Archive for November 2009

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: THE VOICE OF AUTHORITY FROM ONE OF AMERICA’S GREAT PROPAGANDA MILLS ON THE ROLE OF GOVERNMENT IN THE ECONOMY

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

Boskin’s home, the Hoover Institution, is little more than a glorified propaganda mill, much like the American Enterprise Institute, the Heritage Foundation, and the Cato Institute.

It serves as a cozy sinecure for right-wing economists who’ve retired from true academics to spend their last years in leather armchairs offering up ready-made phrases and stock answers for right-wing causes.

Boskin’s “government can’t pick winners” is a really tired cliché, much like a tire with almost no tread which has been worn thin by overuse in the United States for over forty years. He, or anyone, should be ashamed of such unoriginal and largely meaningless language.

The larger truth is: no one can pick winners, certainly including private enterprise. There are countless examples of major corporations becoming train wrecks only recently, let alone over decades.

The truth is, and always has been, that intelligent government policies help reduce risk to business and promote growth.

In everything from property rights to zoning regulation and from infant-industry protection to regulating financial institutions, government is indispensable.

The early United States used many broad and deep forms of government protection, and it still does in a great many industries, especially in agriculture. And we see the creative arts there demanding all kinds of protective and even excessive laws for their digital products.

That despite the fact that much of early United States publishing was built on theft of European material. Dickens, for example, was furious the way American publishers regularly stole his works and paid him nothing. Those same publishers are some of the big American houses today.

And if you think government is unimportant just look at the economic explosion we call China.

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JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: A POOR INTERVIEWER ON A GREAT SHOW – PLEASE NOT MORE DUMBING-DOWN AT CBC – THE ABSURD BUSINESS OF TYPING FACILITATORS

JOHN CHUCKMAN
 
RESPONSE TO A BROADCAST ON CBC RADIO ONE’S SHOW, THE CURRENTThat was a terrible job of interviewing by Susan Ormiston in the item on typing facilitators.

She got across to the professor at Syracuse none of the essential criticisms by the lucid magician, a man from whom I first heard years ago.

The professor never answered her only meaningful question, and she let him slide off the hook with his silly, pompous “we don’t engage in that kind of thing.”

The fact is that the rigorous procedures of modern science can be gamed by people like those at the University of Syracuse. They may be a non-profit institution, but that doesn’t mean they have no motives to engage in unscientific research.

It brings money to the university and enhances the positions of people like the professor internally. Sadly, the money comes from desperate parents of autistic kids seeking miracles.

This facilitation business is an old fraud, going back some years, and it should surprise no one who knows some history.

We’ve had past unscientific fads galore, for example Mesmerism about two centuries ago or Krebiozen for cancer in the 1960s.

Or the years of “experiments” at Duke University – otherwise a perfectly respectable institution – on people’s psychic abilities with cards and other silliness. Millions were spent for nothing.

One can only conclude Ms Ormiston did not understand the magician’s points or she was unable to summon the skills to challenge the professor.

In either case, she has no business hosting a show like The Current.

I do hope, using her is not a sign of things to come on the show, pointing to the general trend of dumbing-down on CBC Radio which has been so painfully apparent in recent years.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE: CANADA’S CONSERVATIVES PUT ON A NEW VERSION OF THE PLAY ATTACKING A MAN OF GENUINE CHARACTER – ALSO THE BANALITY OF EVIL

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

It is in such an ugly struggle that we often see the true characters of people who normally manage to keep a relatively benign face to the world.

Richard Colvin is calm, articulate, brave, and clearly someone who took his responsibilities towards others seriously.

Peter “my word ain’t worth spit” and “my Ex is a dog” Mackay once more displayed his deeply flawed character.

His sputtering, arm-waving attacks on an honest man truly had the tone of accusations from the prosecution at a witch trial.

But we already knew Peter lacked the ethical stuff we teach our children.

A new and unexpected actor in this orchestrated passion play of attack bowed in with an astonishingly nasty performance a couple of days ago.

The high-water mark in sewerage overflow was reached a couple of days ago, on CBC Radio’s show The Current, when Pamela Wallin gave an interview on the subject.

Her words simply dripped with the noxious stuff of obtuse dishonesty serving politics, truly enough to induce nausea, including her much-repeated claim she just simply could not fathom Mr. Colvin’s motives.

Ms Wallin apparently lacks the moral radar to perceive when other people act bravely out of decency, ethics, and humanitarianism. Either that or she was flat-out lying on national radio to attack a decent man whom she regards as a threat to her party.

Hers was another version of kicking someone who is down, ironically enough put to the service of a matter involving the torture of prisoners.

She convinced me only of one fact, one for which I needed no convincing, and that fact is the banality of evil.

And that phrase, “the banality of evil,” best characterizes the entire matter from the original acts in Afghanistan to the efforts to throw dirt at those revealing them.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: WIFE OF CANADA’S FORMER LIBERAL LEADER DION (MS. KREIBER) SPEAKS OUT ON FACEBOOK ABOUT THE DISASTER OF IGNATIEFF’S LEADERSHIP

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

Thank you, Ms. Krieber.

You’ve spoken the simple truth.

Ignatieff is a disaster.

A disaster by every possible measure.

He has no political skills.

He has no idealism.

He has no charm.

He is simply dull and uninteresting as a speaker.

There is no spark in the man.

He is a dry academic observer, and an academic of not especially outstanding abilities.

And he carries a record of views that are unacceptable to all ethical Canadians.

Dion is a good and intelligent and perceptive man, but he made a serious political mistake with his Green Shift going into an election.

Had the party allowed him to recover in the normal fashion, I think he would be embraced by many Canadians.

Instead, the blind people running the party shoved Ignatieff down our throats.

Ignatieff’s record for his few years in Canadian politics reads like something from the old Poliburo.

Parachuted into his riding. Parachuted into the leadership. Uninteresting to the people.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: BLUBBERING BY MICHAEL VALPY ABOUT THE PROUD RETURN OF WARRIOR CULTURE TO CANADA

JOHN CHUCKMAN
 

POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN BY MICHAEL VALPY IN TORONTO’S GLOBE AND MAIL

Oh, sure, Michael Valpy, we sure have done ourselves a great service.

Serving as loyal minor satrap to the Pentagon in its pointless quest for vengeance in Afghanistan – now, there surely is a fine thing.

The lives of hundreds of Canadian soldiers destroyed or now driven by mad hideous memories of abominations like the very common rape of boys tolerated in Afghanistan. Again, surely, a fine thing.

And the proud achievement of our handing over prisoners for torture. Now, that is an exceptionally fine thing.

Warrior culture is a stupid term for Canada to adopt. We have no enemies who can seriously threaten us, except if you count the United States.

In that case, I’m afraid our “warrior culture” wouldn’t buy us one day’s success against their military Frankenstein monster.

Warrior culture and great standing armies are among the world’s great outdated and dangerous traditions. They rank with burkas and holy inquisitions and heavy nuns’ habits and meaningless superstitions. Indeed, warrior culture is a form of superstition.

When genuine threats occur, no one needs to tell Canadians about outdated nonsense like “warrior culture.” We would all respond. But that is a very different thing than going for adventures abroad, a very different thing than killing and being killed as part of lunatic crusade.

Powerful armies constantly seek outlets for their dark powers. The record of the United States since WW II is proof of that, and a shameful record it is.

Stupid pointless war after stupid pointless war.

Overthrow of government (even democratic ones) after overthrow of government.

It’s a terrible record which has only kept turmoil going in the world and achieved almost nothing of worth.

Historians rank as one of the most important causes of WWI, a pointless bloodbath if ever there was one, Europe’s great standing armies and military competitions of the time.

And, of course, WWI was only the warm-up for WWII, an even greater bloodbath which need never have happened but for WWI.

One last, terribly important point about “warrior culture.”

Even were the people of the United States to come to believe they were under a form tyranny, with the country’s vast occupying armies and National Guards, equipped with awesome weapons, there isn’t a chance they could rebel, despite all the silly talk about private arms keeping tyranny at bay.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: FROM THE PEN OF A FATUOUS ACADEMIC: WE SHOULD SET OBJECTIVES FOR AFGHANISTAN – NOT DEPART IN DEFEAT

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

“The West should set an objective, not seek a way out, which would mean defeat…”

Sorry, but that is an absolutely fatuous statement.

Why are forces in Afghanistan in the first place if they have no objective?

War is a pretty damned serious and costly thing – no project society ever does normally compares to its consumption of resources to say nothing of lives – and you really should have a sound idea of what you are doing before you set off on one.

The United States never understood what it was doing there, and it still does not. Yet it continues to pressure others to commit more resources to its pointless and destructive campaign.

Second, there is nothing wrong in government or world affairs in admitting you’ve made a mistake and correcting it.

Indeed, to do the opposite is sheer lunacy. Lives and treasure are being squandered every day to no purpose. Canada made a ghastly mistake committing to Afghanistan, and I think most ordinary Canadians understand that.

Defeat? That concept is not even relevant in Afghanistan. Emphasizing that blowhard term is just what the brutal pride of the American establishment emphasizes. Keep killing and bombing for pride.

When you undertake a wrong-headed project, “defeat,” as it were, is implicit from the beginning.

Thus was the American holocaust in Vietnam. Thus was the American intrusion into Somalia. And thus was America’s crusade for vengeance in Afghanistan.

By the way, the thought here is so unimaginative, it just makes me wonder about the University of Calgary in any area but the hard sciences. Of course, it’s home too of Tom Flanagan, a tiresomely regular idiot-savant on the Globe’s pages.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: A COLUMNIST WRITES THAT OBAMA MAY INSPIRE BUT SARAH PALIN CONNECTS

 

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

Connects?

She connects with a fair number of male couch beer-swillers who consider her a “hot babe.”

She connects with the gun nuts.

She connects with the trailer-park and fuzzy-dice set.

She connects with the lobotomy cases of the religious right.

She connects with all the xenophobes in America who have no use for “damned fureigners.”

God that’s a lot of people in America, and she is a very dangerous woman.

_______________________________

Apart from Sarah Palin’s dozens of ridiculous errors and misstatements plus a demonstrated tendency towards abuse of power, two facts stand out like the great rocks of the Straits of Gibraltar for me.

One, Sarah took six years at five different colleges before she finally earned her BA in a bird subject like “communications.”

Two, the woman quit her elected job as governor of one of the least populated states in America, yet told us she was not a quitter.

The woman is simply a joke, but then so was Bush, and look what that moron gave the world.

America seems to have a boundless appetite for this kind of insipid daytime-talk show politics.