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Monthly Archives: May 2015

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO THE GUARDIAN

I’m happy for Mr Blatter.

I have no idea whether American corruption charges against other officials have any validity. After all, America lies to us pretty much around the clock about what it is doing in many things.

In a very real sense, there is no more corrupt organization than America’s government. Its members are the best government money can buy in a set of elections based on vast fortunes donated by special interests. Even much of America’s foreign policy is for sale.

I have no idea whether Blatter was aware of any corruption by others, but it doesn’t really matter.

I don’t think there can be any doubt that America had an agenda here to take away the World Cup from Russia. America really will stop at almost nothing to punish Russia’s rational response to an America’s induced coup and chaotic war in neighboring Ukraine.

Sometimes you even have to cheer for bad guys when the only option is a much greater bad guy.

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO THE NATIONAL POST

Peter Potatohead likely holds the Canadian political record for the number of government portfolios to which a complete mediocrity was appointed. It is, after all, a very thin bench with which Harper works.

Apart from that let’s remember Peter’s idea of ethics.

He had an affair with someone who was effectively his direct subordinate as Deputy Leader.

When she bailed out, Mr Potatohead went on the grand tour of news media, lamely whining to each one about what she had done to him!

Still later, he insulted her in Parliament, within hearing of several, yet he refused to apologize and indeed lied about ever having done so.

Our glorious PM seconded him in the outright lie.

A secondary thought: Those two – John Baird and Peter MacKay – “big-name” retirements from the Conservatives months before an election are often described as rats leaving a sinking ship.

Maybe, but I think there is another explanation, at least as likely.

Mr Harper is a notoriously humorless and autocratic and, frankly, boring man. After the best part of a decade attending meetings with this grim man who allows virtually no independence of expression, might it be that some insiders simply have reached the limits of their endurance?

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED IN THE GUARDIAN

Blacklist indeed.

Good God, what a hypocritical bunch.

For years America tried invasion, assassination, vandalism, bombs planted in various places, even an airliner downed – yet Cuba was the one on a blacklist.

And while America removes Cuba from its ridiculous list, they also busy themselves killing people with no pretense of legality in at least half a dozen places.

It really is time to treat the U.S. for what it is, the world’s greatest terror state.

But I imagine papers like The Guardian are afraid to do so, so you keep giving their government credibility while they carry out all their dirty work.

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO THE GUARDIAN

The American Justice Department had every right and reason to pursue the American branch of FIFA.

They have no right to go after Europeans and others.

The fact that Europeans are cooperating in arresting their citizens and sending them to the U.S. to stand trial is just further evidence of Europe’s pathetic acceptance of America’s right to govern Europe.

It is a terrible precedent, setting things up for ever greater intrusions into European affairs.

No one likes bent sports officials, but the issue of American laws applying in Europe is a far greater one than the issue of some bent sports officials.

America is using the public’s instinctive dislike in this matter to further drive its influence and power into Europe.

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED IN THE GUARDIAN

Chelsea Manning is one of the few genuine heroes of our time.

She risked everything and did so out of a profound sense of human decency.

The truly brave always in history are abused by authorities.

The ones who get medals are not so much the brave but the compliant.

Most of the vast stores of secrets the United States has hidden away are not in any way threats to national security.

They are mostly threats to the security of authorities who are afraid of public reaction to their lying, incompetence, and poor judgment.

We cannot have democracy unless the people understand better what their government is doing and why.

And today I think it fair to say America is no democracy but a collection of elites using the immense powers of that government to do as they wish.

Killing, destroying, and overthrowing on a vast scale – all while supporting brutal and tyrannical governments such as Saudia Arabia or Israel who serve its purposes abroad.

John Chuckman

LETTER TO CBC RADIO’S THE CURRENT

The Rohingya Muslims of Burma by all accounts are treated badly.

But in not one particular cited by your guests does the situation of these oppressed people differ from the situation of the millions of Palestinians under Israeli occupation.

Inability to freely travel limiting opportunities to earn a living; unfair treatment by officials and police; hate speech – all of these and more are the everyday experience of Palestinians.

The Rohingya, concentrated on the west coast of Burma in Rakhine State, sometimes leave their oppression because of the seas, yet the people of Gaza, stretched along the sea in much the same fashion, are not even free to use the sea: fishermen who go outside their tiny permitted zone are shot at regularly by Israeli naval forces; ships of needed supplies from other places are subject to attack by Israel on the high seas; and even natural gas fields discovered in the Mediterranean in areas which under international law should belong to Palestine are seized by Israel.

The comparisons are even closer because if you ask Burmese officials, they would tell you the Rohingya want their own state, something Burma will not grant, and are regarded as rebellious, something none of your guests discussed.

Yet CBC Radio, and The Current in particular, would not dream of treating the Palestinians’ plight, which after all is in every sense closer to home. You have not done so once in any meaningful way.

To add insult to injury in the piece you did, you interviewed a representative of the American Holocaust Museum whose investigations are said to have established that all the “early signs of genocide” were now present in Burma. I wasn’t aware that there was an official handbook of diagnosis for genocide, but these people appear to have one.

It does seem to me in view of the appalling conditions in Israel/Palestine, people from the Holocaust Museum are simply not qualified to comment on Burma.

Indeed, I think it not unfair to suggest that their statements effectively serve as diversions to a faraway topic from what is going on so much closer to home in Israel.

AFTERWORD: In a follow-up interview the next day with Burma’s ambassador to Canada, he said something along the lines of “There’s no such thing as the Rohingya people.”

These were exactly the same words uttered by Golda Meir about the Palestinians decades ago, and her chilling words have been echoed many times since, including a few years ago by Newt Gingrich on the campaign trail after receiving the best part of $20 million in campaign contributions from billionaire Sheldon Adelson, a devoted supporter of Netanyahu’s vision of Israel.

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE GUARDIAN

Bless you, Jimmy Carter, a man who genuinely deserved a Nobel Peace Prize.

Carter, a man of immense integrity and great understanding, is one of the only prominent people in the Western world to speak truth about Israel’s unending brutality.

Our press goes on and on about natural disasters like Nepal’s earthquake, yet almost never gives notice to the very unnatural disaster Israel has created before our eyes.

And Mr. Carter’s reward? To be called an anti-Semite by many Israelis.

Using what happened three-quarters of a century ago in another country in another continent in extraordinary circumstances of war and hate to justify such atrocities makes no sense to any honest, impartial, and informed person.

Injustice is injustice no matter what history you may cite.

If you want a society of laws, then you must abide by laws.

You cannot stand outside the law, as Israel has done for its entire existence, and create anything worth creating.

The logic of Israel’s excuses is the logic shared by every tyrant and conqueror and criminal through history, all of them having their own important reasons for doing what they did, and it goes nowhere towards establishing the rule of law that is the only true refuge we have against the powerful and hateful and mad.

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN RUSSIA INSIDER

Please don’t take Leona Aglukkaq’s words too seriously. They do not represent mainstream thinking in Canada.

Leona Aglukkaq has had a record of mishandling the ministerial portfolios she has been handed by Stephen Harper. Her time as Minister of Health is a genuinely embarrassing memory.

Stephen Harper’s 39%-government (his share of vote totals split several ways) is mighty light on talent. It is team, as they say in hockey, whose bench is pretty thin. So he must use virtual incompetents like Ms Aglukkaq to fill posts.

Mr. Harper has been appropriately nick-named a party of one. He has a personality, and this is not an exaggeration, sharing some characteristics with Stalin. No one in his government says one word that was not put into their mouths by him. The various comments coming from Ministers like Ms Aglukkaq these days not only do not reflect the views of most Canadians, they often may not even reflect the timid minister’s own views.

Readers may enjoy:

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John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE GUARDIAN BY OWEN JONES

A mostly accurate assessment, but we need more than the ballot change to gain something which can meaningfully be called democratic government.

Today, in Canada, Stephen Harper’s government, elected with just 39% of the vote, has busied itself with dismantling a good deal of what the world knew as Canada. It has a technical majority, and Mr. Harper is an effective parliamentary dictator whose policies stand against 60% of the electorate’s wishes. That isn’t democracy, by any measure, and I believe the situation in Britain with the unpleasant David Cameron is similar.

We have a terrible democratic deficit all over the so-called democratic world, and it is more than a little ridiculous that our (effectively unelected) leaders take us to bloody, meaningless wars, always blubbering about democracy, or they support the policies of a state in which half the people under its rule have no votes and absolutely no rights, again with blubbering about democracy, this time in the Middle East.

There are two essential reforms to claiming some genuine democratic government in the West. And there is a third which would largely complete the job.

First, as the writer suggests, get rid of “first past the post” voting. It is antiquated and genuinely undemocratic. A ballot listing ordered preferences would result always in a government in which a true majority of voters felt they had some investment. The common feeling of non-voters that “what difference does it make?” would be attenuated, and today in many Western countries half the people do not vote.

Second, and equally important, get the private and lobby money out of elections, entirely, and put severe penalties upon donors and receivers who break the rules in secret.

Create an agency to oversee elections with strict powers for accounting of campaign expenditures and legal powers to investigate.

American elections today, for example and with no exaggeration, are quite literally bought-and-paid-for. The Clintons, for example, have a history of grotesque fund-raising and spending. An American Senator, on average, spends two-thirds of his or her time in office raising funds. It results in government by and for elites. It also results in grotesque distortions of policy in favor of groups able to donate heavily, a major explanation for America’s go-nowhere policies in the Middle East.

In France we had stories of Sarkozy getting millions from an aged heiress and a huge secret donation from Qaddafi.

Mr. Blair was also a good buddy of Qaddafi and never saw a wealthy person he didn’t mark with obsequious treatment.

The last necessary reform for a semblance of democracy is the implementation of a quick-referendum system by computer to over-ride the legislature for all acts or policies involving life and death and especially war. The people who must sacrifice and live with the grim results should always make these decisions, not even an elected body or individual. I guarantee we would have fewer wars, and since overwhelmingly our wars only serve special interests, that would be a very good thing indeed.