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Tag Archives: NATURE OF DEMOCRACY

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED IN THE GUARDIAN

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

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

The truly brave always in history are abused by authorities.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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JOHN CHUCKMAN

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

He’s supposed to be running for President of the United States, a nation of more than 300 million people with plenty of problems.

So why is it that he goes to Israel to speak on matters which are of no concern to most Americans?

Indeed, why does virtually every candidate and elected Congressman take paid junkets to Israel, a nation of 7 million whose own problems are immense and whose interests mostly have nothing to do with those of the United States?

It’s certainly not the ex-pat vote because that amounts to a few hundred thousand people.

The answer of course is the relentless need for money by the American political machine.

These guys are going to burn through hundreds of millions of dollars in the next few months.

And the American Supreme Court has said that money is free speech.

Well, the single best organized and financed special interest there is is Israel and its American apologists.

When just one American billionaire can donate at least 18 million dollars to John McCain’s efforts to gain the nomination, as Sheldon Adelson very much did, it becomes clear that it is well worth while to make a trip or two, done a yarmulke at the Wall, and make outlandish speeches.

Mr Adelson among others was reported as intending to attend the campaign fund raiser in Israel.

This is the essence of government by and for special interests.
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What is always left unsaid in statements like Romney’s about supporting an Israeli strike on Iran?

Iran has the capability of striking back.

So after Israel bombs yet one more nation, and that nation turns its resources against Israel, as it will be entirely justified in doing after an unprovoked attack, what will Israel’s response be?

I think we all know that Netanyahu’s lying bluster and threats will immediately melt into special pleadings for help from the United States, and the United States will be dragged into yet another war.

It would be a war which serves not one genuine American interest, and, indeed, would do the opposite, alienating the hundreds of millions of people whose native region Western Asia is.

Making policy commitments with those kinds of consequences is beyond being stupid.

It may get him special-interest campaign contributions today while just giving the American people he is supposed to serve one more gigantic life- and money-wasting war.

That is how twisted American national politics have become.
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“Maybe its something to do with a fellow democracy in a part of the world that is ruthless and tyrannical…”

Oh please.

How is Israel a fellow democracy?

A democracy that insists on its being the “Jewish state”?

How is that different to an Islamic state?

What kind of democracy kills 400 children in Gaza, a giant refugee camp?

What kind of democracy drops a million cluster-bomblets on Southern Lebanon?

What kind of democracy keeps people under occupation for the best part of half a century?

What kind of democracy steals the homes and farms of those it occupies regularly?

What kind of democracy keeps thousands in prison with no proper legal proceedings?

What kind of democracy starts wars with every neighbor that it has?

What kind of democracy has systematic practices that some of the world’s best ethical minds have declared are apartheid?

What kind of democracy allows insane settlers to shoot people and cut down olive trees and take property with no penalties?

What kind of democracy doesn’t allow women to approach a national shrine from the same place as men?

What kind of democracy lets people exclude women from buses?

What kind of democracy makes atomic weapons deals with a rogue statel like apartheid South Africa?

What kind of democracy has secret agents running around assassinating people all the time?

What kind of democracy sends commandos to board a humanitarian ship in international waters and shoots a number of the unarmed people in the head?

The only past examples of “democracies” I can think of that are even close are the American Confederacy and the previous governments of South Africa and Rhodesia.
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“63% of Americans support Israel he is representing the will of the majority in supporting Israel.”

“It is hard for anti Israelis to understand democracy.”

As anyone familiar with statistics and polling knows it is always possible to get different answers to the same questions just by asking them in slightly different ways.

This matter came up in the Quebec referendum, and it is an age-old one for pollsters.

Example: “Do you think Romney is a resolute man?” as opposed to, “Do you think Romney a stubborn man?”

I guarantee different numbers to the two essentially-same questions.

Again, positive responses to broad open questions like “Do you support Israel?” are as meaningless as the question.

And quoting them, as you do, is dishonest.

Indeed, many respondents, afraid of being thought anti-Semitic by an unknown caller on the other end of the line, would be constrained to a positive response.

But if you ask the same question with some meat on the bones, you will certainly get a different answer.

For example, “Do you support Israel’s having illicit nuclear weapons?”

Or, “Do you support Israel’s shooting of 400 children in Gaza?”

Or even, “Do you support Israel if its policies take the United States into a costly war?”

And, no, it is not hard for critics of Israel to understand democracy.

Indeed, just the opposite is true.

Israel’s apologists seem blind to the traditional meanings of democracy when it comes to any discussion of Israel.

We went through centuries of oppression to get to the Enlightenment and to the institutionalizing of democratic and human values.

Today’s Israel simply represents a giant step backward.

Indeed, I would add that it is the worst tyrannies who have always been Israel’s secret friends: Mubarak in Egypt, the kings of Saudi Arabia, and the past government of South Africa.

Birds of a feather…

 

 

 

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

POSTED RESPONSES TO A COLUMN BY MARGARET WENTE IN TORONTO’S GLOBE AND MAIL

This is the second trashiest thing Margaret Wente has ever written, and that is saying something because she occupies herself with a great deal of trash.

Apart from insulting brave humanitarians, the underlying theme here is a quieter re-statement of the idiotic assertion that the very selectivity of people’s interest in Israel-Palestine displays their anti-Semitism.

People should show more concern about North Korea? First, North Korea is an absolute government. Israel claims to be a democracy, and with that word “democracy” goes a lot of associated concepts about human rights and ethical government, else it wouldn’t be a claim worth making, but we plainly see endless abuse and refusal to honor human rights by Israel.

Ms Wente truly ought to register as a lobbyist for Israel.

Readers may be interested in the following.

Ms Wente’s all-time great piece of idiocy critiqued at:

http://chuckmanwords.wordpress.com/2009/05/28/the-iraq-wars-trashiest-piece-of-propaganda/

A critique of the moral-trash theme of selectivity buried in her current piece:

http://chuckmanwords.wordpress.com/2009/06/01/the-peculiar-state/

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“Nor should the people of Gaza be punished for the incompetency of its leaders as Ms Wente so kindly suggests.”

True, except that no one has ever demonstrated Hamas as incompetent.

Quite the opposite appears to be the case, Hamas has held its people together after more than three years of brutal, illegal blockade and that after Israel’s inhuman assault called Operation Cast Lead, in which Israel killed 400 children and a thousand others.

I’d say Hamas has shown the qualities of British leadership during The Blitz.

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“Could someone quote a reliable source giving the total of Israelis killed by Hamas rockets or incursions? In the game of numbers, numbers matter.”

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_NtgXlrcvXZA/SWfEpYDqzwI/AAAAAAAAZm0/v8qp2yKvyVo/s1600-h/ROCKET+qassam37.jpg

The rockets – overgrown homemade fireworks – have never been proven to have killed anyone, although while Israel was wading through the blood of 400 children and a thousand others in Operation Cast Lead, it claimed that about ten Israelis were killed, a claim like so many from Israel never substantiated.

By the way, just one fact is most telling here. The United Nations’ Special Rapporteur for Palestine, Richard Falk, a distinguished American academic and a Jew, only recently published the fact that Israeli forces have killed 1,335 Palestinian children since the year 2000 in their various incursions, suppressions, and brutal policing.

Now, there is a real record of achievement of which to be proud, Ms Wente.

The stuff of democracy to be sure.

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“And it is interesting that in UK, France and Canada you have Conservative governments and then all of them including US Congress and Senate creating special committees to fight anti-Semitism.”

“…anyone even tangentially linked to it can kiss his/her career or life good-bye.”

Apologists for Israel use the term “anti-Semitism” in exactly the way the late Senator Joe McCarthy used “communist” or “pinko.”

The technique is called demonizing and intimidating your opponent, and the intention is to stop people from even considering your opponent’s arguments and observations.

Never mind dealing with the facts and arguments of your opponent, just label him as something filthy.

Israel does this with the word “terrorist” also.

It labels people who oppose its ghastly policies as “terrorists,” conveniently forgetting that Israel itself was founded in the terror of the Irgun and Stern and other murderous gangs and forgetting, too, that there is only one source of regular assassination, illegal arrest, property theft, and constant abuse of 4 million people in the Middle East, and that   source is Israel.

We have all heard of narco-states, but I believe today it is right to describe Israel as a mafia-state, a state where the government itself murders whoever it thinks worth murdering and steals whatever it thinks worth stealing.

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“Meanwhile the country is bounded on all sides by hostile nations, much larger than itself.”

Who chose this troubled location?

Who established their beach head, as it were, with the horrors of the Irgun and Stern gangs?

Who has attacked every neighbor it has, and some two or three times?

Who keeps 4 million people in a state of abuse and a lack of any rights at all?

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“Since ceded to the Israels after WWII, a land of mostly wandering shepherds has been transformed into a modern, vibrant, productive land.”

First, no one ceded that land to Israelis.

What authority did the British Empire have giving away the homes and farms of others?

Transformed into a vibrant, productive land?

First, Israel is the most subsidized entity on earth.

It has received hundreds of billions – yes, billions – in subsidies from the United States and others.

The U.S. government gives about $500 per year per Jewish citizen of Israel, and it has done so for decades.

The U.S. also gives priceless technical assistance and access to intelligence and cooperative projects of every description.

Germany has poured tens of billions in reparations into Israel, rightly so in view of past crimes, but still an immense subsidy.

American Jewish organizations have also poured tens of billions into Israel.

Israeli Americans enjoy the special privilege of dual citizenship, something the United States is averse to for others, and this means they can freely travel back and forth transferring technology and other huge benefits.

Its economy only flourishes because half of its trade is with the United States, enjoying as it does a privileged free-trade agreement that would be the envy of any small country.

Its agriculture only flourishes because it diverts the water of others in this dry region.

Then what does it do with the stolen, precious water?

It grows things like tomatoes and clementines to send all the way to the United States, a place with tons of capacity to grow such things.

The real economic cost of this agricultural nonsense is immense. The replacement cost of water in Israel is reflected in its desalination plants (also subsidized) which produce some of the world’s most costly water.

 

 

 


JOHN CHUCKMAN

 

POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN BY ALASDAIR PALMER IN THE TELEGRAPH

I cannot understand how anyone can even consider the drone-killers legal, and I am ashamed that I ever praised the man, Barack Obama, who is responsible for this reprehensible behavior.

America’s confused and bloody presence in Afghanistan and Iraq seems to have blurred the meaning of all such terms as legality and ethics in international affairs. We condemn China for keeping a peaceful protester in jail while we murder by the hundreds people legally guilty of nothing.

Just like Israel’s assaults and murders and tortures of civilians and political opponents, the drones are nothing but organized murder.

First, the drone attacks have killed hundreds of totally innocent people.

Second, even their intended targets have been charged with nothing in a court of law. They are just summarily executed by a machine run by some buzz-cut thug at a computer monitor who likely pumps his arm when his death machine blows up a house which contains God knows what people, perhaps then going out for lunch and a beer. That is as far from legality and ethics as you can travel.

How is this activity any different to those South American juntas that kidnapped thousands over years and made them “disappear” – the euphemism for flying people out over the ocean and throwing them out of the plane.

This savagery represents the Israelization of American foreign policy – just kill anyone you claim is a threat to you, behavior which represents the absolute lack of ethics and utter lawlessness.

You cannot make a better, law-abiding world through such moral horrors.

Indeed, Israel and the United States have set examples of such outrageous and unacceptable nature that over the long term they have given potential terrorists a new standard for their work, besides producing countless new young people with grudges, keen on future vengeance.

Are we going to continue into the black hole of Stalinism on a world scale where someone’s wrong look or word gets them liquidated?

That really is the logical outcome of these horrors.

Of course, the claim that it is democracies engaged in this bloody work proves only that democracies are just as capable of murder and torture as tyrant states. There is nothing automatically moral or ethical about being a democracy.

And it tells us we should be glad there are not more such democracies.

JOHN CHUCKMAN

POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN BY LIAM FOX IN THE TELEGRAPH

This makes no sense.

In a democracy, in the final analysis, you must put responsibility with the people voting and supporting its institutions.

Otherwise, all the talk of the merits of democracy is rubbish.

The people pretty much get the goverment they deserve in any democratic state.

What people fail to realize is that democracies are not automatically decent forms of government. A majority with bad intentions can indefinitely impose its will.

Only a bill or charter of rights offers some protection against such majority abuse, but Israel does not have one, nor is it likely that it ever will with religious definitions governing many aspects of its society.

It truly does not matter much who is elected in Israel.

The choice of a woman who worked with Olmert is hardly promising. He is surely a war criminal by any reasonable, meaningful definition.

Olmert launched a savage bout of killing just so his party could have election bona fides.

As to Lieberman, he is quite rightly characterized as a fascist. Were this any place but Israel, the world’s press would be saying just that.

Netanyahu has a long record of inflammatory statements and corrosively negative attitudes. He is a dark, unpleasant figure, altogether.

More than once, he has openly expressed contempt for Arabs.

It is generally put that Israel has moved to the right, but I rather think it is more accurate to say that Israel has moved into darkness.

I don’t know how it could be more clear that Israelis do not want a just peace.

Oh, yes, if asked about peace in general in polls, they say yes, but peace in general is a meaningless abstraction. Genuine peace has to be qualified by all the small print.

I wonder how many readers are aware that while Olmert was killing maybe 400 children in Gaza, there was heavy activity in the West Bank seizing more of other people’s land?

Recent revelations through Google maps demonstrate the intensity of Israel’s continuing efforts to seize land through informal settlements.

Other revelations through government papers demonstrate clearly the government’s quiet collusion in such illegal and unethical efforts.

We will have peace if Israel is prepared to return to its 1967 borders, but there is not the least indication that that is likely or even possible.

But peace isn’t just borders, it is treating your neighbors with respect and decency, but we see no sign of this from Israel, and it is Israel that holds all the cards.