Archive for the ‘JACK LAYTON’ Tag

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK – TRUMP’S AFGHANISTAN FIASCO – RECORD OF AMERICAN WAR CRIMES IN AFGHAN WAR – NATURE OF THE TALIBAN – OSAMA BIN LADEN AND 9/11 – TRUMP’S CHAOTIC BEHAVIOR – CANADA’S SAD ROLE IN AMERICA’S POINTLESS AFGHAN WAR – “OWE ONE TO THE PENTAGON” – JACK LAYTON REMEMBERED – BACKGROUND FOR TERM “THE WORLD’S POLICEMAN” – HOPELESS ATTEMPT TO RECLAIM AMERICA’S UNQUESTIONED ECONOMIC SUPERIORITY OF 1950 – POSSIBLE NO MEETING WITH TALIBAN WAS PLANNED   Leave a comment

John Chuckman

EXPANSION OF COMMENTS POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN CBC NEWS

 

“Pompeo says Taliban ‘overreached’ in attack that killed American

“President pulls back from planned peace talks with Taliban at Camp David after bombing that killed 12”

 

Overreached? What does that even mean in this context?

Pompeo’s words are as meaningless as they are arrogant.

We get only lunacy upon lunacy from this White House mob.

Just to remind him, you are invaders in that country, not invited guests.

And you’ve just bragged of having killed about a thousand Taliban in the last ten days.

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Response to a comment about American war crimes in Afghanistan:

Oh, there have been many war crimes. I don’t know whether your reference is to the Jamie Doran documentary, “The Convoy of Death,” about the brutal mass murder of about 3,000 Taliban prisoners. These were prisoners for whom America had a direct responsibility.

The prisoners were packed into containers supposedly for transfer to a prison, the containers sealed and loaded onto trucks. As the men later screamed for some air in the blistering heat or water, American soldiers and troops I believe of the ghastly General Dostum, an American ally with a brutal reputation, stopped and shot into the containers until the shouting stopped.

About four days later, when the containers were opened, most of the prisoners were dead. American Special Forces troops ordered the containers brought to a spot in the desert where any living prisoners were shot, and all of the bodies were buried in mass graves.

That happened shortly after the charming Donald Rumsfeld made an angry demand in Washington about large new batches of Taliban prisoners, saying they should either be walled away forever or killed off. He clearly was taken at his word by some American troops and General Dostum’s men.

There was America’s long series of violent house entries, kicking down doors and using stun grenades, holding terrified families, women and children, at gunpoint while the house was searched and any men in it were bound and marched off as prisoners to who knows where? That happened to countless Afghan families. The men, if they survived, were headed for harsh interrogation with torture.

America’s reckless bombing killed thousands of innocent people. Many times, large groups like wedding parties, celebrating outside, were wiped out by American pilots. American soldiers wantonly shot up villages.

The Americans were bored with being stuck in that searingly hot, very unfriendly place with strange-looking people who didn’t speak their language. Very young men from places in America with no exposure to other cultures, with nothing to do much of the time, and with big guns.

The American military is often desperate for bodies and takes what it can get as recruits. That includes people who enjoy cruelty and the chance to kill others with impunity. Young men much like the members of urban street gangs who occupy large portions of American cities. There was plenty of that kind of activity in Afghanistan and in Iraq.

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Response to a comment about having to get out of Afghanistan:

Well, ultimately, yes.

But Washington cannot admit they ever made a mistake, a terrible mistake.

There was never any real reason to invade Afghanistan.

It had no hand in 9/11.

But America was thirsty for blood and revenge after 9/11, and they didn’t really care if they got the right guys or not.

There is no evidence of Taliban involvement in 9/11. None. The Taliban are concerned about their local tribal blood feuds, much like some of those legendary families in the American Ozarks fighting multi-generational feuds such as the Hatfields and McCoys.

The Taliban gave temporary refuge to Osama bin Laden – a Saudi, but, importantly, someone who rather bravely served in the American-supplied opposition to the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan during the 1980s – a man seen as a devout Muslim and a hero, and that’s all.

Of course, we’ve never had any proof that even Osama was guilty of anything except disliking the Saudi Royal family and America’s complicity with them. Early on, when America demanded the Taliban government extradite him, the Taliban, in accordance with international law and custom for such requests, asked for some evidence. Washington ignored them and shortly invaded.

The American invasion also ended the Taliban government’s ban on growing opium poppies, something which resulted in flooding world markets with cheap hard drugs and something we suffer from still with all the urban drug-gang shootings over sales turf and unpaid bills.

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I do think it quite possible that, in fact, no meeting with the Taliban was ever going to happen.

Just as in Syria and a couple of other situations, Trump bellows about what he’s going to do, and it all falls through or simply never happens.

Some important officials he has appointed oppose such steps.

He is just a massive pile of conflicting urges, and he makes no consistent sense ever.

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Response to a comment saying, “Remember when Jack Layton wanted to negotiate with the Taliban and everyone (including the media) started calling him Taliban Jack”:

Absolutely. Thanks for the reminder. God, I admired Jack Layton.

Brave and intelligent leaders often get attacked because there are so many people who simply do not understand them.

By the way, concerning Canada’s sad and pointless involvement in Afghanistan, an Ottawa official said in the early days that the troops were going to Afghanistan because “We owed one to the Pentagon.”

He was referring to the fact that Prime Minister Jean Chretien had turned George Bush down on sending some Canadian troops for the illegal invasion of Iraq.

Well, you do not turn America down in such matters without hearing back a lot of very unpleasant things.

The Canadian contribution to Afghanistan was something of a “peace offering.”

Some reason to join a war, right? “We owe one to the Pentagon.”

But that so characteristic of the bizarre world America has constructed with its endless wars.

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Response to a comment:

The Taliban were the official government of the country before America invaded.

They’re not outsiders or invaders, as the United States very much is.

The Taliban are just one of the basic major divisions of Afghan society, a tough, backward, desperately poor, hardscrabble society.

Thinking you could get rid of them is about the equivalent of talking about getting rid of Baptists in South Carolina.

The entire war has been a stupid, destructive, pointless waste.

But that’s just the way they do things in Washington.

Time after time. Place after place.

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Response to a comment:

That phrase you use, “world’s policeman,” does not fit America’s role in the world today. I’m not sure whether it ever did, but it sure does not fit today.

It was meant to sound benign when it was coined. Korea was called a “police action.” After all, with WWII just a few years behind, officials didn’t want to encourage public fears about a new war.

Today, American activities everywhere are aggressive. They’re about telling others what to do and how to do it. And they’re about hurting and killing those America really does not like.

America is an empire, a rather brutal global empire. Not the law-abiding society of a quiet republic looking out at a big, bad world, as it likes to imagine itself.

No one sensibly calls such behavior “policing.”

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I should have added, importantly, it is an empire in relative decline with the growth of all kinds of competitors that it didn’t have after WWII, its glory days.

Even its reserve-currency dollar, a very great privilege and advantage, is starting to come under threat. It will certainly lose its position in the future. And weaponizing it, as Trump has done with all his illegal enforcement of unreasonable sanctions, if anything, only speeds the day.

In recognition of its relative economic decline and the many competitive changes in the world, America’s establishment has entered now into a ferocious effort to reclaim its unchallenged place of, say, sixty years ago.

They talk in terms of achieving “full-spectrum dominance.” And that’s not only Trump. He’s just the ugly, noisy frontman right now. Republicans and Democrats support this crusade, or it would not happen.

No matter what their varying views on social issues, virtually every one of them supports the American empire. It is what they’ve known all their lives, their careers were built on it, and it is a matter of pride and arrogance, part of Old Glory Patriotism, a powerful secular religious force in the country.

“MAGA” is just Trump’s term for the faded and tattered notion, the “American Dream,” something which arose as a sheer accident of history after WWII when no competitors were left standing and America thrived on selling everything to everyone. It dominated world manufacturing and trade.

But that position cannot be reclaimed. It’s an illusion to think that it can, a dangerous illusion.

Trying to make it happen will yield only angry frustration and angry responses from others. And the natural forces that have been at work reducing America’s relative position are likely to be reinforced by people’s determination to resist being told what to do.

That effort is why we have all the threats and illegal sanctions everywhere. The immense pressures applied to a peaceful China, a peaceful Russia, a peaceful Iran, and others.

We are in a dangerous period, and the United States political system has managed to put genuinely frightening men in charge – angry, intemperate, and even unstable men. Trump. Bolton. Pompeo.

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Response to a comment about whether there ever even was a Trump deal with the Taliban:

See: https://www.moonofalabama.org/2019/09/to-leave-afghanistan-just-leave-afghanistan.html#comments

This is from a close observer of events, one who is more often right than wrong in his analysis of world affairs.

 

Posted September 9, 2019 by JOHN CHUCKMAN in Uncategorized

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JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: CANADA’S JUSTIN TRUDEAU MAKES A FOREIGN POLICY SPEECH – HE NEEDN’T HAVE BOTHERED – IT’S FULL OF CLICHES AND EVEN OUTDATED TERMS AND IT EMBARRASSINGLY REVEALS HIM AS THE POSEUR THAT HE IS – MY CONCLUSION: AT THE VERY LEAST, TRUDEAU DESPERATELY NEEDS A NEW SPEECHWRITER   Leave a comment

John Chuckman

COMMENTS POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN CBC NEWS

 

“Trudeau rails against Conservatives in foreign policy speech

“’They envision a world where Canada flirts with the forces of populism,’ says PM of Tories”

 

‘They envision a world where Canada flirts with the forces of populism’

Well, for me, someone with an abiding interest in international affairs and who prides himself a little on his knowledge of them, those words of Trudeau’s pretty much top everything stomach-churning he’s ever said.

Please, who is the world’s premier example of contemporary “populism’?

Donald Trump, of course.

Now, can you name a single significant policy of Trump’s that our wonderful team of Trudeau-Freeland departs from?

Overthrowing an elected government in Venezuela? Freeland chairs the outfit created by CIA to help do it, the Lima Group.

Saudi Arabia’s many horrors from killing women and children in Yemen and in Saudi Arabia, in efforts against minority Shia, to record numbers of beheadings and to a grisly murder which implicates the very leader of the country?

Canada’s heroic response? Never say a word about the horrors of Yemen and never say a word against a man who is perhaps the world’s most horrific leader today (a man beloved by Trump and Netanyahu), and keep selling those light tanks to him, baby!

America’s absurd and truly dangerous attacks against China on a half dozen fronts? Hey, if you’ve heard Trump’s words on the subject, no need to listen to Freeland’s feeble hinterland echo.

Russophobia? A Freeland speciality. Unwarranted attacks on Iran? Boy, she’s made Ottawa an echo chamber for that.

And, of course, we’ve actually had the boy wonder fly down to Trump to plead for special help with China, help on a problem caused by Trudeau and Freeland themselves. Very impressive recent background for giving a speech on ugly populist leaders.

Trudeau’s speech is so disingenuous, so vacuous, I’d literally vote for anyone but him.

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Well, there’s one thing we know for sure, Trudeau is not an “Isolationist,” a word from 1930s America which truly has no meaning anymore, but there’s still room for it in a Trudeau speech on foreign policy.

It applied to Americans who thought America should stay home and mind its own business. America hadn’t yet quite become a global empire. That came with the end of WWII.

They were mainly conservative types, but not exclusively.

But, just look at what the Right gives us today in America.

The likes of Trump, Bolton, and Pompeo, ready to tell everyone else on the planet what they should do and how they should do it, with the threat of serious economic consequences or military action against them, if they don’t.

That’s as far from Isolationism as it gets, and there is absolutely nothing good to say about it. It actually is behavior reminiscent of the ugly forces America struggled over going to war with in the 1930s, forces so ugly that opposing going to war with them gave Isolationism its enduring bad name.

I say we know Trudeau isn’t an Isolationist because he loyally and faithfully serves Trump in every significant part of foreign policy.

I really think Trudeau needs a new speechwriter. These are half-ridiculous words.

“Isolationism” doesn’t even exist anymore as a movement. The word is dated and almost meaningless. And Trudeau tries to apply it where it wouldn’t fit under any circumstances.

But if it did have a place today, it would actually be preferable to supporting the Trump-Bolton-Pompeo axis of violent interference in the affairs of others, something to which Trudeau makes no objection, and is, indeed, a willing helper.

A threadbare speech, full of clichés, plainly outmoded concepts, and earnest efforts to position himself as a “good guy.” A threadbare speech from a threadbare leader.

Sorry, Mr. Trudeau, you can’t be both, “one of the good guys” and a proved incompetent, a fighter against dark forces and a ready helper of Trump’s. The mix is just plainly ridiculous.

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Response to a comment saying, “Cee Bee Cee has forgotten how to act like a neutral observer and just report the news instead of having anti any party view which is not liberal”:

In case you hadn’t noticed, all news sources have editorial content as well as journalistic observations.

And all news sources, all, come with one form of bias or another.

On the whole, I think CBC Online does a pretty decent job, and its comment policy is generous compared to most, and I do a lot of reading of stuff from all over.

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Response to a comment saying, “He has no standing with the international community”:

Although I’d hardly choose, as you do, an example like the brutal and not-very-open Bolsonaro avoiding a handshake with Trudeau to cite as evidence, that is very much the case, Trudeau has no standing.

But I must add that it is only a handful of Canadian Prime Ministers who enjoyed such status, men whose efforts and achievements in large part have been ignored by Trudeau and Freeland in their roles as Washington’s willing helpers from the North.

As a country, sadly, we don’t have a big international following anymore because we have no Lester Pearson or Pierre Trudeau or Paul Martin to earn it for us. And that was true for Stephen Harper. He was unpopular internationally even though not regarded as the lightweight Trudeau very much is.

Internationally, in general, I think we are viewed pretty much as what we’ve become, a kind of big resource-rich colony of the United States with a fairly timid international voice. Why would important international leaders need to listen to a weak echo of the noisy, in-your-face United States?

Trudeau’s stature isn’t, I think, all that much different than that of Ivanka Trump, someone who also likes to play at being a leader and is close to being laughed off the stage as she leaves events, although, of course, he is elected, not appointed by Daddy.

Harper wasn’t well regarded either, despite being seen as far more intelligent and driving. He was widely seen as fairly servile to other interests, especially those of Israel, as he very much was, and to an embarrassing degree.

And I’m sorry to say, we don’t have a great deal of promise in Andrew Scheer, although we’ll likely have to take what we get and hope for the best. Early statements on international affairs are distinctly unpromising, although on the home front, there are a few things encouraging.

Only our outstanding leaders gave Canada the ability to “punch above its weight class” in the world. This would have been the case, for example, with Jack Layton, but that quality of man is seen once in a generation.

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Response to a comment calling Trudeau lightweight and extremely arrogant:

The “lightweight” part of your comment is deadly accurate, the rest not so much so.

I see no “undisguised contempt” at all in Trudeau, although he does give off a kind of mild arrogance at times, but it’s the arrogance of a privileged young man who lives off a trust fund, had a world-famous father, and whose political party has lured him farther than he should have gone.

He often, in fact, gives off an almost cloying sense of a man who wants to be received as a “nice guy.” That ain’t arrogant, but it sure ain’t impressive either.

I see weakness and a complete lack of the kind of talents an effective leader requires.

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Response to a comment saying Xi had no respect for Trudeau:

Well, I don’t know about that, but Xi clearly is exceptionally intelligent and hard-working, and he has given China some remarkable initiatives and projects.

He can’t have a lot of regard for a guy like Trudeau who comes off a bit like Ivanka Trump in world affairs.

 

Posted August 22, 2019 by JOHN CHUCKMAN in Uncategorized

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JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: JACK LAYTON’S GENUINE LEGACY   Leave a comment

JOHN CHUCKMAN

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

Jack Layton’s genuine legacy is as Canada’s last honest national politician.

He spoke to truth, virtually the opposite to the practices of the man now serving as prime minister.

And when you add his innate sense of humanity and decency, it is easy to understand why so many miss him.

He is likely the last of his kind.

I’m sorry to say Canada’s politics have decayed so badly, coming to resemble increasingly the sad dumb show to the South, there is no more room for a Clark, a Stanfield, a Pearson, or a Layton.

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: JEFFREY SIMPSON ON JACK LAYTON AND POLITICAL VISIONARIES – A FALSE ARGUMENT BY A QUALITY WRITER   Leave a comment

 

 

 

JOHN CHUCKMAN

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

Very poor effort, Mr. Simpson.

“One stunning triumph does not a visionary make”

That’s just a cheap form of straw-man argument.

Jack Layton never claimed to be a visionary, and the people who mourned his loss, too, did not for the most part see him as a visionary.

Indeed, the truth is quite the opposite.

Here was a man concerned with down-to-earth realities, with making life better for average people, a man who was an effective politician in trying to get at least some modest accomplishments, a decent and happy man, and a man who kept a civil tongue in his head.

That all may not sound like much, but it is more than any of our recent leading politicians can claim – indeed, it is pretty much the polar opposite to that dark bulk we now call our prime minister.

As for visionaries, well we’ve likely had too many of those, because generally visionaries are rather like religious fanatics. We see them on silly television talk shows, we see them playing the fool in our education system, their books on self-help of every description are puked out from the publishing industry, and we read of them in useless business books.

And who were the truly large visionaries of the last century in politics and world affairs? People like Henry Kissinger, Lyndon Johnson, and Tony Blair – war criminals every one trying to reach the immortality of the Maos and Stalins and Hitlers.

I’ve learned to immediately tune-out as soon as someone is called a visionary or even uses the word. It’s as tiresome as hacks in the arts who talk about everything being “incredible,” and far more dangerous.
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“Even in death, Layton’s a media wh0re.” – redneckgal

You sure picked an appropriate pseudonym.

But why take half measures and not go all the way?

I suggest you tell it as it is.

Lay claim to Big Fat Ignoramus.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: THE DEATH OF CANADA’S JACK LAYTON   Leave a comment

 

 

 

 

JOHN CHUCKMAN

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

We are a poorer people today for the loss of this heroic and humane voice.

Jack Layton was simply an exceptional man, and that fact is what made him an exceptional politician.

Honesty, decency, and bravery are everywhere and always rare qualities, but Jack Layton displayed them many times.

They were combined with a sharp intelligence and a genuine conscience.

True heroism – that quality of holding gracefully to your purpose despite the odds and pain – is so rare: its true possessors require neither a uniform nor war.

Jack displayed it in so many parts of his life: from the announcement of his first cancer and promise to beat it and from his views on human waste of Afghanistan to the way he led an historic campaign despite sickness and to the graceful way he bowed out.

I certainly will not forget one of the most gifted politicians and most decent public men of my time.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: CRITICISM OF THE LIBERAL STRATEGY – MORE ON COALITION – TAX RISES – SERVICE CUTS – HEALTH CARE AS COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE – AMERICA’S COMING ECONOMIC TSUNAMI   Leave a comment

JOHN CHUCKMAN

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

I think you may be right, Mr. Simpson, as you so often are, being the country’s most astute political commentator after the late Jim Travers.

But the Liberals’ great strategic blunder, pre-dating this insipid election effort, was appointing Ignatieff as their leader.

The insiders responsible for this did our country a grave disservice, as will become painfully evident if Harper gets even the slimmest of majorities.

Ignatieff has almost no political skill and appears to be a poor strategic thinker.

More than that, I think it remarkable that a man with the reputation of “intellectual” shows almost no original or innovative thought. I have heard nothing from him that makes me say to myself, well, that’s right.

And, for a guy who supposedly was such a human-rights figure, his voice is never heard on the great human-rights issues of our day, but then I knew his genuine record – not the puff – before he opportunistically made his return to Canada.

Now while there are virtually no good qualities in Harper – poor ethics, poor democratic values, pandering to groups, a poor record of appointments, and a shabby record of dismissing those he doesn’t want to hear from – you must grant him a great strategic grasp of our electoral process. He is a one-man show of extraordinary dark political skills.

A political anti-Christ, I think it fair to say. Not a leader, not an idea man, not a man of principle, but a calculating machine to achieve dominance – a very dangerous man indeed.

Some choice we are given.

No wonder people in Quebec are turning to Layton, who like Elizabeth May, actually stands for some principles, whether they are ones you agree with or not.

But that too is go-nowhere development.

Layton’s replacing some of Duceppe ‘s seats does not really change the dangerous political calculus that may see Canada damaged seriously over the next five years.

What a great irony that Ignatieff, the very man who literally sneered at Dion’s coalition, should be attacked by Harper for intending “to steal the election” with a coalition.

What a great disappointment that so many Canadians are revealed to be so poorly educated that they believe Harper’s school-yard name-calling.

So long as we have the situation we have in Quebec – where Conservatives and Liberals are not contenders – the only way to stop a minority tyrant-bully like Harper is through a coalition.

And coalition is both legal and entirely proper in a parliamentary democracy.

Dion understood that. The pathetic Ignatieff has not.
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“Promising to TAX more? Mr Simpson, I’m pretty sure that even Mr. Ignatieff isn’t that silly.”

Here again is the kind of stuff which painfully reveals lack of education in a good deal of our voting populace, and ignorant democracy is dangerous.

How does anyone like that think Harper will make his vast deficits disappear?

And, at the same time, pay for gigantic and unnecessary commitments like buying that costly clunker of a fighter plane and building a new gulag of prisons?

Of course, the simplistic answer is cuts, and I, as a retired professional economist, am not against judicious cuts.

But you cannot spend the way Harper spends and have a deficit like those Harper has created, and cut your way to a balanced budget.

People like the commenter do not understand that some of our program spending is actually a competitive advantage for Canada, health care being a chief one.

We spend about 2/3 per capita to what Americans spend on health care, and – the statistics speak loudly – we get better overall outcomes by measures such as population longevity and infant mortality.

It is largely because of our health care that traditionally American corporations such as the big auto companies have viewed Canada as an efficient place in which to invest.

Not because our workers work harder, not because they are better educated, but because they start on the job by the companies not having to buy the horribly costly and inefficient private health insurance they must buy in America.

And just so for other of our national programs.
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The single greatest cause of personal bankruptcy in the United States is, and has long been, heath-care costs.

It is nothing to envy.

Anyway, readers, I think it quite possible that all the political sound and fury will be for nothing.

Despite Harper and his flaks’ constant blubbering about his economic management, when the other shoe falls in the United States, all bets are off.

People are still walking away from their mortgages there in huge numbers, and the country is spending money it does not have with wars on multiple fronts. It is also running unbelievable deficits in every account you care to mention, from the national budget to current accounts and to personal debt.

A gigantic economic tsunami is approaching the United States, and despite Harper’s childish bragging, it will not spare Canada.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: CANADA’S JACK LAYTON CRITICIZED FOR NOT COSTING PLATFORM AS THOUGH ANYTHING IS COSTED IN GOVERNMENT – PLUS MORE ON THE IDIOTIC MANTRA ABOUT STEALING THE ELECTION WITH A COALITION   Leave a comment

JOHN CHUCKMAN

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

“The NDP platform seldom gets a costed look. It’s a pastiche of guesses and conjectures.”

Please, it is exactly the same for all parties, only in the case of Conservatives, we’re not talking about election platform items, we’re talking about actual policy.

We have no idea, and Parliament has no idea, of the cost of current Conservative policies and proposed legislation. None.

The complete lack of costing of government proposals and policies and campaign policies is one of the greatest flaws in our democracy – a hole big enough to drive a fleet of trucks through.

An ignorant vote is no vote at all.
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“Steal the election?”

Enough, please, of such complete ignorance. Reading this kind of line makes one think we live in Orwell’s 1984.

Coalitions are, and always have been, a completely legitimate part of parliamentary government.

Just because Canada has not used the tool to any extent does not make it an inappropriate one.

Dozens of parliamentary democracies have been governed this way, including at this moment Britain and Israel.

The mindless repetition of Harper’s thoughtless slogans about coalition sadly demonstrates the poor knowledge of a large part of our electorate.

An ignorant democracy really is not much of a democracy, but this kind of sad ignorance is at the very foundation of all Harper’s efforts.

Indeed, Mr. Simpson, I think Harper’s use of this slogan is more dangerous than anything else being said by anyone.

If he fails to get his majority, he is setting up people in the West for deep resentment about the East.

It reminds me quite sadly of Hitler’s “stab in the back” line about why Germany lost World War I.

This kind of intellectual and ethical filth works.

But it works only at the peril of civil society and democratic values.
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Our democracy is in genuine trouble.

Mr. Ignatieff is an appointed leader in the 21st century.

Mr. Harper is a control-freak who feels free to bend every rule and tradition of Parliament to keep his place and promote his agenda.

No one seems to care and no one seems to be able to do anything about a man who stands in contempt of Parliament and a man who has abused democratic values in countless situations in committees and in appointments.

Everyone points to the Bloc in Quebec as being against our values when in fact the Bloc’s existence and our tolerance of it represent the finest part of Canadian civil and ethical values.

Indeed, it is a sad thing to have to say, but Mr. Duceppe, in a number of ways, represents democratic values and statesmanship better than the current leaders of our two major parties.

This whole election is meaningless. Harper plays the tiresome and anti-democratic game of seeking out a limited number of “swing” ridings and in those ridings blasts his horn on narrow wedge issues of little interest to anyone else.

Nowhere, absolutely nowhere, does Mr. Harper offer us a set of cohesive policies around which we can unite as Canadians.

And Ignatieff is not much better, a man of surprisingly mediocre political talents considering his noted background.

And Harper spews the anti-democratic venom of “the stab in the back” if he doesn’t get his way.

Harper represents the most poisonous individual ever to hold high office in Canada and he will leave a legacy of hateful ads, secrecy, no tolerance, poorly-considered comments, pandering to certain groups, and a whole lot more.

Texas-style hateful politics.