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Thursday, March 19, 2009


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A couple of weeks ago, Walski did something that some of his friends would probably consider unthinkable. No, he didn't commit a crime, or blow someone up, (even merely blowing someone is a crime) or anything serious like that. Okay, well, some might think that what Walski did was criminal, but then that's your problem if you think so.

No, Walski gave his 14-year old automobile a much needed makeover. Fourteen years... that's approximately 70 in human years, or 91 if it’s a Proton.

Image hosting by PhotobucketThe Walski-Mobile not quite ready for retirement yet...

So, the Walski-Mobile got new paint job, in other words. Think of it as Botox for cars, or other mechanical objects of desire. At least now Walski doesn't look like he's driving a 14-year old car. Just feels like it...

In any case, the Botox-for-the-car treatment  set Walski back about RM 2k or so. Which is where the "unthinkable" part comes in.

You see, on paper, if Walski had instead traded in his trusty 14-year old automobile for a Proton, under the RM 60 B stimu-lie package, he'd be richer by RM 5k. Instead, he's now poorer by RM 7k. RM 2k spent, and an additional 5k in opportunity loss. On paper, at least.

If that seemed like some sort of voodoo math to you, you're probably not far off the mark. ARTiculations has done an ART-ful analysis of the RM 60B package, and how everyone can potentially be a millionaire. Go read the post if voodoo math is your thing. Or if you have the need for some extra stimu-lie today.

Stimulus package... implying that it's meant to stimulate the economy. To Walski, it looks like something else altogether. And that something else is called: a bailout. Perhaps not a bailout in the traditional sense, but for sure, it’s not something that’s going to stimulate anything new. 
(blowing smokescreens, and more, in the full post)

There’s this trend, probably borrowed from the world of marketing, to disguise certain concepts by calling it by a different term. Bailout sounds bad, but stimulus sounds positive, even though if analyzed, the RM 60B package doesn’t seem like it was designed to stimulate much of anything that can be construed as productive. Except maybe stimulate the public sector into growing even more bloated than it already is.

Like… tax cuts would probably qualify as stimulus. Not RM 5k a pop subsidy to trade in your old car for a Proton or Perodua. Which, in real world terms, are overpriced to begin with.

Speaking of cars, part of the stimulus package is an allocation of RM 480M so that highway toll rates are not increased. Hmmm… and since the money is going to come from… ummm… taxes – which we the tax-payers pay to the Government, isn’t this like stimulating ourselves? And there’s a word for it, which somehow escapes Walski’s…. oh, masturbation!

You are probably thinking that Walski doesn’t know what he’s talking about, since he’s no economist. Well, if credible subject-matter expert opinion is what you want, here’s what the Wall Street Journal has to say about the stimulus package.

But at the end of the day, it’s better to look good and generous, especially to the GLCs, and to those in UMNO who, for some strange reason, seem to really be pining for the “we’re the Government, and therefore we know what’s best for you” kind of paternalistic governance. Especially with the party elections coming up pretty darn soon around the corner.

And speaking of party elections… another recent smokescreen example: "money politics". That's just marketing smokescreen terminology for C-O-R-R-U-P-T-I-O-N. Nobody in their right mind would purposely support or vote for somebody found guilty of corruption.

"Oh.. so and so, a fine leader, is not corrupt... he's just guilty of practicing a little money politics."

But “money politics”? Doesn’t sound half as bad, even though buying votes is, in Walski’s book, still corruption.

And what’s with the selective punitive action? Both KJ and Ali Rustam were found guilty of “money politics” (it’s not corruption, remember?), but one gets off the hook with a warning, and the other gets barred from participating in the upcoming party elections. As a consolation prize, however, Ali Rustam still gets to rule Melaka.

Walski wonders what the people of Melaka think about this… after all, it’s just a little “money politics”. Not clean enough for UMNO, but okay for Melaka?

You know what Walski thinks? This whole deal about UMNO wanting to do some spring cleaning is another smokescreen. Get a scapegoat – preferably one that the incoming President doesn’t prefer as his number 2 – and do the deed of “cleaning house”, publicly and visibly.

But they forgot one important thing – Malaysians are not stupid, and the glaring discrepancy in the treatment of the guilty will have repercussions on UMNO’s already faltering credibility, and internal cohesion.

Sure enough, as reported by The Malaysian Insider yesterday, the UMNO Supreme Council will be calling an emergency meeting today to discuss the very move to bar Ali Rustam from contesting.

Kinda like… Oops… what have we done?

For a political party that is fond of positioning itself as one that can do no wrong, UMNO, of late, looks as though they can’t seem to do anything right.

Or, is it all another smokescreen, designed to get us teary eyed, so that we miss what’s really going on. Like, if they’re really serious about eradicating corruption money politics, why not file a report to the MACC? Both Ali Rustam and KJ. Instead, one gets off wholesale, and the other retail.

Smokescreens getting into your eyes can be pretty painful, Walski would imagine…