Total number of comments: 20 (since 2010-11-07 14:12:27)
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Well, when you're in a lose-lose situation of your own making, it should tell you something...
Somebody forward this article to the WSWS which refused to endorse the academic boycott of Israel.
No wonder most leftists don't take the Fourth Int'l dinosaur seriously, what with its sclerotic dogmatism.
"Update: In condemning the attack and noting that it falls on the 18th anniversary of a horrifying attack on a Buenos Aires Jewish center, a Canadian Jewish organization then pushes its statement in a disturbing Islamophobic direction..."
Israel did it. Betcha Israel did Buenos Aires too.
Plus more this blog bans comments on.
"Israeli is a democratic country..." That's one!
"...where there is an established system of the rule of law..." Two!
"...where criminals get trialed and if found guilty convicted." Three! Three doozies in one sentence! You're good, comrade, real good!
heeheeheeheeheehee! Frickin' amazing! You guys actually believe what you type, don't you? "Israel is a democratic country blah blah blah" hahahahaha
What impresses me is that although this was a relatively minor incident (compared to the daily brutality and constant crimes against humanity), because it was reported on here and there in Western MSM, all of a sudden average Americans are going, "inexcusable! brutal! we're supporting this!" etc.
Imagine if Western MSM showed one - just one - clip from the daily reality in the OPT, once a day on its 6 o' clock news and website front pages, how Americans would react. That's what's so frustrating...
I apologize for not responding sooner; it's been hectic for me and me being 7-10 time zones ahead doesn't help "keep things warm" when discussing.
The last thing I'd want is for you to spend much time and thought to respond and then me disappearing.
I'd be more than happy during the weekend to continue where we left off but hesitate because the back and forth may have become tiresome for you or maybe there's not much point, it's "cold" after a few days and the topic's been relegated to the back pages...
I did carefully read your reply, though, and do have thoughts (agreements and disagremeents) I can share, by continuing now or in the near future as we participate here :)
I didn't know about the US gold in 1960. You are correct and I apologize.
Regarding how the Soviets had an advantage due to the exclusion of Western pro athletes (whether we're talking about hockey, the Olympics or other tournaments), my points are:
1) As far as the Olympics are concerned, the West wasn't really hampered by not sending it's "pros" simply because there were few "pros" to begin with. The pros were mostly athletes in professional sports such as basketball (which the US usually won anyway) and hockey which are but a minority of the total sports played and medals given. For example, didn't legendary US athletes like Edwin Moses and Greg Louganis compete? In how many of the hundreds of events that an Olympiad has did American pro athletes not compete in? From what I recall, the West sent its best track & field, aquatics, badminton, archery, equestrian etc etc athletes anyway. You have a point but I believe this issue affected a few sports only.
2) I'm not sure I agree with this point anyway because I believe that money and sports shouldn't mix. I don't believe society should pay people to do nothing in their lives except compete athletically. Perhaps this is the ancient Greek ethos in me where the best athletes were not just athletes; they were also farmers, soldiers, couriers etc. Men (only, back then) were expected to be athletic, not as an end to itself (find the best, put 'em on the dole, give them every resource available to train 24/7 and make them "pros" for "your" side) but as a part of life for everyone (Nous eeyees en somati eeyee, mens sana in corpore sano, a sound mind in a healthy body). Society didn't pay athletes to train & compete all their lives; the entire society was expected to be, among other things, athletic. Having 300 million citizens working their asses off just to make a living while a few thousand get rich 'cause they're athletes 24/7 goes totally against what the ancient Greek spirit was about. Of course the victors enjoyed spoils but it was nothing like today's situation where someone dedicates their life to athletics and athletics only. It shouldn't be a profession, as I and many others see it.
At any rate, the bottom line for me on this is that if Western "pros" were not allowed to compete, they shouldn't have anyway, given the nature of their involvement in sports. Why should the American professional boxer, who does nothing but train all day, compete with the Cuban or Soviet who also have day jobs? Yes, communist countries favoured athletes in the sense that they got benefits (didn't work as hard as the ordinary comrade, communist system was hardly perfect itself) but that's a far cry from a complete professional getting millions to do nothing but train. Believe it or not, the Soviet Red Army hockey team we've been mentioning actually consisted of young Soviet officers. They were active servicemen, not athletes 24/7. In Greece, until its MLS allowed professionals, all Greek players were considered amateurs as they had day jobs since they couldn't live off the little money they got for their athleticism. Has the emergence of the full-time athlete been a good thing? Aside from the ethical and societal aspect I've mentioned, I don't see a benefit to society by pouring trillions into advertising and sports salaries.
Last but not least, let's also keep in mind that ever since pros were finally allowed to compete, they usually din't anyway because they and their teams preferred money over athletic competition. People mention that the reason the US basketball team still loses most tournaments is that it doesn't send its best players. Ditto for the world hockey championships most of the time, etc etc. Well, if American athletes prefer to stay home so they don't get injured, because their teams don't allow them, or because there's not much money in other tournaments compared to the NBA, NHL etc, it's no one else's fault that they were absent and other teams and athletes won the medals, tournaments, etc. If Team Canada and Team USA in hockey and basketball keep sending mediocre players (compared to the stars they have) because their stars and owners are too busy making money, it's not a "rules" problem and it's not the USSR-Russia's problem.
I had mentioned how Greece beat the US in the 2006 Mundobasket semis; I remember American friends giving the excuse that our team beat theirs only because some top American stars weren't on the US team. Whose fault was that? Why do Greek pros and their teams in all sports always, but always, put the national team ahead of personal profits while the Americans don't?
One cannot claim, "we weren't No. 1 because we couldn't send our best cause they were making money but you know what, now that we can send our best, we still don't cause they're too busy making money"
Dan, that's with the US competing from 1896 to this day. This is what we've said to one another:
"Let’s be honest – we’re better at sports than the rest of the world. thats just a fact."
"1) Until the fall of the communism, I recall communist countries kicking butt in the Olympics, not the US."
"Aristotelis is incredibly wrong. WOW.
First, the USSR did not win more gold medals than the US when it was in existence."
"The fact of the matter is, in 9 Summer Olympic Games and in 9 Winter Olympic Games, the USSR was first 14 times and second four times. So, please explain to me how “incredibly wrong I was WOW”, when the USSR came first 14 out of 18 times and second the other four."
"The US is at 2600 total medals – the Soviets had 1204, Russia 410 and the other fmr soviet satellites about 200 hundred – about 1000 short of the americans. And we sat one out."
"From your link, during the USSR’s existence, these are USSR and USA Olympic medals:
USSR – 473 Gold, 1204 Total
USA – 402 Gold, 958 Total
The USSR also sat one out."
"Aristotelis——- We’re gonna get this right.
link to nbcolympics.com
US Total Gold –929
In short, I stated that until the fall of communism, it was such countries that kicked butt at the Olympics, not the US. You disagreed and claimed that during the USSR's existence, the US was better (golds, then totals).
No matter how much you now change it to an "all-time" tally, our disagreement was over who was better during the USSR's existence, it or the US?
So, I repeat:
During the USSR’s existence, these are USSR and USA Olympic medals:
USSR – 473 Gold, 1204 Total
USA – 402 Gold, 958 Total
To be even more accurate, we should exclude LA 1980 and Moscow '84 as they boycotted each other and didn't "square off".
So, when the US and Soviet Olympic Teams both competed in (8 Summer and 8 Winter) Games:
USSR - 400 Gold, 1009 Total
USA - 309 Gold, 774 Total
Any way you cut it, during the USSR's existence, its Gold and Total medal count was much better than the US' and it was first 14 of 18 times while the US was first 4 times, second 3, third 4, fifth 1, eighth 1, ninth 2 times.
You can now add US medals from 1896 and 1996 all you want but that won't change the fact that contrary to your assertion, during the USSR's existence it won many more Golds and total medals and its ranking was much better (if you do the math, USSR mean ranking 1.22, USA 2.94).
Now, if you want to claim that in the past 120 years or so, the US is the all-time best, you'll get no argument from me :) I myself look at it a little more closely: pre-WWII, the US was overall the best, during the existence of communism, communist countries were overall the best, post-communism it's been tight between western and former communist countries. In short, the US dominated the pre-communist era, the communists dominated the Cold War era, and no one's dominated our current post-communist era. Can we agree on that?
With all due respect of course :)
From your link, during the USSR's existence, these are USSR and USA Olympic medals:
USSR - 473 Gold, 1204 Total
USA - 402 Gold, 958 Total
The USSR also sat one out. And to give a more complete analysis, when the Eastern Bloc boycotted LA in '84, the USSR and East Germany, the perennial number one and two, weren't there which resulted in a grossly inflated medal count for the US (the two countries better than it weren't even there), while when many Western countries boycotted Moscow in '80, the USSR's medal count wasn't so grossly inflated cause those absent (US, Canada, W. Germany etc) were not #1 or 2 anyway. Any way you slice it, communist countries were better than their Western counterparts in sports. The USSR was better than the US, E. Germany was better than W. Germany, Yugoslavia was better than Canada etc etc.
As far as the US not sending pros in team sports such as basketball, thus missing out on more medals, team sports get only one medal. So, maybe the US could have won 10-20 more medals from '52 to '88? And that's a big maybe because the Soviets, Yugoslavia and Hungary (yes, Hungary), for example, had kickass teams in basketball and other sports such as water polo too.
And as far as basketball is concerned overall (cause that's where you may argue that the US "dominates"), it's hardly dominated the sport when it loses to the likes of Argentina, Yugoslavia and Greece, legendary teams in their own right. Yeah, sometimes the US hasn't sent its pros, sometimes it hasn't sent its best pros, but the bottom line is that even in the sport that the US supposedly dominates, in reality it never did, regardless of the contingencies.
So, the US was mostly a distant 3rd in the Olympics and in other "international" sports, tournaments, championships, whatever, it hardly dominated any of them. I really thus don't get where your assertion that the US is the best at sports and that it dominates when having a critical mass of players, is coming from. For the second of argument, let's say basketball. What else?
Let's give credit where it's due: communism made a point of its citizens being very active in sports, arts and culture. It was the communist ethos; a population that didn't resort to crime, that was highly educated and steeped in arts such as ballet, music, literature etc.
In the US, random violence was and is prevalent, higher education was and is effectively beyond the reach of large swathes of its population, and the arts (ballet, symphonies, etc) weren't promoted or made available to the population like in communist countries. Of course the US also had great athletes, minds and artists but in the communist system, all those were top priorities by the state for all its citizens. If you've extensively read about communism and visited any communist countries back then, they may not have had the luxuries many Americans had (which was also due to the economic war the West waged against it), but the communist ethos stressed and made available for free all the aforementioned things because they were considered essential to the ideology.
The record books show it, historical analyses of the system show it and reality showed it: when it came to the above, the US was a distant second to the USSR and excuses along the lines of "we didn't send our pros", while partially correct, barely played a role in skewing the results. I've shown this to be so in hockey, in the Olympics which have dozens of truly international sports, and we could break down almost all international sports and strengthen the conclusion.
I know you meant well with your comments and that you weren't being jingoistic and superpatriotic, and ya know, I have no problem with Americans tooting their horn; in fact I appreciate and enjoy it 'cause I'm Greek-Canadian and know your culture very very well and admire it in many respects. American culture is indeed No. 1 in several things but not in sports, my friend :)
"Well, yeah. They were college kids who were playing together for a couple of months, going up against a Soviet Team that was the equivalent of the NHL All-Star team — if the NHL All-Star team played together all the time."
The point is, that's the only time the US beat the USSR. In hockey, the USSR was waaaay ahead of the US and neck in neck with Canada. The truth of the matter is, when the USSR was around, the US had hardly any hockey players of note. Those college kids that surpassed themselves once in 1980 were just about the best and only thing the US had for decades compared to the USSR. Look, being born and raised in Canada, I've watched every single hockey game there was on TV and read all sports sections the day after. The fact is, when it comes to hockey, Canada and the USSR were miles ahead of any "talent" Americans had. The US hardly had any NHL calibre players. The NHL was comprised of what, 90% Canadians, 5% Americans, 5% other, and your assertion is "the US never won because it sent amateurs against pros?" Who was it gonna send?
"I remember the Summit Series of 1972, when the Canadians beat the USSR. I remember the Canada Cup, whereby the Soviets lost to North America’s best 80% of the time. "
Canada won the Summit Series 4-3-1 and it's deeply ingrained in Canada's history and culture. The Canada Cup was always held in Canada so it could field its best players in a home tournament before the season started, which it won something like five times. The Soviets won it once. The USA zero. You're talking about Canadians again, though. The subject was how USA is No. 1, not how the Canadians were on par with the USSR. American talent, teams and results were a distant third, whether at the Winter Olympics, world championships, NHL-Soviet league tournaments or summit series.
"Oh, come on. They were professional “amateurs” who got to compete against college kids and real amateurs."
As I said above, the American pros were basically non-existent. The USSR had Kharlamov, Tretyak, Fedorov, Fetisov, Canada had Lafleur, Clark, Dryden, Esposito and the US had... who?
As for the Olympic Games that the US consistently came in second or worse, who exactly were the "pros" that the US wouldn't send? The basketball team which only gets one medal out of the dozens anyway, for example?
I think Dan was being a bit tongue-in-cheek. Anyway, I have no problem with every society having its own preferences. I, for one, love watching other countries sports and wish there was more opportunity to see such things as Twenty/20 Cricket or Austrialian Rules Football or things like curling.
(And I don’t think your point about the USSR in the Olypics was well founded, as those athletes were the equivalent to professional athletes, whereas American professionals were not permitted to participate.)
Written responses tend to limit communication which is why I apologized to Dan, realizing that we don't know each other and could easily misunderstand. Sorry again, Dan, I'm sure you'll love me in due time :)
You have a point about US and USSR athletes. Yeah, the US basically sent amateurs to various tournaments cause the pros were too busy making money and their teams wouldn't let them compete. If I recall correctly, the US hadn't won Mundobaskets for the first few tournaments because of this.
Mind you, when it came to the Olympics in the 50s, 60s and 70s (when the USSR was in existence), US athletes were "professionals" too, bar a few team sports which award only one medal per team. The US sent its best but I may be wrong :)
Thanks for the banter.
BTW, sorry for being argumentative, Dan, no offence :) Just arguing while meaning well. If I've overdone it with my response, I apologize. I'm saying this especially since I'm new and we don't know each other, so, sorry again for the adversarial tone. My parents always say I shoulda been a lawyer :)
BTW, your warp speed NBAers lost to the Greeks last time they met them at the Mundobasket (semis 2006), just to needle you with some sports rivalry :D
Dan, I clearly remember the USSR being No. 1 by far in the Olympics throughout my life. I'm not gonna spend 2 hours providing the breakdown with citations for this, so I'll go with wikipedia for now:
"The Soviet Union first participated at the Olympic Games in 1952, and competed at the Games on 18 occasions since then. At seven of its nine appearances at the Summer Olympic Games, the team ranked first in the total number of medals won, it was second by this count on the other two. Similarly, the team was ranked first in the medal count seven times and second twice in nine appearances at the Winter Olympic Games."
Don't bother getting into semantics about "golds" that you turned it into (which the USSR probably was way ahead in too). The fact of the matter is, in 9 Summer Olympic Games and in 9 Winter Olympic Games, the USSR was first 14 times and second four times. So, please explain to me how "incredibly wrong I was WOW", when the USSR came first 14 out of 18 times and second the other four.
Geez, go ahead and believe whatever you want, just don't expect others to fall for your baseless exceptionalism, especially non-Americans.
Fact of the matter is, with half a continent to draw from in terms of resources, population and the plundering of about half the planet to boot, the US kept getting its clock cleaned from the likes of the USSR and East Germany in sports.
So, your responses are very much "an american exceptionalism thing". And the record books put paid to your claims about being "the best at sports".
Man, when the US Olympic hockey team won the gold at Lake Placid, it was a frikkin' miracle if you recall. I've been watching the NHL since the mid-70s. You remember how the Red Army team would come play NHL teams? You remember how the Soviets would skate circles around our guys and just about the only thing the NHLers knew how to do was to play dirty, ie. no talent relatively speaking? Vladislav Tretyak, Fedorov etc? Remember those dudes? They weren't American. That's facts for you.
Communism was the best at sports by far. It had its shortcomings but no one in their right mind would deny them their excellence in sports and the arts.
And don't even bother mentioning "East German shenanigans" and communist countries "turning women into men" from the minute that just about all American sports legends have turned out to be nothing but juiced up freaks themselves.
Your points are well taken. While from different cultures, it seems we're nevertheless on the same page :)
July 2, 2012 at 8:52 pm
"And today’s bonus question, children, is : How is Israel guilty of this?"
The Israeli Ministry of Propaganda is millions of shekels in the red, and this is what it has to show for it...
One theme consistently coming up on this thread is how in soccer the players flop very easily and how they're little wusses.
Well, I fully agree even though I love the sport and have defended it in replies.
I could never for the life of me understand how someone can be such a wuss, not only in front of tens of thousands of fans but most of all, in front of 10 cameras that will replay how he faked it, acted like they broke his leg and one minute later is running around again. Oh the pain!
I'd be ashamed to act the way soccer players, especially in the major leagues worldwide, act when tackled (in minor leagues they're more no nonsense). Yes, soccer can be very brutal. In fact, what might seem on camera as a light tap, in actuality is much rougher (you'll understand this if you play). Even a small tap, some slight contact, at that high level of speed and strength, will instantly send you off balance, tear a ligament and do serious damage while looking like nothing. That said, most reactions are theatrical so as to influence the ref, a farce and indeed a blight unto the sport. Where's hockey where rivers of blood flow and the gloves come off :)
In N. America, the fans behave well and the players duke it out. In Europe, the fans duke it out and the players are primadonnas. Here in Greece, riot police have to often evacuate all fans from games because of the violence in the stands, and get this: even in women's volleyball for chrissake! A game of womens' volleyball and all hell breaking loose in the stands!
Sports are just that in N. America, sports, as should be. Apparently here in Europe, they're an outlet for organized gangs and stupid club loyalty to the point of harming others. Mind you, the powers that be over here don't mind that the youth are busy assaulting each other over team rivalries. Sure beats the youth raging against the machine.
I fully agree. Case in point: in friendlies where there are unlimited substitutions, the game loses its fluidity and rhythm. Soccer isn't like basketball or hockey in this respect. You can't just be swapping players around on the field all the time. In basketball and hockey, you field five players and have another 7-20 players on the bench. When there are 11 players on the field in soccer, you'd thus need around 15-35 players on the bench to effectively substitute. You're talking about 40-player teams... Think of the budget, the pooling of available talent etc, not to mention the confusion for fans.
Also, the three substitutions limit means that a great coach can turn the match or just as easily lose it. It creates a lot of strategy, tactics, unexpected surprises etc.
Last but not least, it adds an extra element that can change a game. Already done your three substitutions and now have someone injured? Player short for you! Why did you do your three substitutions anyway? Hmmm, your tactics as a coach weren't working out or you were getting trumped by the other coach, eh? Pay for it. A properly managed team that plays well shouldn't be making its third substitution until the last few minutes of the game anyway.
So, I don't see any problem with the substitution limit; in fact it's very good. Now, the problem of a lack of scoring, yes, there's room for improvement there, especially when you see not so talented teams putting 10 players behind the ball all game and going for the 0-0; boring as hell. Then again, if you do have a very good team, soccer is extremely exciting. Bear to wit all those fantastic Champions League matches.
Soccer has made changes to its rules to become even more exciting and I imagine will change even more. The passive offside rule and the prohibition to kick the ball back to your goalkeeper with him collecting it, for example were rules that helped.
[i]"if there is one area in which an americans advice should be welcomed, its sports.
Let’s be honest – we’re better at sports than the rest of the world. thats just a fact. and we’ve also invented some pretty kick ass sports -.
One last thing, the rest of the world should be thrilled that Americans aren’t that into soccer – if we were, we’d dominate the same way we dominate all the other sports. So, don’t wake up the sleeping giant with the insults."[/i]
Ah, the good 'ol "USA! USA! We're number one!" "We're the best in anything we do and if we're not, it's because we don't care, that's why". American exceptionalism at its finest.
While I enjoy North American sports myself (I was born and raised in Toronto, played league hockey, went to Blue Jays games etc), let's not kid ourselves:
1) Until the fall of the communism, I recall communist countries kicking butt in the Olympics, not the US.
2) There are hundreds of sports in which people participate and/or watch. The USA hardly dominates the majority of them.
3) As Woody said, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Tennis, anyone? Cricket? Who am I to put down England and Pakistan cricket fans, just cause I don't like it?
4) Face it, when it comes to sports, the US isn't really "in sync" with the rest of the planet. Fine by me, I'm not judging it, but please, don't try to claim that the American Way in sports is the correct way.
Soccer is the number one sport in the world by far yet in the US it doesn't have a mainstream following. So what's popular in the US? Football, that few other countries care about. Baseball, a little more popular worldwide but still far from being "global". Basketball? Even in countries with great national teams and clubs (such as here in Greece), it's still #2 or 3 behind soccer. Motorsports? The world has Formula 1, the US has stock cars looping in a circle zzzzzzz.
In short, America has its own sports tastes - which is fine - and is different from the rest of the planet. Geographical isolation plays a huge part, not whether Americans are better, smarter, whatever. Another huge part is what environment you're in. If you live in the US, you'll love football and baseball and follow your team. If you go live abroad, you'll most likely start following other sports simply because you'll be exposed to them. I, for example, loved, played and watched hockey and baseball when in Canada. I didn't watch basketball. After a year or two in Greece, I developed a love for soccer and have since also religiously followed my team Olympiakos in basketball (European Champions this year!).
Enjoy your sports, some of them are indeed kick ass, some are not. In a few sports the US is No. 1, in many others it's hardly so. When I see how Americans love their football and dozens of "Bowls" or their NASCAR, I shrug my shoulders but do enjoy seeing them lovin' it. I can't relate, but I can respect it so I'll hardly ever put them or their "weird" (in my eye) sports tastes down. Well meant criticism is fine, of course, and should be welcomed by all.
Hope you understand what I mean with all this and that of course it's with respect and not to argue wrongly :)
[i]"Well, “the rest of the world” has been trying for decades to sell their game to Americans, and have been repeatedly told that the supposed beauty of the game is definitely in the eye of the beholder" ...... "It really makes no difference to us; we have real football to pay attention to."[/i]
With utmost respect and friendship, when "the rest of the world" tries to sell you on soccer, you claim that "the supposed beauty is in the eye of the beholder" yet, without breaking stride, go on to say "WE have REAL football to pay attention to". That sounds a little.... inconsistent :)
[i]"you can sit around feeling smugly superior to all the American stereotypes you can conjour"[/i]
I used to get these kinds of responses in forums from Americans when I'd argue about US interventions (all over the globe).
Very powerful. Sharing it already. Thanx so much.
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