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Monthly Archives: May 2010

JOHN CHUCKMAN
 
POSTED RESPONSES TO A COLUMN BY PATRICK MARTIN IN TORONTO’S GLOBE AND MAIL

Such brave soldiers of Israel, killing more innocent people, these for the crime of attempting to deliver humanitarian assistance.

I’m afraid Israel has degenerated into nothing more than a criminal enterprise.

What distinguishes Israel from Cosa Nostra or the Russian Mafia?

Israel kills more people.
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“I thought Israel had unilaterally withdrawn from Gaza? Did they or didn’t they?”

The only thing withdrawn from Gaza was the small tribe of insane “settlers” – immigrants looking for free land at someone else’s expense – walking around with machine guns and the razor wire and troops which protected them.

That was a perfect example of Israeli duplicity.

They removed their violent idiots from an unsustainable position and instead turned all of Gaza into a giant concentration camp.

Gaza is surrounded by high-tech fences and there are towers with automated gun emplacements in a “killing zone.” The guns are radar controlled and are the similar to the Gatling guns used to protect American Navy capital ships.

Anything which moves within 1500 yards or so of one of these robot sentry towers is riddled with tons of lead. For a picture see:

http://www.wired.com/images_blogs/dangerroom/images/2008/12/04/e2ca3bc6713642d99f3d33082d3d7072lar.jpg

Israel controls all access by air and sea also. The monetary aid sent from Europe is taken by Israel and doled out in only the most dire of situations.

Israel also controls to a considerable extent the small border with Egypt, because President Mubarak – an undemocratic dictator in effect – loves his big aid/bribe cheques from Washington.

If that doesn’t describe a concentration camp (for a million and a half people, many of whom were refugees from Israel’s original wave of terror inflicted at its “founding”) I don’t know what does.
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Meanwhile, that excellent man, Harper who represents only 1/3 of voters, was glad-handing the criminal responsible for this, assuring himself of a generous flow of campaign contributions for the next election.

Ontario’s Political Weasel-in-Chief, McGuinty, was wandering around on a “trade mission” in a country whose trade for Ontario is less than the amount spent on security for the G20/G8.

Again, undoubtedly assuring himself of a heavy campaign-finance chest.

Now, the importance of money in politics is immensely greater in the U.S.

The Israel Lobby has money and lobbying down to an art, and so America not only supports Israel’s brutality and spurning of peace, it actually subsidizes them heavily.

That’s democracy for sure.
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Post script: The cowardly Netanyahu hurriedly flew home to Israel after news broke of Israel’s atrocity on the high seas against people trying to bring humanitarian aid to Gaza.

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JOHN CHUCKMAN
 
POSTED RESPONSES TO A COLUMN BY PATRICK MARTIN IN TORONTO’S GLOBE AND MAIL

Yes, and Harper will be shaking hands with a dark and blood-stained criminal.

Harper’s intense support for Israel, frequently leading to his blurting outrageous statements not at all in keeping with the balanced views of most Canadians, and taking into account his position as a party leader only supported by one-third of voters, is one more evidence of Harper’s essentially anti-democratic mindset.

Birds of a feather….

Israel’s maintaining its three-year blockade of one and half million people combined with frequent forays of murder with high-tech hardware is nothing short of a crime against humanity.

It is a lineal descendent of the filthy work of the Irgun and Stern Gang at the time of Israel’s founding.

Those good old boys assaulted peaceful villages, shooting civilians, including women and children, to terrorize the Palestinians into running away and leaving their land for Israelis to occupy.

They succeeded, but the Palestinians often did not run far enough. Ever since, Gaza has been a giant refugee camp and a hated nightmare by every Israeli leader.

Well, the current Israeli politicians have found the solution: starve and abuse those refugees, including women and children, until they leave or abase themselves into utterly docile inferiors in an apartheid state.

There is no other explanation for what is happening.

Harper’s handshake will be one of dark shame, much as when the late Prince of Wales shook Hitler’s hand and smiled broadly.
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“Of course, Harper is looking forward to a reciprocal visit to Israel.”

Yes, and plenty of campaign contributions from the Israel Lobby.

In almost everything he does, Harper emulates the worst of the Republican Party, bringing divisive policies and hateful actions into our largely fair-minded politics in Canada.

It’s called winning at any cost, and it just happens to be Israel’s official policy in Gaza, the West Bank, and Jerusalem.
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“Why all this hate for the only democracy in the Middle east. Why must everything be political? What do you suggest Israel do then?”

Those sad words sum up the lack of logical thinking and the implicit vicious attitude of apologists for Israel.

First, no one hates Israel, but people hate blatant injustice and savage behavior and dishonesty.

Only democracy in the Middle East? God, what a tiresome and meaningless slogan.

The people who repeat that seem never to have thought that democracies are just as capable of evil as other forms of government.

There are many examples, stretching from the American Confederacy – a democracy if you weren’t black – to Apartheid South Africa – again, a democracy if you weren’t black and apparently Israel’s model in its approach to policy.

If Israel’s behavior is that of a democracy, it’s likely just as well there are no other “democracies” in the region.

What do people suggest Israel do then?

How about starting with treating Palestinians as humans and neighbors?

How about stopping the continuous stealing of the property of others?

How about opening the jails with an estimated 10,000 illegally held prisoners?

How about making the bloodbath in Gaza the last such atrocity Israel commits?

How about working honestly for genuine peace, instead of this decades old dishonesty covering a slow ethnic cleansing?

How about simply behaving as that word democracy is supposed to imply?

Believe me, Israel’s critics will quickly perceive and welcome genuine honesty and decency, qualities utterly missing in every word uttered and action taken by Israel’s leaders today.

Post script:  The cowardly Netanyahu hurriedly flew home to Israel after news broke of Israel’s atrocity on the high seas against people trying to bring humanitarian aid to Gaza.

JOHN CHUCKMAN
 
POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN BY CLIVE CROOK IN THE FINANCIAL TIMES

Clive Crook has some astute observations here.

The trouble, however, with all reasonable suggestions for the future improvement of America’s position, such as value-added tax, is that American voters are in large part simply not reasonable.

I believe it truly is the heart of the matter that Americans have an ongoing sense of entitlement like nothing found anywhere else. It is captured in that warped political expression “the American Dream,” a slogan still mouthed by the pathetic workers losing their jobs, and their homes, likely permanently.

America can’t pay for what it imports and expects others to forever hold its debt. It can’t pay for its extreme actions abroad but expects others to help bear the load. And the average American makes no effort to alter the most lunatic expectations, the kind of attitude that created the financial crash.

America is wasting immense amounts on two wars and countless interventions, yet it remains insanely stubborn over the taxes needed to support such excess and ignorant concerning the lack of any economic benefit for the average citizen in these colossal expenditures.

Few people comment on another trend underway, and that is the rise of China (and a couple of other potentially great competitors). The competition China offers is necessarily killing American jobs: you might call it “creative destruction” on an international scale.

Instead of focusing on measures needed to compete in an ever more competitive world, American administrations just repeat economic illiteracies and berate the Chinese for being successful. And they continue to spend like drunken sailors on military waste. And they continue to believe that somehow it is entitled always to end up in first place.

It is not, of course.

I think the BP disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, as others have said, may be seen as something of an allegory for America’s problems. BP, unbelievably, was permitted to drill by American regulatory agencies without having taken basic, needed preparations. Blind stupidity based on the slogan that America needs oil – and it does, so long as the endless march of new three-car garages, beached-whale-sized new houses, meaningless urban sprawl, lumbering vehicles continues – threw sensible regulation overboard. Ironically, this disaster, its magnitude still not widely appreciated, has pretty well destroyed the political possibilities of further offshore drilling as supported by Bush and Obama.

America’s mythology about itself has rendered it literally incapable of governing itself rationally, and I believe, sadly, nothing we can say will turn that stumbling, blind colossus towards enlightenment. We will all pay a price for its stumbling and falling.

JOHN CHUCKMAN
 
POSTED RESPONSES TO A COLUMN BY CHRISTIE BLATCHFORD IN TORONTO’S GLOBE AND MAIL

For the ethical idiots claiming that this was a just decision, I suggest the following experiment.

The next time an aggressive (but unarmed) homeless person gives you some trouble on a downtown street, such as attempting a headlock while demanding money, just kill him. Right there, on the spot, slam his head into a metal pole, several times to be sure he’s dead.

Now, unless, you are Michael Bryant, I’m fairly confident you would be facing prison, and rightly so.

This entire matter has been disgracefully handled. Michael Bryant committed a form of manslaughter and was guilty of totally reckless driving.
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This case has almost nothing to do with cars versus bicycles.

It is a case of a prominent, wealthy man behaving with absolutely no judgment and with recklessness when confronted by a difficult man.

Absolutely, this disposal of the case was preferential treatment of the worst kind.

The biker was a very difficult man, but Michael Bryant had no excuse for his extreme behavior which killed the man.

Michael Bryant committed a crime, just as surely as if he had murdered an unarmed burglar in his house.

Only one person had control of the brakes and accelerator of that car, and that person was Michael Bryant.
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I just cannot believe the ethical level of some postings here.

Blaming the victim, no matter how troubled he was.

Mindless praise for the cowardly Michael Bryant.

Yes, as one observant poster noted, The New York Times said Bryant hit Sheppard twice before things came to the boil.

Twice. Clearly Bryant has a sense of blimp-sized entitlement and a tendency towards psychopathy, thinking he can hit a bike twice and then act as a maniac when the poor man responds.

And while Bryant’s flunkies have made sure we know Sheppard’s unstable background, it is clear no one has examined Bryant in the same way – he may well have displayed his ugly reactions before and managed to cover them up.

It is common practice among Toronto couriers when meeting up with an aggressive, obtuse driver like Bryant to try grabbing the car keys. Then they throw them away.

It seems likely this is what Sheppard was doing. Not nice, but hardly a capital crime.

Again, for the ethical idiots claiming that this was a just decision, I suggest the following experiment.

The next time an aggressive (but unarmed) homeless person gives you some trouble on a downtown street, such as attempting a headlock while demanding money, just kill him.

Right there, on the spot, slam his head into a metal pole, several times to be sure he’s dead.

Now, unless, you are Michael Bryant, I’m fairly confident you would be facing prison, and rightly so.

This entire matter has been disgracefully handled. Michael Bryant committed a form of manslaughter and was guilty of totally reckless driving.

Mr. Premier, here is a case screaming to be re-opened. Bryant should face trial by his peers, not decisions by a special prosecutor behaving as though he were on the defence payroll.
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tkip19,

That last post of yours reads like a press release from Bryant’s PR firm.

Pathetic.

Is that why you don’t use your name?

You can have no idea what behaviors are hidden in Mr. Bryant’s background.

Rich people can do very nasty things and have them covered up. Witness the background of George Bush.

The behaviors – several of them – exhibited in this case by Mr. Bryant point to serious character flaws.

One could almost bet a thorough vetting would give us something to talk about in his case too, but serious vetting takes money and only Bryant has that.

It is grossly unfair to harp on Mr. Sheppard’s background.

He is not here to speak for himself.

And this is crucial, he committed no serious crime warranting death, yet Mr. Bryant clearly killed him.
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“According to the police, the prosecutor, and the defence Mr. Shepperd assaulted Mr. Bryant. When Mr. Bryant tried to flee the assault Mr. Shepperd tried to hold on to the vehicle, failed, and was fatally injured when he fell.

“This is NOT the same thing as saying that Mr. Bryant killed Mr. Shepperd. This is closer to saying that Mr. Shepperd did something criminal and stupid and was killed when it didn’t work out the way he thought it would.”

“According to police…”

Well, my friend, that is what courts and juries exist to determine.

May I remind you that “according to police,” a poor desperate man in Vancouver’s airport who picked up a stapler when faced with four armed men was threat enough to warrant the most disgraceful police behavior?

Again, solid news sources said Bryant hit Sheppard’s bike twice. Twice.

Maybe Bryant was drunk, but we’ll never know, will we? Again, “according to police.”

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

Contrary to the assumptions of Patrick Martin, Israel may, before long, have no choice.

How in God’s name can we accept all the noise and pressure over Iran and North Korea when Israel keeps a nuclear arsenal, threatening others with its potential, including sometimes blackmailing the United States?

The sensational, just-announced publication of secret papers from apartheid South Africa, something Israel has fought hugely against, proves definitively Israel’s role as the world’s most dangerous nuclear proliferator.

See the immensely important article:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/may/23/israel-south-africa-nuclear-weapons

I do think the day is fast approaching when Israel’s arrogance and brutality will tip the international political balance which has protected its excesses. People and governments everywhere are tiring of Israel’s utterly unethical and savage behavior and its endless demands.

Of course, on the same news day as the story of the publication of secret South African papers, we have news of two countries – Australia and the UK – removing Israeli diplomats in response to Israel’s abuse of their passports in committing its political murders. Israel has done this many times, including abusing Canadian passports in the past.

It is simply a fact that Israel has behaved over the last half century as one of the most peace-threatening nations on earth.

With its black-ops, its creation of the circumstances for the 1967 war it desired (because it would win), its never-explained attack on an American spy ship, its unparalleled spying inside the United States (including documented spies who were hot on the trail of the 9/11 terrorists and did nothing to alert U.S. officials), its illegal creation of nuclear weapons, its playing with proliferation with South Africa, and its ghastly brutality in Gaza and Lebanon, Israel is straining the patience of all its supporters.

John Kennedy knew that Israel was working on nuclear weapons, and we know he completely opposed it. More than a few suspect that that fact represented the real motive for his death.

Israel is very vulnerable to revelations of the many bodies it has buried, and that is what is remarkable about the publican of the South African papers. The publication clearly points to the United States tiring of all the dirty games. It could easily have suppressed this.

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

 

Obama’s trouble in Washington is pretty much the same thing we are experiencing with Harper.

Harper’s model is the Republican Right: offer no cooperation, take extreme measures, and endlessly insult the opposition.

Actually, “Republican Right” is a misnomer: the entire Republican party behaves this way, and this has been the pattern for our adult lifetimes.

It actually is the domestic political equivalent of Israel’s “iron wall” towards its neighbors.

No talents around conciliation will help in the least when your opponent is dedicated to be stubborn, unreasoning, and ruthless.

I’m glad Obama tried, but his breath is wasted.
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“Hope = Dope”

Surely the writer of that pathetic comment must recognize that Obama is an exceptionally intelligent person.

But in a country where Sarah Palin can command $100,000 for yelping a few times and where a certified moron like Bush can be president for two terms, bullsh-t baffles brains.

American national politics have become debased to an extraordinary extent, and it is solely the work of the Right which has settled into a philosophy of hooting and calling names and quoting God.

Our trouble, of course, is that that pernicious influence is flooding into our politics through Harper’s behaviors, much as BP’s oil is flooding the Gulf of Mexico.
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“Like Abraham Lincoln, right?
“And those heroic Democrats that were the originators of the KKK (look it up)? Defenders of the common man, right?”
 

 

That is a prime example of how a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

Neither the Republican party nor the Democratic party are at all the same things they were in the early 1860s.

Only the names remain.

Indeed, in some ways, their roles have reversed.

Lincoln believed in strong central government, which was what the Civil War was truly all about.

Lincoln’s view is anathema to a Republican today.

The Democrats lost the South in the 1960s precisely because of the Civil Rights Voting act.

The Republicans today in many Southern states work hard and subtly to prevent blacks from voting. We saw this clearly in Florida.

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

I see the accusation of racism made simply for having stated facts.

Racism is a form of prejudice, a word which means judging before you know the facts.

Facts are quite the opposite of prejudice: they are real things which require real explanations.

And this is not an explanation surely: “The reason it’s people of African descent engaged in the drugs in Toronto is because they’ve been left to languish in poverty”

I grew up poor and knew many others relatively poor in my generation. Not one of us ever took or sold drugs, nor did any of us ever use a gun.

Indeed, I grew up on the South Side of Chicago, the tough side of town. The simple fact is that the violent crime rates in Chicago soared with black immigration from the old South and the coming of heavy drug dealing and gun running.

There was a time in Chicago, back in the 1940s or early 1950s, when it was safe to sleep in a nearby park or out on a fire escape. People did this by the thousands before there was much air-conditioning.

No one in his or her right mind would do that today. Indeed, we see significant numbers of heat deaths every summer in Chicago because poor people are afraid to open the windows of their apartments.

Poverty is a function of either a lack of skills to compete in society or a temporary situation under changing circumstances, the last experienced by many immigrants.

People are not “left to languish in poverty.” That is a ridiculous statement.

Indeed, in Canada, people of lesser means are treated better than just about anywhere, and immigrants are given privileges they receive few other places.

For example, if you immigrate to the United States, you do not receive free health care. Indeed, in that Darwinian society, you will receive no healthcare until you get a good enough job providing it to you.

Drug dealers are not in poverty: they drive expensive cars and own expensive hand guns. They are people who want to get rich quick without the usual effort, and they do get rich, and they do kill others as part of doing it.

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

Silly David Bercuson is at it again.

“Ignatieff needs to rein in Dosanjh and Rae to restore sense to his party’s defence policies.”

Actually I think the Globe needs to rein in David Bercuson to restore sense to its op-ed page
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Ignatieff will never be elected prime minister no matter what he does or doesn’t do.

And Harper will never receive a majority.

So Canada remains stuck in a political twilight zone, and we receive only disingenuous advice from the neo-cons like David Bercuson.

The truth is that Harper has violated many traditional and fair-minded principles in our foreign policy, his absolutely outrageous comments about Israel being a prime example.

But we have no one else to turn to right now.

Ignatieff has a record as a man of no principles: support for the killing of a million people in Iraq, support for torture, opportunistic return home, opportunistic parachuting into riding, and opportunistic parachuting into the party leadership.

But that kind of record is just fine with the David Bercusons of this world.

Dosanjh and Rae, for all their faults, are two of the most intelligent, thoughtful, and well-informed national politicians we have.

Either of them beats Ignatieff in eloquence. Either beats Ignatieff in dedication to human rights.

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

Fox News is literally an oxymoron.

CNN is almost as bad, often caught with its pants down playing nasty games.

ABC/NBC/CBS are all owned by huge corporations, and they all bend their tone and coverage to the needs of the Pentagon.

Americans – whom polls show get most of their news from television – are unbelievably poorly informed when it comes to world affairs.

It’s a ghastly and dangerous situation for a superpower and/or a democratic country.

CBC is far from perfect in its news, but at least – and this is no small thing – it offers a different point of view, inherently different owing to its financing.

Even if one were to grant a “liberal bias” in CBC – which I do not, that being another conservative copycat line from the Newt Gingrich twenty years ago – so what?

The truth in politics and world affairs is always to be discovered. It is never presented outright by anyone anywhere.

But an interested citizen may garner a good deal of the truth by reading and listening to different sources and interpolating and extrapolating. It is the technique of the late, great independent journalist, I.F. Stone.

I regularly catch errors and biased presentations on CBC, but the situation is no better, likely worse, with private broadcasters. Indeed, the late, unlamented CanWest surely was as low in journalistic ethics and as poor in quality as we’ve ever had.

 
JOHN CHUCKMAN
 
POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN BY SARAH CROMPTON IN THE TELEGRAPH
“Tate Modern has emphasised over and over again that art is for everyone….”Ms. Crompton, that is a highly ambiguous phrase, so much so it is inaccurate.

The world’s great art museums are open to everyone. Anyone genuinely interested in art may enjoy and learn from them. In that sense, art is for everyone indeed.

But true art is by its very nature an elite activity: it is produced by the very gifted for the very wealthy, and that has always been so, whether the wealthy were the popes of the renaissance or the commissions of a modern government.

But the Tate Modern’s concept of art for everyone, just as for other comparable institutions, is the substitution of playgrounds and gimmicks and whimsies, appealing to people with no interest in genuine art, and that is an entirely different matter.

Opera is also for everyone: Mozart is owned by no one. But we know perfectly well, that much of the population has no interest in opera.

If you put on a set of pop songs together and call it a “rock” opera, you are not making opera more available, you are changing entirely the meaning of opera.

The Tate Modern is as poor a representative of genuine art as that pathetic drainage ditch in the park is a tribute to the grace and charm of the late Princess Diana.

JOHN CHUCKMAN
 
POSTED RESPONSE TO AN EDITORIAL IN THE TORONTO GLOBE AND MAIL
“…because her name and career are being destroyed by a taint of criminality, without proof….”Wrong, on at least two counts.One, her career as a politician already is destroyed. Who would ever put her in a position of responsibility again?

Two, while we do not have proof of criminality, we have overwhelming proof of Guergis’s venality and unsuitability for office.

Her known behaviors and those of her husband – whom she knowingly assisted by lending him public assets and writing inappropriate letters – are enough, surely, for those who expect ethical ministers.

I believe it is likely Ms Guergis has some form of mental instability, else how do you explain her sincere efforts to portray herself a victim when we know the things we know? The Globe has been bamboozled into writing this editorial on the basis of her performance on television.

To maintain high ethical standards in government, we do not need to prove out-and-out, police-investigated criminal behavior.

Ms. Guergis long ago exceeded what should be the allowance for a public servant of venality and stupid behavior.

It truly is a waste of resources to spend more on her.

At her best, too, she was a mediocre minister, and her demotion represents no loss to anyone.

JOHN CHUCKMAN
 
POSTED RESPONSE TO AN EDITORIAL IN TORONTO’S GLOBE AND MAIL
“The century is being invented before our eyes”?Who writes this stuff?

How do you invent a century?

And surely there are few options to something’s happening than “before our eyes,” a very tired cliché.

Well, I guess it’s the same person who writes the other nonsense in this editorial, such as, Africa being the site of the greatest transformation. You want transformation, you look to China and India, not Africa.

Africa is a disaster, pretty much from top to bottom.

Authoritarian governments. Corruption. Instability. Coups. Civil wars. Crime on a frightening scale.

Superstition with some of the most deadly beliefs on the planet, including the efficacy of albino body parts for health cures or the rights of male adults to rape village girls freely or the regular practice of about 3 million female genital mutilations each year.

The unending violence of Africa undoubtedly is owing in part to its high rate of natural increase in relation to its poor economies and often poor resources. Unfavorable population/resource ratios are associated with crime and violence generally, as for example in Haiti.

African women frequently have babies at an age we regard as part of childhood.

The babies frequently get no attention or support from their fathers, who as often as not have no income in an often subsistence economy.

And that same economy has no capacity to absorb additional mouths.

The girls having the children get no education themselves.

Violent crime is found at rates exceeding any place else on earth. The rates of murder and rape are appalling and likely well understated owing to the lack of modern police and bureaucracy.

How does one set about changing that complex set of behaviors for hundreds of millions of people?

I don’t see how anyone who is not slightly delusional can write or speak of “now is Africa’s moment.”

Tens and tens of billions in aide have been poured into Africa over recent decades, and the results are what we observe today.

I suspect Africa will just grind on the way it is and has been a very long time.

JOHN CHUCKMAN
 
POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN BY JANET DALEY IN THE TELEGRAPH

“Even in ignominious defeat, they [Liberal Democrats]have gained an inordinate degree of power.”

“I am genuinely shocked by the advocates of “progressive” politics who are now calling for – of all things – a confederation of losers to outmanoeuvre the winners….”

Janet Daley displays here a remarkable lack of understanding about the nature of parliamentary and party politics.

The simple truth is the voters rejected all the parties: there was no winner.

In a party system, voters must choose between “bundles” of policies, no one party having the just right mix for likely most individual voters. Votes are a series of compromises.

When voting results in a hung parliament, this basic truth is sharply revealed.

The negotiations between parties is simply an effort to adjust the “bundle” of policies to better reflect voters’ intentions.

Indeed, parties themselves each contain a spectrum of views on various issues: they are not monolithic in their members’ views.

They only gain the appearance of being monolithic because leadership enforces a set of compromises, but the very same process now going on between parties goes on at regular intervals within parties in their caucuses and conventions.

Objecting to what is now happening between party leaders rather resembles objecting to an important aspect of democracy. Compromise is an inherent aspect of party politics, and it is very much an aspect of parliaments in general.

If you don’t receive a clear majority, and the Conservatives certainly did not receive that, you must compromise: essentially, it means voters have rejected your bundle of policies and you must adjust what you had somewhat arbitrarily run on accordingly.

It’s called democracy, and it is not neat and clean like having a Duce, something for which Janet Daley appears to have a bit of a yearning.

JOHN CHUCKMAN
 
RESPONSE TO A COLUMN IN THE NEW YORK TIMES

Clinton in action always reminds me of a not particularly pleasant child having a tantrum.

This is not diplomacy.

It is phony posing on the international stage for the sake of a constituency back home.

It does seem American policy abroad is almost never in the U.S.’s own enlightened, long-term interests.

It always has its roots in playing up to domestic constituencies. That might not be so bad were American politics themselves something of substance, but they are decidedly not.

Name-calling, ranting, puffery, ideologue thick-headedness – it truly is a sad spectacle for a supposedly great nation.

This juvenile approach to world affairs is not new. There have been countless iterations since World War II.

The more than forty years of stupid behavior towards Cuba is exactly the same completely childish nonsense. The occasional, tiresome name-calling towards China is more of the same.

Ahmadinejad may not rank high as a diplomat, but one cannot help appreciating his sense of humor and readiness to prick the balloons of the pretentious and phony.

And few near the top of American politics have proved him- or herself a more embarrassing phony than Clinton.

JOHN CHUCKMAN
 
POSTED RESPONSES TO A COLUMN BY GIDEON RACHMAN IN THE FINANCIAL TIMES

“The US, terrorism and the European Parliament…”

Sorry, Gideon, a grammatical error has altered the meaning of that statement.

The comma shouldn’t be there.
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The entire post-WWII period is marked by American support for various terrorists – just so long as they were “our” terrorists.

Pinochet, the Shah of Iran, the PRI in Mexico, the Cuban exiles in Florida, and on and on.

Was there any event since the Holocaust that was more of a savage pointless exercise in murder than America’s War in Vietnam?

Three million killed, in often horrific deaths like napalm, for favoring the wrong economic system?

The neutralist government of Cambodia de-stabilized, thus creating the circumstances for the “killing fields”?

The U. S. for decades winked at the IRA , almost enjoying the sense of “up yours” Britain.

Indeed, most of the IRA’s funding came from Americans openly collecting for it.

(So much for the silly idea of a special relationship.)

The U.S. dealt on friendly, helpful terms with every monster from Ceauşescu and Saddam Hussein to Batista and Marcos – just so long as the monsters toed the American line.

During the terror in Indonesia after the fall of Sukarno, workers in the American State Department kept the phone lines humming, suggesting names to the government that was to oversee cutting the throats of 500,000 people on suspicion of being communists, dumping their bodies in the rivers.

The overthrow of elected government after elected government – Iran, Guatemala, Chile – just because they opposed what were viewed as American interests.

The current “war on terror” is actually not about terror at all. It is about people deeply unfriendly to America’s abusive policies abroad and to its tolerance for every abuse Israel cares to commit.

America’s various carpet-bombings and Israel’s savagery towards the Palestinians are unquestionably the world’s most consequential acts of official state terror.

America is no enemy of terror, only of the terrorists it does not like.

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

The Lego matter is of virtually no consequence. Indeed, I know from my experience with young kids that Lego used for robots are a good learning, and artistic, material.

Where our government can’t say no, and on matters of severe consequence, is to the teachers’ union.

Going into a recession, Dalton the Magnificent gave the teachers a multi-year contract unlike what you’d find in any other business.

And for that small fortune in increases, he got nothing of meaning for education. Nothing.

And it’s not as though we don’t have needs.

Look at the staffing of the School Board in Toronto if you want to see fortunes squandered.

A Director who was a proven flop in Hamilton, yet pulls in a huge salary and benefits, coming up with trivial ideas instead of real management.

A Board so stuffed with political correctness that it can’t balance its own budgets.

Superintendents who are mostly flannel-mouthed former principals.

Flocks of “consultants” – teachers tired of the classroom and looking for a break – click-clacking around with notebook computers drawing down handsome salaries for sheer appearances.

And a herd of teachers who cannot even manage to teach the kids such basics as reading and the times-tables, yet insist on being called professionals.

We are talking billions here, not a few million.

JOHN CHUCKMAN
 
POSTED COMMENT TO A COLUMN BY SHIRA HERZOG IN TORONTO’S GLOBE AND MAIL

“Absent innovation, industry, investment and democracy the balance of palestine will look like Mogadishu within a year. The world will have lost all interest and life for the palestinians will become a nightmare.”

There, encapsulated in a brief statement by a reader, is everything wrong with Israel.

The arrogance and ignorance on display towards Arabs are breathtaking.

Lebanon has been a very prosperous place, thank you, and would be more so were it not for decades of savageries from Israel.

Iraq was the most advanced Arab state in the world, advanced both in technology and in matters like women’s rights. For all his faults, Saddam was a secular, forward-thinking man in a number of respects. And what happened to Iraq? Flattened by Israeli interests.

Democracy? Israel, a state which insists on calling itself exclusively Jewish and practices ethnic-cleansing daily, hardly qualifies under any meaningful definition of democracy.

And even if we do grant the adjective democratic to Israel, does the writer not understand that democracies are just as capable as any other form of state of atrocities and abuse. The United States in Vietnam? Apartheid South Africa? The Confederate States of America? And just so, Israel.

Democracy is not a state of grace from stupid policy, prejudice, or cruelty. Power is power, however conferred, and, as we know, power corrupts.