Archive for the ‘DOUG SAUNDERS’ Tag

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: A COLUMNIST LOOKS AT THE NOTION OF EQUALITY FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF LARGE NUMBERS OF BLACK AMERICANS IN PRISON – USE OF STATISTICS – VIOLENT CRIME AND YOUNG BLACK MALES   Leave a comment

JOHN CHUCKMAN

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

An impartial investigator cannot assume that a disproportionate number of one group in jail means, ipso facto, that prejudice and inequality are at work in the justice system.

That is simply not the way statistics work.

One thing that we do know is that when any phenomenon has very large numbers of observations, something genuine is at work.

A study of a drug that finds a modest difference between taking it and not taking it is rather inconclusive, but when we see large numbers, we know we are seeing a genuine phenomenon.

In the case of young black males and crime, especially violent crime, we see remarkably large differences, the kind of numbers that would convince in a drug study.

Blacks make up about 13% of American society, yet nearly half of all violent crimes are committed by blacks, or more accurately, by young black males who are on the order of 3% of American society.

The numbers are overwhelming, a young black male is many times more likely to commit a violent crime than any other group you care to designate.

In regions of the United States where there are few blacks – say, Maine – violent crime rates are on the order of those in Canada.

In regions of the United States where there are great majorities of blacks, it is a fact that violent crime rates reach third-world levels.

All the violent cities of America – Detroit, Atlanta, Washington, etc – are areas where the population is overwhelmingly black.

Even in portions of large cities, the areas where violent crime is high are black neighborhoods.

You have to ask why that should be.

I cannot accept that it is largely the result of prejudice. After all, black defendants in violent American cities generally face black juries.

We know that in prison populations, people with personality disorders and low intelligence always dominate. It is no different in Canada or anywhere else. Those with little ability to control their impulses tend to end up in prison.

Given the highly physical nature of young black males – they dominate every major team sport despite their small proportion in society – and given a long record of IQ tests administered by the public school systems in the United States for decades (no longer permitted) as well as the American Armed Forces testing of millions of recruits, we do have a statistical record of relatively low intellectual achievement.

That finding tends to be confirmed by blacks not entering in any appreciable numbers fields like finance, law, and science. We also see a very disproportionately low number of blacks who create businesses.

I am not arguing for prejudice, but I am arguing against facile books which generate false arguments.

There is a violent crime problem in American society where black populations are dominant. The numbers are simply not to be reasonably disputed and cannot reasonably be attributed largely to prejudice.

I don’t know what society’s answer should be, but simply yelling “prejudice” is not a thoughtful response.

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‘And, as we now see some crime “rates” dropping, if not the total volume of crime. perhaps more prisons have helped save many lives and reduce the numbers of victims.’

There is also the view, by some knowledgeable people, that the worst killers simply wiped each other out during the height of the killings.

There is another view, again put forward by knowledgeable people, that birth control’s becoming widespread slowed the killing.

At the height of the killings, Detroit, having declined to half the population of Toronto, ran at about 900 murders per year and Washington, a much smaller population city than Toronto, at about 450.

In any event, the violent crime rates in places like Detroit, Atlanta, New Orleans, Washington, Miami, while lower than a couple of decades ago remain very high by Canadian standards or indeed the standards of advanced countries.

There are in general two kinds of murder.

There is the “traditional” kind, motivated by extreme passions or personal conflicts. It is also the easiest form of crime to solve, solution rates being high, up to ninety percent, for any good police force because the motive is very clear and there are often unmistakable clues.

The second kind of murder involves people with no known connections and often complete strangers. This kind of murder is extremely difficult to solve because of the apparent lack of motive.

It is the second type of murder that flared up in American cities a few decades back. Many of these were killings over drug territory.

It is the second type that we see so prominently today in Toronto involving Jamaican gangs.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: NONSENSE ABOUT THE FORGOTTEN PROGRESSIVE ELEMENT IN AMERICA IN THE WAKE OF THE TRAYVON MARTIN SHOOTING IN FLORIDA   Leave a comment

 

 

 

JOHN CHUCKMAN

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

“Fear and guns.”

Yes, indeed.

Few Canadians recognize how intense and widespread fear is there.

Fear causes Americans to own more than 200,000,000 guns.

Fear causes idiotic things liked gated communities.

Fear causes segregation as great as ever: its just done in a legal fashion now with sprawling suburbs and abandoned regions.

There are places in the United States I could take readers to that simply would not believe, places which resemble the third-world, right down to people living in shanties.

Fear even helped sell things like SUVs. It isn’t for nothing that those vehicles look heavy and sinister. Suburbanites needing to travel even on the edges of certain regions want to feel protected.

After all, it used to be a saying in much of the United States that if you are bumped into by a black driver, or if you bump into one, you should just keep going.

Americans love to blubber about their guns protecting them from a tyrant government, but that is absurd. No one could withstand America’s military, or its often militarized police, for five minutes.

The guns are about fear of blacks and the unknown in the vague forms of communists or Muslims.

Paranoia can easily be identified by talking to people on the streets.

Other fears too get conflated here. Average Americans real incomes have declined for decades, with only moves to cheaper suburbs and both sposes working preventing a serious decline in standard of living.

There is an intense fear too of government, especially the federal government (a fear not always without basis). The average American sees Washington almost as an occupying power having nothing to do with their interests.

We used to have tales of surviving POWS and black helicopters, and those fears have only changed form, not substance.

We have too all the fears generated in a society run along Social Darwinist principles.

Fear of getting sick with no health insurance in a country where the single greatest cause of personal bankruptcy remains medical bills.

Fear of losing your job (and with that, remember, for middle class people, losing your health insurance).

Fear of the growing power and influence of China, and to a lesser extent, Russia and India. Obama’s recent actions speak directly to this.

Fear of losing “old ways,” especially in religion in a scientific age: this fear causes much of the political activity of the Christian Right.

The fears really get dark and formless too, as the fears around Israel and the Second Coming and Armageddon – things which sound silly to many of us, but which are very real for tens of millions of Americans.

I’ve always believed the excessive fears and paranoia you feel in the United States stem at least in part from a bad gene pool, the legacy of the Puritans and Pilgrims, truly nasty, hateful folks for the most part.
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“But the loud and intolerant are becoming an endangered species”

Where does the author see that?

The United States simply is a seething cauldron of fears, hates, and mindless belief in exceptionalism.

I spent close to half my life in the United States in two widely separated periods, and I do not recognize what this writer is taking about.

No one even raises a voice against scores of extra-judicial murders no different than the hateful works of South American military juntas of the past.

Law after law has been passed without serious opposition, effectively stripping Americans of their Constitutional rights.

Drones will begin domestic overflights. The TSA runs agents up and down the nation’s highways with the right to stop anyone.

The FBI can legally check out your reading at the library.

Every progressive organization in the United States is compromised by agents.

The President now claims the right to kill an American without trial or judge if in his opinion the person works against the interests of the United States.

This possibly qualifies as the most ignorant column ever published in The Globe.
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People forget: the United States was literally founded on hatreds and prejudices.

Everything from hatred of the Pope and hatred for paying taxes to the wide embrace of slavery.

There has been a good deal of moving the furniture around, but the floor plan has changed remarkably little.

And greed remains a national value, as does a bizarre sense of exceptionalism.

http://chuckmanwords.wordpress.com/2009/05/28/lessons-from-the-american-revolution/

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: FOR THE MUSLIM WORLD IT”S NOT A SAFE OR EASY PATH TO MODERNITY – A COLUMN BEGS THE QUESTION OF WHEN IT IS EVER SO FOR ANY SOCIETY – SOME HISTORY   Leave a comment

 

 

 

 

JOHN CHUCKMAN

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

Sorry, the premiss of this piece is shabby.

There’s nothing special about “the Muslim world” which makes the path to modernity neither safe nor easy. Indeed, saying so, demonstrates not a good grasp of history and provides one more sad bit of evidence of the Islamophobia with which we are inundated.

Just a few hundred years ago, Christians were hacking each other into pieces and burning alive those who varied in some minute detail, such as the nature of the bread and wine at mass, in their faith.

Yet Europe today is generally regarded as the world’s most civilized and tolerant set of societies in the world, although the social impacts of heavy immigration are beginning to erode that view.

The path to modernity is never, never safe or easy, for anyone, and, truth be told, it is never finished. We are always playing catch-up in our laws with the social changes engendered by technical and economic change.

The idiot-savants at the Pentagon and the CIA would have us believe that you can just change an ancient society in a matter of years, but that belief is the equivalent of thinking you can remove an ancient, ailing oak tree from your yard with a hand scoop.

It took virtually all Western societies centuries to evolve even to the state of civilization we see now. The beginnings of the modern era go back about five centuries, a time span which reflects the emergence of a new standard in economic growth. Still, even those five centuries are filled with riots, revolutions, wars, and countless horrors.

Even in “the New World,” the United States took more than two centuries to become the approximation of a democracy we see today. In the wake of its Revolution, almost no one could vote, it being estimated that maybe one percent of Virginians could vote, blacks and women being excluded but also, often not appreciated, most white males. You had to have a certain amount of wealth to cast a ballot.

Even then, the Senate was appointed until 1913, the President was elected only by the Electoral College (a small group of the moneyed elites), the popular vote did not determine anything, and the Supreme Court dared not dream of enforcing the Bill of Rights across states so it remained an empty set of high-sounding words. It took decades of change and strife to get what we see today, including what was the bloodiest war ever experienced by Americans, the Civil War, in which it lost roughly twice the people it lost in WWII.

The immense turmoil and mass murders in getting votes and rights for blacks went on for most of the country’s history. In the 1920s, several black towns in Oklahoma and Florida were virtually wiped out by white mobs, the bodies of hundreds buried in mass graves.

Women only gained the vote in 1921 after a long and difficult struggle.

The truth is that democracy in some form and respect for human rights are virtually inevitable when an old society experiences consistent economic growth. Economic growth and the rise of a strong middle class act almost like a solvent on the customs and beliefs of old societies. It is a long process, and it is never without a good deal of pain.

Even in North America we are not through with the process of economic development affecting old ways: look at all the turmoil over matters like rising divorce rates, abortion rights, and gay marriage – all things which are necessary and, in a sense, inevitable for a free society which continues to grow and change.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: COLUMNIST DISPARAGES PUTIN’S POTEMKIN-VILLAGE POLITICS APPARENTLY UNAWARE OF HOW LITTLE DIFFERENT THINGS ARE HERE – BASIC FACTS ON THE EMERGING OF DEMOCRACY ANYWHERE – GOVERNMENT WITHIN GOVERNMENT   Leave a comment

JOHN CHUCKMAN

POSTED RESPONSES TO A COLUMN BY DOUG SAUNDERS IN THE TORONTO GLOBE AND MAIL

“Mr. Putin’s Potemkin-village politics…”

Sorry, there’s almost no thought or analysis in this column.

Just how, in any way, do Putin’s photo-ops differ from what we experience?

Virtually every headline in our major news sources is synthetic.

And our leaders turn virtually one-hundred-and-eighty degrees once they’re in office after an election, often doing precisely what they condemned.

The truth is that Putin is exceptionally intelligent and energetic, and that alone marks him out from many of our leaders.

He has flaws, but are you telling me that our PM, who was held in contempt of Parliament and has lied to us countless times about large or small things and is known for a furious private temper, does not?

And if you want photo-ops even more faked up than Putin’s look to Harper in a parka up north.

He puts on periodic shows to earn nationalist credentials even while he’s busy negotiating away a great deal of Canada’s sovereignty to Americans, the only people who are a serious threat to both northern sovereignty and the Great Lakes.

And the stuff about revolutions is utter nonsense.

Genuine revolutions, like the French or the Russian, virtually never succeed over time. The French had the monarchy back in no time, as did the Russians under a different name.

Revolutions like that in America are often successful, but then they aren’t correctly called revolutions at all. The so-called American Revolution was only a revolt of the locals against foreign lordship and indeed a very conservative event, leaving such godawful institutions as slavery a thriving concern. It basically saw a small group of petty American aristocrats – Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, slaveholders all – replace a group of foreign aristocrats.

And it is a fact that America wasn’t anything like a democracy after its “revolution.” The Senate was appointed until 1913. The President was not elected by the popular vote, but by the propertied aristocrats admitted to the Electoral College. The Supreme made no effort at all to enforce the Bill of Rights – for a very long time, it was only a high-sounding and empty statement of principles, what you might call green-wash.

Blacks, of course, could not vote (effectively not until the 1960s). Women could not vote (not until 1921). Most white males could not vote because they did not own enough property to qualify.

America took about two centuries to become something vaguely resembling a democracy, and even now it has a government within the government – the military, intelligence, security establishment serving giant corporate interests.

Look at America’s recent experience to understand the role of the government within a government.

Bush was likely the most ill-informed and bad-intentioned person ever to be president, and he wasn’t even cleanly elected. Then the people elected a man who sometimes wore sandals, didn’t immediately wear an American-flag pin on his lapel, and taught Constitutional law. After less than three years, you would not know in almost any important detail that Bush was not still president.
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All genuine democracies develop slowly – that is a salient fact of European and North American history.

Always, we first have aristocrats or lords or family compacts – always.

Then through the gradual growth of the middle class under steady economic growth, a large class with substantial resources emerges who do not see their interests being represented by the aristocrats or family compact members.

Then we see a gradual change in political institutions to accommodate the new sizable and growing middle class. The process takes different forms in different countries, owing to cultural and historical circumstances, but it always takes this general pattern.

The same is underway in Russia. At least Putin represents a rather enlightened aristocrat to guide the nation through some of its most tender years. Yeltsin, who blubbered about democracy, was a helpless buffoon and a constant drunk.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: COLUMNIST SAYS A PALESTINIAN STATE IS BEST ROUTE TO ISRAEL’S SECURITY – AND BOY IS HE RIGHT – WEAKNESSES OF STATESMEN AND OF DEMOCRACIES   Leave a comment

 

 

 

JOHN CHUCKMAN

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

That has always been true, a secure state whose people are assisted by Israel would have been a blessing.

Imagine how much progress could have been made had Israel not spent a gigantic fortune on its military and destruction and killing? Its spending is out of all proportion to its size. It is a garrison state. And its brutality on a per capita basis is world class.

But Israel’s policy from the start was “the iron wall” towards the Palestinians, not helpfulness or friendship.

Einstein has been proven absolutely right in his views on Israel: he favored Jewish settlement in the Middle East, but he thought a formal Jewish state would be a great mistake.

Israel’s leaders for years have viewed the Palestinians only as a burden to be gotten rid of, and it has viewed their land – the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem – as a land bank for Israeli expansion.

There is no other way to understand Israel’s behavior, and that is why it is utterly stupid to say to the Palestinians – as Obama did and Harper did – that the way to peace is through negotiating with Israel.

Israel has never once been an honest negotiator, and the United States has never once been an honest broker.

And the whole world ignores the fact that the 1967 war was engineered by Israel precisely to achieve in the future a Greater Israel, and Greater Israel is what Israel relentlessly works towards year after year, stealing more property and abusing more people.

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“Why can’t Obama and Harper just do it. They really are little men.”

Yes, absolutely.

But consider how rare it is in this world for any leader to show genuine statesmanship?

It almost never happens, because it involves risks, the stuff of genuinely heroic behavior.

In Obama’s case, the answer is straightforward. He has proved an unpopular and largely unsuccessful president on almost every front, and he faces an election in which he needs all the campaign funds and favorable press comment he can get – just the things the Israel Lobby can provide in exchange for assuming the “right” posture towards the Middle East.

That’s exactly the situation Harry Truman found himself in with the intense lobby to recognize the self-proclaimed state of Israel. Truman’s instincts were that early recognition of the terrorists and army running people off their land was not wise, but he faced an uphill election and the Israel Lobby, by Truman’s own description, was intense beyond anything he experienced. So he granted early recognition and started the ball rolling towards the godawful mess we now have.

In Harper’s case, he not only mimics everything America does, but he clearly hopes to establish a smaller version of the financial political mechanism that dominates United States policy. He will make our politics even more dependent upon private large donations by doing away with Ottawa’s support for parties, he will then aim at those groups who can best finance Conservative ambitions, and that certainly includes Canada’s proportionately smaller but still important Jewish population.

There was a day when most Jewish people – owing to their own history of suffering and abuse – overwhelmingly supported liberal or progressive parties and leaders.

But the existence and behavior of Israel has greatly changed that fact. You simply cannot be an unquestioning supporter of Israel today and keep a sense of fairness and decency. Israel has proved a destructive and divisive political actor.

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“From Israel to America, from Argentina to Swaziland, the people want one thing while their democratically elected governments supposed to represent the people and implement the will of the people, want another thing.”

A very true observation.

By a recent poll the government of Israel no more represents what most people want than Harper’s government in Canada does.

The American political system especially has been carefully built to keep a superficial resemblance of democracy while in fact completely catering to special interests.

Who are the special interests? Those who finance the campaigns.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: ANDERS BREVEIK’S MAD ACTS PRODUCE A RIVER OF ANTI-MUSLIM PROPAGANDA AND HATE – WHY? ISRAEL APOLOGISTS ARE USING EVENTS TO PROMOTE ISLAMOPHOBIA   Leave a comment

 

 

 

JOHN CHUCKMAN

FURTHER POSTED RESPONSES TO COMMENTS ON DOUG SAUNDERS’ COLUMN IN TORONTO’S GLOBE AND MAIL

 

“We have already made huge compromises to accommodate ancient practices [of Muslims]

Oh please, such ignorance.

How about our allowances for ultra-orthodox Jews’ nasty treatment of women’s rights? Such women cannot divorce their husbands for fear of losing their children in a male-dominated, backward kangaroo court of rabbis. And our law permits this.

How about our allowances for the pathetic state of many traditional Mennonite women? in their ugly baggy black dresses with doilies on their heads?

How about our allowances for Catholic priests who’ve raped and abused children by the thousand? They should all have been arrested and tried to face hard time in prison.

All the special ranting about Islam is just Islamophobioa – in other words, pure unbalanced prejudice.

And much of it serves the interests of Israel – by stoking up unreasonable hatred of Muslims – and helps Israel to continue its terrible abuse of millions of souls.

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“Wake up Canada. Wake up and smell the coffee. No we must not do what happened in Norway. Nip this in the bud right now in the right way. ”

Sounds like a fire-breathing fundamentalist tent-preacher out scaring the flock into leaving big bucks in the offering plate.

This writer sounds as sick as Breveik.

Breveik was directly influenced by the very Islam-hate this person is preaching.

The writer not only displays ignorance and hatred but misses the facts of the Breveik case completely.

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“No, not nearly all, or even a majority – but enough to worry about – much as Iran ended up as a theocracy though previously under the Shah its citizens were moderate and highly secularised”

Yes, and the Shah’s SAVAK secret police pulled out people’s finger nails by the thousands in their torture chambers.

I guess that doesn’t count for much in your set of concerns, just so many apologists for Israel were too happy to see Mubarak go on with his 30-year tyranny and secret police.

And what about the ultra-orthodox control of so many of Israel’s laws and policies, even to the great discomfort of many secular Jews?

And what about the very notion of a “Jewish state”?

No different in many respects to Iran.

Of course there’s a pretense of democracy, but you cannot have a “Jews-only” democracy, except if you have a very bad sense of humor.

And, regardless of the form of government, when a vicious-minded majority suppresses the rights of a minority, you have genuine democratic values entirely missing.

Majorities in ostensibly democratic states can easily suppress a minority, and they have done so many times. South Africa was a democracy, if you were white. The American Confederacy was a democracy, if you were white.

To protect against that very situation, Canada has a Charter of Rights and America has a Bill of Rights.

But Israel can never produce such a document because its basic assumptions are inimical to the concept.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: IN THE WAKE OF ANDERS BREVEIK’S MASS MURDER A SMUG COLUMNIST SAYS WE NEED TO EXPOSE DANGEROUS FICTIONS – AND AN OBTUSE COMMENT ABOUT ISLAM   Leave a comment

 

 

 

JOHN CHUCKMAN

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

Dangerous fictions?

Which of the hundreds which humans adhere to should we busy ourselves with exposing?

We are chimpanzees with big brains, the big brains only making us more dangerous than our murderous ancestors.

Just as one example, we are inundated with dangerous fictions about the Middle East, and these are fictions which helped motivate Mr Breveik.

Israel murders 400 children in Gaza, but that’s hardly worth commenting upon.

The United Nations’ raporteur for Palestine, Richard Falk, distinguished academic and an American Jew, recently reported that Israel’s forces in their various attacks and punishments and raids have killed 1,335 Palestinian children since the year 2000.

I don’t see you or other columnists getting worked up over that.

And the United States started an illegal war in Iraq – mainly to wipe off the board Israel’s number-one enemy – which ended with the deaths of the best part of a million people, countless cripples, and an entire society set back for a generation.

Indeed, the killing the United States has been doing in recent years makes Mr Breveik look like a piker when it comes to murder.

How about all the crazy religious beliefs and values which motivate so much of the world into terrible injustice? Bride burning in India? Treatment of young widows in India? Selling girls to old rich men in India and Thailand and other places? The fairly routine murder of prostitutes in Mexico? The ghastly ritual murders in parts of Africa? Africa’s brutal female mutilations, 3 million a year? Africa’s common practice of men raping young girls in villages? The Catholic Church’s countless thousands of abused children in all the corners of the world?

One of the dangerous fictions at the Globe is that Doug Saunders thinks before he writes.

The other is that he has anything worth saying.

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I just love one particularly obtuse comment starting with “Let’s be honest.” I love it because after those words everything said is prejudiced, ignorant, and unbalanced.

“There is an inherent incompatibility between the Western culture and the teaching of Islam (Think “slut-walk” or “gay-pride”) “Freedom” and human rights in the West are inimical to Islam.”

Things like “slut walk” are no more acceptable to the Ultra-orthodox Jews who largely determine Israel’s policies and laws.

Only a few years back in Israel, a group of women, known prostitutes, were mysteriously burned alive when their house, near an orthodox neighborhood, was burned down.

It is quite typical for Ultra-orthodox men to drive “loose women” off their streets with violence and vituperation.

And are you trying to tell me that “slut walk” would be acceptable to the millions of American Christian fundamentalists who support Israel and help distort American policies to its benefit? Or gay rights?

Try “slut walk” in strongly Catholic parts of South America? There would be some new murders of women.

Your comments are nothing but unthinking ignorance with no perspective, the same kind of prejudice which clearly motivated Breveik.

You are promoting Islamophobia.

Simply appalling.

You are the perfect example of why Doug Saunders’ column is nonsense.