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Monthly Archives: October 2010


JOHN CHUCKMAN

POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN BY ERIN ANDERSSON IN TORONTO’S GLOBE AND MAIL

I truly do not know why anyone writes anything about bullying anymore, except for personal publicity or reward or just taking credit for being on the side of the angels.

Almost all of the stuff purchased at considerable expense and robotically disseminated by the school boards is of that nature.

This piece of pulp fiction by Erin Andersson is just one more large serving of the same unhelpful stuff. It is filled with arguable assertions and incorrect statements which reflect the dogmas of the Church of True Believers in Public School Ethics.

“Zero-tolerance policies on fighting, as cases in Canada have shown, do not solve the problem either, often leading to punishment without investigation, and little follow-up.”

An absolutely false assertion: zero-tolerance on violence was an excellent policy whose effects would make our schools safer places and benefit society in the long term.

It was dropped for one reason only: a disproportionate number of those treated under the policy came from a particular ethnic group, the false assumption for dropping it being that the policy was unfairly employed.

Dropping the policy made teachers and innocent students immediately more vulnerable to the small percentage of people who are violent.

“Research consistently shows that bullying is linked to depression, poor school performance and anxiety, for both victim and perpetrator.”

Here is the classic use of “research says” to bolster a pathetic argument. Of course bullying is related to mental problems, but then so are almost all forms of crime. Tests have repeatedly shown that prison populations are full of people with serious mental and emotional problem.

So do we stop arresting and imprisoning people for crimes? Of course not.

And just so, violence and bullying in schools.

“When left unchecked, bullies can destroy lives…”

Another insipid bromide. Of course violence destroys lives. Isn’t that the very meaning of violence?

The problem in our schools is easily understood, but not so easily corrected: no one is responsible for anything. No one even wants to assume responsibility. Acts of bullying occur every day in plain sight and are ignored. Teachers and principals and superintendents are afraid of parents who are themselves bullies.

So they set no enforceable standards and speak with the kind of psycho-babble terms and meaningless educationese with which this article is replete.

When a robber assaults you in your home or store, you want the police, and you want the courts to dispense justice. And that is just what the victims of true bullies want, only they do not get it, learning from their painful experience that there is no justice nor agreed-upon way of behaving in society. That is a mighty poor lesson to be teaching.

I think if we are not prepared to do what it takes to protect students from bullies, we should just shut up. It truly is tiresome to read useless, thoughtless stuff like this article.

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JOHN CHUCKMAN

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

“The U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 is a classic case of doing bad by trying to do good. We can’t rescue people from themselves.”

Another thoughtless piece, packed with frightful ethical concepts, from Ms Wente, the Globe’s reigning champion in churning out such stuff.

“Liberal interventionism” is a created term to make America’s unacceptable behavior seem more appropriate.

There can never be anything “liberal” – in the truest historic meaning of the word – about dropping cluster bombs on people or using white phosphorus on people or torturing prisoners.

You cannot bomb people into democracy. Just steady economic growth and a growing middle class are the requirements for democracy as centuries of history clearly demonstrate, and Iraq was on that path with one of the most prosperous and advanced economies in the Arab world. Now, instead, it is a shambles.

America’s intention never was to “rescue” Iraqis.

Iraq was invaded to eliminate Israel’s most implacable foe, hardly the business of the United States. The invasion decision was unquestionably influenced too by Bush Junior’s psychological need to top what Bush pere had done – a lifelong theme for the pathetic Bush and the kind of motivation that all serious readers of history know plays a role in events.

There was the matchless opportunity of the cover provided by the invasion of Afghanistan too, offering an opportunity to blur facts and operate in public confusion. After all, Hitler used the chaos of the invasion of Russia to begin the Holocaust.

The invasion was covered also by the Nazi-like ideas of Condi Rice with her “We’re hearing the birth pangs of a new Middle East,” amidst the screams of hundreds of thousands dying and their country and culture being destroyed.

An entire generation of Iraqis are doomed to live with no jobs, little electricity, and poor water plus a million pounds of depleted uranium dust.

All thoughtful people knew they were being lied to at the time.

Ms. Wente herself was very much a booster for the bloody effort, a big booster, and you’d be hard put to find any columnist who like her is a regular apologist for Israel’s excesses who didn’t sing hymns to America’s blood bath.

All as pointless as the three million murdered in Vietnam.

Again, for readers who’ve nor seen it, here is the reality of Ms. Wente at the time of the mass murder in Iraq:

http://chuckmanwords.wordpress.com/2009/05/28/the-iraq-wars-trashiest-piece-of-propaganda/



 

JOHN CHUCKMAN

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

“Omar Khadr is a lucky young man. He is lucky to be entitled to Western justice…”

Even for Margaret Wente, this is perhaps a new low.

Lucky young man?

Ideologue parents push him into war at fifteen?

Shot twice, in the back, by Americans?

Taken to Guantanamo against all international conventions?

His first years in isolation without any contact or representation?

Tortured many times?

Part of his torture consisted of making him sit in uncomfortable positions with raw wounds?

Being forced to appear before a kangaroo court, which has no proper jurisdiction?

Being forced into confessing to something he did not do?

More than one-third of his life in that hellhole?

A bright boy deprived of education?

His country’s government too afraid of Washington to insist on his rights?

Ms Wente has a very odd idea of lucky.

I should remind readers of how bizarre Ms Wente’s thoughts about children have been in the past, just so long as they were Islamic children:

http://chuckmanwords.wordpress.com/2009/05/28/the-iraq-wars-trashiest-piece-of-propaganda/


 

JOHN CHUCKMAN

POSTED RESPONSES TO A COLUMN BY GARY MASON IN THE TORONTO GLOBE AND MAIL

Mr. Mason offers up a steaming plate of political garbage: there is no larger zeitgeist involved in Toronto’s election.

The impetus behind Ford’s victory was local: people were tired of years of empty windbag talk, many new taxes, and a city that in terms of what cities are about pretty much went down instead of up.

Fleets of garbage trucks burn diesel fuel down the 401 everyday carrying away Toronto’s garbage – now there’s something to be proud of.

Most of Toronto’s high-rises have no recycling program – another source of pride.

A windbag mayor who wasted time on pet schemes like killing the island airport – a perfectly good enterprise creating jobs and services and making the waterfront more complex and interesting.

Violence in the streets with people – unprecedented in Toronto – being shot downtown, and a mayor who wonders ineffectually about kids becoming killers. There are genuine born killers and we have some now, dangerous morons carrying loaded guns to school and to parties.

An expensive new garbage collection system that leaves Toronto’s thousands of tiny semi-detached homes with sets of stupid-looking wheel-bins permanently on the front porch or in the front yard – a truly ugly and costly solution when there were far more elegant ones. Plus a fleet of costly new trucks so collectors don’t even have to lift bags.

An ineffective police chief who has more than once been treated with contempt by his own officers, who then received no proper punishment for doing so. This included their showing up at a city hall rally in uniform, against orders, creating a clear threat to civilian government. It also included out-of-control cops during the G20 who were never corrected or reprimanded. Where was the mayor’s voice on the G20 fiasco?

A mayor full of puff-piece stuff about “vision” who in fact has left dirty streets, potholes everywhere, and many sad episodes of incompetence – all the while taxes raced upward.

There is no meaningful project in the city displaying the fabled vision. Vision-level stuff would include things like taking down the Gardiner, solving the garbage problems, or creating a magnificent waterfront.

The excesses of City Hall, especially in flagrant expenses, have long been criticized by Mr. Ford, and the people have now given him his chance to show what he can do. It’s called democracy.
__________________________

While there may be some like your neighbor who rejected Smitherman for his sexual identity, the truth is Smitherman is a rather nasty piece of work just as a human being.

He has an ugly temper.

He is aggressive.

He has no record of achieving anything, other than favored status with Dalton the Magnificent.

He copied Ford right away on costs, showing no originality.

He played at the role of hero for the progressives and the art set, but he has no record of representing such interests.

Smitherman strikes me as a political hypocrite, as I’m sure he does many others.

He wouldn’t even reveal his campaign contributors. Some progressive.

He took unwarranted help from Dalton’s flaks.

The man was simply a poor candidate.

Nothing to do with being gay.


JOHN CHUCKMAN

 

POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN BY ALASDAIR PALMER IN THE TELEGRAPH

I cannot understand how anyone can even consider the drone-killers legal, and I am ashamed that I ever praised the man, Barack Obama, who is responsible for this reprehensible behavior.

America’s confused and bloody presence in Afghanistan and Iraq seems to have blurred the meaning of all such terms as legality and ethics in international affairs. We condemn China for keeping a peaceful protester in jail while we murder by the hundreds people legally guilty of nothing.

Just like Israel’s assaults and murders and tortures of civilians and political opponents, the drones are nothing but organized murder.

First, the drone attacks have killed hundreds of totally innocent people.

Second, even their intended targets have been charged with nothing in a court of law. They are just summarily executed by a machine run by some buzz-cut thug at a computer monitor who likely pumps his arm when his death machine blows up a house which contains God knows what people, perhaps then going out for lunch and a beer. That is as far from legality and ethics as you can travel.

How is this activity any different to those South American juntas that kidnapped thousands over years and made them “disappear” – the euphemism for flying people out over the ocean and throwing them out of the plane.

This savagery represents the Israelization of American foreign policy – just kill anyone you claim is a threat to you, behavior which represents the absolute lack of ethics and utter lawlessness.

You cannot make a better, law-abiding world through such moral horrors.

Indeed, Israel and the United States have set examples of such outrageous and unacceptable nature that over the long term they have given potential terrorists a new standard for their work, besides producing countless new young people with grudges, keen on future vengeance.

Are we going to continue into the black hole of Stalinism on a world scale where someone’s wrong look or word gets them liquidated?

That really is the logical outcome of these horrors.

Of course, the claim that it is democracies engaged in this bloody work proves only that democracies are just as capable of murder and torture as tyrant states. There is nothing automatically moral or ethical about being a democracy.

And it tells us we should be glad there are not more such democracies.


 

JOHN CHUCKMAN

POSTED RESPONSE TO AN INTERVIEW WITH HISTORIAN PAUL KENNEDY IN TORONTO’S GLOBE AND MAIL

“I think that the U.S. is the only imperial power in history to deny that it has an empire!”

Mike Sumners,

Actually Rome long maintained the fantasy of a republic (S.P.Q.R.) after it had become an empire with an emperor.

There are many parallels with the US.

I believe, contrary to Kennedy, that the immensely powerful US military may well assume effective control there. Indeed, it already has to some degree.

The last election did nothing to change American policies. Obama is pretty much a creature today of the Pentagon, intelligence agencies, and establishment interests.

His early stand on Israel-Palestine has disappeared. He has increased the war in Afghanistan. He keeps 50,000 troops plus airfields and a huge intelligence complex in Iraq. And he is killing hundreds of civilians in Pakistan with his drone-killers.

This is precisely the threat of gorilla-sized military to a free society anywhere at anytime: they not only get mired in costly foreign wars, they wear down the freedoms and values of the society that nurtures them.

Please note that today in America, not only does the FBI look into what people read, but every phone call and e-mail is recorded to be scanned by supercomputers. And the Pentagon desires to be able to switch off the Internet.
___________________

Kennedy’s recommendations for America, so far as they go, are spot on: balance budgets, curtail the trade deficit, and cut back on an overextended military. You might just sum it up as America’s giving up the insane idea that it can do everything at once.

It is most interesting, considering that he is essentially a supporter of American empire.

How interesting, too, that the term empire slips into his references, and those of so many others now: once that would have been taken with bad grace by many Americans.

I did find his book rather dull years ago, greatly padded with a not huge message.

Maybe he is a better talker than writer.


JOHN CHUCKMAN

POSTED RESPONSE TO AN EDITORIAL IN TORONTO’S GLOBE AND MAIL

I have heard Sean Bruyea (a veteran and critic of Harper’s policies towards veterans) interviewed on CBC’s The Current.

He is a powerful and convincing speaker, intelligent and informed.

What government did in his case – his confidential medical files passed to hundreds of bureaucrats with summaries made suggesting they could be used to discredit him – is truly frightening, the most atrocious activity I can recall in Canada in a long time.

Genuinely the stuff of a police state.

There is no defense for such behavior. It is beyond unacceptable.

The Globe, in this editorial, has joined the efforts to minimize what happened.

Just in terms of the Globe’s own past stuff about stigmas and mental illness, this is reprehensible.

In terms of human rights and democratic values, it is just destructive.

No one can defend this government behavior unless they desire Canada’s decline into a corrupt and backward place.

Shame on you.

 

JOHN CHUCKMAN

POSTED RESPONSE TO AN EDITORIAL IN TORONTO’S GLOBE AND MAIL

My, those are inspiring examples.

Condi Rice? Compulsive Fifth Avenue shoe-buyer and mass-murderer?

Hillary Clinton? A woman who swallowed Bill’s crap for decades and lied for him in public, over and over?

And who now defends the indefensible, over and over, forgetting every decent spark she may have had forty years ago?

Oh, the list of outstanding American women in politics is breathtaking.

Sarah Palin, flop as governor of a tiny state and someone who took six years at five institutions to get a BA in a bird subject?

Elizabeth Dole whose biggest achievement in running for the Republican nomination seems to have been the way she stepped down from the platform at meetings, walking amongst the audience much like a salvation-tent preacher?

Oh, let’s not forget Madeleine Albright, that horrible windbag who defended America’s killing of tens of thousands of Iraqi children, over and over.

I do think, in view of the record, Madame Tussaud’s has a role here. Surely, this is a wax-works gallery of female political horrors America offers the world.

I’d love to see women take their rightful place in politics, as I’m sure they will, but America’s recent example is an inspiration to no one but those with a taste for the grotesque.


JOHN CHUCKMAN

POSTED RESPONSE TO AN INTERVIEW IN TORONTO’S GLOBE AND MAIL

Ignatieff just becomes more pathetic with each passing day.

First, he played Pa Kettle in the re-make of “Ma and Pa Kettle Take the Bus.”

Now, he’s knee-deep in Facebook, one of the most trivial and meaningless sites on the Internet.

And all that comes after the clear identity of rather dull academic.

Oh, and then there’s his long-term role as Defender of the American Empire.

Please, Liberal Party, you have become as trivial and tending to dumbness as CBC Radio One these days.