Quotulatiousness

March 3, 2012

To Americans, Canada is a “dull but slavishly friendly neighbour, sort of like a great St. Bernard”

Filed under: Cancon, History, Military, USA — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 12:13

Conrad Black takes up the cudgel to berate Max Boot for his dismissive description of Canada:

The estimable American military writer Max Boot, a guerrilla-war expert associated with the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, wrote in Commentary magazine last month that Canada is a country that most Americans consider a “dull but slavishly friendly neighbour, sort of like a great St. Bernard.”

That’s true. The world knows Canada as a comparatively blameless country that has not been the author of atrocities on the scale even of other democracies such as the British at Amritsar, the French under the German occupation or in Algeria, or the outrages routinely committed in the United States against African-Americans even after what Abraham Lincoln called “the bondsman’s 250 years of unrequited toil” (slavery).

[. . .]

And yet Max Boot’s few words (contained in a review of Eliot A. Cohen’s new book, Conquered into Liberty: Two Centuries of Battles Along the Great Warpath that Made the American Way of War) are quite offensive. Because a nationality is apparently similar to a large region of his own countrymen should not be a subject of disparagement. And an unsurpassed record as a loyal ally should not be the butt of pejorative acerbities. The insult is magnified by coming from Boot, who is a very courteous man, not at all the bumptious opinionated “Ugly American” of the news talk shows and elsewhere with which the world is painfully familiar; and by being a gratuitous throwaway in a review of a book about frontier skirmishing on the Canadian-American border from the 17th to 19th centuries.

[. . .]

The book Max Boot was reviewing (by journeyman strategist Elliot Cohen) extols the military talents of the peoples on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border, especially on the route of Lake Champlain and Fort Ticonderoga (or Carillon), south of Montreal. No invasion in either direction was ever successful. The French in Canada were defeated only when the British went up the St. Lawrence, and neither post-French Canada nor America, colonies or republic, has ever been successfully invaded by each other or anyone else. Despite the recourse to tail-wagging, canine domesticity as a simile, both Cohen and Boot affirm that Canadians, French and English, and their overseas kin, have defended this slavishly friendly country with implacable determination and success.

Rex Murphy: Conservatives going through rough period in parliament

Filed under: Cancon, Politics — Tags: , , , , — Nicholas @ 12:00

Writing in the National Post, Rex Murphy considers much of the federal government’s current set of problems are either self-inflicted or made worse by their “browbeating style and defensive righteousness”:

I agree with the point Andrew Coyne made in these pages earlier, that the Conservatives (I’m paraphrasing) have situated themselves to fit these types of accusations. Their browbeating style and defensive righteousness to almost every challenge, or serious question, is a hallmark. That attitude offers them little shield when, as on occasion they must be, they are ill-done by. They play tough and hard and close to the boards, and when a story that fits that broad category, like robocalls, is pushed upon them, it seems to fit. In other words, their brittle style has a cost.

The headlines detailing opposition outrage over robocalls is just the latest instalment of the Conservatives losing all control of what might be called their agenda. They blundered Old Age Security. On Internet surveillance, they surely blundered the “with us or the child pornographers” messaging. And now they’ve been hauled off whatever road they might want to be on by a “scandal” from an election nine months ago. Since the House opened, it’s been one mess after another.

Naturally, the opposition parties are at some advantage in all of this, but not quite as much as they might figure. No one is going to look back on the last week, or the last month, and remember big speeches on the big questions — either energy policy, the country’s fiscal health, or foreign affairs. Instead, it’s been the usual rattle of stones in a tin can that passes for Question Period.

Reasons to play Guild Wars while waiting for Guild Wars 2

Filed under: Gaming — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 11:35

I liked this video, and not just because the ranger in the game footage is a clone of my own ranger, Raphia Naon.

New Orleans to rename NFL team after “bounty hunting” revealed

Filed under: Football — Tags: , , , , — Nicholas @ 11:05

Football is a fast, hard, dangerous game. But the New Orleans Saints made it that bit more dangerous for their opponents by offering head-hunting bonuses for injuring players during the game. This is against NFL rules, and it’s rather surprising to find that players earning hundreds of thousands per year could be motivated by such relatively trivial sums ($1,000 to $1,500 for knocking players out of the game):

The National Football League on Friday found the New Orleans Saints guilty of a wide-ranging system of bounty payments to between 22 and 27 defensive players from 2009 through 2011, and player-safety-conscious commissioner Roger Goodell could bring the hammer down very hard on the franchise.

The most alarming finding by the league, according to one club source who was briefed on the investigation late Friday afternoon, was this: Before the 2009 NFC Championship Game, Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma offered any defensive teammate $10,000 in cash to knock then-Vikings quarterback Brett Favre out of the game. Favre was hit viciously several times in the game. Favre told SI.com Friday evening: “I’m not pissed. It’s football. I don’t think anything less of those guys.”

The details of Vilma’s offer were in a report to the 32 NFL owners, sent out by the league to detail further what the league’s 50,000-page investigation found.

Early indications late Friday afternoon were that the sanctions against the Saints and their former defensive coordinator who the league said administered the bounties, Gregg Williams, will be severe. The league said the penalties could include suspensions, fines and loss of draft choices — the latter of which could be particularly damaging to the Saints, who do not own a first-round pick this year. Their first choice will be late in the second round, the 59th overall … unless Goodell takes the pick away.

Football is a rough sport, but Goodell needs to crack down on this with enough force to send a message to the entire league. Taking away New Orleans’ draft picks would certainly be a punishment of that magnitude.

Three persistent myths about the Great Depression, the New Deal, and World War 2

Filed under: Economics, Government, History, USA — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 00:08

Historian Stephen Davies names three persistent myths about the Great Depression. Myth #1: Herbert Hoover was a laissez-faire president, and it was his lack of action that lead to an economic collapse. Davies argues that in fact, Hoover was a very interventionist president, and it was his intervening in the economy that made matters worse. Myth #2: The New Deal ended the Great Depression. Davies argues that the New Deal actually made matters worse. In other countries, the Great Depression ended much sooner and more quickly than it did in the United States. Myth #3: World War II ended the Great Depression. Davies explains that military production is not real wealth; wars destroy wealth, they do not create wealth. In fact, examination of the historical data reveals that the U.S. economy did not really start to recover until after WWII was over.

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