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Monthly Archives: September 2011

 

 

 

 

JOHN CHUCKMAN

POSTED RESPONSES TO A COLUMN IN THE TELEGRAPH

 

Tony Blair’s chief bias is to greed beyond all ethical, and even mentally-sound, boundaries.

That motivates him in everything.

He helped America kill piles of innocent people so that he could retire with sinecures coming out of his ears from grateful neo-cons in America and Israel.

He took a job with the Quartet so he could get an extra salary and a limo and champagne and deference, but he is such a coward he on at least one occasion refused even to land in the region.

He deliberately kept his mumbo-jumbo beliefs secret while prime minister – although people might have guessed from his friendship with the world’s first certified-moron president, Bush – and then, in his retirement, he converted to Catholicism so that he could cavort with the Pope and Cardinals in their Gucci slippers.

Tony Blair is, apart from being just a ridiculous excuse for a human being, always on the side of power and wealth, and that would of course predispose him to Israel versus the Palestinians, who are in no position to give him anything.

Thus, too, the secret trips to Libya to warmly greet Gaddafi.

And recall the way he squandered money on his wife’s appearance when he was prime minister. A ridiculous man of course is likely to have a ridiculous wife, and he does in the woman who was photographed yawning in the Queen’s presence, snorts here and there like Charles Laughton playing Quasimodo, and appeared in her bed dress in front of Downing Street to yell like the proverbial fish-wife at reporters. Imagine a woman of any good sense accepting $7,000 haircuts? (or was it pounds?)

Tony Blair is the prime minister from Monty Python, and that isn’t an exaggeration in the least.

I believe his insatiable greed is a psychological response to people’s natural inclination to laugh at his and his wife’s foibles and pretences, but it makes him utterly useless as a statesman or even a public man.

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“Legitimate claim to Judea and Samaria”?

Good God, anywhere else such childish nonsense would be laughed away by the entire world.

Israel has no “legitimate claims” to anything, not even, strictly speaking, its 1967 borders.

It manipulated European politicians and forced its way into the region, using terror along a good deal of the way.

The world, after the Holocaust, was in a mood to accept Israel, spurious historical claims or not.

But the world is not in a mood to accept this nonsense about Greater Israel which is nothing but a formula in the modern world for endless war and oppression.

Basing anything in world affairs or diplomacy on ancient writings, and a single group’s religious ones at that, is a very bad joke. It truly is akin to quoting Nostradamus on world affairs or the paranoid insanity of the Book of Revelations.

If ancient books are valid deeds, then Greece owns a good part of Turkey from the Trojan War.

The Phoenicians lived in what is called Israel before there was an Israel. The Egyptians did too for a while. The Iraqis ruled for a while. The Greeks. Then there were the Romans.

Try sorting that mess of possible claims. Simply insane and a formula for war.

By the way, the Palestinians are almost certainly the actual descendants of ancient Israel. Rome followed the practice of allowing residents to stay in its conquests so long as they were loyal to Rome. Of course, in the intervening 2,000 years, they’ve undergone many changes, including religion and language.

What a bitter irony, a polyglot people from Europe – Germany, Russia, and Spain – the modern Ashkenazi and Sephardi who formed Zionism and lead Israel – kick the actual descendents of ancient Israel out of their homes and farms to fill them with migrants from Europe and America.

 

 

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JOHN CHUCKMAN

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

“Just as fascism and communism were the great struggles of previous generations, terrorism is the great struggle of ours.”

And what about state terrorism, the largest and most lethal form of terrorism?

State terrorism is an everyday practice today by the United States, and it has been a building block of Israel since the foundation.

The early Zionists called it “the iron wall,” and that phrase encapsulates Israel’s every policy since 1948.

A significant part of Israel’s 1940s effort to carve out a state included the work of terror gangs like Stern, Lehi, and Irgun – all of whom assassinated, planted bombs, and generally terrorized Arabs.

Israel today sits back and claims terror is such a threat, but Israel itself is a garrison state, grotesquely over-armed and ready constantly to assault any neighbor it disapproves of, and it disapproves of virtually all of them.

It is a lawless state, possessing atomic weapons against all international rules and desires, and a state moreover that was willing to proliferate atomic weapons technology with South Africa, something it has never even received censure for.

Israel also stands in contempt of a list of UN Resolutions, the very kind of thing the United States has used as an excuse to bomb some government it doesn’t like.

It also stands in violation of dozens on international agreements and protocols.

Israel does not hesitate to kill children – having slaughtered 400 of them in its vicious attack on Gaza, and according to the UN Special Rapporteur for Palestine, Israel has killed more than 1,200 children since the year 2000.

Israel does not hesitate to kill peace workers, such as those aboard the Gaza humanitarian fleet attacked on the high seas, pictures and eyewitness reports from which clearly show Israeli soldiers shooting unarmed crew members in cold blood.

And don’t forget, while Israel was bombing Southern Lebanon a few years ago, dropping about a million cluster bombs (the world’s most ghastly, inhumane weapon) to maim and kill women and children and farmers for years to come, it also killed 4 UN observers, including a brave Canadian who died at his post.

John Baird’s boss, our glorious prime minister, after that cold-blooded murder said only he couldn’t understand why the UN had observers there: that is the fetid pool of thought from which John Baird’s words come.

On a per capita basis – the only fair way to compare – Israel is pretty much the world leader in brutality and abuse.

It keeps about ten thousand – the number is always changing – Palestinians illegally in prison.

Nearing half a century, it keeps more than 4 million Palestinians under occupation, totally illegal occupation, and it abuses them constantly with checkpoints and endless red-tape.

It helps itself each week or so to any parcel of someone else’s land that it chooses, indeed it has cobbled together a set of laws and regulations designed specifically to allow it to do this to Palestinians who cannot possibly meet the vicious laws’ requirements – anywhere else this would be called theft by a state.

It decides whether it will assassinate leaders that it does not like, and it does so regularly, with complete impunity – that’s the purest form of police-state terror you can come up with.

To carry out these dozens of assassinations, it breaks laws in many countries and it regularly abuses national passports by stealing and altering them or forging them, and Canada’s passport has been a frequent victim of this criminal behavior.

It does all these criminal acts with the complete support and approval of the United States, without whose influence and twisting of arms and rules, Israel might well collapse of its own gross excesses.

You do not and cannot get peace from a state which behaves as Israel does. It’s like saying the blacks in apartheid South Africa could have had peace by talking to the apartheid government – it literally is that absurd.

Only influence from outside can remedy what Israel has inflicted for decades.

But that influence will certainly not come from the dark bulk who represents less than forty percent of Canadians.

He’s too busy trying to please the United States in every nicety and detail, and he is too busy trying to appeal to the minority of intense Israel apologists, hoping to secure his party’s long-term financing, hoping to establish the same kind of arrangement which now absolutely determines the ongoing injustice of American foreign policy for the Middle East.

The dark bulk is ruining our international reputation, in every area of endeavor, making of us a sort of unofficial 51st state in the world’s eyes.

This is a nightmare world John Baird defends, a world where war is peace and hatred is love, but he does it unblinkingly and aggressively like a Joseph Goebbels defending his master’s bloody deeds.
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FROM A READER:
“Recognizing the Zionist Stab in the back as the cause of their hardship, was the only reason that Germany democratically elected the Nazi party, to keep the Jews from repeating history.”

Absolutely wrong in every detail.

I’m no friend of Israel’s bloody work, but I deal in facts and logic, not ignorance and distortion.

Hitler was never elected.

The highest vote the Nazi Party ever got in free elections was about 37%, and that was after years of furious effort.

He was appointed Chancellor by the aging President, von Hindenburg, who wanted to stop the turmoil and fighting in the streets, part of which was of course Hitler’s own efforts through his private army of Brownshirts, the SA.

The Nazis conducted an elaborate coup with the burning of the Reichstag, and the aged and much admire war-hero president died. Hitler rammed through legislation giving him the presidential powers and more.

Once firmly in power, the Nazis conducted a number of plebiscites, and they got the kinds of votes you always saw in the Soviet Union’s elections, figures like 98%, but if you accept those as valid you really are a sad, uncritical soul.

As for “the stab in the back” there was no such thing. It was a figure of Hitler’s vivid and fetid imagination.

Hitler considered the Weimar Republic itself a stab in the back. He always hated any form of liberalism or popular government.
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“Being surrounded by Muslim-only states does that. 4 million Jews live in a tiny state surrounded by a billion Muslims in 57 states, and it is apparently racist for Israel to be a Jewish state. Wow. But I can understand why the Jew haters want this “right to return”; flood Israel with enough Muslims and then you have 58 Muslim states!”

Simply appallingly ignorant.

What does the make-up of other states have to with Israel?

Nothing, and indeed when you make this appalling argument, your words closely resemble those of Hitler in his demands for lebensraum for the German people and his claims that Germans deserved a special space in which to flourish for the future, that too many other European states held more land than they needed.

In case you don’t know it, Israel has about 1 million non-Jewish citizens – I don’t mean the more than 4 million of the occupied territories but people who carry Israeli passports.

These are the descendants of the Palestinians who refused to run from Israeli terror in 1948.

Israel didn’t want them, but it was pretty much stuck with them.

However, Israel has found many ways of treating them through contrived laws as second-class citizens.

More than one prominent Israeli has advocated running them off the land.

The current ethically-obtuse Foreign Minister is definitely sympathetic to that kind of filthy thinking.

So if Israel is formally recognized as “the Jewish state,” what happens to those poor citizens?

I think we can all guess, and it won’t be pleasant.

And do you not recognize the irrational nature of the demand for a single ethic/religious state? It is no different at all to fundamentalist Islamist demands for Islamic states.

The truth is that Israel in concept was an outdated 19th century concept. It has proved divisive and destructive its entire brief history. It ranks among the world’s most unjust states.

But nevertheless, mistake or not, the world accepts its existence so long as it stops violating every law and moral concept we know to maintain its ethnic purity.

Is it too much to ask that it retreat to its borders and to finally start treating its neighbors as human beings?

 

 

 

JOHN CHUCKMAN

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

That has always been true, a secure state whose people are assisted by Israel would have been a blessing.

Imagine how much progress could have been made had Israel not spent a gigantic fortune on its military and destruction and killing? Its spending is out of all proportion to its size. It is a garrison state. And its brutality on a per capita basis is world class.

But Israel’s policy from the start was “the iron wall” towards the Palestinians, not helpfulness or friendship.

Einstein has been proven absolutely right in his views on Israel: he favored Jewish settlement in the Middle East, but he thought a formal Jewish state would be a great mistake.

Israel’s leaders for years have viewed the Palestinians only as a burden to be gotten rid of, and it has viewed their land – the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem – as a land bank for Israeli expansion.

There is no other way to understand Israel’s behavior, and that is why it is utterly stupid to say to the Palestinians – as Obama did and Harper did – that the way to peace is through negotiating with Israel.

Israel has never once been an honest negotiator, and the United States has never once been an honest broker.

And the whole world ignores the fact that the 1967 war was engineered by Israel precisely to achieve in the future a Greater Israel, and Greater Israel is what Israel relentlessly works towards year after year, stealing more property and abusing more people.

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“Why can’t Obama and Harper just do it. They really are little men.”

Yes, absolutely.

But consider how rare it is in this world for any leader to show genuine statesmanship?

It almost never happens, because it involves risks, the stuff of genuinely heroic behavior.

In Obama’s case, the answer is straightforward. He has proved an unpopular and largely unsuccessful president on almost every front, and he faces an election in which he needs all the campaign funds and favorable press comment he can get – just the things the Israel Lobby can provide in exchange for assuming the “right” posture towards the Middle East.

That’s exactly the situation Harry Truman found himself in with the intense lobby to recognize the self-proclaimed state of Israel. Truman’s instincts were that early recognition of the terrorists and army running people off their land was not wise, but he faced an uphill election and the Israel Lobby, by Truman’s own description, was intense beyond anything he experienced. So he granted early recognition and started the ball rolling towards the godawful mess we now have.

In Harper’s case, he not only mimics everything America does, but he clearly hopes to establish a smaller version of the financial political mechanism that dominates United States policy. He will make our politics even more dependent upon private large donations by doing away with Ottawa’s support for parties, he will then aim at those groups who can best finance Conservative ambitions, and that certainly includes Canada’s proportionately smaller but still important Jewish population.

There was a day when most Jewish people – owing to their own history of suffering and abuse – overwhelmingly supported liberal or progressive parties and leaders.

But the existence and behavior of Israel has greatly changed that fact. You simply cannot be an unquestioning supporter of Israel today and keep a sense of fairness and decency. Israel has proved a destructive and divisive political actor.

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“From Israel to America, from Argentina to Swaziland, the people want one thing while their democratically elected governments supposed to represent the people and implement the will of the people, want another thing.”

A very true observation.

By a recent poll the government of Israel no more represents what most people want than Harper’s government in Canada does.

The American political system especially has been carefully built to keep a superficial resemblance of democracy while in fact completely catering to special interests.

Who are the special interests? Those who finance the campaigns.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

JOHN CHUCKMAN

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

“If CBC had any value it would be able to stand on its own.”

That is simply a tiresome old assertion, exposing only the writer’s lack of understanding.

Does opera stand on its own?

Does serious theatre stand on its own?

Do major art galleries stand on their own?

Do the buildings of our capitals stand on their own?

Do great museums stand on their own?

God, it is tiresome to read such childish words repeated time and again as though they had meaning.

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“Not only can private industry provide and better service, they can do it cheaper.”

You simply do not know what you are talking about.

Private radio for example is one vast wasteland of pop music and meaningless chatter and political invective.

And important, too, is the fact that American companies will crowd in on private broadcasting , as they already are, leaving little or no independent voice.

 

 

 

JOHN CHUCKMAN

POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN BY LAWRENCE DAVIDSON IN INTIFADA PALESTINE

An accurate assessment, but an unpopular one.

From the beginning I have explained and advocated the same view, the view of relatively powerless people taking violent action against great injustices.

But governments and the large mainline news media which invariably support them have filled the atmosphere with Islamophobic nonsense to such an extent that it is blindly accepted by many.

Being a humanist with loyalty to no religion, I have no special brief for Islam.

But I am a person who has little toleration for injustice, and American policies after WWII are nothing if not one long series of injustices.

A very wise woman once said, in answer to the question of what distinguishes a good, democratic society, that it was whether the people lived with a sense of justice.

I cannot agree more with that profound and simple observation.

But we see very little justice from the foreign policy of the United States. We see, quite to the contrary, the imposition, over and over again, of injustice, on an international scale being much as one would experience in an old society where deliberate injustice is maintained as the ordinary state of affairs.

Global affairs, if we are to support democratic values and humane dealings, must also feature justice. It is no less required.

But so many people recognize that that is not the situation, and they include not only people living in the artificial reality of the Middle East maintained by the United States but people in Europe and North America who find it difficult even to have good public discussions of the matter.

The United States through NATO and its tremendous financial and economic power is remarkably capable of keeping these issues off the public agenda.

Sometimes, as in Egypt, an eruption simply gets too big to suppress, and the U.S. takes great hypocritical noises about democracy and the people’s desires, but it never does this automatically, and at the same time it throws its support to inevitable change (really as a form of emergency measure and damage control) in a place like Egypt, it is bombing people and supporting repression of people with the same kind of demands for freedom in Yemen, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia.

And even in Egypt, what do we see now? Basically a military junta taking immense amounts of time to change anything meaningful, hoping to let people’s energy and dreams dissipate. And it is the United States supporting the effort.

So much for the land of the free, a slogan that always has been more slogan than reality. Free people do not enslave others. Genuine democratic states do not do deals with dictators and just wink at gross injustice. But America is a land where all the vaunted assertions of the Constitution end right at the shoreline. The horrors of Guantanamo, 90 miles off shore, are just fine. And increasingly, with terrible invasions of privacy and police-state laws about “terror” even on shore America becomes a less democratic place daily.

Terror has become a word very similar to what the ghastly Joe Stalin meant when he spoke of “wreckers,” one of his signal words for new waves of state terror in the Soviet Union.

 

 

 

 

JOHN CHUCKMAN

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

Coal makes sense from every meaningful point of view.

It is plentiful and not too costly and coal-fired stations provide base-load (on-call 24 hours a day) power.

We have nothing else to compare. We do not have plentiful natural gas, as is foolishly asserted in this article, an assertion which makes one wonder whether the author even knows much about his subject. Natural gas is being used rapidly now and prices are rising.

With Dalton McGuinty’s insane energy policies, we are going to see a lot more demand on natural gas and rising energy prices.

Because the Great and Mighty Dalton has declared windmills a job creator, they are going to cover our landscape with their visual ugliness and noise pollution and migrating-bird killing.

They also are not ever going to to provide base load power. They cannot.

That’s why McGuinty is running around building gas-fired plants as back-ups for the clear and proven failure of windmills. That’s what they’ve had to do in Europe. And the new demand for gas will cause home-heating costs to rise, the electricity costs already rising steeply because of windmills.

Closing Ontario’s relatively efficient coal plants only means that with increases or spurts in demand Ontario is buying extra energy from the dirtiest coal plants in the Midwestern United States, thus increasing pollution, not decreasing it.

There are clean-burning coal technologies today, and more are on the way.

A province that doesn’t want to bankrupt its citizens with energy costs will use them.

By the way, when McGuinty is through with his windmill-jousting and boastfully-ignorant closing of coal plants, energy costs in Ontario are going to be uncompetitive for the acquisition of new industries or even the retention of expanding old ones.

How do you think a McGuinty will solve that? You guessed right if you said he would heavily subsidize new industry’s costs to attract them.

And how will he subsidize them? You guessed right if you said he’ll raise residential rates through the roof, even worse than the other, above-mentioned causes of rising rates will do.
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“For the people who don’t understand why we can’t rely on wind and solar energy to power the grid here is the answer. Solar energy doesn’t occur at night or on cloudy days. Wind energy doesn’t happen on calm days.”

Yes, indeed, but there are even more reasons.

For windmills we’ve now started accumulating data on their weaknesses and failures.

Windmills in at least one jurisdiction froze still during a bad cold spell.

Windmills in another location were blown over and destroyed in a high-wind storm.

And in a case on the west coast of the United States, there was a blade which flew off and landed a good distance away, a serious hazard.

The “white noise” of windmill farms has literally driven some people living near them crazy. There have been quiet, behind-the-scenes settlements given. We have no long term data on the effects here upon people. It may well be more threatening than the electromagnetic energy of cell phones or power lines.

And windmills are ugly. They must be built in huge masses, generally in places like near shorelines or on hills. They are simply visual blight.

But the bottom line is cost. Windmill energy is costly, and it is only happening in Ontario because of heavy subsidies to the providers, courtesy ultimately of customers.

People loosely use the term “renewables” to describe and encompass all these alternate forms of energy, and it leads to great misunderstanding, as though they were all benign and equally important, but they are not.

I strongly suspect that the long-term answer to energy is going to be decentralization: instead of big stations and power lines, we are going to have individual power plants in our homes. They may be solar – improved solar – or they may be things like power cells and new light storage batteries.

Another coming revolution will be power lines which are closer to perfect conductors, making instantly all of our power plants effectively double to triple their output since so much is lost today through transmission.

Meanwhile, the renewables-crowd mostly has no idea of what it is talking about.

Electricity, which in a knowledge-based society is a fundamental need, is going to be made horribly costly and inefficient through their efforts.

JOHN CHUCKMAN

POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN BY JANET DALEY IN THE TELEGRAPH

Just the kind of genuinely ignorant column one expects of Janet Daley.

Rather nice of her not to disappoint.

It is simply fact that America has been since WWII an arrogant and highly aggressive nation, clothing itself in the words of democratic values while invading, interfering with, or overthrowing anyone whose policies did not toe the American line, and those dark operations have included a number of democracies along the way.

America is a democracy on its own shores (sort of) which behaves every bit the bloody tyrant offshore, and where it has itself not directly acted as tyrant it has used and supported other tyrants to do its biding, right down to our time with someone like Mubarak.

Very much as it makes the same distinction with human rights: its border is where the spirit and letter of Constitutional protections stop.

It’s perfectly okay for the CIA to have an international torture gulag, flying illegal prisoners here and there by the thousands to dark holes around the world, just so the CIA keeps its operations outside American territory. The horrors of Guantanamo are just fine ninety miles offshore.

Is it any wonder that there are people and indeed whole peoples in the world that dislike America?

We know from the past that people love America at its best, but we’ve seen damn little of its best in a very long time.

It was Lord Acton who gave us one of the most profound truths of human nature, absolute power corrupts absolutely. Now, why would anyone who purports to think believe America is exempt from this fundamental law of human nature?

It is not, of course, and criticizing it for its many excesses, stupidities, and brutal behaviors is not anti-Americanism. It is simply honest reaction to unthinking hypocrisy and an offensive sense of entitlement which feels it can do anything it wants to the rest of humanity.

Britain heroically endured the Blitz, but does Britain commemorate the Blitz every year? Does it read a list of the victims every year?

America does this with 9/11 out of its deep sense of its own ‘specialness’ and entitlement: one American is worth God knows how many of that motley lot of humanity out there. After all, it has managed to kill perhaps a million innocent people “out there” since 9/11 as payback.

These things need saying because they are truths, not out of any sense of anti-Americanism, whatever that undefined pejorative epithet is supposed to mean anyway.

Prejudice is a form of superstition and mumbo-jumbo. Responding to facts is exactly the opposite, refusing to accept superstition.

It really is the Janet Daleys of this world who are prejudiced and steeped in unexamined superstition. And of course, there are plenty of them, else we wouldn’t be bombing the crap out of others all the time.

Readers may enjoy:
http://chuckmanwords.wordpress.com/2009/05/26/americas-strange-political-culture-of-grief-and-dying/

 

 

 

 

JOHN CHUCKMAN

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

“Attack on Israeli embassy in Cairo a ‘severe injury to the fabric of peace’: Netanyahu”

Netanyahu does have a penchant for comedy, dark comedy, although I am pretty sure he is not the least aware of it.

Fabric of peace?

Where does he see that in the region?

I see only Israel trying to starve out the poor people of Gaza and willing to shoot anyone who even tries to help them with their needs.

I see Israel ready to attack every neighbor that it has, from buzzing jets over Lebanon to creating provocations with Syria and to shooting five Egyptian policemen only doing their duty in Sinai when Israeli soldiers crossed the border with no permission and with a dark purpose.

Of course, a day does not go by that Israel does not threaten to attack, or harangue the United States to attack, Iran, a nation generally living at peace with its neighbors.

Netanyahu has never so much as lifted a finger in his entire nasty career in the name of genuine peace.

And it does seem anymore that where Israel is there can be no peace.

The people of Egypt are only expressing legitimate frustrations with this regional bully who worked hard behind the scenes to keep them perpetually under the thumb of a U.S.-sponsored tyrant.

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“I would think israel security firing off a few rounds through their skulls would disperse them real quick…”

Now there’s a fine comment, something of which to be proud.

That is, if you are a bully or a psychopath.

The person commenting only succeeds in revealing the genuine attitudes of the Israeli government.

Here are a few interesting facts for readers to consider in light of this savage comment – they are taken from Israeli journalist Amira Hass in her book about Gaza:

Physicians for Human Rights, during the five years of the intifada, a Palestinian child under the age of six was shot in the head every two weeks. According to United Nations Relief records, nearly 1,100 people treated at its clinics during the first four years had been shot in the head, with about 15% of that number being women. During the four years, over sixty thousand Gazans were shot, severely beaten , or tear-gassed.

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“canadians are morons.

“….

“canadians are morons.”

Gee, now there’s an enlightened way to address people and to make your point.

Again the writer reveals, undoubtedly without realizing it, why there is such terrible problems in the region.

There’s a government, armed to the teeth and utterly ruthless, which regularly speaks this way.

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A reader says the last time he checked Israel was an independent nation.

Israel an independent nation?

Since when?

It is the most heavily subsidized place on earth, by far.

It receives about $500 per year per Jewish citizen from the United States, and it has done so for decades.

But that is only the beginning.

There are periodic loan guarantees of tens of billions.

There is constant access at the highest level for this nation with the population of Ecuador, something virtually no other country, even far more important ones, has.

It has a plum free-trade agreement – indeed, with sending its subsidized crops to the U.S. Israel’s agriculture would disappear. It was a gift to Israel because it has no tangible benefits for Americans at all.

The opportunity cost of water Israel squanders on tomatoes and clementines to export is unbelievably high because it is the cost of desalination-plant water. It sends subsidized produce to the United States under free trade, produce the United States doesn’t even need.

Israel receives billions worth of intelligence and defense cooperation every year from the United States, something few other countries receive.

The two billion dollars a year going to Egypt is a bribe paid on Israel’s part paid by Americans since the Camp David Agreements.

Israel receives heavily below cost natural gas from Egypt, the result of U.S. pressure on Mubarak. Everyone knows this is scandalous, and the U.S. has offered to pay a subsidy to top up the price.

Israel also receives billions from the Jewish communities of America and Europe, and it receives important business intelligence and connections.

The great privilege granted to American Israelis to be dual citizens means they move back and forth regularly, all the while sharing business and other intelligence.

Israel’s farms and cities and water supply were all taken with absolutely no payment or reparations from other people. That is the biggest subsidy ever received, the very substance of the nation.

And it is not satisfied with what happened in 1948, it keeps stealing the property of others regularly, refusing to live in peace because it still wants more.

Israel has received tens of billions in reparations from Germany – wholly appropriate in view of the past but still a subsidy.

The list is even longer than this, but I think the point is clear: Israel is in no sense of the word an independent nation.

It is in truth a gigantic international welfare case.

JOHN CHUCKMAN

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

Not an economic model, indeed, but also not a social or political model.
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“The US has a very poor history of government-run enterprises, except the military…”

Except the military?

You have to be kidding. America’s military is the most inefficient enterprise on earth.

Billions just disappear into holes.

Projects go over their development costs and time horizons by vast amounts, everything from the V-22 Osprey to the F-35 just in recent years. Billions and billions and billions over budget.

Most of the time, all the military does is sit around consuming resources and doing nothing real or economically beneficial to the majority of society.

Men being paid pretty fair wages, earning early retirement benefits, consuming government food and clothing, and most of them unskilled guys who could not hold on to a decent ordinary job.

Yes, they do something beneficial for America’s wealthy establishment, and everyone one else, those who pay taxes, pay the bills. They keep the world safe for American policy and economic expansion of corporations.

The Founding Fathers, most of them, knew a standing army was a terrible waste and a threat to civilian values, but they would have no idea of how dangerous it could be.

It is a fundamental principle of our species – for whom, power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely – that a great powerful force will be used for some purpose or another by politicians.

Just so Vietnam. America killed an estimated 3 million Vietnamese in horrible fashions and wrecked their land with mines and poisons, ultimately to no purpose whatsoever.

Just so Iraq, with about a million dead owing to America’s pointless invasion and a once-prosperous Arab country set back for a generation.

And just so countless coups and intrusions and small conflicts – almost all pointless from a larger point of view and all having nothing to do with the actual defense of the United States.

Even the post office looks efficient and purposeful compared to America’s Frankenstein military which consumes the GDP of a decent-sized country every year.
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“Canadians have cornered the market on self-righteous sanctimony, moralistic whining, and self-congratulations.”

My God, the American who wrote that either never attends his own local Fourth of July celebrations or is simply blind to what he is used to.

Is there ever a speech in America that does not grate the sensibilities of thoughtful people across the planet?

Just listen to the meaningless rhetoric about democracy or human rights or ethics or blessings from God or freedom from representatives of a government that has crushed democracies time and again, ones that disagree with it, a government which today runs an international torture gulag, and a government in which money determines pretty well everything, from the direction of national policy to the outcome of elections.

You are of course, by those Fourth of July claims, the greatest at everything on the planet.

Perhaps, it is thinking that way that makes you so eager to bomb the crap out of anyone who disagrees with you?

By the way, here is just a small list of comparisons and matters of record where the United States is genuinely number one. I could easily expand it.

Infant mortality is higher in the United States than in Canada.

Average life expectancy is lower in the United States than in Canada.

More people per capita go to prison in the United States than in Canada, but not just Canada, more go to prison than in any other advanced nation, by a long measure.

America has the highest illegitimate birth rate of any advanced country, although its noisy Christians always blubber about that kind of thing and America self-righteously refuses to fund international projects that involve abortions and even birth control.

Americans consume as many illegal drugs as the rest of the world combined.

America spends more on its military each year than the rest of the planet.

America is the world’s largest arms dealer, by far.

America’s murder rate is many times that of Canada.

America’s police forces have an international reputation for brutality, having been cited by organizations like Amnesty International on many occasions.

America has a unique sense of environmentalism, building Jack and Jill bathrooms and three-car garages across the deserts of Arizona, Nevada, and Southern California with never a thought where future water for all those toilets is going to come from and never a care about all the electricity needed for around-the-clock air-conditioning of five-bedroom houses, nor for all the roads and parking lots and cars in an arid region.

No thought for tomorrow could be the new national motto, just as we’ve seen with the irresponsible financial arrangements which threw the world into a crisis.

You cannot even go to a movie from Hollywood without being led to believe America has done everything. It won WWII even though it sustained a loss of about one-third of one percent of the dead in that terrible war where over 50,000,000 died.

There was even a movie some years ago in which America’s broke the German enigma code, not the British who actually did it.

God, what a ridiculous people you’ve become.

JOHN CHUCKMAN

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

Anything which could possibly endanger the interests of the military-intelligence-security apparatus of the United States is not necessarily a bad thing.

Indeed, America’s government within a government deserves all the sunlight cast upon it possible.

Every inadvertent negative that can come out of something like this is more than offset by increased public awareness of the extent to which the contemporary United States Establishment works actively against democratic and human values in the world.

There is a dark engine throbbing away in the basements of the American military-intelligence-security apparatus today that relatively few fully appreciate, and it works only for the imperial interests of corporate America and no one else.
__________________________________

“Julian Assange: psychopath who uses the Internet to endanger peoples’ lives and livelihoods without any empathy or remorse.”

A list of some genuine psychopaths:

George Bush

Donald Rumsfeld

Dick Cheney

Condi Rice

Henry Kissinger

Richard Nixon

Hillary Clinton

Half the employees of the CIA and related agencies

Most of the members of American Special Forces

Many of the leaders of American corporations (a recent study actually shows this)

Whether Assange should be included, I don’t know, but you know the old argument of fighting fire with fire.

 

 

 

 

JOHN CHUCKMAN

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

Did you ever hear of a tyrant bully apologizing for anything?

It does not happen.

The one exonerating circumstance behind Netanyahu’s bluster is this: if Israel were once to begin apologizing for its brutal acts and savage attacks on people, that’s all it would be doing day and night, apologizing.

By the way, things in general are looking pretty bad for the Netanyahu gang.

Huge rallies in Israel, comparable in size to the “Arab Spring” rallies go on with millions of ordinary Israelis totally fed up with the economy and the national priorities.

Israel is a very unpleasant place to live for ordinary people with prices making many things beyond the reach.

When you buy a modest home in Israel you can spend all your spare money for every day of your life trying to pay it off and not succeed.

But good old Netanyahu pays no attention to these complaints: he’s too busy threatening and bullying everyone within a thousand miles of Israel’s borders, whatever those are.

At the same time, the Palestinians at long last are applying to the UN General Assembly for acceptance of statehood, as is their right.

Netanyahu’s gang of thug-politicians is feverishly working on how they will respond: they definitely plan something very unpleasant for the Palestinians.

Israel’s main source of immense subsidy, the United States, has actually threatened to cut down its treaty-determined contributions to the UN if the vote goes for the Palestinians.

Talk about desperate measures and the influence of the Israel Lobby.
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‘I would love to meet this “name withheld” their posts sure are popular. I have to say I am rather surprised by the amount of censorship the Globe and Mail has enforcing. So much for free speech.’

I don’t like censorship either.

But I must say that the Globe is as liberal and fair as it gets in the mainline press on this issue.

They do leave most comments, even quite tough ones and even ones that are quite ignorant.

If you really want to see censorship, go check out comments on the Toronto Star.

They do not remove a few comments, they simply never allow them up, and do so in large numbers.

They also offer only a cramped, word-limited format.

I used also to comment in Murdoch’s Times of London. Now, there again is serious censorship.

I’m sure more than half the comments submitted are never posted, and the ones that are posted are edited down. It’s a bad joke.

 

 

 

JOHN CHUCKMAN

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

Well, they have just the man in the prime minister’s office to accommodate their wishes.

For the next four years our dark bulk will give them everything they want.

And, of course, part of what they want is another Tony Blair, loyal puppy trotting around in whichever direction the master steps, licking the blood from his boots.

It’s truly embarrassing being a lone imperial power ready to bomb the crap out of anyone who disagrees with your policies, so it greatly helps the American psyche to have guys like Blair or Harper there, ready on a moment’s notice to join the fight and make it all look larger and more like a genuine cause than it really is.

We’ve just seen that with Libya, and I’m afraid we’ll see a good deal more.

The Canadian people, I’m confident saying, do not support wars of aggression and intervention and coups abroad, but a government in office with 39.6% of of votes is capable under our system of completely subverting their wishes.

We have a deadly serious democratic deficit, and we are about to see under the dark bulk just how much death it can generate.
__________________________________

“A chastened United States is looking to Canada to help it carry the weight of the world.”

John Ibbitson, with a sentence like that you should not be writing professionally.

Chastened? By the impact of its own immense excesses?

Help carry the weight of the world?

Who in God’s name asked the U.S. to do this?

And what you really mean here is that it wants Canada to squander part of its resources, people, and reputation for the role of international water boy.

But that is nothing new.

Not many years ago we were being constantly harangued by the American ambassador and many others about not spending enough on the military and living off the protection of the United States.

The loudmouth, cryptoNazi Patrick Buchanan was one of many saying this in public.

 

 

 

JOHN CHUCKMAN

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

Very poor effort, Mr. Simpson.

“One stunning triumph does not a visionary make”

That’s just a cheap form of straw-man argument.

Jack Layton never claimed to be a visionary, and the people who mourned his loss, too, did not for the most part see him as a visionary.

Indeed, the truth is quite the opposite.

Here was a man concerned with down-to-earth realities, with making life better for average people, a man who was an effective politician in trying to get at least some modest accomplishments, a decent and happy man, and a man who kept a civil tongue in his head.

That all may not sound like much, but it is more than any of our recent leading politicians can claim – indeed, it is pretty much the polar opposite to that dark bulk we now call our prime minister.

As for visionaries, well we’ve likely had too many of those, because generally visionaries are rather like religious fanatics. We see them on silly television talk shows, we see them playing the fool in our education system, their books on self-help of every description are puked out from the publishing industry, and we read of them in useless business books.

And who were the truly large visionaries of the last century in politics and world affairs? People like Henry Kissinger, Lyndon Johnson, and Tony Blair – war criminals every one trying to reach the immortality of the Maos and Stalins and Hitlers.

I’ve learned to immediately tune-out as soon as someone is called a visionary or even uses the word. It’s as tiresome as hacks in the arts who talk about everything being “incredible,” and far more dangerous.
____________________________________

“Even in death, Layton’s a media wh0re.” – redneckgal

You sure picked an appropriate pseudonym.

But why take half measures and not go all the way?

I suggest you tell it as it is.

Lay claim to Big Fat Ignoramus.

 

 

 

JOHN CHUCKMAN

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

“But you can say one thing with confidence: a 14-month campaign that divides the country even more deeply, adds to uncertainty about long-term economic policy, fails to resolve anything but paralyses government in the meantime, all with the economy sliding back into recession, is not a good plan.”
Well put, Mr Crook.

You have precisely put your finger on the national political pulse and diagnosed why American politics are so inimical to good government.

It is actually bizarre in a nation with such a strongly defined sense of itself, that set patriotic feelings which have been very accurately described as the American Civic Religion, the people are so divided by what, in a longer term view, are trivia that they cannot pitch in to a national need and purpose so clear before them.

But it is nothing new. American killed people for ten years in Vietnam, squandered countless billions, and ended by dropping the convertibility of the dollar for what? A vicious domestic politics in which each side feared being “out-commied” by the other.
All that death and destruction dispensed to no point whatsoever since communism was always fated to wither through its internal inconsistencies.

Nations really do rise and fall in many instances owing to things which in hindsight seem immense stupidities, and America is certainly no exception.

The trouble is that the entire world must fear and be hurt by America’s crazy, meaningless politics because America has so thoroughly stuck its fingers into everyone else’s business.

There are many stories on the Internet, which if demonstrated true, may well end Perry’s campaign.

He is said to be a heavy user of prostitutes.

His wife was clearly not a happy camper in his last campaign for governor, going around with a rather frozen face and few words.

His religion is extreme and bizarre, a branch off the Pentecostals which the Pentecostals have called heresy.

And remember the American Pentecostals themselves are folks whose idea of religious inspiration is rolling around on the floor and yelling meaningless gibberish, a performance known as “speaking in tongues.”

Yes, America has a lot of Christian fundamentalists, but they are a minority, and the really bizarre ones are a still smaller minority.

 

 

 

JOHN CHUCKMAN

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

Syria’s security forces face a moral choice?

What about America’s in Afghanistan?

What about America’s in Iraq?

What about America’s in Libya – where, by the way, a aerial attack last week killed about a hundred civilians?

What about Israel in just about any territory it touches?

I hate tyrants and I hate war wherever they occur.

But it is a matter of simple fact that all Syria’s ugly acts to date do not even equal the toll inflicted by Israel on its neighbors in the last few years, but the Globe and the press never treat the Israeli forces with this kind of view.

And we have no idea of NATO’s total savagery in Libya, nor, for that matter, the “rebels” we support by killing civilians.

I am sorry that Globe editorial writers are so poor in the clarity of their thinking that they believe selective morals, selective ethical standards, have any meaning.

Selective ethics are no ethics, just the abuse of a term as propaganda.
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“The real lesson one should draw from these defeats is that the United States doesn’t know how to build democratic societies in large and distant Muslim countries that are divided by sectarian, ethnic, or tribal splits…”

Yes, but does the United States know how to “build” democratic societies anywhere?

And just when did the idea gain existence that anyone at anytime anywhere “build” a democratic society somewhere else?

It’s a lunatic notion of Pentagon consultants living on expenses-paid steak dinners.

In truth it’s a propaganda cover for the neo-con agenda, clearly articulated in books and articles in the last decade, of using America’s military might to re-shape the world to its liking.

The neo-cons have always pretended to care about democracy, citing the ludicrous example of apartheid, land-grabbing Israel as the Mid East’s only democracy, Israel the secret friend of Arab tyrants like Mubarak or the king of Saudi Arabia who in fact serve its interests.

Democracy is an institution which grows naturally out of a healthy and growing economy over time, growth which produces a large middle class whose interests cannot possibly be represented by a tyrant or an elite group.

One thing we know for sure, you cannot bomb people into democracy.

The sad truth is that the United States itself is a fairly questionable democracy anymore, and there is a simple explanation for that.

You cannot build a monstrous military- intelligence-security apparatus, one with global reach and effect, and have people just vote on it and its uses. That does not work ever.

Such institutions are the enemy of democracy, always, and the Founding Fathers of the United States mostly understood that.

America goes through the motions of costly elections, but no mater who is elected, the government within a government – the military-intelligence-security apparatus – maintains its quiet direction of major affairs.

The American middle class has been so hollowed out for the last four decades – real incomes have dropped steadily for such people – that it is a weak voice in the country’s affairs.

And America’s establishment has encouraged the growth of not just a consumer-oriented society but a hyper-consumer society. People just don’t have the time and patience to care about matters beyond being able to meet mortgage payments and buy things.

The society has become so militaristic it is unrecognizable. Cheap slogans substitute for thought.

Why? America’s military hasn’t fought a war of defense since WWII. All the scores of wars and incursions and coups since are imperial in nature and represent the interests of the government within a government whose real job is to keep the almost unbelievably rich class rich.

Many of these efforts were even against democratic governments, and along the way any tyrant who toed the line and served American interests was welcome to keep his kingdom.

In many respects, America is coming to resemble France before the Revolution, a super-wealthy class and a large pool of people who hardscrabble to meet ends, plus a military that spends unholy amounts of money trying to control the entire environment around it.

 

 

 

 

JOHN CHUCKMAN

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

We are a poorer people today for the loss of this heroic and humane voice.

Jack Layton was simply an exceptional man, and that fact is what made him an exceptional politician.

Honesty, decency, and bravery are everywhere and always rare qualities, but Jack Layton displayed them many times.

They were combined with a sharp intelligence and a genuine conscience.

True heroism – that quality of holding gracefully to your purpose despite the odds and pain – is so rare: its true possessors require neither a uniform nor war.

Jack displayed it in so many parts of his life: from the announcement of his first cancer and promise to beat it and from his views on human waste of Afghanistan to the way he led an historic campaign despite sickness and to the graceful way he bowed out.

I certainly will not forget one of the most gifted politicians and most decent public men of my time.

 

 

 

 

JOHN CHUCKMAN

POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN BY CHARLES MOORE IN THE TELEGRAPH

“In our generation, Blunt’s equivalents are the intellectual apologists for Islamist extremism.”

A truly ignorant statement.

No one “apologizes” for Islamist extremism, but many try explaining it rationally in the face of a flood of Islamophobic garbage from folks like Charles Moore.

Blunt assisted in the giving away of state secrets.

His acts, in fact, closely resemble the acts of people like Israeli spy Jonathon Pollard who seriously damaged the security of the United States out of his belief that Israel was entitled to any secret the United States had.

Adding that kind of line to a piece like this is not analysis and it is not intellectually honest but is propaganda of the lowest order.

 

 

 

 

JOHN CHUCKMAN

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

I’ve always thought highly of Lloyd Axworthy, but this piece seems out of character for him, or so it seems to me.

“In Libya, we move toward a more humane world…”

I just can not accept that, and I think the words should choke in Mr. Axworthy’s throat: they are dangerous words, hiding many ugly assumptions.

First, NATO planes have likely killed as many civilians as Gaddafi has. The average reader has to imagine the scale of destruction because the mainline news sources have worked to minimize what has gone on, but the total air-assault by fighter-bombers, heavy bombers, and cruise missiles has been massive. Britain actually was running low for a while on its stock of cruise missiles, and the U.S. has employed everything from B-52s to stealth bombers.

Second, the bombardment has consistently been used for attempted assassination or assassination, either of Gaddafi or his sons, a la Israel’s brutal armed forces. We do not gain a more humane world that way. Quite the opposite, we open the doors of hell.

Third, In any case, you cannot bomb your way to democracy.

Fourth, the original United Nations resolution has been treated as a piece of toilet paper by NATO: creating a no-fly zone has nothing whatsoever to do the massive bombardment NATO has inflicted on Libya.

Contempt for international law and order is certainly not the way towards a more humane world.

The tactics used in Libya are almost exactly those the U.S. used in Afghanistan: American planes bombed the crap out of Taleban-held areas and left the ground fighting almost exclusively to the tribes of the Northern Alliance.

So they not only killed thousands and thousands of civilians in Afghanistan – bombing being everywhere and always inaccurate –  they ended by setting up a government of the cutthroats and warlords of the Northern Alliance in the provinces, people who in many ways are not one wit more desirable from a democratic-values point of view. The central government has almost no authority over them. Afghanistan having no history of meaningful central authority.

And we do see the results in Afghanistan of ten years of killing and destruction: little of real meaning to democratic values has changed, and the waste of life and treasure are totally unjustified.

Last, we know virtually nothing about the forces of the rebels. It was a dark joke for John Baird to make a brief stopover, shake a few pre-selected hands, and make pompous pronouncements.

In the last weeks we saw all kinds of shenanigans in the rebel camp, from the assassination of a military leader to the leaving of a bunch of ministers. We do not know what is going on, but we are readily killing for it. Why?

Libya has oil in significant amounts favorably located for Europe, and the U.S. and its major NATO partners have used the excuse of the rebels to place that oil in grateful hands while at the same time eliminating a leader they have always disliked for reasons having nothing to do with democracy or human rights.

Please remember, the U.S. is always glad to deal with brutal, unelected men – Mubarak in Egypt for 30 years, the leaders in Yemen and Bahrain, the kings of Saudi Arabia, the king of Kuwait, Hussein in Iraq, and on and on – so long as they do commit the crime of failing to toe the line of American policy.

Hardly the stuff of a more humane world.