Archive for the ‘AMERICAN DEMOCRACY’ Tag

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: HILLARY CLINTON’S LONG RUN TO BE PRESIDENT – OBSERVATIONS ON HER SUITABLE QUALITIES AND THE STATE OF AMERICAN DEMOCRACY   Leave a comment

 

 

 

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 COMMENT: THE SINE QUA NON OF DEMOCRACY   Leave a comment

JOHN CHUCKMAN
 
POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN BY GIDEON RACHMAN IN THE FINANCIAL TIMESI agree with most of what you write here, Gideon Rachman. It is a counter-intuitive approach with considerable merit.I take exception to part of one of your statements however – this one:

“The two biggest and most beneficial geopolitical stories of the past 30 years – the spread of democracy and of globalisation – were driven by a succession of states finding their coffers empty.”

Democracy is not a precursor to economic growth, as the case of China, plus many others in history, shows. Indeed, in early stages of “take-off,” democracy can be a genuine liability.

America’s Founding Fathers certainly thought so, because early America was not even modestly democratic. Even of the pool of white, free males, only a small portion – those of a certain means – could vote. Those who had the franchise reflected roughly the same percent we see today as members of the CPC.

Also, much of the early government was not elected. The Senate was appointed until 1913. The general poll for president effectively did not count: only the votes of the Electoral College – again propertied elites – counted.

Globalization itself is ultimately a force for democracy. The rise of globalization – the result of a set of technologies and costs – causes explosive economic growth which in turn creates middle classes. It is the existence of a large middle class which is the sine qua non of democracy.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: OBAMA AND THE AUDACITY OF HUBRIS FROM A COLUMNIST WHO SHOULD KNOW BETTER AND THE CHARACTERISTICS OF POLITICIANS   Leave a comment

JOHN CHUCKMAN
 
POSTED RESPONSES TO A COLUMN BY REX MURPHY IN THE TORONTO GLOBE AND MAIL
I’ve always enjoyed you as host of Cross Country Check-up. You treat almost all callers with courtesy and decency.But in writing columns – I never read them before they were “unlocked” – I realize you truly are something of a Jekyll and Hyde character. This piece is silly blather: wordy, pointless, and stained with envy.Obama is not responsible for the immense response he generates in people, nor does he display the least indication of hubris in his reactions. The man is genuinely gifted: intelligent, graceful, thoughtful.

He achieved the remarkable feat of defeating a woman who had name-recognition and connections second only to George Bush, an accomplishment still not fully appreciated.

After 8 years of the most incompetent man ever to hold the office of President, a man whose every utterance causes millions to scrunch-up their toes in intellectual pain, the world is eager for a man of this quality to assume power.

When I compare Obama to McCain, the first adjectives that come to mind are “fresh” versus “tired.” After that, there’s “bright” versus “mediocre.” “Polished” versus “beat up.” “Informed” versus “uninformed.”

I’m sure he will win by a surprisingly large margin.

My God, he strode across Europe like statesman, impressing all who saw him. All McCain’s sad bunch could do was put out garbage about photo-ops and shows.

Clearly, you belong to their whining, unimpressive gang.

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“I don’t recall JFK or FDR, the most popular presidents since Washington, being aw shucks shrinking violets.”

Yes, indeed.

Read Harry Truman on Roosevelt. The man, likely the most gifted leader the U.S. ever had, was an ego-maniac.

Putting oneself forward to lead a great state, or any state, is always in part a matter of strong ego.

Indeed, in some cases, it goes beyond inflated ego into narcissism and even to a low-grade psychopathy.

Some of Kennedy’s behavior, and Lyndon Johnson’s, suggests the last condition. So, definitely, does our charming Harper’s, for that matter.

The job of voters is not to be distracted by small issues like ego – so long as it remains in the range of the sane – but to judge the quality and character of a candidate.

He or she will act as the nation’s representative. In America, this involves the unfortunate double role of head of government and head of state.

Even many issues are not that important. Politicians often ignore their promises or fail in efforts to implement them.

Look at McGuinty’s shabby record of promises in Ontario. Look at Clinton’s failure to implement almost anything worthwhile.