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Monthly Archives: October 2012

 

 

 

JOHN CHUCKMAN

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

Well, we should be grateful for small blessings.

This time we only had piracy on the high seas instead of piracy with slaughter of innocents.

I have no idea how Israel’s defenders and apologists think they are defending something worthwhile.

Israel is a savage state, and almost all of our troubles in the Middle East trace back to its savagery.
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A writer below has pointed out a Salon article on Israel’s detailed planning of just enough calories to prevent those in Gaza from dying, and he wonders if it’s true.

Yes, indeed, Salon actually is rather late in pointing out what was known a long time ago.

Remember, in the early stages of the illegal blockade of a million and a half people how even chocolate bars were seized and not allowed in?

People scratched their heads about why that should be so.

The reason was simply the nazi-like calorie count.

It is not widely understood – you must read many news sources and interpolate – but after Israel’s bloody attack on the convoy of Turkish-origin ships, killing about ten unarmed people in cold blood and seizing everyone’s personal effects, the United States quietly pressured Israel to allow a higher amount of calories in.

That’s just one of the reasons Netanyahu so hates Obama that he’s interfering in an American election with personal ads in places like Florida. He’s committing an illegal act in doing so, but what American politician dare call him on it?

These facts are just the bare suggestion of the dirty stuff that goes on in Israel’s brutal campaign to rid itself of remaining Palestinians and take their land.

No person who loves freedom and human rights can do anything but condemn Israel’s ghastly behavior.

But at the national level in the United States, no one dares say a word, the political campaign-fund and media-treatment consequences being too great for America’s cowardly politicians.

And, by the way, Harper is carefully moving Canada, with each passing day, towards the same ugly destination: a place where Israel’s interests appear equal or even superior to our national interests because of campaign funding and its power to make elections.

 

 

 

JOHN CHUCKMAN

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

Muscularity?

Is that what you call the killing of thousands of innocent people – often women and children – by buzz-cut thugs at the controls of computer games with real missiles?

Is that what you call having “kill lists” of American citizens?

Is that what you call the horrors secretly initiated in Syria?

Or the fact that the CIA’s torture gulag was never dealt with?

Well, muscularity has definitely been the image sought by some governments. Posters of Mussolini typically featured that quality.

For Canadians and most of the rest of the world, it really does not matter which of these sociopaths is elected.

Romney has always been an unattractive, nasty-minded figure, and Obama has thrown off virtually every quality that made him once attractive and a source of hope.

The only issue that makes any difference for the future of world affairs between these two is their degree of subservience to Israel.

Romney literally grovels to the madmen now running Israel.

Obama, while not setting the standards of toughness towards Israel required for genuine peace, has at least not quite grovelled.

And he has so earned the hatred of Netanyahu that that lunatic is busy interfering in an American election with ads made for Florida, a criminal act by the way under American law.

 

 

 

JOHN CHUCKMAN

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

Trump is this generation’s outstanding example of American sleaze.

We know perfectly well that were this absurd offer to Obama taken up, Trump’s $5 million so-called donation would be turned into a charitable write-off on his taxes.

Trump is a belligerent, vulgar loudmouth who has a no skill but in in separating people from their money, but in America both those qualities are counted as genuine talents.

Otherwise, he’s a ridiculous-looking man with yellow-dyed hair grown a foot long at the back of his head and combed forward, a man who is rarely photographed without his mouth wide open, his teeth bared, and his finger stabbing at someone.

If Americans didn’t worship money, he would be viewed as the uncouth bully he is.

 

 

 

JOHN CHUCKMAN

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

Hillary once commanded considerable sympathy for the grief her spouse subjected her to and admiration for her intelligence.

But her time as Secretary of State has in my mind obliterated all of that.

Her tenure has been marked by the most intensely ugly behavior towards the world and towards all interests outside of the narrow ones of the United States and its nasty sidekick Israel.

It has been almost painful to see and hear her as eager chief spokesperson for unnecessary wars, drone murders, torture, threats, and abuse of every description.

In that sense she’s all set to run for president now because American presidents for decades pretty much follow the line laid out by America’s military-intelligence establishment in its role of supporting powerful special interests.

It’s not a pretty picture in America. Its foreign policy consists of pushing people around who do not agree with America’s narrow interests, often killing great masses of them and destroying their economies.

America is not, in any real sense, a democracy. It never claimed to be one in the past, always terming itself a republic, that vaguest in meaning of all words for political organization. But now it is an outright plutocracy. Yes, elections are held, but they are based entirely on money as nowhere else in the world, and only candidates deemed worthy by the establishment have any chance of receiving their share of campaign funds.

As we know from economics, firms in less-than-competitive industries – industries organized under what is called imperfect competition – spend great sums on advertising and minor product differentiation. What they are doing with their efforts is building insurmountable barriers against the effective entry of new competitors to their industry. The same principles exactly apply to national politics.

Only candidates who can fit comfortably into this special-interest, money-drenched, undemocratic political system can possibly get one of the two nominations which exist in a carefully controlled political duopoly.

Hillary has demonstrated how well she qualifies.

And just as is the case of the current election – Obama or Romney, who cares? – it makes virtually no real difference who wins. Not one candidate has any leeway to be genuinely different or original.

America has become the world’s ugly bully, having killed several millions in the last few decades and having made tens of millions miserable and homeless, all while mouthing meaningless phrases about freedom and rights and democracy. And only proven bullies or sociopaths need apply for the job.

Hillary has all that down pat, the required qualities fitting her like a custom-made glove, so I’m sure she’ll run.

 

 

 

JOHN CHUCKMAN

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

Bullying in Canada is nothing more than a soapbox topic.

The soapbox gets pulled from the closet every now and then, as when Amanda Todd was so brutalized, to stand on for a cheap speech.

The fact is that complicit bystanders generally are teachers and school officials.

They are the ones in authority, and it is owing to nothing less than a cowardly shirking of duty that bullying happens in our schools.

You cannot blame the children when their local adult example is an example of indifference or cowardice.

It really is a very simple matter: are we to have civil society in our schools so that we have some hope that the generations passing through grow up as more responsible citizens?

You cannot teach civility or human decency when this goes on, as it does regularly.

Slogans and programs are pointless expenses are not much more than a cover-your-behind effort and an utter waste of time and money when a poor example is shown by those with the authority.

I know the difference that is made by a responsible adult from my own childhood experience, and I have never failed to intervene when there is genuine bullying or violence involved.

Also, we should not forget that there are more than a few teachers who are themselves bullies.

There were when I was a child, and the experience of a friend brought the fact powerfully back to me recently, a case of a horrible teacher going beyond bullying to vicious verbal abuse and the baring of teeth against a woman worker for a Board, in front of others, including a school superintendent, who did nothing.

And what powers do the higher authorities have in these matters?

Virtually none because they have abdicated to the teachers’ union and to bullying parents.

So, it is time, politicians and senior school officials and editorialists, to put up or shut up. It is very tiresome to keep hearing about a problem that is completely avoided other than buying some t-shirts or other slogan-laden promotional premiums.

Either take some genuine action or quit talking about the problem you deliberately avoid even as you speak of it.

And what do I think are the chances of that?

About the same as were the chances for zero-tolerance of violence in the schools. The policy, a sound one, was swept under the rug quickly with the firsts objections from affected parents.
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“Public shaming – reduces the big, strong men who threaten little girls anonymously or from behind automatic weapons to the wee, limp men they are.”

Again, an example of the soapbox pulled out, but the statement helps no one because it is utterly non-operational.

Someone has to lead and direct the effort.

Just saying “public shaming” is a bit like saying bullies should be told their behavior is unacceptable.

Yes, but who does the telling?

This issue has always been about leadership in the defense of human values.
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I see good old Margaret Wente is at it again with her predictably titled squib, “The best protection against bullying isn’t legislation.”

Of course no one is permitted to comment now on the dishonest words of the Globe’s only demonstrated plagiarist.

But it is fitting she too should chime in on bullying.

She’s been a verbal bully for years, often attacking what she doesn’t even understand.

And does anyone remember her filthy words about Palestinian mothers not loving their children a few years back?

The words of a genuine bully, surely.

 

 

 

JOHN CHUCKMAN

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

Portables are not an answer, especially for young children in kindergarten.

What is well known in public education circles is that Toronto has long held on to an inordinate number of tiny, poor-quality neighborhood schools.

What a well-functioning Board would do is to build a series of larger, well-equipped schools and close all of the tiny ones.

The underlying economies have changed hugely from 80 years ago, but Toronto’s pathetic Board doesn’t seem to understand.

For the most part today, when you want hardware, you go to a big box store loaded with everything you can imagine, not a narrow little place that likely won’t have what you need half the time.

And the economic forces are no different for schools.

An old neighborhood school of maybe 200 students can only offer a mediocre education today, the costs per capita being too great to be able to offer a rich program.

In a larger school, serving a larger area, you can have music, art, a library, and some specialist teachers in subjects like math.

Right now, TDSB is offering an utterly inferior education to many young people, one not competitive with world standards, owing just to this economy of scale factor, not to mention poor standards and unprepared teachers.

If there were any management at TDSB, I wouldn’t have to point this obvious fact out.

But there isn’t any: just a not-especially-bright ex-football player, a bunch of timid ex-teacher superintendents, and a political Board whose only aim is getting re-elected and making no waves.

Our kids are being robbed in the elementary grades especially when all the foundations are laid for future success.

JOHN CHUCKMAN

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

Of course, the right-wing hacks who regularly write editorials at the Stackhouse Globe would say that.

A bloody military organization for a peace prize?

A military organization which, with the end of the Cold War, has no legitimate purpose beyond maintaining American hegemony in Europe and serving as a responsibility-diffusing “front” for brutal American policies like those in Afghanistan or Libya or Yemen or Syria?

An organization which in recent years has killed tens of thousands?

The prize for the EU was a bit flaky, but the Globe’s suggestion is genuinely mentally-unbalanced.

But then the Peace Prize has almost no meaning any more in view of its shabby record.

Other winners include Barack Obama, who is now busy slaughtering thousands of people by drones; Henry Kissinger, a genuine war criminal; Andrei Sakharov, father of the Russian hydrogen bomb; Simon Peres, political father of Israel’s nuclear arsenal; Menachim Begin, an old Irgun terrorist with lots of blood on his hands; Al Gore, the biggest phony pitchman since Oral Roberts; Mother Teresa, a religious zealot of questionable ethics; and Aung San Suu Kyi who plays the professional victim for American foreign policy besides being a bit off her nutter.

By the way, the Globe editorially now seems an out-of-date Cold Warrior. I hesitate to say it, but the tone really has become almost un-Canadian. Look South to the land of Captain Ahab chasing after White Whales for its origin.
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I’m nominating John Stackhouse next year for his diplomatic finesse in dealing with the embarrassing Margaret Wente.

He managed to make both plagiarism and hypocrisy quietly acceptable.

No one was hurt in the ugly battle (not counting the Globe’s reputation), and everyone went home keeping a job.

That’s about as much an achievement as some of the actual winners have under their belts.

And ethically it’s in keeping with the tone of this editorial where, as in Orwell’s Oceania, “war is peace.”

We just add “lying is truth” to Globe slogans.

 

 

 

JOHN CHUCKMAN

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

What do you expect when you hire an ex-football player to run a school board?

The Director had a record of absolutely no genuine achievement at the Hamilton Board from which he was hired.

In addition, he has always been a rather pathetic publicity hound, running around to schools and meetings with a cameraman in tow to record all the put-on smiles.

He was also known as a guy who couldn’t look you directly in the eye.

His international travel was self-promoting and costly, some of it done quite surreptitiously, serving again no purpose but his own advancement.

The Toronto Board was long dysfunctional when they took him on, hoping against hope to get some results with disadvantaged kids or at least to gain a long breathing space as people patiently wait for something new or good to happen at the Board.

But that hope is delusional.

Starting an Afro-centric high school with six students?

Hiring your close relative as a school principal?

Failing to deal with any of the problems which are endemic to this Board?

JOHN CHUCKMAN

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

I can’t see this claim at all.

Constitutional rights are fundamental and apply to all and in all circumstances, no matter what the situation.

Being able to form a union and bargain is not of quite the same nature.

It is a right in law, but not in Constitutional law which takes precedence over other laws.

The teachers’ union is making a bigger fool of itself in this than it already is.

From those to whom so very much has been given, comparatively little is being asked now.

To try making that a Constitutional issue the same as free speech or freedom of religion demonstrates a complete lack of reality and invites scorn from the public.

The fact is teachers are free to have their union still (free association), but the government, owing to financial exigencies, could not accommodate their demands.

This is not tyranny in any possible sense of the word, but represents only the realities of governing at times.

When I hear representatives of the union say babyish things like the financial mess is the government’s own problem, I want to puke. The government is us, not some third party out there in space. That fact too is an essential part of democratic values.

The teachers’ union of course is a form of monopoly, a monopoly in the supply of labor to a large and important institution in society, and we all know monopolies do not think like competitive firms.

Monopolies in the economic realm themselves share some of the very characteristics of tyrannies in the political realm.

In all of this, the public would do well to remember that the union basically refused to come to the table when the government asked them.

And why was that?

It was a cheap trick to buy time so that the automatic salary increases could go into effect before the government could act. Hardly heroic or brave or having to do with any right.

JOHN CHUCKMAN

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

It wasn’t so just 50 years ago, but now you never hear words about workers or the poor.

It’s a reflection of two developments.

First, the middle class has grown in size with general prosperity.

Second, politicians have discovered that it is the middle class who dependably vote, not poor people.

The results are inevitable, even if the words of politicians are annoying.

I would also throw in the modern philosophical reality that in America – which influences everyone with its spillage – any notion of class warfare is verboten: Americans are just all happy consumers of one level of spending or another.

In the United States, the appeal of the term “middle class’ is such that people as low on the totem pole as, say, Wal-Mart workers view themselves as being middle-class.

Further to this development in language, Americans, for years now, have not been addressed as “citizens” but as “consumers” at 4th-of-July-picnic speeches by local politicians.

The vision is of one vast conveyor belt of production and distribution and marketing to a sea of mouths.

JOHN CHUCKMAN

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

“Please tell me why I went to school for 10 years if I can be so easily be replaced by someone with so little training in diagnosis.”

Sorry, but the comment’s author, a doctor, misses the point.

Pharmacists, under the policy, can renew only, and only for a limited time.

No diagnosis is involved with established conditions.

As you may know, many doctors have seriously abused the renewal of prescriptions in recent years, some demanding people return to the office every three months to renew something they’ve taken for years.

When the patient gets there, he waits and then his blood pressure is taken and the doctor writes a script (still usually paper, and barely legible) – a total effort of 3 to 4 minutes.

No diagnosis, no investigation, no effort – just a quick fee, a fair amount of inconvenience, and inefficiency of a high order.

For that he collects a generous fee from OHIP, which were it an hourly rate for most working people would put them fairly high into the middle class.

But it not an hourly fee, it is a four-minute fee.

On top of everything else, with the serious shortage of doctors, such behavior simply clogs the pipeline for those without a doctor.

This behavior in the view of many borders on the unethical, and it is at least certainly poor use of resources.

If our system is to become efficient, many changes are required.

This is a step in the right direction.

It is the doctors who in fact block many genuine innovations.

When I lived in Maine, more than a decade ago, the system made extensive use of physicians’ assistants, highly trained people based on the model of the military’s medics.

They all worked under doctors – so that, if there was uncertainty in a case, the doctor would be called in – but they had considerable leeway and could prescribe a limited range of drugs.

The system worked beautifully, and the PAs took a great deal of pressure off the system. It was a happy innovation.

But more than a decade later in Ontario, PAs are almost unheard of. Why is that? The pressure of the medical profession.

Foreign-trained doctors, too, are given a hard time to establish themselves here, again a result of pressure from existing doctors.

Of the several Ontario doctors I’ve experienced over the last decade, only one even made use of a computer for prescriptions. Hand-writing these important documents is 19th century. It leads to errors, corrections, and it is just plain inefficient.

Further on the pharmacists: these people use sophisticated computer programs that advise of things like interactions and lay before them a well-organized view of a patient’s history.

Pharmacists are likely more knowledgeable in chemistry than most general practitioners, too, although the point is not essential to this policy.

Any big system needs constant improvements and new efficiencies to prevent its tumbling into economic backwardness, and OHIP has been unbelievably slow to implement and promote these to a meaningful extent.

The average doctor, I’m sure, is quite happy with things as they are. And why not? A line-up of patients, many for trivial purposes, but that situation is stagnant and does not contribute to best use of human and physical resources. Meanwhile, many cannot even get a family doctor.

Gorilla, Apenheul Primate Park, Apeldoorn, Netherlands.JOHN CHUCKMAN

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

Ford undoubtedly has roughly the same base fraction of voters that Harper does.

For those people, I’m sure he can do no wrong no matter how irrational and nasty his acts.

It is one of the not-so-pretty aspects of democracy that Churchill spoke of quite strikingly.

After all, the Bell curve means nearly half of any population is sub-normal in intelligence, and if you go down the curve another standard deviation, you reach Rob Ford’s base territory.
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Statistics say that 1 out 4 people need psychiatric care so this would explain 25% of the 26% of these voters. The other 1% must just be totally insane.”

That’s darkly funny, but it is not so far from the truth.

The percentage of mentally unbalanced people in any society does vary, but it is a surprisingly large number for a place like Toronto when you take account of all the different problems from schizophrenia and manic-depression to depression and autism.

This represents another way of segmenting the total population over and apart from the intelligence spectrum.

Whatever way you segment the population, a guy like Ford attracts the group you wouldn’t want to have an extended conversation with.
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“Judging from the fat, hill-billy jokes, the majority of Ford bashing here centers around Ford’s looks: He’s short, fat and doesn’t have an $80 haircut. He also doesn’t mince words.”

They do that only as a short-hand way of describing his ugliness.

What makes people dislike him viscerally is his mouth and his behavior.

The guy was a spoiled brat kid, and he thinks he’s entitled to act the fool and insult people.

How can you defend a man who runs a streetcar door and then reports the poor driver who chided him, trying to get the driver fired?

How can you defend a man who gives the finger to an old lady who observes him breaking the law?

How can you defend a man who calls 9-1-1 when he sees a well-known comedian in his driveway?

How can you defend a man who yells at the poor 9-1-1 operators, “I’m the f-ckin’ mayor”?

How can you defend a man who was arrested years ago for drunk-driving?

As for not mincing words, you confuse stupidity with force of mind.

The man is a complete slob, ethically, physically, and mentally.
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“Tribe Smitherman will be avenged. They lost their big chance.”

You have that just plain wrong.

Smitherman was a terrible candidate, one who failed in his every big responsibility in the provincial government and lacks an attractive personality too.

It was only because there was no good alternative choice that the Big Fat Idiot won.
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Leaving aside his ugly personality and genuinely stupid stunts, the basic fact is that Ford has achieved very little.

Toronto remains an inefficient city, and Ford has not sorted much out.

He spent a huge amount of energy and time on his anti-streetcar theme – it was as stupid an effort almost as Miller’s huge flap over the perfectly good island airport – and he lost.

And you don’t balance budgets by cancelling a tax – the vehicle tax, used in many, many cities, including the Chicago he visited – to start with.

There are many gigantic problems he doesn’t touch, including, for example, the disgraceful fact that Toronto sends daily fleets of garbage trucks down the highway or that the high-rise population does not have a good recycling program.

He has also gone out of his way to alienate groups, as the clear example of gays, for no good reason but as, one supposes, a quiet statement of his own limited beliefs. The Mayor of Chicago would never do that.

He’s not a man who can finesse anything, and good mayors must be able to that.

His general mental outlook, judging from his own words and deeds, is that of a Sarah Palin – that is to say, an unintelligent bubble-head.
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“These 11 reasons are why many people say Toronto is a failed city, with nothing interesting to offer , the Detroit of Canada”

The Detroit of Canada?

Have you ever visited Detroit?

Your comparison is ridiculous.

Detroit is a totally decayed hellhole.

Toronto is a prosperous city with some problems which need sorting out.

A great man once said: Let thy speech be better than silence, or be silent. You’d be wise to heed him.

 

 

 

JOHN CHUCKMAN

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

A “new” Romney?

A “hesitant” Obama?

Yes, perhaps for one hour on a particular night in one year.

God knows Romney had nothing to lose: he could go for broke – that is, “broke” for him, which isn’t much.

And God knows what was running through Obama’s mind – maybe, a deeply concerning fact on national security or some other matter he had just been advised of.

But we all know that performance is not Obama in full campaign mode.

And we equally know that Romney offers no special promise of performance: he’s been running for president for at least five years (he spent $20 million of his own money in a desperate dash for the nomination in 2008), so we know Romney’s attitudes and behaviors, and they are not attractive nor are they even interesting.

Romney is a man who has never done anything but pursue wealth, and he has done so ruthlessly and without principle (as in keeping money offshore) – a mighty dull and unpromising individual to do anything else and a man the majority of people can no more identify and sympathize with than those in Canada can identify with that icy ideologue, Stephen Harper (whose “majority” represents only 39% of voters and is only an artifact of the democratic deficit in our voting system ).

Only a foolish person would draw definitive conclusions from that brief time on the stage and assert that the campaign was “beginning.”

But, as readers know, Globe editorials under John Stackhouse have reached an all-time record for juvenile, narrow thinking.

 

 

 

JOHN CHUCKMAN

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

Well said, indeed.

You’ve captured many aspects of the person and the situation perfectly.

The words about Harper being an actor who understands his own limiting persona are brilliantly discerning.

I’m quite concerned about the charming and attractive Justin going for the leadership.

First, his presence in the race may well intimidate other, possibly more talented and suitable candidates.

He does very much appear to lack the fierce intelligence of his father, his personality traits being more like those of his mother, albeit without her excesses.

But even a Pierre Trudeau might well not succeed today, our interests and attitudes having changed a great deal.

There is a huge burden on the shoulders of the next Liberal leader: Harper’s thugs are changing almost everything we have understood Canada as representing, and our international reputation has plummeted as we are seen as a complete servant of American-Israeli interests. Another majority would be hideous.

We desperately need a strong, effective leader of the Liberal Party, someone who can at least prevent a majority, and someone with shrewd political judgment. The NDP certainly has selected the right kind of leader for the times with Mulcair.

Another amateur-hour Ignatieff, a man with no support from people and no expertise and a man with weak personality traits, would be disaster.

The Liberal Party’s insiders are responsible for the entire Harper Era.

First, there was the infighting against a very popular and competent Prime Minister.

Then there was the nasty work inside the Party against Chretien supporters.

Then there was the poor handling of what was in many ways an understandable scandal whose roots were in serious concern with the country’s future, not just graft.

Then there was the failure to select Bob Rae, one of the most polished politicians of our day.

The less able but likable Dion was given no chance and inadequate support.

The pompous and surprisingly thinly talented Ignatieff was stuffed into the leadership with no democratic support, just as the insiders had intended when they recruited him in the United States.

His judgment proved a disaster.

The Party insiders have failed us entirely, and one hopes their role with Trudeau is not similar.

 

 

 

JOHN CHUCKMAN

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

Yes, indeed, and what a sad excuse of a foreign minister for a country which has long strongly supported the UN.

But of course his purposes are other than what they might seem from his obtuse words.

His first purpose, always and everywhere, is to support the United States, echoing and mimicking its prejudices and excesses.

Recall, it was the “Baird faction” in the United States that actually violated treaty obligations to refuse paying UN dues for a long period of time.

And it has always been the United States that tries manipulating what it wants out of the UN, giving American actions in foreign policy the plausibility of world support,

But when it fails to achieve that support from the UN, as in its infernal plots in Syria or its war crimes in Iraq, it grabs up its briefing books and runs home yelling about backward forces and lack of American values.

Baird is simply a pipsqueak version of the same thing, and he behaves in this appalling way to gain whatever little nods of approval he may get from the people really in charge of every decision made in his office.

The second purpose is, always and everywhere, to be blubbering support for Israel’s outrageous behavior.

Israel has, and has long had, utter contempt for the UN.

Israel’s attitude is actually bitterly ironic, because Israeli leaders love to quote the various events in the past which supposedly legitimate their current situation, UN actions being amongst them.

But, at the same time, Israel hates the UN for all its past resolutions holding Israel responsible for acts it doesn’t want to be responsible for.

In effect, Israel’s attitude is the same as that of the United States towards the UN: it’s just fine if it gives me what I want, and it is hateful when it doesn’t.

Precisely the attitude of a bully, one with no respect for genuine democratic values or individual rights.

And John Baird is in eager pursuit of the kind of campaign-finance support for his party that always comes from the Israeli lobby when a leader appears to be putting Israel’s interests on a par with, or even sometimes beyond, those of your own country.

 

 

 

JOHN CHUCKMAN

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

A little kindness I would hope.

Having been a child-soldier is only a small part of what happened to this bright and brave young man.

He was shot in the back by American soldiers.

Then he was treated in prison for a long period with no appreciation for his horrible wounds, wounds that would take a long time to heal.

Indeed, his early American military interviewer deliberately used the pain and discomfort of his wounds as a form of torture, making him sit up for his sessions.

He was held in Guantanamo with no access to lawyers or family or the Red Cross, a place which in those days resembled outdoor zoo cages with men in orange suits chained on their knees.

And we know terrible things were done, a number of prisoners having died from their abuse.

Every day would be smirking American torturers who did everything they could to make their prisoners uncomfortable, including sleep-deprivation and ugly acts like the desecration of the Koran.

It would be hard to imagine the terror a 15- or 16-year old experienced under such circumstances.

And in all of this, the basic fact remains that Omar Khadr did not kill that American soldier for which he has been found guilty. We have independent testimony to that fact.

But Khadr was finally reduced to pleading guilty to the charge since it was clear it was his only hope for any kind of future.

However, even supposing he had killed the soldier, Americans just overlook the fact that they were themselves the invaders of the country, and invading soldiers get killed all the time.

Khadr and others in volunteering over there only did what tens of thousands have done in the past, including in emotional events like the Spanish Civil War which drew volunteers from many lands.

And Americans have a long history of being soldiers of fortune, going over to distant lands to kill just for adventure and pay.

There is no tradition of treating such volunteers the way Khadr was treated.

And there is an international convention on the treatment of child soldiers to which the United States is a signatory and which the United States deliberately ignored in all of its dealings with Khadr.

On top of everything else, this is a boy of superior intelligence who has been deprived of any kind of proper education.

In God’s name, one hopes that Harper does not display his worst instincts with this young man, playing to the ugly crowd of witch-burners and anti-humanitarians, but I am not hopeful and feel sure comments will be posted here by the hate-filled extremists to whom Harper regularly caters.

 

 

 

JOHN CHUCKMAN

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

He’s a known liar.

He regularly behaves like a madman.

He regularly rants about attacking an innocent nation.

His own country long ago did what he is misrepresenting Iran as doing, and still doesn’t admit it.

He himself has ordered numerous murders and assassinations.

He regularly validates the outright theft of the homes and farms of others.

In any court, on any charge, in any land, this man’s testimony would be valued at zero.
____________________________________

A word on Netanyahu’s kindergarten bomb graphic.

You would think that a man representing a country which actually has an illicit nuclear arsenal could do a better job of representing a bomb than this road-runner-and-coyote display.

The man really has no shame.
_____________________________________

“All you need to know about the likelihood of a peaceful resolution between Palestine and Israel can be found by reading the Hamas charter.”

Nonsense.

The Charter is words, and old words.

People who are desperate and lacking in means often say things reflecting their state.

Do you think that in the Old South slaves talked affectionately about their masters?

What about Israel’s actual deeds?

Murder.

Theft.

Lying.

War.
__________________________________

“It is obvious President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is a crazyman.”

No it is not obvious. Not in the least.

He’s not the one ranting and foaming at the mouth and insulting American statesmen and interfering in an American Presidential election and demanding war whose consequences no one knows.

Ahmadinejad is an exceptionally intelligent man, having a PhD in Engineering and being a fairly successful man in a country bigger than France.

Out press is so full of re-written press releases from the American State Department and Israeli interests that he is pretty consistently represented as unbalanced.

There is not one shred of evidence for saying that.

Even his oft-repeated statement about Israel’s future, repeated over and over by the kind of pro-Israeli hacks always attracted to a story like this, misrepresents what he said in his native tongue.

What he actually said was pretty much the same thing a secret CIA study said, Israel is not likely to last terribly much longer, and its end in its present form will not be from war.

He has never threatened Israel, and he does not hate Jewish people.

He does hate Israel’s abuse of its power and its abuse of 4.5 million people, and he resents – along with countless millions of others – America’s constant interference in the region and its validating Israel’s repeated criminal acts.
______________________________

Think: Colin Powell, Colin Powell, Colin Powell.

And remember that after the Bush administration was finally over, Powell much regretted what he had to do at the UN.

 

 

 

JOHN CHUCKMAN

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

Peter MacKay is simply an embarrassment.

He doesn’t know what he is talking about, yet he insists on talking in public.

And he does so as part of his ridiculous trip to accept an award, an award from, of all institutions on the planet, the Pentagon.

His “award” represents the kind of plaque given to aluminum siding salespeople for exceeding an annual quota.

Had he any effective intelligence and pride, he would have quietly turned down this “award.”

After all, his only merit in getting it is committing our poor country to spend tens-of-billions dollars on a useless plane which cannot even do what it was designed to do.

But the Pentagon is happy because Canada is helping subsidize their long efforts to rejig this high-tech albatross.

Boy, if I ran a aluminum siding company, I’d sure award a salesman who dumped a carload of unsalable merchandise like that.

But as a citizen of Canada, it is degrading to see this mediocrity – supposedly a senior minister of Canada – go grovel in front of powerful Americans in exchange for a crummy plaque and a moment of press exposure.

What does MacKay know about Iran? Nothing.

What does MacKay know about nuclear technology? Nothing.

What does MacKay know about the use of Israeli propaganda like the phrase “red lines”? Nothing.

And what does MacKay know about telling the truth?

Nothing, as he has amply proved through his entire national political career from the way he tore up an agreement that gave him a leadership position to the way he insulted a woman in public and just laughed and to the way he abused the authority of his position with men and equipment intended for serious purposes dedicated to his fishing-trip travel.

A moral and ethical nullity.

That is the value of the words coming from this man.
____________________________________

“Wow, the HARPER Government keeps sweeping up these international awards, don’t they?”

There’s an award out there somewhere for anything you care to name.

The indescribably repulsive Tony Blair has received a number of them for his efforts as mass murderer.

Harper is called a “statesman,” after blowing every single opportunity to achieve anything meaningful in the world and lowering his country’s reputation.

He was given his award by a smiling and charming elder host in a yarmulke whose idea of statesmanship undoubtedly focuses on Harper’s self-declared crusade for Israel and Israeli values, having nothing to do with Canada or with the welfare of the world in general.

MacKay is given his award by the world’s largest institution dedicated to killing people, as a sign of gratitude for a fat contract.

Awards are nothing more than presents from wealthy people used to promote their purposes. Rarely do they represent genuine merit or achievement.

It is a form of marketing.

 

 

 

JOHN CHUCKMAN

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

This simply is not an issue, except for the war-hawk types in America and their followers in Canada.

Most of Canada’s oil industry has been foreign-owned for ages, especially American-owned.

If you are going to go on about foreign ownership, it is America’s ownership which requires concern.

But, no, we don’t hear about that any more.

So why this about China?

Simply a further expression of deep American influence in Canada.

America treats China as almost an unfriendly country, but that is ridiculous, and it is a reflection of America’s military-industrial complex’s way of regarding the world.

If you are going to have foreign ownership in energy – which we do, overwhelmingly in oil – diversification of national interests would be a good policy.

And if you are going to buy lots of manufactured goods from China – which we do and America does in massive amounts – then you need to give them an outlet for investing all those dollars piling up there.

The Chinese have demonstrated themselves good corporate citizens abroad, over and over again – indeed, far more so than America’s constellation of international companies.

China will without question become the world’s most important economy within a couple of decades – no matter what America does or says. If you want to be on good terms with China, you must play fairly with them, something the United States, envious of their growth, does not do.

It is so ironic that massive, international American companies like Walmart or Apple could not even exist today without China.

Last, Nexen represents a tiny percentage of Canada’s total production.

 

 

 

JOHN CHUCKMAN

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

Defends herself?

Is that what you call these less-than-honest words?

Words which add up to shabby hypocrisy?

Actually, this piece is interesting for what it reveals – unintentionally, I’m sure – about Wente’s methods.

Her past “journalism” – and, despite being an opinion columnist, she has engaged with what would fall under that rubric – follows exactly the same pattern as this limp, self-serving rubbish.

Again, just look to efforts like her “reportage” on Vancouver’s injection sites or the end of the Iraq War.

As far as her opinion columns, she has always taken the thoughts of others – carefully selected others – and basically written dust-jacket blurbs for their books or articles, without an ounce of original thought.

Finally, John Stackhouse’s leadership on this matter has been about as poor and shabby as this Wente effort.

But Stackhouse is the man who has given us a new low level in Globe editorials, so that is hardly a surprise.

When the nation’s leading paper – and, yes, despite the efforts of John Stackhouse, it remains that for now – appears to condone plagiarism, what can anyone say about all those thousands of mediocre students who regularly depend upon the nasty practice?
________________________________

“I’ve noticed that right wing conservatives in the US (as well as in Canada) attempt to vilify their political opponents instead of engaging in meaningful debate. It appears that the same tactic is being used by the left wingers posting here.”

There are few things people hate more than blatant hypocrisy, and here we have hypocrisy over plagiarism.

And all that is over and above her day-in-day out practice of defending what cannot be defended and pretending at intervals to report on things she has not investigated.

The woman has abused her privileged platform once too often.

 

 

 

JOHN CHUCKMAN

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

There are good reasons Africa is so poor, and they have little to do with colonialism.

Africa’s governments, almost typically, are irresponsible and short-sighted and corrupt.

The laws and customs in many places are antithetic to modern society too.

Capital goes where it is welcome and safe, and generally that is not Africa.

Also, capital comes in several forms, including financial, physical plant, and human.

Human capital – an educated and ambitious and hardworking population – is key just to the good use of financial and physical capital.

This is missing to a great extent in Africa.

A country like Japan, basically a set of rocks in a sea, became advanced owing to its human capital, an educated population with a good work ethic and one with the kind of technical skills needed in advanced society.

China, too, after casting off its dark ages of communist religion, is booming owing to the innate intellectual gifts and traditional values of its people.

Africa’s people remain stuck in tribalism and immense superstition. For example, it is Africa that is home to female genital mutilation, about 3 million young women every year suffer this mad ritual.

Africa has poor infrastructure, including roads, hospitals, good quality schools, etc.

That fact plus the relatively poor state of human capital and the poor governance do not promise a bright, progressive future.

Further thought.

China is doing some remarkable things in Africa, doing them because it wants to secure resources.

The understand Africa’s shortcomings, and they try to build support for their investments there.

But already there are mumblings about the Chinese “running things.”

How long can it be before they too are sent packing?

JOHN CHUCKMAN

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

I’m not sure anyone really cares, always excepting Mitt, Ann, and Mitt’s certifiably insane pal, Netanyahu.

He has to be one of the least interesting men ever to run, dull as a piece of re-treaded truck tire by the side of the road.

He has nothing to say, he has no record of achievements, his knowledge of world affairs is almost Palin-esque, and he has the spoiled brat’s sense of entitlement.

But he wants to be President, so much so that in 2008 he spent $20 million of his own money trying to secure the Republican nomination and then came back again.

Now he has it, and he doesn’t even know what to do with it.

 

 

 

JOHN CHUCKMAN

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

Gee, nice to know it has received the official designation from on high.

I thought it was just a crime or a riot, but I was clearly mistaken.

It now is venerated by the magic words “terrorist attack,” almost as though the Pope had declared something either a mortal or a venal sin.

Pure Cloudcuckooland, and the Globe reports it.

JOHN CHUCKMAN

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

And a well-earned attack it is.

Abuse and contempt for a people only can go so far before the people respond.

Unless, that is, you are a country like Israel with a demonstrated capacity to slaughter those you abuse.
______________________________

“JOHN CHUCKMAN and many other fools, are mistaking the handful of backsliding, non practicing, moderate ‘muslims’ that they think they know, for the real thing.

“What makes them think that such pseudo ‘muslims’ speak for Islam?”

It doesn’t get more fanatical and ignorant than that comment.

You cannot summarily characterize more than a billion people.

It is precisely the mindset you display that allowed certain people in the late 1930s and the 1940s to do what they did to whole groups in Europe.

Precisely.

Just as it is precisely Mr. Netanyahu’s demands and violence and irrationality that closely parallel those of the German leader in the Munich Crisis.

Just examine your own beliefs by doing a thought experiment.

If the Muslim people are as awful and hopeless as you believe, why did the Zionist leaders want to found Israel in the middle of them?

Surely that renders the leaders stark-raving mad?

And why have several million Europeans and Americans and others gone there to claim Israeli citizenship?

Seems a wholly irrational, almost suicidal act if Muslims are as you and several other mad barkers here claim.
______________________________________

“His real name is John Phuckedupman”

As soon as people start writing nasty adolescent things like this man, you know their quality of intellect and ethics, in an instant.

By the way, he does such things using a pseudonym.

A genuine coward.

Like Netanyahu.

Like the creator of the film.

Pathetic.
_______________________________________________

“I have a proposition for all you lefties who hate jews and love islam. After you marry your boyfriend in the spring, why not spend your honeymoon in the Middle East? I’m sure they’ll be thrilled to have visitors who despise jews as much as they do.”

“Lefties” do not hate Jews.

“Lefties” do not love Islam.

“Lefties” just happen to care about truth and reason and ethics.

Qualities you clearly are missing.

And qualities you in fact hate them for.
___________________________________

Again, if you hate Muslims as much as some people commenting here, it clearly is the most irrational act in the contemporary world to found a state and live surrounded by a couple of hundred million of the people you hate.

Kind of like a believing member of the Klu Klux Klan buying a house in the center of Detroit or on the South Side of Chicago.

Not brave, just irrational.

As far as ancestral homeland, well the world of 2,000 years ago has nothing, absolutely nothing to do with the world today.

Nor should it have.

Otherwise, Rome would still rule Palestine. Greece would rule Turkey owing to the Trojan War.

So many states ruled Palestine if you go back several thousand years that you could say Egypt should rule it today or Lebanon (the Phoenicians) or Iran (Persia), and on and on.

By the way, an idea of long speculation – the actual origin of Ashkanazi European Jews – has now been demonstrated scientifically through extensive DNA sampling by researchers at Johns-Hopkins University.

Their origin is not the Hebrew people of Biblical lore but the Kazahr people who live in the Caucasus one thousand years ago.

The idea has long been a source of speculation – there are many subtle but not definitive non-DNA bits of evidence – and some of the Zionist founders were well aware of it.

Now it is demonstrated.

Ancestral claim to Palestine?

Pretty clearly not.

And there is also the idea, with a growing body of evidence, that it is the Palestinians themselves who are the descendants of the ancient Hebrews.

The Romans never followed the practice of scattering a whole people out of a homeland they conquered. They would kill leaders and stubborn opponents, but those willing to accept the relatively mild yoke of Rome were always left to be.

Rome even tolerated all religious practices in their conquered lands, so long as the people were not opposed to Rome.

Of course centuries and centuries of history changed the religious identity of these descendants of the Hebrews, as it did so many others in many parts of the ancient world.
____________________________________________________

“you think these countries are the only ones with negative influences in that cess pool you should add a few of those european countries to your list, espeacially france and england.’

No, of course not.

Abuse has occurred throughout human history.

Organized Christianity’s history of abuse and horrors is largely behind us, but it was an immense and complex history of horrors.

But these are the people today before our eyes as it were – a world of television, cell phones, and the Internet.

And I sympathize with the little guy, the victim, always.

And I really tire of the flood of prejudiced and ignorant statements about a whole people.

For those who want a tale of Christianity’s history of bloodshed, see:

http://chuckmanwords.wordpress.com/2009/05/26/of-war-islam-and-israel/

 

 

 

JOHN CHUCKMAN

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

Moscow has a population of about 11.5 million people.

Russia’s population is about 142 million people.

A crowd of 10,000 is less than 1/1000 of the city’s population.

And less than 1/10,000 of Russia’s population.

Not a big deal, I think.