartesian way... as in less like René Descartes... not a graph but some text.... Something like: Rightists think the world is a tough place but if you don't take care of yourself and yours than nobody else will. Leftists think the world is a tough place and therefore you should be forced to take care of the ones that nobody else takes care of.
  6. I think that the community itself should be charged with addressing the problem, and that society at large should do whatever is required to help. I suspect that it doesn't help so much when external agencies to parachute in and deliver a predestined solution.
  7. eye, Outlawing secrecy isn't possible. But more accountability and transparency would be very easy to achieve, given that there is almost none now. This is a passion of mine, which I like to blog about from time to time. If you're interested in contributing a little, I noticed a new group that is organizing projects to increase government accountability in Canada: Visible Government
  8. I would add something called Media and Democracy, or Media and Society.
  9. It's a terrible waste of money and resources, and people on the left and the right should be demanding that something is done about this. Instead, we have elections where the candidates scream about irrelevant things. If the federal government wasn't so mismanaged, we could have much better services or spend the budget where it's needed such as education or healthcare. It's a terrible shame.
  10. It's a holiday, AW, don't take the lack of response to mean anything at all. Yes, we're very lucky. I'm on my way to Toronto Island to enjoy the day.
  11. Argus, you're right. This is an example of why GroupThink will kill us. Often, people will look to their political peers for a response to a situation rather than thinking it through for themselves. It's all about people aligning themselves into tribes - which is a human failing as well as a curse. This situation pervades everything political. The debate about Global Warming, for example, is fought along right/left lines when there are major fallacies with both positions. Too often, the debate ends up being about which side you're on. It would be nice if it were different, but unfortunately humans don't easily organize into groups of even-handed committee men who objectively sift through facts in order to determine the best solution.
  12. j, What is 'the West' though ? Isn't it a system of arranging a country so that people can pursue happiness ? And doesn't it 'preserve itself' by inviting people to take part in that system, by drawing the best and the brightest to a place where they can succeed ? I'm not sure what you're proposing but the West has never preserved itself by cutting itself off.
  13. GH seems to think that the war is still popular there.
  14. There seems to me to be a sizeable contingent of people who say they want 'peace', but who really want the US to eat crow. The war went badly, when you compare the results to the sky-high expectations that people had. (People in favour of the war. that is.) The idea that leaving Iraq before it can ably manage its own affairs will fix that it insanity.
  15. BD, Iraq is getting there. I too was against the war but I am glad to see that stability is slowly coming to the region. There's no point in looking back. A continued American presence seems to me the best way forward.
  16. Auguste, As to kiva.org, I am reminded of food banks. We have a system for transferring claims on assets between people. It's called the financial system and it works extremely well. I don't quite see why we should create a parallel system when the existing one is already efficient and is always on the look out for unexploited niches. This isn't a new financial system - this is information that you can use to invest.
  17. eb, I'm not sure why you use that comical and out dated term. Are you trying to make fun of city folk or ... anyway... On this thread: Good Policy.... ...you made a similar type of claim. The city slickers from the government wanted fisherman to be monitored for overfishing, it seems. I'm intrigued by these example because whatever incident(s) you speak of seem to have given you the idea that democratic reform means tagging public officials with ankle bracelets and microphones. If you care to explain the incidents more clearly, I'd like to discuss where the current system might be improved to address the problem.
  18. To add to your points: - Spending a lot of your life being unproductive is bad for you, in my experience. - There are bullies who have to put up with each other because they can't work elsewhere.
  19. Arguing with a troothar reminds me so much of playing with a cat and a piece of string. I usually get bored after the same time period too - about 5 minutes...
  20. In my latest Blogspot article, I introduce a recent document that I feel offers some hope for improving public dialogue. The Public Policy Forum group was formed during the Mulroney government in the 1980s. Their purpose,is to strive for excellence in government - to serve as a neutral, independent forum for open dialogue on public policy, and to encourage reform in public sector management. Four key factors have distinguished the PPF as a unique organization on the Canadian landscape. The document is entitled: It's More Than Talk Don Lenihan, New Brunswick's Provincial Advisor on Public Enagement does an excellent job of explaining why our reliance on "traditional media" is currently failing the political process. The report recommends: "At a minimum, one high-profile, large-scale project should be launched within six months of this report’s release." What they're talking about here is using some of the great things that happen on Forums such as Maple Leaf for getting public input on how government works. As has been pointed out, these projects are not inclusive (they only have small numbers of participants, typically 35) but they are, in my view, the first steps in achieving something great: replacing our current media (television and newspapers) as the dominant mode of public dialogue.
  21. EB, Your "third option" could also be phrased as "checks and balances" that were built into the system from the beginning. As for your example, it's a little vague to me. You're making it out like a bunch of "city slickers" came in and stole all your community's money. Did somebody lie to you, or not ? If so, who did it and why were they not held responsible ? Was overfishing a problem or not ? If it was, was the camera option a realistic approach ?
  22. Hi, 1991. If you read all of it (there's a lot, granted) then you'll see that there are different models for engaging the public. These are experiments and pilot projects. I don't think you can reject the paper based on that. The point is that there is an effort underway to engage with the public in a new way, that recognizes the problems that we've all been talking about on these boards. When a new democracy has their first election, often there is voter fraud but we still focus on the big picture and hope for improvement.
  23. jb, They need to accept the constitution of the land, and - yes - large influxes should be avoided. That's my agreement.
  24. Ok, jbg. I spent about 1/2 an hour and looked at the link, and read about Malmo specifically. When I read about the problems in Malmo and Sweden in general, they seemed to speak to immigration in general when dealing with very large numbers. There was a huge influx of asylum seekers, though, referenced in that article you mentioned and I concur that numbers like that will cause social problems: "You have 1,000 students in a Swedish school. How many are Swedes? Two," said Lars Birgersson, principal of the Rosengrad School." So, let me say here and now that a 99.8 % immigration rate of a group that is completely different into a homogeneous population WILL cause problems. But, I will also say that that has nothing in particular to do with which race, nationality or religion is being imported. And, more to the point, it doesn't at all support the original point you made. Canada to my knowledge isn't importing anything near that number of refugees. I'm interested, though, in finding out more data if you have any to offer.
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