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Monthly Archives: August 2011

JOHN CHUCKMAN

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

Hanan Ashrawi is a brilliant and articulate spokesperson for the Palestinians.

I wish her well, but I fear she has against her very powerful and devious foes.

The logic and fairness of Palestinian statehood should be apparent to everyone.

But Israel is interested in neither logic nor fairness.

It is interested in more land, and it wants that land minus its owners and occupants.

And the United States in matters of policy in this part of the world takes its direction from Israel.

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“On a separate note – since the Holy Ramadan started, 121 people have been killed in 50 separate terrorist attacks committed by Muslims.”

That is just uninformed trash.

Please note the reader quotes no details at all even as to location.

Just lets readers assume.

This trash is straight from the Israeli Ministry of Truth.

But if you want a documented fact – not a vague assertion – Israel has killed 1335 children in the occupied territories since the year 2000.

And that number is just the children.

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“The U.S has failed the Palestinians for more than 60 years…”

The U.S. administrations have been over a barrel since the beginning.

Harry Truman did not want to recognize Israel when the gangs of thugs like the Irgun and Stern seized a portion of the land and declared a state with no legitimate basis whatsoever, beyond a vague promise from a British Foreign Secretary decades before.

But Truman was facing an election, and his popularity was sagging.

He faced a literal onslaught of American Jewish leaders pleading and arguing and cajoling for Israel’s quick recognition.

He is quoted himself as saying he never experienced anything quite like it. It was intense.

And, in the end, he gave in.

Of course, with his surrender came generous financial contributions to his campaign plus a good press that built him up as a true statesman.

That is how it was in 1948, and that is how it still is more than sixty years later.

Obama’s polls have slipped. He needs big money for the 2012 campaign, and he needs the kind of press the major networks and papers liker The New York Times can give him.

Not only that but Israel runs a literal machine for influencing American congressmen. About eighty of them, largely freshmen, are going on paid junket to Israel. They will be well indoctrinated and made to understand the benefits of blindly supporting Israel.

This happens all the time.

One could argue that the endless foreign aid America sends Israel – the largest such amount given to any country on the planet – every year enables Israel to organize its elaborate and costly lobbying organization.

Thus the U.S. itself indirectly pays the bills for this massive effort at influence by special interests.

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“I see injustice in the Palestinians still embracing terrorism.”

What kind of thinking is this?

Who just recently murdered 400 Palestinian children, plus a thousand others, in Operation Cast Lead?

Who pirated a fleet of boats on the high seas, killing nine unarmed people?

Who regularly assassinates people it does not like?

Who fakes passports from New Zealand or Canada to commit its assassinations?

Who regularly steals homes and farms others have owned for centuries?

Who has 150 nuclear weapons, against all international laws and treaties?

Who traded nuclear weapons technology to apartheid South Africa?

Who maintains a literal garrison state, spending an unbelievable part of its wealth on weapons?

Who dropped tens of thousands of cluster bombs on Southern Lebanon to kill and maim for years?

Who killed about 1400 people invading Lebanon?

Who killed four UN Observers, including a brave Canadian officer, while it invaded Southern Lebanon?

Who almost daily flies warplanes over Southern Lebanon?

Who previously invaded Lebanon, killing thousands and occupying parts of it for 18 years?

Whose state started with a concerted terror attack on innocent civilians in 1948, killing and raping and brutalizing hundreds?

Who keeps a million and a half people imprisoned in Gaza?

Yes, Palestinians have at times used terror, but what is their example?

And can anyone reasonably argue that anything Palestinians have done even begins to compare to the endless war and brutal occupation and apartheid for which Israel is responsible?

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“There already is a Palestinian state.
It is called Jordan.”

Oh please, that is a tiresome refrain heard a thousand times.

It is not for Israel to decide such matters. The very repetition of this slogan is arrogant.

Jordan is Jordan.

It is not Palestine.

It does not want the Palestinians.

The Palestinians do not want to live in Jordan.

The Palestinians have a history as old as the Hebrew people.

Indeed, some academic authorities in Israel maintain that the Palestinians are at least in part the descendants of the Hebrews.

When Rome conquered a territory, as it did Israel/Palestine in the first century CE, it typically did not remove inhabitants, unless they were recalcitrant against Roman rule.

Thus, what we likely have in Israel today, are immigrants – most of them hybrid with Germans or Spanish or Russian over centuries – pushing out some direct descendants of the people who lived in Israel in Biblical times.

A dark irony indeed.

No matter what the case, if Israel wants to be regarded as a country like any other country, it must behave as we expect others to behave.

And that doesn’t include apartheid or the regularly stealing of the property of others or torture and assassinations and bloody invasions without pause.

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“Islamic supremacists can never conceal their hatred for the Jews as the worst enemies of the Muslims (cf. Qur’an 5:82) .”

What garbage you write.

The Prophet honored the Jews and called them “the people of the Book.”

Jewish prophets are honored by Islam.

Originally Muhammad had Muslims pray towards Jerusalem.

It was changed to Mecca for various reasons.

I think what this writer is demonstrating is the old idea in psychology called projection.

That is a state of mind in which a person attributes to those he does not like the very feelings he or she exhibits.

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‘”Don’t you ever tire of pitching propaganda? The partial and carefully selected facts here are the sure sign of a non-thinking ideologue” writes the poster in reference to my five point approach, below, to the way Israel should, and in all probability will, act upon the PLO’s move at the UN.’

Hard to believe someone can be so lacking in understanding.

First, anyone who writes of “Eretz Israel” has left the conversation of rational people.

“Eretz Israel” is modern made-up concept, and it is a concept that guarantees endless future troubles.

There are no maps in the Tanakh.

And even if there were, the claim to what temporarily existed in ancient times is a bad joke more than two thousand years later.

The concept also flies in the face of UN resolutions and even American policy.

You use the term “nation-state of the Jewish people” What is that? In fact, it is another made-up concept intended to sound reasonable but actually incorporating dark and dangerous dreams.

Israel is nearly 20% non-Jewish, but those non-Jewish people hold Israeli citizenship and Israeli passports.

It wasn’t that Israel planned it that way. It just happened because a lot of Palestinians refused to be terrorized by Lehi, Stern, and Irgun in 1948.

So Israel made up the concept you mention, a concept which is a legalistic construct above what all nations regard as normal definitions of citizenship, effectively excluding these million people by definition.

Unfortunately, a lot of people do not understand the implications of this construct, just passing over it as a phrase with no special meaning, but they are greatly mistaken in doing so.

But were the world to accept this artificial construct, Israel would without question expel these million souls, despite their passports, to God knows where. Many prominent Israelis have in the past actually advocated this, and they include the current foreign minister, the appalling Avigdor Lieberman.

Of course, the biggest fallacy of your words has to do with the concept of Israel itself. Where is Israel? What are its borders? What defines a citizen?

Good and reasonable answers to none of these can be given beyond Israel is what’s inside the Green Line, and its people are those who live there.

Such a simple concept, really, but one unreasonable apologists for Israel flatly refuse as they go on with dreams of an Israeli Empire  – aka, “Eretz Israel.”

Israel is to close all borders with Gaza? Surely even you know that is impossible. Israel must allow people to move between the West Bank and Jerusalem. That is part of past international understandings and it is a required human need.

“As for the “Palestinians”, they’ll have to fend for themselves, in all respects, including financial!!”

Putting the word Palestinians in quotes and using a triple exclamation mark demonstrates the angry-child tone of your entire words.

Angry children do not make foreign policy, or, if they do, their work proves the despair of the world.

Of course, the last thing your pompous words leave out is the occupation. The 1967 War was deliberately engineered by Israel in an effort to gain the “Eretz Israel” which the Israeli terrorists of the Irgun and Stern and Lehi failed to grab.

Israel must surrender this land or a traded-equivalent to the Palestinians in the end. There is no alternative unless the world agrees that open aggression should be rewarded with expanded borders.

And I doubt even for Israel, with all its lobbying and inordinate influence, that that is going to happen: that would be a formula for chaos in world affairs.

 

 

 

 

JOHN CHUCKMAN

POSTED COMMENTS TO A STORY IN TORONTO’S GLOBE AND MAIL

Rarely does any true revolution last.

And that is not a profound assertion when you consider what happens in individual family lives with dramatic changes in established habits or customs.

However, no country which has experienced a revolution is ever quite the same again; in that sense revolutions do have lasting effect. Louis XVIII did not rule with the same absolute authority as predecessors before the revolution.

However the author has inserted a highly questionable concept here, Putinism.

I doubt she could define Putinism, and if she tried, I doubt few would agree.

I also believe she has used this term to demean Russia’s efforts.

After all, Susan Glasser works for Reuters, in the past a known CIA outlet, and for Foreign Policy , another outlet for subtle and consistent American propaganda.

Putin is simply one of those rare statesman-politicians who has a remarkable charisma. He is also extraordinarily intelligent for a politician.

Those are both qualities Russia needs in her long march from relative darkness and backwardness. Reconstructing a gigantic country like Russia is an immense task. It is not a job for the timid or people of unexceptional talents.

Russia has made great progress, considering from where they started, and I believe under capable leadership – not a drunken clown like Boris Yeltsin – Russia, given the intellectual gifts of its people and its incomparable natural resources, will be one of the great nations in not too many decades.

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Post Script : America’s record in assisting and helping along Russia after the fall of communism was a deplorable one.

The pathetic ideologues running the United States at the time – and truly who else ever runs the United States, regardless of two parties? – made a colossal set of errors in just being happy to see Russia fall and not doing everything possible to strengthen its new political world.

Germany understood this, and poured billions into Russia, chiding the United States for doing so little at the time.

Susan Glasser is an intellectual child of that environment.

Her words must not be taken at face value.

 

 

 

 

JOHN CHUCKMAN

POSTED RESPONSES TO A STORY IN TORONTO’S GLOBE AND MAIL

I can hardly wait for those tariff-free bananas start rolling into our stores.

This has to be one of Harper’s most pathetic “achievements,” and it sheds no journalistic glory on the Globe and Mail that, day after day, it has big stories with photos of Harper playing statesman to the Mouse That Roared.

It is absolutely accurate that Harper’s entire Latin American effort is nothing but an effort to align toe-to-toe with the United States in trade matters.

The U.S. has free-trade deals with these insignificant economies solely to gain leverage over them in foreign and domestic policy.

Indeed, Canada’s effort here is so unoriginal and unneeded that Harper might just as well saved the trip and pseudo-statesman panoply: the agreement could just as well have been ratified by teletype through Washington.

What a dark joke.

But with this kind of ludicrous leadership from Harper, a prime minister who is de facto a junior member of the Cabinet in Washington, just watch out where our genuine interests are at stake, as in the Arctic or the Great Lakes or with softwood lumber.

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For readers’ perspective:

The economy of Honduras – its entire GDP – is:

00.03% of Canada’s.

00.002% of the United States.’

My God, what an achievement this deal represents.

I take back the line about the Mouse That Roared. The Mouse That Roared was actually larger.

JOHN CHUCKMAN

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

“Ms. Colton, The U.S. Embassy spokeswoman, told The Associated Press on Thursday that the U.S. is not interfering in Egypt’s politics.”

Well, if that were true, it would mark a first.

CIA bribes and influence are the norm in all such countries; the CIA maintains a huge secret fund for just that purpose.

I also think the situation in Egypt is more complicated than this story suggests.

The United States always maintains a noisy public commitment to words about democracy, but that is a very different matter than what goes on behind closed doors.

Not only is the United States comfortable with the stability and predictability of rule by military groups in the region, it must always be looking to the interests of its client-state, Israel.

A truly democratic Egypt is unlikely to be overly friendly to Israel, but a group of well-bribed military men or others keeps things on course.

I have heard an eloquent expert speak on parts of the situation in Egypt, and he said that Egyptian military is perhaps the country’s greatest industrial operation, controlling many profitable factories and businesses, much as the military in China or the Republican Guard in Iran.

The small number of people who control these enterprises are reluctant to give up any influence to popular notions about democracy.

The feeling is that if they, the military, just go slowly, the people will tire of their demonstrations and demands, and things can settle to something they regard as normal.

It is hard to believe that the United States government would seriously oppose this strategy, although, as always, it will do some public blubbering.

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‘Claims of a “meddling foreign hand” have routinely found resonance among Egyptians.’

And, considering Egypt’s history, why would it be otherwise?

That kind of statement is completely naive or it is dishonest.

Once controlled by Turkey. Once controlled by France. Once controlled by Britain. Britain, France, and Israel conspiring to take over the Suez Canal in the 1950s?

A popular hero like Nassar the target of foreign plots and plans for assassination?

A tyrant president like Mubarak, completely in the pay and in the pocket of the United States, for thirty years?

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“Noticably absent from this is how Saudi Arabia has been furiously funding fundamentalist groups as they are also terrified about the spread of democracy in the Middle East. Why don’t the world powers call Saudi Arabia out on this?”

Sorry, but that is very naive.

Behind the scenes, the Saudi princes, the United States, and Israel have long been great pals.

They often work together secretly towards certain ends.

None of them would value democracy in Egypt, each for its own reasons.

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“Never trust muslims [sic].”

I prefer never trusting people who make ignorant statements like yours.

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“Democracy is not for everybody. To make it work you need an educated, enlightened and engaged population.”

That is a very old and rather trivial idea. It is also quite arrogant.

Just where, among advanced democratic states do you see these conditions?

In the United States?

The United States that believes in polls that Saddam assisted in 9/11 and had secret weapons of mass destruction?

The United States that has ignoramuses like Michele Bachmann or Sarah Palin seeking the highest office?

The United States whose greed and complete lack of self-control just pitched the planet into a years-long financial disaster?

“As a nation, Egypt would be better served by a benevolent tyrant.”

And who selects the tyrant? And who determines that he is off on the wrong path?

Churchill had it right when he said that democracy was the worst form of government, except for all the others.

The historical truth is that democracy comes when a society has a large enough middle class who feel that their many interests cannot be properly looked after by a tyrant or king. Peasants don’t have many interests beyond keeping alive, but the middle class has business needs, investment needs, property-law needs, and many other interests.

Democracy flows naturally out of economic growth, always and everywhere.

The flow is often temporarily interrupted by old established interests, but only temporarily.

There is no reason to believe Egypt is not ready for democracy. It has a large middle class. It has millions of educated people.

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The Egyptian military has made deals with people like the Muslim Brotherhood in order to broaden its base of support.

That fact only points to the United States and Israel not being afraid so much of “Islamists” as democracies where people disagree with them.

The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, by the way, is not a terror organization of any kind. It is a rather tame organization.

Actually, many of the Muslim organizations in Egypt expect a form of Sharia Law to be established.

Now, we have been trained by an endless bombardment of Islamophobic propaganda to think that sounds terrible, but in fact is not much different to the fundamentalist Christians – millions of them – in the United States who demand the Ten Commandments in courts and prayers in schools and other public institutions.

And it is little different to the laws of Israel which enable ultra-orthodox Jews to practice their many ancient and backward rules, especially those concerning the inferiority and submission of women and the complete control of children by the husband.

 

 

 

 

JOHN CHUCKMAN

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

If this doesn’t define a rogue state, what does?

Theft, just simple theft, over and over in front of the whole world.

And in effect Israel says none of your business.

Add the thousands of murders, illegal arrests, torture, the abuse of millions, illegal nuclear weapons, selling nuclear weapons technology, and I just do not see what separates Israel from the great thugs of the world.

Every charge we read made in our headlines about Gaddafi or North Korea is completely true of Israel, except the former two aren’t engaged in constant theft of other people’s property and they do not receive billions of dollars in assistance and technical help and receive free trade.

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Don’t like it? Tough luck.”

It’s all very well to say tough luck.

But that kind of attitude elicits only the contempt of the world.

If Israel wants to be a nation like any other, it must behave the way we expect others to behave.

Right now, Israel is firmly in the camp of thugs and rogue states.

Don’t like it? Tough luck.

 

 

 

 

JOHN CHUCKMAN

POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN BY LORNA DUECK IN TORONTO’S GLOBE AND MAIL

Oh, prayer will do it every time.

Countless millions of dead victims of wars and plagues and natural disasters can attest to that.

You know a situation is bad by the number of people who resort to mumbling with their hands folded.

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Did the copy editor slip up?

Is that Lorna Dueck or Lorna Dreck?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

JOHN CHUCKMAN

POSTED RESPONSES TO A COLUMN IN THE FINANCIAL TIMES BY CLIVE CROOK

I’m not sure why these many people are rioting.

But I very much like the idea that Gaddafi apparently has recognized them as the legitimate government of Britain.

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I think you are still too young, Clive Crook, to have an accurate perspective on this.

The truth is that we are just chimpanzees with big brains, the brains largely serving to expand our opportunities for mayhem.

Perhaps a tenth of humanity thinks and reacts as you do, as civilized and thoughtful and decent.

I wish it were a larger portion, but I know to a certainty it’s not.

If you think the London riots or people defecating in an alley are bad, try imagining what the people of Iraq have experienced in the last decade, their entire advanced Arab society set back for a generation and perhaps a million dead and no jobs or opportunity left.

Or what the people of Vietnam experienced in the 1960s and ’70s when the world’s most advanced nation spent countless billions bombing, napalming, and poisoning them, leaving their land a hideous mess for decades to come, and all for absolutely nothing but political superstition?

JOHN CHUCKMAN

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

The Palestinians are making plans for unprecedented violence to begin following their United Nations application for statehood?

Avigdor Lieberman is a sick extremist, almost certainly a man suffering from mental illness.

But his idiotic words, time and again, reveal for all the world to see the kind of thinking that genuinely motivates Israel’s government in its brutal behavior, and it sure isn’t the stuff of Netanyahu’s fantasyland speech before Congress.

Israel’s behavior just becomes more and more threatening and irrational as time goes on.

Right now, this small country keeps threatening war with Iran, as well as ceaselessly pushing the United States in that direction.

It has long supported an attack on Syria to overthrow that government.

It is threatening the border of Lebanon with regular incursions of fighter planes and troops, and it is threatening to seize offshore property of Lebanon.

High-ranking people in Israel have spoken of re-taking the Sinai so that the new Egypt cannot interfere with subsidized natural gas sales arranged by Mubarak with American support.

It is into its fourth year of an illegal and brutal blockade of Gaza.

It has alienated Turkey with its piracy and refusal to apologize for the murder of unarmed humanitarians.

Mr Lieberman himself is well known for – or should I say infamous for – his views on running Arabs out of Israel.

Israel continues to steal the property of Palestinians in the West Bank and in Jerusalem, only just recently having announced a development of 900 homes in East (Arab) Jerusalem, 900 homes on property stolen in broad daylight.

The world is reeling from the effects of Islamophobia, constantly promoted by Israel’s apologists, and America is bombing people in half a dozen West Asian and North African locations.

Meanwhile, the United States which cannot pay its bills continues to subsidize on a vast scale this small nation which is disturbing a good deal of the planet.

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“Their policy of always blaming Israel while giving the intolerant religion of killers for allah [sic]a pass as victims is why we are at a dead end.”

Always giving Muslims a pass?

Always blaming Israel?

This is precisely the kind of sick, distorted view that explains the situation we are in.

The mainline press in the West constantly gives Israel good press, excessively so.

Israel never felt, as it should have, the force of the world’s disapproval for its savageries in Gaza and Southern Lebanon and on the high seas.

As for Muslims getting a pass, it is impossible to understand how anyone not as delusional as Avigdor Lieberman could make that statement.

Our press is filled with columnists who constantly speak for Israel. The list is a long one, but we have the likes of Thomas Friedman, Charles Krauthammer, Jeff Jacoby, Margaret Wente, and many, many others giving us reading material which might well have been written by Israel’s Ministry of Truth.

And the world’s most important newspaper, The New York Times, has a highly biased view towards Israel in everything that it writes. As does Rupert Murdoch’s The Times of London.

American television networks never report one tough thing about Israel. The effective censorship is astounding.

For example, right now in Israel, demonstrations on a giant scale – hundreds of thousands out of a small population – have taken place day after day. These demonstrations are by Israelis who are sick of the way the economy and politics of Israel operate.

They are just as real and just as significant as what went on in Egypt, but you will not see them featured all over our newspapers and televisions as were all the “Arab Spring” demonstrations and revolts.

That is absolutely voluntary censorship on Israel’s behalf.

And we have America’s huge Christian fundamentalist community constantly supporting every wrongful act of Israel with words and political pressure and money, even if they do so for their own weird mystical reasons.

Yet Israel’s apologists, like the writer of this comment, can make absolutely outlandish claims, and generally they are not called on them.

You don’t get solutions to ugly problems by not even admitting the truth, by pretending on fantasy concepts.

I am reminded of the United States’ decade of mass murder in Vietnam, and there always being “a light at the end of the tunnel.”

This writer and Avigdor Lieberman remind me of the old fairy tale of the Emperor’s New Clothes in which the Emperor paraded naked in the streets but no one dared call it to his attention.

That is precisely the situation of Israel, pretending to talk about peace, pretending to being a normal state, while constantly assassinating, attacking, torturing, and stealing the property of others.

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“The core cause of the Arab Israeli conflict, local and regional, has nothing to do with “Jerusalem”, “settlements”, “borders”, “refugees”, “security” or “water”….”

There are none so blind as those who will not see.

 

 

 

JOHN CHUCKMAN

YET FURTHER POSTED RESPONSES TO COMMENTS ON DOUG SAUNDERS’ COLUMN IN TORONTO’S GLOBE AND MAIL

“It is clear that western societies have sublimated their culture to accomodate [sic] new ones. Christmas trees and prayer rooms in schools, for example. And it is a powerful argument…”

The writer misses the point.

We are in a new era of massive global migration, but there is nothing new about migration over time changing the norms and practices of a society. It’s just happening more quickly now, just as everything else is happening more quickly with ever-speeding technological (and that driving economic) change.

Take just one example, Britain. We could equally well choose just about any other old European country, but Britain is very familiar.

In the era BCE, Britain was populated by Celtic and other tribes.

Starting with the Emperor Julius Caesar’s expeditions in 55 BCE and extending beyond Emperor Claudius’s invasion of 43 CE, Britain began centuries of becoming a Romanized society.

After the fifth century CE, the Anglo-Saxon tribes – Germanic people began to conquer. Britain became an Anglo-Saxon country then for hundreds of years.

In 1066, as we all learned in school, the Normans conquered Britain, and it became a Norman society for centuries.

There were many other changes of varying importance over the centuries in Britain, but these big steps in each case meant an entirely new culture and language and political norms and even religion being established.

People have gone from speaking Celtic languages to Latin to German to French, and they now speak the true hybrid, English.

The nation state as we know it is a relatively new thing, mainly a product of the 19th century. Most of human history has not even known nation states, but empires and kingdoms which viewed any new people or territory as a fair gain.

Already in many respects, the 19th century concept of nation state is fraying at the edges. Europe once defined its modern states by language and culture, but already we see them becoming migrant states, the kind of states we have always had in the New World.

This is an unavoidable consequence of a globalized world with relatively cheap transportation and communication and huge movements of goods and services around the planet.

Taking a view anything like the writer of this comment, despite the reasonable tone of most of his remarks, is to enter into a debate defined by the Anders Breveiks of this world.

The only response that makes any sense in the Norwegian response, not the response of the United States or that garrison state Israel, which is fighting a pointless and losing battle with the forces of modern society.

Breveik is a kind of modern murderous Luddite – the people who used to smash machines in the Industrial Revolution in order to keep things as they were – only he smashed people hoping to keep things as they were.

Whether violent or not, these are futile, doomed-to-lose battles.

The future we already have glimmers of: A world of multi-cultural states amongst which a great deal of human migration occurs (just as goods and services move now), and it will require more international governance and treaties, all of which will slowly erode the nation state as we’ve known it.

There is no alternative, unless you want to build fortress states and give up the economic potential of globalism, but even if you do that, you will have to surrender in the end because the forces at work are real and simply overwhelming.

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“Therefore, the fiction that they are Muslim therefore they breed is plain WRONG!”

Of course, the notion is garbage.

Promoting that nonsense is just one more aspect of the Islamophobia being vigorously promoted by special interests.

Any decent economist or demographer can refute the nonsense.

Demographic Transition, the phenomenon of falling birth rates in response to falling death rates, is an established fact.

The death rates fall through the growing prosperity of economic development and all that that entails. Then people automatically have fewer babies since almost all will survive.

The theory explains why countries like Canada or France or Britain cannot replace their own population. Migration is essential unless you want economic decline.

And Israel, too, a western implant with western concepts, cannot replace its population, and it is surrounded by poor nations with high birth rates.

Which only goes to prove how much more intelligent would have been a policy of assisting your neighbors instead of attacking them and spending unholy amounts on the military.

The United States, too, acts quite stupidly in this regard. It should have been dropping dollars on places like Afghanistan or Iraq instead of bombs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

JOHN CHUCKMAN

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

I beg to differ on your assertion that “journalism has come a long way.”

There is absolutely no objective evidence supporting that.

Indeed, the very fact that you pat yourself on the back, as it were, with that assertion tells us something not encouraging about your perspective.

In many ways, journalism today is in a terrible state, and I do not just mean the Murdoch machinations.

Newspaper columns and editorial pages are full of people passing off propaganda as journalism.

Important stories are regularly suppressed by mainline papers and networks.

There is no balance in coverage of a number of on-going situations, as for example in the Middle East or Iran.

Almost no true investigative journalism takes place outside the work of a few famous figures like Semour Hersh or Anthony Summers or Robert Fisk.

Most so-called news stories are just re-written press releases.

So-called reporters now go to wars “embedded” with the military, and they basically report, as one would expect, nothing worth reading.

The mergers of news organizations into massive corporations is an inherent threat to genuine journalism.

There is the clear tendency towards “infotainment” or soft stuff that passes for news and cheaply fills column-inches.

Journalism has many aspects of a dark comedy. Younf people march off to now-countless journalism schools, churning out graduates like sausages, all thinking one day they will be new Woodward and Bernsteins.

But they end up, if they even get a job, giving the weather forecast on a small town television station which wouldn’t know a news story if it was handed to them, and which in any event would never broadcast anything controversial or challenging.

Local boosterism is all you find in every small-town paper and station.

And at the “high” end, it is very much starting to look the same.

As far as “hidden” sources go, standard journalism would grind to halt without them.

After all, it is only leaks from unknown government officials, serving their own purposes and not journalism’s, that ever give us any real stories.

There was a retired CIA official who used to speak of his “mighty Wurlitzer organ.” What he meant was the set of newspapers and stations he could play like the keys of a musical instrument to get his story out, giving each a slightly different nuance, and he enjoyed himself greatly being able to bend all those so-called journalists into doing what he desired.

In a word, that’s journalism.

 

 

 

JOHN CHUCKMAN

FURTHER POSTED RESPONSES TO COMMENTS ON DOUG SAUNDERS’ COLUMN IN TORONTO’S GLOBE AND MAIL

 

“We have already made huge compromises to accommodate ancient practices [of Muslims]

Oh please, such ignorance.

How about our allowances for ultra-orthodox Jews’ nasty treatment of women’s rights? Such women cannot divorce their husbands for fear of losing their children in a male-dominated, backward kangaroo court of rabbis. And our law permits this.

How about our allowances for the pathetic state of many traditional Mennonite women? in their ugly baggy black dresses with doilies on their heads?

How about our allowances for Catholic priests who’ve raped and abused children by the thousand? They should all have been arrested and tried to face hard time in prison.

All the special ranting about Islam is just Islamophobioa – in other words, pure unbalanced prejudice.

And much of it serves the interests of Israel – by stoking up unreasonable hatred of Muslims – and helps Israel to continue its terrible abuse of millions of souls.

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“Wake up Canada. Wake up and smell the coffee. No we must not do what happened in Norway. Nip this in the bud right now in the right way. ”

Sounds like a fire-breathing fundamentalist tent-preacher out scaring the flock into leaving big bucks in the offering plate.

This writer sounds as sick as Breveik.

Breveik was directly influenced by the very Islam-hate this person is preaching.

The writer not only displays ignorance and hatred but misses the facts of the Breveik case completely.

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“No, not nearly all, or even a majority – but enough to worry about – much as Iran ended up as a theocracy though previously under the Shah its citizens were moderate and highly secularised”

Yes, and the Shah’s SAVAK secret police pulled out people’s finger nails by the thousands in their torture chambers.

I guess that doesn’t count for much in your set of concerns, just so many apologists for Israel were too happy to see Mubarak go on with his 30-year tyranny and secret police.

And what about the ultra-orthodox control of so many of Israel’s laws and policies, even to the great discomfort of many secular Jews?

And what about the very notion of a “Jewish state”?

No different in many respects to Iran.

Of course there’s a pretense of democracy, but you cannot have a “Jews-only” democracy, except if you have a very bad sense of humor.

And, regardless of the form of government, when a vicious-minded majority suppresses the rights of a minority, you have genuine democratic values entirely missing.

Majorities in ostensibly democratic states can easily suppress a minority, and they have done so many times. South Africa was a democracy, if you were white. The American Confederacy was a democracy, if you were white.

To protect against that very situation, Canada has a Charter of Rights and America has a Bill of Rights.

But Israel can never produce such a document because its basic assumptions are inimical to the concept.