Archive for the ‘BOB RAE’ Tag

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: THE IRAN NUCLEAR AGREEMENT – THE EXAMPLE OF A GOOD POLITICIAN SUPPORTING IT YET NEEDING TO CRAWL AROUND A BIT IN SAYING SO – WHY IRAN CAN BE TRUSTED – AND THE PEOPLE SAYING THEY CAN’T BE TRUSTED ARE THE VERY ONES TO REGARD WITH EXTREME CAUTION   Leave a comment

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE NATIONAL POST

This article by Kelly McParland is rubbish propaganda.

Bob Rae introduces his statement about why he supports the Iran agreement with words “conceding that Iran is a repressive regime that can’t be trusted, hates Jews, represents a threat to the very existence of Israel, encourages terrorism, destabilizes the region….”

That is not so much a statement of conviction, I believe, as it is what it is absolutely necessary to say if you don’t want to be pilloried in the press and by many politicians for a view on an important issue which happens to be at odds with the one prevailing in Israel.

His “necessary” statement contains almost nothing but echoes of myths and propaganda repeated a thousand times in our corporate, and very biased, press.

Iran can’t be trusted? Where’s one scrap of evidence for that? So far as I am aware they keep all their agreements and obligations.

Iran hates Jews? There is nothing to support that. Tens of thousands of Jews live good lives in Iran. I guarantee that the Jews of Iran live far, far better lives than do the occupied Palestinians.

Iran encourages terrorism? I’m not aware of any such events. Iran lives at peace with its neighbors and has not started a single war in its modern history. Yes, it supports allies in the region, as do the United States and Israel, but I can’t accept they qualify as terrorists in quite the same fashion as America’s thuggish recruits now working to destroy Syria.

Contrast that with Israel whose brief modern history is one of continuous attacks on every neighbor it has, many more than once.

Indeed, the Six Day War was deliberately started by Israel to seize lands it still holds half a century later against the will of all those living on them.

It seized part of Lebanon too and occupied it for many years, until Hezbollah drove them out, Hezbollah receiving Iran’s assistance. But that was not terror, it was self-defence by any reasonable reckoning. Hezbollah, in contrast to Israel, never invaded and occupied any part of Israel.

If you want an example of genuine terror, look to the two recent invasions of that refugee camp called Gaza in which about a thousand children were killed, apart from thousands of adults. And look to an endless blockade of the same unfortunate people, a blockade which in its earlier days, before international intervention, actually included a calorie count for allowed imports just sufficient to keep the population alive. Even Gaza’s humble fishermen can only go a short distance into the sea before being shot at.

How about the Israeli bombings of Southern Lebanon in which a million horrible cluster bomblets were dropped where farmers and children could step on them?

Iran is a theocratic state, but it is not quite the miserable place so often glibly described in our corporate press. You may easily finds sites with lots of photos of these lovely people smiling huge smiles and doing a great variety of things you might expect to see in a free society.

Meanwhile Israel has not an imaginary but a genuine nuclear arsenal, something about which it daily lies. It is not a member of the nuclear proliferation treaty, as Iran is, and it allows no inspections around Dimona. And, speaking of proliferation, it is an historical fact that Israel conspired with apartheid South Africa to assist them in gaining nuclear weapons.

We are far, far freer of danger originating from Iran than we are from Israel.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: JEFFREY SIMPSON EXPLORES WHETHER JUSTIN TRUDEAU IS PREPARED TO LEAD LIBERAL PARTY   Leave a comment

 

 

 

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 COMMENT: BOB RAE BOWS OUT AND THE LACK OF ANYONE IN THE LIBERALS WITH HIS TALENT – CONSERVATIVES PERMANENT MINORITY – SMALL “L” LIBERALS REMAIN SPLIT   Leave a comment

JOHN CHUCKMAN

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

Well stated, my feelings exactly about Bob Rae.

It is important to emphasize that the Harper Conservatives are, and will remain, a minority party.

It is only this set of circumstances that have let them rule – not the appeal of their leader, not any clever strategies, and not the support of most Canadians.

This tells us we suffer a tremendous democratic deficit under our current system.

One could hope a government that mouths stuff about democracy would bring in reform, but we know that isn’t going to happen.

One can only conclude that either a coalition or the effective death of one of the liberal (small “l”) parties will end Harper’s ugly efforts to abolish Canada in favor of the body politic of Texas.

We remain in as much of mess as when the insiders of the Liberals gave the party’s leadership, as though it were private property, to that arrogant political nincompoop, Ignatieff, insuring that the Liberals could not come back.
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“It was Chrétien that disabled the Liberal party. he was just as tyrannical as Harper is and set the stage for the Harper method of operation.”

Chretien was a magical politician.

Only Rae even comes close.

He had a charming public persona, and he was tough in private.

I can’t imagine how else a politician could be so successful.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: A HATCHET PIECE ON BOB RAE BY ADAM GOLDENBERG, FORMER MICHAEL IGNATIEFF SPEECHWRITER – SO THE WRITER FOR ONE OF THE MOST INEPT POLITICIANS IN HISTORY QUESTIONS THE ACTIVITIES OF ONE OF THE MOST POLISHED   Leave a comment

JOHN CHUCKMAN

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

I do not even understand why Adam Goldenberg has written this hatchet-job piece.

And I do not understand his qualification to do so, since having been a chief speechwriter to Michael ignatieff is pretty much an overblown claim to nothing.

Ignatieff plainly is the most terribly failed politician of our time, and his poor judgment and lack of skills have given us a legacy of a national government bent on copying the right wing of the Republican Party down to almost every detail.

Many of us knew that it would be so: Ignatieff is by nature a standoffish man and his spoken words have always been considerably less than dazzling. Mr Goldenberg’s efforts appear to have no spice to a dull dish.

Of course, there was Ignatieff’s past service to the worst war crime of this generation, the invasion of Iraq, an event in which a million or so perished. his claims to being a genuine liberal (small “l”) were always tenuous.

He proved himself a much overrated person in a dozen more ways when he took on the Liberal leadership.

He made a dumb speech at the convention attacking his own party which then became useful attack-material for the Harperites.

He accepted being parachuted into a riding, and then arrogantly chose not to live there, after having promised he would.

He accepted being parachuted into the leadership, an act which starkly cast doubt on Ignatieff’s democratic values.

Ignatieff went on that ludicrous Ma and Pa Kettle Cross Country Bus Trip when it became obvious to Party leaders he had no ability to communicate and empathize with people.

Since when does a bus trip change one’s character? It only made him look ridiculous on top of all his other shortcomings.

He always raged and blubbered against a coalition when it was clear to many – given the Liberal Party’s weakened status – that that was the only way to wrest power from Harper’s minority.

And Ignatieff chose when to call an election – he didn’t have to do so, but he did – and it was the most destructive election call in my lifetime.

Compared to Ignatieff’s fumbling, preachiness, lackluster speechmaking, poorly chosen issues, lack of organizational skills, and just plain boring personality, Bob Rae still looks remarkably good.

“Then he ran and lost, then ran again…”

That is subtly but definitely dishonest. There was no second-time race. Ignatieff was handed the leadership by a small group of Liberal Party insiders.

I and many others believe Bob Rae could have beaten Ignatieff, Rae being one of the most eloquent politicians of our generation, rising to levels of clever observation and well-chosen words Mr ignatieff could only dream of.

Of course, the genuine question is not why the talented Bob Rae ran and is running but why the inept Michael Ignatieff ever thought he had something to offer, other than some kind of legacy claim to crown his family’s achievements. Pure arrogance.
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“Liberals are now in third place and electing a man with a track record of failing to run provinces well during a recession (which is exactly the situation we are in now) will do nothing to fix that.”

You have it precisely wrong: he ran it well under the circumstances.

There were hard choices to make, and he made them.

“Rae Days” were a thoughtful and decent option to large dismissals.

Union leaders and cheap columnists have never forgiven him.

And that doesn’t say a lot for their speaking in an informed manner or displaying effective intelligence.

For completely different reasons however I think Bob Rae’s day may have passed. I do not see the Liberal Party regaining its position any time soon.

Harper’s potential for growth is exhausted, 39.6% certainly being his high-water mark, a number interestingly which is close to the highest number achieved by the National Socialists when they ran as a democratic party in the early 1930s.

There is a dazzling new star on the political scene, and his name is Thomas Mulcair.

I do believe he has a serious chance of making the NDP Canada’s other major party and of rising above the old sort-of Boy Scout image from which the Party long has suffered.

I don’t see anyone else in the Liberals remotely up to the challenge. Talk of Justin Trudeau is pathetic. He has more of his mother’s genes than his father’s.

Dalton McGuinty is sickening and tiresome to almost everyone in Ontario, and it is only the PC’s stupid moves that have kept him going – first, John Tory’s insistence on committing political suicide and then the Party’s electing the current nasty gnome, Hudak, as leader.

Dominic LeBlanc is an intelligent and attractive candidate, but he never seems to have caught fire in the Party.

While intelligence is important, politics is far from a rational process, many emotional and lucky factors playing roles.

The Liberals cannot succeed without Quebec, and they are now far out-shown there by Mr Mulcair.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: RAE’S LIBERALS SQUEEZED BY MULCAIR’S NDP AND HARPER’S CONSERVATIVES? – THE NATURE OF OPPORTUNISTS AND POLITICS – CANADA’S POLITICAL SPECTRUM   Leave a comment

 

 

 

JOHN CHUCKMAN

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

Yes, Mulcair, despite his flaws, was the right choice for the New Democratic Party.

A forceful and intelligent man who will take none of Harper’s crap.

It’s too bad about Bob Rae, a very eloquent and able politician. I admire his skillfulness.

Had the Liberals chosen him, as they should have done, instead of the ineffective, bumbling, repulsive Ignatieff, we would not be in the national mess we are in.

Yes, Rae had some residual disadvantages in parts of Ontario – “Rae Days,” which actually were the carefully considered and least harmful option of a thoughtful politician during an economic crisis – but the total impact could not compare to the horror Ignatieff has dropped on us.
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“They are opportunists both, leading their respective parties down a path to power that involves turning their backs on long time supporters to appear more broad based.”

Sorry, despite my personal wishes otherwise, all politicians are opportunists.

All, without exception.

Being an opportunist is part of the job description for the “art of the possible.”

What is to be condemned is not opportunists in politics per se but opportunists who avail themselves of nasty political situations that were better avoided.

Harper is an opportunist that has used every scrap of tackiness and ignorance and abuse to stitch up a situation for himself.

He’s not to be condemned simply as an opportunist but as an utterly dark and unethical man.
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Surely we are working our way towards something of a two-party system.

Parties change over time with new economic and social realities. They come into and go out of existence. They are not as enduring as the stonework of Parliament.

There was some recognition of new realities when the NDP, under the beloved leadership of Jack Layton, signed on with the Liberals under the very decent Dion – the BQ offering support but not taking membership – to stop Harper a few years back.

Canada, as a whole, is a majority progressive country, but that progressive vote is divided several ways – a reality that allowed the opportunity for Harper to achieve power.

But the entire spectrum has shifted somewhat to the right, as we are faced with a more uncertain future and big economic problems.

Conservatives of years ago were thoroughly decent and respectable people, having given us a number of worthy federal and provincial leaders.

But today’s Conservative Party is extreme and undemocratic and dishonest in its tactics, also lacking in respect for others – quite an ugly creature that cannot possibly in our lifetimes rule without the passive consent of Canada’s majority.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: HARPER MIGHT HAVE BEEN EXPECTED TO RELAX THE BULLYING WITH A MAJORITY – REFLECTIONS ON TYRANNICAL MINDS AND DEMOCRATIC WEAKNESS OF CANADA’S PARLIAMENT   Leave a comment

 

 

 

JOHN CHUCKMAN

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

Yes, you might well have thought that.

But recall Richard Nixon’s behavior for his second election.

As anyone knew then, he pretty well (sadly) had being re-elected a certainty.

His opponent was one of the most honorable men ever to run for the presidency, but being honorable in America is little more than a sign of weakness to many: it is, after all, a country organized and administered on principles of Social Darwinism.

So despite the near-certainty of a win, Richard Nixon had a gang of thugs doing break-ins, smear-jobs, and was seeking secret contributions by the sack-full. The White House was staffed up with unpleasant men ready to do anything for their leader.

He ended, of course, by ending his own presidency.

The general frame of mind of Richard Nixon at that time is a close parallel to Harper’s today.

There are the clearest elements of paranoia, immense anger, relish for frat-boy dirty tricks, and a tendency towards monomania – all the stuff we saw with Richard Nixon and stuff we’ve seen again with the likes of a Newt Gingrich or Tom Delay.

Harper is a genuinely sick puppy.

Sometimes it happens that people who were known as narrow ideologues do rise to the office to which they are elected or appointed (in the case of judges), but not this kind of unbalanced personality.

I’m afraid so long as Harper holds his office we will continue to see Canadian political traditions of decency and ethical behavior eroded.
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“Autocracy verging on dictatorship….. Don’t agree? Just wait and watch!”

Indeed.

But the fault is also in a political system where a man of Harper’s unpleasant character, once given a technical majority 39.6% of the vote, can pretty well do anything, if he is so inclined.

We have not suffered from this serious flaw in our political structure before only because we have not been so unfortunate to have a man of Harper’s almost demonic personality in office.

Canada suffers from a democratic deficit as serious as that of many other countries one does not normally associate with the goodwill Canada has enjoyed internationally for decades.

Harper of course also realizes that his opposition is divided hopelessly, and he will take the fullest advantage of that fact.

Tyrannical-oriented personalities always have used the principle of “divide and conquer” in their governing. Hitler ran the Third Reich by creating a whole series of competing fiefdoms whose chiefs endlessly squabbled, having recourse only to Hitler himself, floating as it were above the ugly turmoil.

It is an effective method, at least for a time, if your concern is not with the people of a country but with your personal rule.

I’m certainly not suggesting any relationship between Harper and Hitler – only the parallel of the way a power-driven dark personality operates to hold power.

Well, the Liberal Party handed Harper this situation on a platter. Twice they turned down a very intelligent and effective politician, Bob Rae, on the basis that there were bad memories in Ontario of aspects of his premiership but also on the basis of a genuinely stupid effort by some back-room boys to parachute Michael Ignatieff into the leadership, a man of almost unparalleled political ineptitude.

Now they’ve given Bob Rae the job (temporarily), but it is a hopeless way to give someone a big job: the party is in pathetic shape, Rae looks without genuine support, and he is just that much older.

Jack Layton’s magnificent triumph in Quebec was in large part because the Liberals had Ignatieff hopelessly droning and sputtering. Quebec always admires genuinely eloquent men: just look at the record of leaders in the PQ or the BQ, some of the greatest firebrand speakers of our time.

So Harper’s current position is almost more an accident than a personal achievement, but here is a man whose dark animal cunning will seize every advantage he can from the luck of the draw.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: LIBERAL PARTY’S STRANGE DEATH ? PERHAPS BUT THERE IS AN ARC OF POWER FOR ALL PARTIES FAMILIES AND EMPIRES   Leave a comment

JOHN CHUCKMAN

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

Parties, like great families or national empires, do have a limited life.

A great family like the Eatons rose to being a household word and then declined to nothingness in several decades. Except for the name on the Eaton Centre, no ordinary young person of the next generation will even know who they were.

It is possible, but I don’t absolutely think so, that Canada’s Liberals have begun just that same descent along the arc of power.

To explain this phenomenon of declining power, it is not necessary to assert notions like being spoiled by success.

After all, the set of problems facing a nation changes over time, so much so that in periods of say fifty years, the old problems are forgotten or unrecognized by a different generation.

There have been countless examples of this in my lifetime, the greatest surely being America’s barbarous war in Vietnam.

Today, I’m sure if you asked most young adults about that ghastly effort, killing three million people in ten years of terror, many would not know where Vietnam is located and many would have no idea of when the war occurred.

That inevitable process of fading mass memory over the generations is part of why parties fade away.

But also, leadership always plays a key role. We’ve all seen in great family dynasties the way the iron-willed founders are succeeded often by less capable sons and grandsons.

Just look at Trudeau, one of our great leaders – whether you like his policies or not, he was a great leader. His son Justin, a handsome and intelligent young man, clearly does not possess the same talents and ruthless drive for success. One can almost feel the difference in temperament and attitude and drive.

And the Liberal Party has made some bad choices in its leadership recently.

Then there is the inevitable role of luck and fortune in the rise and fall of parties and families.

Old man Kennedy in the United States made his serious money through work with the Mob during Prohibition. Take away the historical mistake of American Prohibition and likely the Kennedy family would never have risen to such heights.

The bad luck of the Liberals has been two-fold, at least.

First, Quebec having been taken out of play in national politics. Second, the appearance of an opponent more dark and ruthless in his application and abuse of power, Stephen Harper, than they have ever faced.

Harper is simply a new phenomenon in Canada – a man who is perfectly comfortable with the Republican Right types like a Dick Cheney or a Tom Delay or Newt Gingrich – ugly, bad-tempered, ruthless men all.

The Liberals have never faced such a man before. Moreover they do it not with a Trudeau or a Chretien but an Ignatieff, a man of no political experience and little political talent.
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From another reader:

“Shouldn’t Bob Rae be front and centre reminding us what an NDP Government can do to You !!!”

Bob Rae was a responsible and capable premier.

Those were dangerous days economically, and Rae got us through.

He tried the path of the least hurt to people. If it had been someone of Harper’s ilk, I guarantee thousands would have lost their jobs, permanently.

Just wait, if Harper gets his majority, the budget will be balanced on tens of thousands losing their jobs as whole departments and programs are abolished.

To say anything else is just ignorance.

The people still whining about Rae Days make themselves sound like pathetic big babies.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: MORE NEO-CON NONSENSE FROM DAVID BERCUSON – IGNATIEFF AND THE LIBERAL PARTY AND FOREIGN POLICY   Leave a comment

JOHN CHUCKMAN
 
RESPONSE TO A COLUMN BY DAVID BERCUSON IN TORONTO’S GLOBE AND MAIL

Silly David Bercuson is at it again.

“Ignatieff needs to rein in Dosanjh and Rae to restore sense to his party’s defence policies.”

Actually I think the Globe needs to rein in David Bercuson to restore sense to its op-ed page
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Ignatieff will never be elected prime minister no matter what he does or doesn’t do.

And Harper will never receive a majority.

So Canada remains stuck in a political twilight zone, and we receive only disingenuous advice from the neo-cons like David Bercuson.

The truth is that Harper has violated many traditional and fair-minded principles in our foreign policy, his absolutely outrageous comments about Israel being a prime example.

But we have no one else to turn to right now.

Ignatieff has a record as a man of no principles: support for the killing of a million people in Iraq, support for torture, opportunistic return home, opportunistic parachuting into riding, and opportunistic parachuting into the party leadership.

But that kind of record is just fine with the David Bercusons of this world.

Dosanjh and Rae, for all their faults, are two of the most intelligent, thoughtful, and well-informed national politicians we have.

Either of them beats Ignatieff in eloquence. Either beats Ignatieff in dedication to human rights.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: THE EFFORTS OF CANADA’S LIBERALS TO PICK A NEW LEADER AND MICHAEL IGNATIEFF PROVES HIMSELF INDISTINGUISHABLE FROM HARPER   Leave a comment

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

Bob Rae is, of course, absolutely right here.

What Ignatieff is showing us now is what a very close twin to Harper he is.

Secretiveness is a basic Harper characteristic, as is being an angry control-freak behind the scenes.

We already understood Ignatieff was a divisive man. We already knew he supported the state-terror of the Iraq invasion. We already knew he was arrogant and aggressive. We already knew he had little of what honestly can be called ethics.

With this behavior, he proves he cannot be distinguished from Harper. The only differences are style.

Which monster do you like? A Frankenstein-like creature who smiles with a two-second delay to any stimulus (Harper) or do you like a low, cunning were-wolf type (Ignatieff)?

With Ignatieff, the Liberal Party becomes an irrelevant copy of the Conservatives.

I would not vote for the one over the other under any circumstances.

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Ignatieff unquestionably represents a watershed in Canadian national politics.

It will be the end of the coalition of interests we have called the Liberal Party for decades.

There is no reason on earth to vote for this unethical man over Harper.

Any success he could hope to achieve would only reflect old sentiments and associations people have in their minds concerning the party.

But these emotional connections are already frayed.

They will snap altogether with the emergence of this dark, unpleasant man as leader.

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M. LeBlanc is actually the Liberals’ greatest prospect.

He is altogether an energetic, intelligent, informed, and likeable man.

He has the French name and language so important in Quebec.

He could create some real excitement.

But no, the boundless, unwarranted personal ambition of Ignatieff will prevent that happening.

It is a very troubling set of circumstances.

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“…but Iggy is the better liberal.”

A ridiculous statement.

The traditions of the modern Liberal Party – the party of Pearson, Trudeau, and Chretien – are violated in almost every aspect by what Ignatieff represents.

There is no connection whatever, anymore than there is between Harper and that tradition.