Archive for May 2009

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: TORONTO FINALLY AGREES TO DO CLEAN-UP OF ASBESTOS AFTER PROPANE EXPLOSION

JOHN CHUCKMAN
 
POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN IN TORONTO’S GLOBE AND MAIL

It’s about time.

The City of Toronto has behaved disgracefully during these events, and especially its blowhard, ineffectual mayor, always patting himself on the back for caring about cities.

The affected residents for the last week have been treated by this City very much the way residents of New Orleans were treated after Hurricane Katrina.
Imagine, after the shock and fright of the explosions in the night and evacuation, finding that a horrible noxious substance like asbestos is all over your street and yard and the roof of your house.

And imagine watching the City bring in high-tech clean-up – with bubble suits – for their own property in the area, yet the City offers no help to you but the weasel words of politicians and consultants.

Oh, a little asbestos won’t hurt you! You can even eat the stuff!

What in God’s name were the residents to do? Each one individually order high-tech clean-up?

Just from a practical point of view, that makes no sense. Wind and rain, which we’ve had almost every day, spread material like asbestos. Windows left open in the rush to leave bring it into the house.

The City’s clean-up of its own property – surely so offensive when all the residents got was blubbering and excuses – was dumb and useless. The material all has to be cleaned at the same time.

When a truck of hazardous material crashes on the highway or on a street in the City, it is always a first priority to clean it up quickly. The City doesn’t tell drivers it won’t harm them and maybe some other level of government should pay for the clean-up and just leave them hanging.

But that is exactly what was done here by cowardly, responsibility-shifting politicians.

Good Lord, this event was potentially the greatest disaster since Toronto’s Great Fire, and Mayor Miller was on vacation and remained there. His proxy, as well as other politicians, acted like limp-wristed, excuse-making members of the Board of Education following a murder in a school, rather than someone charged with getting things done and immediately keeping the City working.

I do hope the residents sue the City and everyone responsible for this fiasco. They pay their taxes – high taxes – and got ignored when they truly needed help. They didn’t make the decisions to put this inappropriate facility in their neighborhood. They didn’t approve a structure with asbestos for a facility handling explosive material.

The only hero in this grim tale is Firefighter Leek, a genuine hero. We need a street named for him.

I suggest a bronze monument with him bravely striving while a background group of pathetic politicians sit calmly, pointing fingers at one another.

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JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: GRAVE STUFF ABOUT CHINA’S SUBSTITUTING A PRETTIER GIRL FOR THE OLYMPIC GAMES’ OPENING CEREMONIES – DOES THE SILLINESS NEVER STOP?

JOHN CHUCKMAN
 
POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN BY REX MURPHY IN TORONTO’S GLOBE AND MAIL

Rex Murphy,

You sound so sensible on Cross Country Check-Up [CBC Radio show], can you not write a sensible column?

I’ve yet to read one since the Globe unlocked you.

This one hits bottom.

All the Chinese have done here is to show us how well they’ve absorbed American popular culture, and nothing more. It is regrettable, but utterly insignificant and trivial.

This is pure Hollywood nonsense. How many times have we seen American musical films where the woman on the screen is not the woman singing on the sound track?

There have been dozens.

Please keep in mind that the entire extravaganza of the modern Olympics is little more than a multi-billion dollar Las Vegas show, completely so for the ceremonies, and to a considerable extent even for the athletic competitions.

American private foundations spend a fortune on their athletes, treating them like hand-groomed Japanese Kobe beef cattle. China does the same through the state, as did the old Soviets. Is the whole world to waste resources this way for a show every four years that pretty much only the very affluent can attend?

The modern Olympics stresses hyper-patriotism, too, a subject best left mostly to scoundrels.

And what is the meaning of a country like Canada, with a population base smaller than the State of California, selecting teams to compete?

I once went through the exercise of taking the top ten medal countries in an Olympics, and made the numbers per capita rather than simple totals. A country like the U.S. then moves from first to near the bottom.

If you do a second deflation, using per capita income for the ten countries (after all, there’s no matching of resources in the simple total count), the U.S. finishes last.

So what is the meaning or significance of a competition built on those foundations? None, it’s a huge, costly show, and that’s all.

Talking about heroism or character or any other exalted characteristic is just silly when you analyze it clearly.

There is no way on earth that the substitution of the singer for appearance will be remembered as anything but a trivial anecdote. The Chinese simply have put on the most impressive Las Vegas show ever seen, and that’s all the Olympics are about.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: MORE GARBAGE ABOUT RUSSIA AND GEORGIA – THIS TIME WITH JUVENILE STUFF ABOUT THE NEED FOR A RED LINE

JOHN CHUCKMAN
 
POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN BY ALAN JOHNSON IN THE GUARDIAN

Pure crap, Alan Johnson.

You understand nothing of the complexities that led up to this event.

What is more, you have no perspective in relation to other recent events.

Some might legitimately ask how are you qualified to write on the subject?

But then you don’t have to be qualified, do you, to put out propaganda?

I suggest you join up with the forces on your “red line” ready to repel the Eastern devils.

You, yourself, could at least do kitchen or latrine duty for the boys.

Better yet, why don’t you, in the 19th century tradition, raise a regiment for the “red line”?

Even if you were right – and you are not – being a Finlandised neighbor is a whole lot better than being an Iraqi.

Uncounted dead, uncounted crippled, an economy destroyed, ancient treasures destroyed.

You are a foolish man, Mr Johnson, a very foolish man.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: AN UNINFORMED COLUMNIST WRITES OF CHINA’S OLYMPIC SUCCESS BEING ON THE BACKS OF GIRLS

JOHN CHUCKMAN
 
POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN BY MARGARET WENTE IN TORONTO’S GLOBE AND MAIL

The Globe’s nightmare columnist is at it again.

Busy primly telling others how they should live their lives and pretending she is doing it out of some (clearly non-existent) sympathy for others.

The Chinese views appear based in envy and lack of understanding of what a people, long in a dreary world of no opportunity, are willing to sacrifice to rise and excel and shine.

This garbage about China reminds me of her truly foul views on Palestinian children, about how their parents must not love them because they let them become suicide bombers, it never occurring to the prim Ms. Wente that what she truly sees is desperation and hopelessness inflicted by the policies of Israel.

The same for her crusade on safe-injection sites. Foul views disguised as concern for others.

What Ms. Wente offers readers is a steady dose of constipated Midwestern American attitudes and beliefs, thinly disguised to sound a little Canadian.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: LAME PROPAGANDA ABOUT RUSSIA FROM THE REPRESENTIVE OF AN OLD CIA-FUNDED ORGANIZATION

JOHN CHUCKMAN
 
POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN BY JOHN O’SULLIVAN IN THE TORONTO GLOBE AND MAIL

John O’Sullivan, this is clap-trap, cheap propaganda really, full of unanalyzed assertions slightly disguised with lame banter.

Russia is doing what any other power would do in parallel circumstances, and you must know that.

That being the case, you are being dishonest. That not being the case, you know too little to be writing columns.

Georgia’s relationship with America and NATO is precisely parallel to Mexico’s trying to join the Warsaw Pact in 1979. Even you must know that Mexico City would have been overrun by America tanks within a week.

Russia has not overrun Georgia, it has limited its actions to a (former) area of the country where it has many citizens and interests, an area that already has sought its independence from the foolish governments we’ve seen in Georgia.

Your column contributes nothing to understanding and promotes only bad relations with Russia.

I think it fair to call that dumb.

But then the organization you represent [Radio Free Europe] has a long history of being a CIA-subsidized propaganda mill, less heavy-handed and clumsy than the old Soviet propaganda mill, but a propaganda mill nevertheless.

And when it comes to abusive power in today’s world, America has no match, occupying two nations, threatening a third, and beginning to threaten a fourth (Pakistan). There’s nothing to be light and banter about when you’ve caused the deaths of a million people.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: WORDS IN MEMORY OF THE GREAT SOLZHENITSYN USED AS AN EXCUSE TO DISPARAGE OTHERS

JOHN CHUCKMAN
 
POSTED RESPONSES TO A COLUMN BY REX MURPHY IN THE TORONTO GLOBE AND MAIL

“…greatest writerly acts of memorialization ever achieved.”

Good Lord, Rex, no one is ever going to accuse you of the same, given that kind of ham-fisted prose. It’s positively Soviet in its awkwardness.

You should not forget, although many do, Solzhenitsyn bitterly criticized values in his American refuge.

As long as he was attacking the Soviets, he was a media hero, but when this fiercely honest man turned his attacks to the dark sides of American society he became a media non-person.

__________

“Heaping praise upon Alexander Solzhenitsyn is well deserved. Not sure why Murphy feels the need to juxtapose Solzhenitsyn with Michael Moore. Does one have to be criticized for the other to be properly praised?”

Well put, Gary Wilson.

The truth is that someone analyzing Rex’s piece might well come to the conclusion that his praise for Solzhenitsyn is not much more than an excuse for kicking Moore.

The comparison of societal woes Rex makes is actually silly.

Of course, problems nowhere compare to living under Stalin, but if you feel the need to emphasize this thin idea, then we should feel free to make other such comparisons.

The sacrifices of the Soviets in WWII – 27 million killed and utter devastation on a continental scale – make every other sacrifice in any war since seem puny, hardly worth mentioning.

But I doubt Rex would agree with saying that.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: A FOOLISH GENERAL COMPARES “ONE FOR ALL AND ALL FOR ONE” WITH NATO AND AFGHANISTAN

JOHN CHUCKMAN
 
POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN BY CANADIAN GENERAL LEWIS MACKENZIE IN TORONTO’S GLOBE AND MAIL

Gee, Lewis Mackenzie, The Three Musketeers was a piece of romantic fiction, indeed, romantic fiction aimed at adolescent male tastes.

Seems odd to have to remind an ex-general of that fact.

You are completely disingenuous here.

You know perfectly well why the rest of NATO is making no sacrifice for the “mission” in Afghanistan.

They recognize that this American war is: 1) of no real importance to them; and 2) it is a pointless quest by the United States playing Don Quixote.

Important countries like Germany, France, Italy, and Spain are perfectly capable of assessing the risks and rewards of the conflict, and their verdict just couldn’t be clearer.

They could shout the truth from the roof tops, but that would not be taken kindly by Bush’s America.

After all, the token forces some have there now are only a reflection of the U.S. exercising its financial, diplomatic, and political muscle to patch together something that makes it less obvious it is essentially alone.

The war was not needed. The existing situation is go-nowhere, hoping against hope that you can alter the culture and customs and attitudes of a vast land of 25 million poor, largely backward people.

It’s an idiotic notion.

Canada’s bad position there reflects a poor government decision, and nothing more. After turning down Washington on missile defense and its even greater blunder in Iraq, Ottawa decided “we owe one to the Pentagon.”

They likely thought they would manage a situation like that of most of the other NATO countries there, but they made mistakes and now they are stuck in a nasty place.

Now, we have Harper who is a rather pathetic figure vis-a-vis the U.S., always doing what he can to serve their interests at the expense of Canada’s. One can expect nothing sensible or creative from him.

Good Lord, only the other day, our new commanding general was quoting the fatuous Harper line that 24 Canadians died in 9/11.

Yes, and more Canadians die on a holiday weekend on America’s highways.

What an idiotic reason to spend billions and throw away nearly another hundred Canadian lives.