Archive for April 2011

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: IGNATIEFF’S “LIBERAL VISION” SPEECH – VISIONS IN GENERAL ARE OFTEN CLICHES OR DELUSIONS – IGNATIEFF MAKES ONE MORE INEPT ATTEMPT TO CONVINCE US HE IS NOT A POLITICAL LIABILITY

JOHN CHUCKMAN

POSTED RESPONSES TO A COLUMN BY JOHN IBBITSON IN TORONTO’S GLOBE AND MAIL

I do have a problem with “visions” generally, but, when someone has no legitimate right to be called a liberal, talks of the “liberal vision,” I can only laugh.

I cannot think of one evidence of Ignatieff’s having a genuinely liberal spirit.

Here are just some of the facts:

He does not speak out on any of the great issues of our day.

He didn’t subject himself to a democratic contest to gain his leadership job.

He provided the ammunition – his own foolish words at his first convention – for Harper attack ads against the extremely decent and thoughtful Mr Dion.

He came back to Canada rasping and blubbering on one occasion about how you cannot ever oppose America because they’ll make you pay.

Presumably that absolutely amoral advice applies even when what America engages in is mass murder, as it was in Iraq.

He was published and broadcast in the United States defending the mass murder in Iraq and accepting “mild” torture.

He has distinguished himself in nothing, shown no political courage, since becoming leader.

He well deserves to fall on his face.

I will always hold his ambition and ego responsible if Harper gains a majority and proceeds to tear down the decent Canada we all love.

Intellectuals are supposed to “know themselves,” and it couldn’t be more clear that Ignatieff either has no idea of his own limited political capacities or has such an ego he believes himself capable of tasks for which he has no talent.

Good-bye, Mr Ignatieff, you won’t be missed.

As the saying goes, don’t forget to close the door on your way out.
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Again, so long as Quebec has been out of play for the Liberals and Conservatives – the very basis for the horrible minority freak show we’ve experienced for some years – the only way to defeat Harper is through a coalition.

Mr. Dion and Jack Layton both understood this basic truth, but the Don Quixote of Canadian Liberal politics, the one wearing the colors of the Pentagon on his sleeve, did not.

This silly man actually sneered at Dion’s signing up to a coalition.

Ignatieff is so ineffective a politician, he countered Harper’s appeal to ignorance with his dishonest “stab in the back” stuff about coalitions “stealing elections” only by the most insipid statements.

Well, Harper has been a prime minister with the support of only one-third of Canadians. The two-thirds against him all represent some degree or other of progressive vote.

That’s not democracy.

A coalition of the two-thirds would have been.

And just try telling the dozens of governments in the world who have been or are ruled by coalitions that they stole elections.

Only the truly ignorant repeat this Hitler-like mantra.

Coaltions are everywhere and always a valid part of parliamentary government.

You blew it, Ignatieff, big time.

Unfortunately, we’ll all have to pay for your blundering and meddling.

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JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: IS DONALD TRUMP THE LEADER AMERICA DESERVES? YES BUT NOT FOR THE REASONS YOU MIGHT EXPECT

JOHN CHUCKMAN

EXPANSION OF POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN BY IAN BROWN IN TORONTO’S GLOBE AND MAIL

Donald Trump is, indeed, the perfect fit as leader of contemporary America: a big-mouthed bore who never seriously thinks about anything and is always ready to communicate attitudes as though he came equipped with a megaphone for a mouth.

The youth cult is part and parcel of America, and Trump also fits there perfectly. He fluffs and dyes his pathetic patch of hair, growing it far longer than a man of his age should and combing it as though he believes he is still a teenager and the date is 1960. The total effect is rather like an exhibit in Madam Tussaud’s chamber of horrors.

Money is Trump’s only interest, which corresponds nicely with America’s only interest. And ditto Trump’s favorite hobby of pushing people around.

It all fits so perfectly.

Here is Mr. America for 2012, a deflated old tire of a man who just keeps pounding away by force of his sheer arrogance and greed.

He reminds me very much of what some of the late and most corrupt Roman emperors must have been like.

Surely, the perfect captain for a sinking ship.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: A COLUMNIST SAYS IGNATIEFF IS A MASTER OF DELIVERY BUT NO ONE IS LISTENING – HOW WRONG THE COLUMNIST IS – THE COMING HELL OF A HARPER MAJORITY

JOHN CHUCKMAN

POSTED RESPONSES TO A COLUMN BY JOHN IBBITSON IN TORONTO’S GLOBE AND MAIL

Speaking of being a “master of delivery,” consider Ignatieff’s ridiculous ad running over and over on CBC Radio, the one about his mother – yes, you heard right, his mother – and health care.

It is absolutely off-putting.

Instead of talking hard and seriously about a major issue, this so-called master of delivery talks about mom.

Who in his right mind is going to pay attention to that?

It’s a pathetic effort to play on emotions associated with motherhood to gain support. Yuck.

And it is clearly also a weak further attempt to cement the idea that he is, after all, a local boy.

Ignatieff has always been overrated as an intellectual, as a speaker, and as a man concerned with human rights.

Many people clearly see all this, and it’s why Ignatieff is falling on his face.

Again, what “master of delivery” plays Pa Kettle on a long cross-country bus trip and thinks he is doing anything worthwhile?

Playing Pa Kettle was already an admission of failure.

People aren’t listening because they know the Ignatieff Show is boring, and his season is about to be cancelled.

He will win only a bitter legacy of being responsible for Stephen Harper’s winning a five year term, free to tear apart the Canada so many of us love.

Ignatieff is the perfect example of hubris – a man of no political talents and not having the character to resist taking what was handed to him by some sorry backroom politicians.
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From another reader:

“Freedom of choice, Harper and, his Evangelical Christian Theo-Cons if successful at a Majority Government dream of a roll back of same-sex marriage laws plus enshrine fetal rights on the citizens of Canada”

Harper represents a far more pervasive threat than that, an act which would be next to impossible.

Harper will eliminate federal subsidies to parties, thus opening the gates to complete special-interest campaign contributions. You want to see what a set of disasters this can open up? Look at the United States where this is the way it’s done.

Supreme Court appointments represent the some kind of long-term danger as campaign-finance changes.

Harper will continue marching in lock-step with the United States on a huge range of issues, from purchasing the clunker F-35 which costs the GNP of a small nation to sending more Canadians on America’s now regular crusades against those with whom it disagrees and to a perimeter treaty and to giving the US a special place in our Arctic.

Of course, we will continue for years to hear intellectual trash about criticism of Israel is anti-Semitism. Maybe we’ll even get a law in that police-state direction.

He will build his new gulag of prisons, no matter what the cost.

The Foreign Service – Pearson’s beloved Foreign Service – will continue to be told that there are no such things as child soldiers.

Our reputation internationally goes from being another Sweden to being another Pinochet’s Chile.

Program cuts to end the deficit. You ain’t seen nothing yet.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: MORE ON THE SILLY BUSINESS OF NEWSPAPER ENDORSEMENTS – AND MORE ON MICHAEL IGNATIEFF AS A POLITICIAN

JOHN CHUCKMAN

ADDITIONAL RESPONSES TO AN EDITORIAL IN TORONTO’S GLOBE AND MAIL

Response to another reader’s comment:

While I agree with your view of traditional Conservatives, genuinely decent men like Joe Clark or Peter Lougheed or Robert Stanfield, what does the once-great Liberal Party now bring us?

An arrogant putz – there is no other word for this dull and uninspiring man who doesn’t even have the faith in democratic values to gain his leadership through democratic means, just as he was parachuted into his riding at the beginning of his Don Quixote quest for political success.

And in the end, his values are nothing of which to be proud. He supported the slaughter of a million Iraqis. He speaks out on none – absolutely none – of the world’s great human-rights problems today despite the flaks’ puff stuff about him as human-rights defender.

He doesn’t object to the sad waste of our lives and treasure wasted in Afghanistan. He doesn’t question the idiocy of Canadian planes joining the Americans in their Libyan crusade, taking sides in a civil war he doesn’t even understand. Israel is just fine continuing its apartheid policies involving assassination, torture, kidnapping, and the regular theft of other peoples’ homes.

And he doesn’t say he won’t serve Pentagon interests by, for example, buying (helping to subsidize) the world’s costliest clunker of a plane, the F-35. No, he dances around saying the procedures were wrong, and he would correct them. Talk about a mamby-pamby nothing.

He goes on the radio with a pathetic ad about his mother and healthcare. Yuck, even a clever high-schooler would know better.

He is a totally inept politician, and his terrible dam-ing legacy will likely be the next five years of Harper’s ripping the guts out of our beloved country and its international reputation as a fair and decent place, turning Canada into a thin-gruel version of Republican Texas.

Thanks, Michael Ignatieff, for not having the courage to admit you do not have what it takes while yet having the diseased ego to proceed anyway.
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A newspaper has no business offering “shoulds” and “it were bests” to its readers, especially in political or religious matters.

It is paternalistic at best, just plain arrogant at worst.

Your job is to report events as scrupulously as you can – in effect, supplying the crucial information for an informed democracy.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: LEAK SUGGESTS CERN HAS DISCOVERED THE HIGGS BOSON

JOHN CHUCKMAN

POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN BY RICHARD GRAY IN THE TELEGRAPH

Here is the world’s genuinely important news.

Politicians’ blubbering, Royal weddings, the Pope’s silly words – all reported as significant, which they are not.

Meanwhile, the real heroes of our age, the scientists and mathematicians, quietly work away making astounding discoveries of incalculable value.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: FORGET THE GIMMICKS ON EARTH DAY? INDEED ALL OF THEM – THERE REALLY IS ONLY ONE GREEN PROBLEM

JOHN CHUCKMAN

POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN BY ANDREW MIALL IN TORONTO’S GLOBE AND MAIL

Forget gimmicks indeed. Earth Hour. Earth Day. Sustainable this or that.

But you can also forget focusing on energy as Andrew Miall advocates.

There is only one genuine Green Problem, all the others, and especially energy, being nothing but symptoms.

Human population growth is threatening its own environment.

But the United States Congress still won’t even support aid measures which go against right-wing religious beliefs.

The crazy old Pope keeps preaching nonsense about which he knows nothing.

And off we are on a trajectory of doubling our already groaning population in a matter of decades.

Halve the world’s population, and we could have a good life on earth for all.

It truly is that simple, but also that hard.

Our prejudices and superstitions and that little reptilian piece in our brain condemns us to not deal with the most obvious of problems.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: CRITICISM OF THE LIBERAL STRATEGY – MORE ON COALITION – TAX RISES – SERVICE CUTS – HEALTH CARE AS COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE – AMERICA’S COMING ECONOMIC TSUNAMI

JOHN CHUCKMAN

POSTED RESPONSES TO A COLUMN BY JEFFREY SIMPSON IN TORONTO’S GLOBE AND MAIL

I think you may be right, Mr. Simpson, as you so often are, being the country’s most astute political commentator after the late Jim Travers.

But the Liberals’ great strategic blunder, pre-dating this insipid election effort, was appointing Ignatieff as their leader.

The insiders responsible for this did our country a grave disservice, as will become painfully evident if Harper gets even the slimmest of majorities.

Ignatieff has almost no political skill and appears to be a poor strategic thinker.

More than that, I think it remarkable that a man with the reputation of “intellectual” shows almost no original or innovative thought. I have heard nothing from him that makes me say to myself, well, that’s right.

And, for a guy who supposedly was such a human-rights figure, his voice is never heard on the great human-rights issues of our day, but then I knew his genuine record – not the puff – before he opportunistically made his return to Canada.

Now while there are virtually no good qualities in Harper – poor ethics, poor democratic values, pandering to groups, a poor record of appointments, and a shabby record of dismissing those he doesn’t want to hear from – you must grant him a great strategic grasp of our electoral process. He is a one-man show of extraordinary dark political skills.

A political anti-Christ, I think it fair to say. Not a leader, not an idea man, not a man of principle, but a calculating machine to achieve dominance – a very dangerous man indeed.

Some choice we are given.

No wonder people in Quebec are turning to Layton, who like Elizabeth May, actually stands for some principles, whether they are ones you agree with or not.

But that too is go-nowhere development.

Layton’s replacing some of Duceppe ‘s seats does not really change the dangerous political calculus that may see Canada damaged seriously over the next five years.

What a great irony that Ignatieff, the very man who literally sneered at Dion’s coalition, should be attacked by Harper for intending “to steal the election” with a coalition.

What a great disappointment that so many Canadians are revealed to be so poorly educated that they believe Harper’s school-yard name-calling.

So long as we have the situation we have in Quebec – where Conservatives and Liberals are not contenders – the only way to stop a minority tyrant-bully like Harper is through a coalition.

And coalition is both legal and entirely proper in a parliamentary democracy.

Dion understood that. The pathetic Ignatieff has not.
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“Promising to TAX more? Mr Simpson, I’m pretty sure that even Mr. Ignatieff isn’t that silly.”

Here again is the kind of stuff which painfully reveals lack of education in a good deal of our voting populace, and ignorant democracy is dangerous.

How does anyone like that think Harper will make his vast deficits disappear?

And, at the same time, pay for gigantic and unnecessary commitments like buying that costly clunker of a fighter plane and building a new gulag of prisons?

Of course, the simplistic answer is cuts, and I, as a retired professional economist, am not against judicious cuts.

But you cannot spend the way Harper spends and have a deficit like those Harper has created, and cut your way to a balanced budget.

People like the commenter do not understand that some of our program spending is actually a competitive advantage for Canada, health care being a chief one.

We spend about 2/3 per capita to what Americans spend on health care, and – the statistics speak loudly – we get better overall outcomes by measures such as population longevity and infant mortality.

It is largely because of our health care that traditionally American corporations such as the big auto companies have viewed Canada as an efficient place in which to invest.

Not because our workers work harder, not because they are better educated, but because they start on the job by the companies not having to buy the horribly costly and inefficient private health insurance they must buy in America.

And just so for other of our national programs.
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The single greatest cause of personal bankruptcy in the United States is, and has long been, heath-care costs.

It is nothing to envy.

Anyway, readers, I think it quite possible that all the political sound and fury will be for nothing.

Despite Harper and his flaks’ constant blubbering about his economic management, when the other shoe falls in the United States, all bets are off.

People are still walking away from their mortgages there in huge numbers, and the country is spending money it does not have with wars on multiple fronts. It is also running unbelievable deficits in every account you care to mention, from the national budget to current accounts and to personal debt.

A gigantic economic tsunami is approaching the United States, and despite Harper’s childish bragging, it will not spare Canada.