Archive for July 2012

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: MITT ROMNEY’S REMARKS IN ISRAEL COMPARING THE PALESTINIAN AND ISRAELI ECONOMIES – MANY CALL HIS WORDS RACIST – MAYBE, BUT THEY WERE SURPRISINGLY IGNORANT FOR A MAN IN FINANCE – IMAGINE ROMNEY TRYING TO RUN A BUSINESS UNDER CONDITIONS ISRAEL IMPOSES?

 

 

 

JOHN CHUCKMAN

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

Romney’s comments may well be racist.

But, without question, they are ignorant beyond comprehension for a man who worked in finance.

He’s comparing apples to oranges on a grand scale.

First, Israel is, without question, the most subsidized entity on earth.

Israel’s economy for that reason cannot be sensibly compared to anything.

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, without 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 behalf 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 recognized as 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 has, in no sense of the words, an independent national economy.

It is in truth a gigantic international welfare case.

Second, and equally important in the ignorance contained in Romney’s speech, Palestine has been under occupation for the best part of half a century.

But it is more than an occupation, it is a set of unfair rules and laws actually designed to discourage Palestinians from staying in their homes.

They are not even allowed to repair things without special permissions.

They are not allowed to build roads without special permissions.

They are not allowed to travel without permissions and going through check-points.

They cannot get supplies for businesses because of Israel’s embargo and controls.

They cannot even fly or travel by sea to do business as they wish.

Even international funds for assisting Palestine have been controlled, and plundered, by Israel.

The last I read, Israel even, in contravention of international treaties, controlled and limited the mail going into Gaza.

And, week by week, Israelis literally steal their homes, their farms, and their water resources.

How on earth can you compare an economy under those circumstances to anything?

You cannot.

And wouldn’t it be amusing to watch the arrogant and unthinking Mr. Romney himself try running an efficient business under the circumstances Israel imposes on Palestinians, instead of benefitting from the freewheeling environment of the United States and his ability to shelter his earnings from taxes in the Cayman Islands?

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JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: AN EDITORIAL SPEAKS OF OLYMPIC SPORTS AS INSPIRING AND OF OWNING THE PODIUM – POLITICAL BOOSTERISM WRAPPED IN BAD LANGUAGE

 

 

 

JOHN CHUCKMAN

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

“Owning the podium” is a genuinely stupid expression, full of the kind of unthinking arrogance that is the precise opposite of the character-building qualities so often claimed for sports.

Of course, that phrase is the official Olympics jingle of the politician the Globe endorsed in the last election, so politics play a role in your repeating it.

And, please, sports, while they can entertain and sometimes thrill, cannot “inspire” anyone, unless the person being inspired happens to think in the tired clichés of this sad editorial writer.

Pathetic language, but definitely in keeping with the new low standards for Globe editorials.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: CHUCKMAN COMMENT: ROMNEY’S FOREIGN AFFAIRS SPEECH IN JERUSALEM – RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT IN THE WRONG COUNTRY – CONSEQUENCES OF ISRAEL’S ATTACKING IRAN – NATURE OF DEMOCRACY – TRICKS IN POLLS

 

 

 

JOHN CHUCKMAN

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

He’s supposed to be running for President of the United States, a nation of more than 300 million people with plenty of problems.

So why is it that he goes to Israel to speak on matters which are of no concern to most Americans?

Indeed, why does virtually every candidate and elected Congressman take paid junkets to Israel, a nation of 7 million whose own problems are immense and whose interests mostly have nothing to do with those of the United States?

It’s certainly not the ex-pat vote because that amounts to a few hundred thousand people.

The answer of course is the relentless need for money by the American political machine.

These guys are going to burn through hundreds of millions of dollars in the next few months.

And the American Supreme Court has said that money is free speech.

Well, the single best organized and financed special interest there is is Israel and its American apologists.

When just one American billionaire can donate at least 18 million dollars to John McCain’s efforts to gain the nomination, as Sheldon Adelson very much did, it becomes clear that it is well worth while to make a trip or two, done a yarmulke at the Wall, and make outlandish speeches.

Mr Adelson among others was reported as intending to attend the campaign fund raiser in Israel.

This is the essence of government by and for special interests.
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What is always left unsaid in statements like Romney’s about supporting an Israeli strike on Iran?

Iran has the capability of striking back.

So after Israel bombs yet one more nation, and that nation turns its resources against Israel, as it will be entirely justified in doing after an unprovoked attack, what will Israel’s response be?

I think we all know that Netanyahu’s lying bluster and threats will immediately melt into special pleadings for help from the United States, and the United States will be dragged into yet another war.

It would be a war which serves not one genuine American interest, and, indeed, would do the opposite, alienating the hundreds of millions of people whose native region Western Asia is.

Making policy commitments with those kinds of consequences is beyond being stupid.

It may get him special-interest campaign contributions today while just giving the American people he is supposed to serve one more gigantic life- and money-wasting war.

That is how twisted American national politics have become.
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“Maybe its something to do with a fellow democracy in a part of the world that is ruthless and tyrannical…”

Oh please.

How is Israel a fellow democracy?

A democracy that insists on its being the “Jewish state”?

How is that different to an Islamic state?

What kind of democracy kills 400 children in Gaza, a giant refugee camp?

What kind of democracy drops a million cluster-bomblets on Southern Lebanon?

What kind of democracy keeps people under occupation for the best part of half a century?

What kind of democracy steals the homes and farms of those it occupies regularly?

What kind of democracy keeps thousands in prison with no proper legal proceedings?

What kind of democracy starts wars with every neighbor that it has?

What kind of democracy has systematic practices that some of the world’s best ethical minds have declared are apartheid?

What kind of democracy allows insane settlers to shoot people and cut down olive trees and take property with no penalties?

What kind of democracy doesn’t allow women to approach a national shrine from the same place as men?

What kind of democracy lets people exclude women from buses?

What kind of democracy makes atomic weapons deals with a rogue statel like apartheid South Africa?

What kind of democracy has secret agents running around assassinating people all the time?

What kind of democracy sends commandos to board a humanitarian ship in international waters and shoots a number of the unarmed people in the head?

The only past examples of “democracies” I can think of that are even close are the American Confederacy and the previous governments of South Africa and Rhodesia.
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“63% of Americans support Israel he is representing the will of the majority in supporting Israel.”

“It is hard for anti Israelis to understand democracy.”

As anyone familiar with statistics and polling knows it is always possible to get different answers to the same questions just by asking them in slightly different ways.

This matter came up in the Quebec referendum, and it is an age-old one for pollsters.

Example: “Do you think Romney is a resolute man?” as opposed to, “Do you think Romney a stubborn man?”

I guarantee different numbers to the two essentially-same questions.

Again, positive responses to broad open questions like “Do you support Israel?” are as meaningless as the question.

And quoting them, as you do, is dishonest.

Indeed, many respondents, afraid of being thought anti-Semitic by an unknown caller on the other end of the line, would be constrained to a positive response.

But if you ask the same question with some meat on the bones, you will certainly get a different answer.

For example, “Do you support Israel’s having illicit nuclear weapons?”

Or, “Do you support Israel’s shooting of 400 children in Gaza?”

Or even, “Do you support Israel if its policies take the United States into a costly war?”

And, no, it is not hard for critics of Israel to understand democracy.

Indeed, just the opposite is true.

Israel’s apologists seem blind to the traditional meanings of democracy when it comes to any discussion of Israel.

We went through centuries of oppression to get to the Enlightenment and to the institutionalizing of democratic and human values.

Today’s Israel simply represents a giant step backward.

Indeed, I would add that it is the worst tyrannies who have always been Israel’s secret friends: Mubarak in Egypt, the kings of Saudi Arabia, and the past government of South Africa.

Birds of a feather…

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: FEARS OVER A MASSACRE AT ALEPPO IN SYRIA – THE ONLY GENUINE FEARS ARE AMERICA’S FEARS THAT ITS COSTLY DIRTY OPERATION IN SYRIA IS GOING TO FAIL

 

 

 

JOHN CHUCKMAN

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

I honestly do not think “the world” fears for anything like that claim.

The United States and those mindlessly repeating its prepackaged phrases say they fear.

But what the United States genuinely fears is that this whole elaborate charade of mercenaries and misdirected idealists and smuggled weapons is going to fail.

After all, they’ve put years of effort and a great deal of money into these black operations.

In view of America’s bloody record, how could anyone there fear for a massacre anyway?

They’re busy murdering people daily with death-drones, and they’ve already killed several thousand in several countries.

They’re still running a special-forces Murder Incorporated operation in Afghanistan.

They left Iraq in a shambles with a million dead, two million refugees, no up-to-date services operating, and not a hint of a genuine democracy.

They left three million corpses in Vietnam.

They were responsible for the million or so who died in Cambodia after they destabilized the government with the same kind of crap they’re doing in Pakistan.

And American politicians show no shame in trying to outdo their tokens of support for Israel, the most blood-soaked per-capita government on earth.

As for much of the world, looking honestly at the situation, what they see is a government trying to defend itself against a proxy army put together by foreigners, and that is what armies anywhere are supposed to do.

No, there are no genuine fears of massacre.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: THE JOHN TORY REPORT ON THE FUTURE OF ONTARIO PLACE IN TORONTO – A LITTLE HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE

 

 

 

JOHN CHUCKMAN

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

The report has it about right, but it nevertheless seems a vast waste of time and energy.

The government of Ontario does not have the means to do what it did in the early 1970s.

And, yes, even in the 1970s, transportation was a problem.

The original project was actually not well thought out.

I remember Ontario – read: Toronto – was desperate to compete with Montreal after the World’s Fair.

Indeed, a funny little-remembered anecdote recalls this.

Toronto had built some modernistic benches to contribute the site of Montreal’s fair.

They were not of a very nice design, with a chunky flat wooden seat held by two large cement pyramids, whose points were above the seat, on each end, not the sort of thing to invite sitting.

But at the end of Expo, Toronto went to the expense of hauling them back from Montreal to place in some of its public sites. It seemed genuinely petty.

It was just how provincial we were then.

Ontario Place, I’m sure, was conceived as Toronto’s answer back for the glamour of Expo.

When it first opened, it was pretty boring, architecture on the lake with little to do.

The design of the pods sitting on the lake never made much sense: when you walked around these structures, there was absolutely nothing there, just structure to look at.

As they added attractions to the site, it began to generate a following.

However, it was all heavily subsidized, and as charges for things later climbed and as other attractions competed with it – new stuff at the Island and Canada’s Wonderland – and as transportation links were not good, it withered on the vine.

Nothing has happened to change that situation, and the government doesn’t have the proverbial pot in which to piss

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: CANADA’S PATHETIC FOREIGN MINISTER SAYS HE’S LOOKING FORWARD TO ASSAD-FREE SYRIA – SUPPORTING THE UNDERDOG – U.S. AND ISRAEL AS BULLIES – HILLARY AS INSPIRATIONAL SPEAKER FROM HELL

 

 

 

JOHN CHUCKMAN

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

“Baird looks ahead to post-Assad Syria…”

And the great majority of Canadians look ahead to a post-Baird Canada.

What a servile and utterly undistinguished man is in charge of our foreign service.

Not a word about the dirty forces at work here causing many deaths, only the dishonest pretense that the revolt is a genuine uprising for democratic interests.

He gets all his cues from Hillary, and likely he called her for approval of his words before even opening his mouth.

He’s pathetic.
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“Baird looks ahead to post-Assad Syria? from the way i am seeing it Assad forces are defeating the western backed terrorists. How can Baird look at ahead at a post Assad Syria.”

A good point.

Despite increased American resources secretly pouring in, Syria’s army – and it is Syria’s army – is looking to be victorious in recent efforts.

Anyway, I hope so, and not because I support non-elected leaders but because I more strongly oppose non-elected international bullies like the US and Israel, and I generally support victims against oppressors.
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“So? Who died and made Baird God so that he can postulate the fate of the world?

“What’s in the air in Ottawa that gives these guys their I’m-the-king-of-the-world complex?”

That’s how Hillary makes you feel when you call her to grovel. She’s the inspirational speaker from Hell.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: CHINA’S CNOOC MAKES LARGE BID FOR NEXEN IN CANADA’S OIL PATCH – WILL HARPER GOVERNMENT ALLOW IT? – SOME FACTS ON AMERICA’S HEAVY INFLUENCE IN ALBERTA

 

 

 

JOHN CHUCKMAN

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

If Harper is serious about Pacific trade, then there isn’t even an issue here.

The obstacle of course is the United States, which takes exception to major Chinese investments, a ridiculous position based on militarism and not economics.

So far as Canada’s genuine interests go, substantial Chinese investment is an excellent investment in future relations with this economic powerhouse.
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“Nothing like a Chinese State owned outfit, buying up large tracks of our energy resources…’

Since Alberta is already owned – virtually lock, stock, and barrel – by the United States, some diversification can only be good for Canada.
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“What a hot potatoe.”

Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the comments, she’s back!

Ericka from Americka.

And just like good old Dan Quayle, she can’t spell “potato.”
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“A lot of the West’s animosity of Chinese is pure racism. We don’t like Chinese unless they’re under our thumb.”

There is some truth there, undoubtedly, but it is far from the whole story.

The fact is that Alberta is in many ways an extension of America.

Going back to the days of offering Crown Lands, I believe something on the order of half the takers were Americans crossing the border.

The Alberta oil industry is virtually owned by Americans.

The towers in Calgary are filled with Americans.

Alberta’s only serious market, except for gas in Canada, is America which puts a crimp in producer prices.

The government in Alberta even sometimes styles itself in American fashion – for example, its website speaking of “the executive branch” when of course there is no such thing under a parliamentary government.

And note Preston Manning who runs an outfit that is a miniature replica of one of America’s “think-tanks,” institutions which are little more than well financed propaganda mills and sinecure positions for those who’ve served the imperial cause well.

And just so Manning, playing president of a propaganda mill financed by some of America’s most right wing oil boys.

Albertan views on the Senate too have nothing to do with genuine democratic interests. They reflect a desire to copy America’s most paralyzing and corrupt political institution.

Our Dear Leader has made many statements over time reflecting his obsessive American bias, and he too is a protégé of good old Preston Manning.
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“All the regular welfare unemployed lefties out in force today.”

Why are people who have a different point of view to yours characterized as “welfare lefties”?

Your views are rendered stupid simply by your choice of words.

You write without ever informing yourself of anything, and you write with contempt as well as ignorance.