Archive for the ‘TOM FLANAGAN’ Tag

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: TOM FLANAGAN AND STEPHEN HARPER WORK TIRELESSLY TOWARDS AN AMERICAN MODEL OF CAMPAIGN FINANCE – WHY ? BECAUSE THEY EMBRACE A NIETZSCHEAN VIEW   Leave a comment


JOHN CHUCKMAN

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

Davidovitch seems the perfect example of Tom Flanagan’s target market.

“Harper’s reasoning was, why should Canadians be forced to pay a party who’s [sic] sole existence is based on the fact that it wants to destroy Canada.”

That is just plainly an untrue statement.

The Bloc wants a form of quasi-independence, but it has never stated that Canada’s destruction is a goal. Perhaps Davidovitch cannot grasp the subtlety of the difference? But then Flanagan himself seems rather weak in understanding this.

More importantly, while I do not have any affection for separatism, as a critical observer, I do have to say that the Bloc has sometimes played a constructive and civil role in Ottawa.

It has supported some good legislation and has, at times, acted rather statesmanlike, more than anyone can say of Harper and his gang of Alberta frat boys.

Indeed, we have the irony that the Bloc has supported legislation of Harper’s it regarded as beneficial to Quebec, a fact which the politically inept Ignatieff seems incapable of turning on Harper and his advertising lies about the support of separatists.

“I like Flanagans [sic] idea. I don’t want another red cent of my hard-earned tax dollars going to the enemy, which is the Bloc. I want the Bloc to die, and the sooner the better.”

I am not surprised Davidovitch likes Flanagan’s ideas.

They are the ideas of a narrow-minded ideologue with a dark agenda which includes decreasing the political vitality of Canada and moving it into the kind of vicious, yet meaningless, partisan politics of the United States, his home.

Davidovitch has demonstrated on these pages many times his having a similar harshly ideologue viewpoints.

“If I want my money to go to a political organization then I should be able to decide which one I want to fund by checking off a box.”

That is exactly what they do in America, and do you know what? It is completely ineffective. The funding of America’s parties at the national level much resembles what we find in third-world country; votes and candidates are pretty much for sale to the highest bidder.

Many aspects of American policy – a good example being the almost insane support for Israel with its rude injection into daily national political life, something Harper has already tried to copy to the extent his limited mandate allows – reflect only special-interest funding.

The George Bushes, the Sarah Palins, the Newt Gingriches, and the Tom Delays – comprising a rogues’ gallery of nightmare politicians – are only made possible by America’s lamentable, twisted system of campaign funding.

The leader of the Bloc seems almost a cultured gentleman by comparison.

And I am actually rather proud to live in a country with the tolerance and civility to permit the Bloc in Parliament, despite its inconveniences. It will fade and perhaps alter over time, but that should reflect the desires of its supporters – Canadians all – and not the high-handed thug politics we find in the United States.

Making a big issue of this relatively small matter is just one more example of Harper’s ceaseless effort to use nasty wedge issues to move Canada in the direction of East Texas politics.

And Tom Flanagan plays, if you will, Igor, the lab assistant, to Harper’s Frankenstein creature in the effort.
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From another commenter: “...when the Conservative Party is able and willing to fund itself simply through personal donations…”

Sorry, that is a meaningless and uninformed comment.

The ability of very conservative parties to finance themselves has been the history of countries everywhere. Why? Because very wealthy people and business interests, and, in some cases, even foreign governments keep them flush with cash.

You cannot have a strong democracy that way. Indeed, the very claim for today’s Conservative Party in Canada has absolutely nothing to do with democracy.

Just examine the United States in any detail, and what you find under the outer trappings of democratic government is almost an 18th century aristocratic state.

The U.S., the inventor of marketing techniques, has worked its way through a long experiment, conclusively proving that it is possible to have the trappings of democracy without the substance.

Money controls who can get a nomination, money controls whose face will dominate the airwaves, and money pays for many special tools and helps from travel to dinners and expensive special assistants and technology.

In this sense, America has made almost no democratic progress since the time of its revolution. Despite the fact that slowly, gradually most people have gained the vote since those early days – only about one-percent of a place like early Virginia had the vote, it being by no measure a democratic state – the same small percent of wealthy men pretty much control the nation’s destiny nearly two and half centuries later.

We know marketing and advertising work: we all accept that fact today in everyday life. So it should be no surprise in that it works in politics?

The best funded candidate virtually always wins. Occasionally, in this or that individual case, that may prove untrue, but in the language of science – statistics – it is absolutely true.

On average, money prevails, no matter how poor the candidates, how empty the party platforms.

Just look at the line of silly clown figures in the United States whose voices remain in our ears despite their mediocrity and lack of anything meaningful to say.

Truly, a George Bush or Sarah Palin would not be competent to be promoted to department heads in a Wal-Mart super-store

Yet I believe most people, deep down, are disturbed by the idea that our leadership and policies should be determined in this way.

Many ordinary Americans just fatalistically accept the unpleasant political realities of their society, feeling utterly inadequate to change them, just as they do in so many matters of consequence from wars to oppressive legislation like the Patriot Act.

Let’s not have Canada follow that terrible pattern, which, when all is said and done, is precisely what the Tom Flanagans and Stephen Harpers want. They are truly secret embracers of privilege and an almost Nietzschean belief in the right of “supermen” to govern.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: SECOND-RATE ACADEMIC AND MURDER-ADVOCATE TOM FLANAGAN AND “PARIAH PRODUCTS” – THE LAST BEING FLANAGAN’S AWKWARD TERM FOR GOODS LOADED WITH “SIN TAX”   Leave a comment


 

JOHN CHUCKMAN

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

“Pariah products will always find their way.”

Well, that is a rather awkward way to say something – “products” don’t “find ways” and “pariah product” is an inaccurate expression – but Tom Flanagan has never been a master of good writing. It does tend to be that way for propagandists.

But, for once, I agree with Flanagan, at least with what it is I think he means.

After all, Flanagan’s own “pariah product” – right-wing views expressed in awkward English – keep “finding their way” into the Globe and Mail.
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A man of low ethics, second-rate intellectual achievement, partisan right-wing politics, and poor writing – that’s Tom Flanagan.

I think Sarah Palin in drag just about sums him up.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: ASSASSINATION THREAT-AS-JOKE OF TOM FLANAGAN AN AMERICAN ACADEMIC WHOSE POST IN CALGARY IS USED AS A TOXIC DUMP   Leave a comment


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

There is nothing new in learning anything which confirms that Tom Flanagan is a nasty piece of work.

The man is pure, unadulterated American Right-Wing, a thrust-the-imperial-flag-into-the-chests-of-those-working-against-America’s-sacred-interests man, without a trace of decent traditional conservative.

He literally represents in Canada everything you find in that ugly mob which includes Dick “kill the turbanhead scum” Cheney, Tom “the money launderer” DeLay, Sarah “the idiot witth super-sized glands” Palin, Newt “I divorced my wife dying of cancer” Gingrich, and all the other charming Washington folks who work tirelessly for war and imperial interests. The influence and the money for promoting Right-Wing values come up alongside the same pipelines which carry Alberta’s crude and natural gas South.

I have never understood why the Globe gives him column-inches periodically, other than the well-know fact that he has been adviser to Harper, truly the most divisive politician in living memory and a man who already has succeeded in corroding away like spilled battery acid a great deal of Canada’s past wonderful international reputation.

Flanagan’s columns have never demonstrated anything beyond the academic quality or interest of just another second-rate social scientist. He is in academic terms a truly undistinguished thinker.

But there is nothing second rate or undistinguished about his visceral instincts for plotting against and trying to destroy traditional Canadian values. The man is an instinctive predator, a perfect hunting-mate for Harper.

I note the comment that Flanagan’s comment about killing Assange was made in the form of a joke, but then only rather sick people make such jokes or laugh at them.

Shouldn’t people who say such things be treated as terrorists, or at least as people having made a criminal threat?

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: TOM FLANAGAN SAYS POWER-SHARING WOULD GO A WAY TO SOLVING CANADA’S POLITICAL IMPASSE – AVOIDING POLITICAL SCIENCE TO PROMOTE HIS RIGHT-WING AGENDA   Leave a comment

JOHN CHUCKMAN
 
POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN BY TOM FLANAGAN IN TORONTO’S GLOBE AND MAIL

“We are stuck between a majoritarian political culture and the reality of minority government…”

Tom Flanagan shows a remarkable lack of imagination in political affairs.

There are many steps we can readily take to break up the political logjam in which we find ourselves, but they all require some courage and imagination to do things in new ways.

First, of course, we could have coalition government, a perfectly normal practice in parliaments all over the world. This would end, overnight, the embarrassing and destructive politics now at work in Ottawa.

Second, we could change the way we vote, getting rid of our primitive first-past-the-post system. A number of countries have also made this change, thereby extending the value of a vote and the meaning of democracy.

And there are still other measures possible, but none of these interests Tom Flanagan.

Why would that be you may ask? Especially considering he styles himself a political scientist?

The answer, of course, is that Mr. Flanagan functions first and foremost, not as a political scientist, but as a flak for right-wing causes.

Real political changes almost certainly would not favor the right-wing, and I must say rather anti-democratic, agenda Mr. Flanagan tirelessly serves.

Why do I say anti-democratic? Just look at his advice to Harper and his past newspaper pieces.

He supported Harper in proroguing parliament for the explicit purpose of not getting to the bottom of the abuse of prisoners in Afghanistan.

He ranted against coalition government, impugning intentions he knows perfectly well were democratic in nature.

And there are many such pieces to a puzzle whose picture is that of a tight-lipped, right-wing American who wants to import Gingrichism into our national institutions.
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“The West are using this “the West wants in” just to they can cry like little blubbery babies. It’s tiresome and worn out.”

Amen, Amen, Amen.

That is a truly dishonest slogan, and the repetition of it is an authentic example of whiney baby American politics.

Alberta represents just under 11% of Canada’s population. By what jerry-rigging would it be possible for 11% of a population to substantially influence national affairs? The argument is simply anti-democratic.

But since Alberta was extensively settled by Americans looking for free land at the turn of the last century and since its big contemporary industry, hydrocarbons, is almost totally an American-dominated enterprise with experts, executives, and financial people constantly shipped up from places like Texas and Oklahoma, we see a constant re-inforcement of America’s attitudes and whiney-babyism.

And that ongoing, quiet process includes institutions endowed by oil money, which end up with spokesmen like Tom Flanagan or Preston Manning or our dear Prime Minister, former National Citizens’ Coalition flak, Stephen Harper.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: NEO-CON TOM FLANAGAN CLAIMS HARPER IS “FIXING” CANADA’S SENATE STEP BY STEP   Leave a comment

JOHN CHUCKMAN
 
POSTED REPONSE TO A COLUMN BY TOM FLANAGAN IN TORONTO’S GLOBE AND MAIL

To paraphrase Bill Clinton, it depends on what you mean by “fix.”

I think I understand what Mr. Flanagan means by “fix,” and it is just as loaded with hidden meaning as Bill Clinton’s dishonest question.

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Canada’s Senate should either be left as it is or abolished.

An elected Senate is just copying what was done in America, Mr. Flanagan’s home and native land.

Anyone familiar with the history of the American Senate knows that it has served only to slow progress and serve the interests of the wealthy. It is always on the side of war and empire and the interests of the military-industrial complex.

It indeed has no other purpose. Two elected bodies is a formula for failure.

I do believe that that does not represent what the great majority of Canadians would choose.

But then what does a Neo-con like Flanagan care about what people choose?

He’s really talking about the interests of a small minority fundamentally changing our government without due procedure.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: MORE SILLINESS ABOUT THE PRESS NOT LIKING IGNATIEFF BECAUSE HE IS AN AUTHOR – GOD, DO PEOPLE LIKE THIS HAVE EYES AND EARS?   Leave a comment

JOHN CHUCKMAN
 
POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN BY TOM FLANAGAN IN TORONTO’S GLOBE AND MAIL

“I think the media hate Ignatieff because he is a successful author.”

That kind of comment indeed confirms Churchill’s sarcastic view on the average voter in a democracy.

Oh, please, it has nothing to do with books.

Ignatieff has simply proven a dreary public persona. Anyone with ears and eyes understands that.

He has no charm and sparkle like Chretien.

He has no piercing intelligence and commanding presence like Trudeau.

He has no sense of being a man of the people, a la Pearson.

He is almost totally unsuited to the job he has taken on, and it has nothing to do with this or that member of his staff.

The sooner he steps down – from a job he did not even get democratically – the better off our country will be.

We need an admirable, sparkling leader to stop that creature Harper, that walking assemblage of pieces of corpses, who is wrecking much of what most Canadians hold dear.

Ignatieff’s little political career by appointment is nothing more a continuation of the disastrous split in the Liberal Party when Martin pushed out Chretien.

If Harper gets a majority, we are all going to be very sorry.

The ghastly crew of creatures who are Harper’s loyal legion – ever see Tom Flanagan’s picture? Unsmiling tight thin lips, he could have a career doing roles like Silas Marner or a remake of the Night of the Living Dead – are just getting going in anticipation of Harper’s being able to sweep away everything they hate.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: TOM FLANAGAN BLUBBERS ABOUT THE BLOOM BEING OFF ALBERTA’S GOVERNMENT OWING TO THE WILD ROSE PARTY’S RISE   Leave a comment

JOHN CHUCKMAN
 
POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN BY TOM FLANAGAN IN TORONTO’S GLOBE AND MAIL
Bloom?

Ed Stelmach?

Flanagan’s use of language is just as poor as the rest of his thinking.

This is another piece of poor analysis, calling into question both the basis on which Canadian university tenure is granted and the Globe’s judgment in publishing academic commentary.

Alberta, in fact, is experiencing two powerful things.

One, Alberta is adjusting to the painful reality of its economic balloon having been pricked, and with that pricking went a lot of pretensions to greatness we heard and read about when oil was $140 a barrel.

Two, Alberta has always been a place of American settlement. A great portion of the early farmers were Americans moving over the border for Crown Land grants.

That process has only continued. The giant capital-intensive projects of the oilsands have brought a steady stream of American money and American executives from ultra-conservative places like Oklahoma and Texas.

This process is helped by having Harper in Ottawa, a politician who makes no effort to diversify investment in Alberta, Indeed, Harper has tried to restrict diversification of investment by countries like China.

Harper has also contributed to a lack of diversifying markets for Alberta hydrocarbons.

The results are what we see: a large faction for which it is almost impossible to be too conservative.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: PROPAGANDA POSING AS ANALYSIS – THE CASE OF TOM FLANAGAN AND GENOCIDE   Leave a comment

JOHN CHUCKMAN
 

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

When I read this piece by Tom Flanagan, I can only wonder at the basis of tenure in our universities, for, truly, here are bits of weak observation, clichés, and half-truths pasted together and offered as analysis. Worse, there is a thread of partisan propaganda holding the bits together like a string of beads.

“Harper announced that his Conservative government would adhere to the national interest in formulating Canada’s foreign policy…”

I am sorry, but anyone who genuinely understands the history and foreign affairs knows that that has, everywhere and always, been the basis of foreign policy. To say anything else is a declaration of just plain ignorance.

Genuine national interests do change over time – after all, your interests are different when you are exporting, say, fighter planes than when you are exporting wheat. But also, and very importantly, yet something Flanagan conveniently leaves out, people’s and government’s perceptions of what are the national interests change, often for no more reason than political ideology.

The authors of the report Flanagan pretends to analyze are “not mushy-headed idealists obsessed with soft power…” so they deserve some attention. Is it usual for a professor intending to be taken seriously in what follows to use the kind of pejorative language and straw-man argument we’d get from Rush Limbaugh?

Yes, if you are a neo-con propagandist.

“These people deserve our attention when they talk about genocide.”
Good God, “genocide” is one of the most over-worked words in our contemporary language, and, far more importantly, concern about it is always used by people like Mr. Flanagan as a tool for other purposes. This is no small point.

No power or great power ever goes to war over perceived genocide.

Most importantly, has the US, a Frankenstein of military power if ever there was one, ever opposed genocide, other than in words? It is the US which holds political and economic sway over international agencies like the UN, and it is the US which has the military power to do something.

We have had several authentic genocides in the modern period.

We had a genocide in Rwanda (around a million killed). The US simply refused to use the word internally so that they could ignore it.

We had a genocide in Cambodia (over a million killed), caused by America’s de-stabilizing of the once peaceful country with its bombing and secret invasion. When tough little Viet Nam went in to do something, the US stood back and said, ‘See, we told you, the domino theory at work!’

We had a genocide in Indonesia with the fall of Sukarno. Five hundred-thousand people, vaguely identified as communists, had their throats cut and their bodies dumped into rivers.

Not only did the US not react, there were officials at state department phones late into the night transmitting names of candidates.

I would argue, too, that America’s slaughter in Vietnam was a genuine genocide. About three million were killed, mostly civilians, for no reason other than embracing the wrong economic system.

Many aspects of Bush’s “war on terror” have assumed aspects of genocide. Ever heard of the three thousand prisoners in U.S. care who were driven out to the desert in sealed vans to suffocate by General Dostum’s men while American soldiers watched, picking their noses? This came after Secretary Rumsfeld publicly declared Taleban prisoners should be killed or walled-away for life.

‘Never again’ is a slogan – we’ve proved that – and, like all slogans, it is selectively applied to sell something, just as Flanagan does here.

Great standing armies have virtually no record of doing worthy things.

They do, very much, have a record of fighting pointless wars, intervening where they do not belong, and even intimidating or overthrowing governments.

Flanagan’s “beyond our power to fulfill” is nothing but a plea for more militarism and closer association with a United States which has overthrown governments in Iran, Guatemala, Chile, and a dozen other places as well as killing millions in Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq for absolutely no good purpose.

Great power like that is something to be very wary of, not to embrace.