Tuesday, May 23, 2017

IF YOU HATE HYPOCRISY AND POLITICAL STUPIDITY OF EVERY DESCRIPTION, THEN YOU'LL LOVE THIS SITE...



ABOUT JOHN CHUCKMAN

John Chuckman is former chief economist for a large Canadian oil company. He has many interests and is a lifelong student of history. He writes with a passionate desire for honesty, the rule of reason, and concern for human decency. John regards it as a badge of honor to have left the United States as a poor young man from the South Side of Chicago when the country embarked on the pointless murder of something like 3 million Vietnamese in their own land because they embraced the wrong economic loyalties. He lives in Canada, which he is fond of calling “the peaceable kingdom.”

John’s writing appears regularly on many Internet sites. He has been translated into at least ten languages and has been regularly translated into Italian and Spanish. Several of his essays have been published in book collections, including two college texts. He has published a book, The Decline of the American Empire and the Rise of China as a Global Power, published by Constable and Robinson, London. John also writes book reviews.

Apart from his writing since retiring from the oil industry, John has taught university courses in economics, done a good deal of private tutoring, served as a professional newspaper restaurant reviewer (he likes cooking), followed his favorite hobby of photography, and created a popular family of image blogs on the Internet.

John may be reached directly at:  formersouthsideboy@gmail.com

SOME INTERNET SITES FROM JOHN CHUCKMAN:


CHUCKMAN'S PORT STANLEY
    http://chuckmanportstanley.wordpress.com/
CHUCKMAN'S MONTREAL
     http://chuckmanmontreal.wordpress.com/
CHUCKMAN'S ILES DE LA MADELEINE (MAGDALEN ISLANDS)
     http://chuckmanmagdalenislands.wordpress.com/
CHUCKMAN'S GODERICH
CHUCKMAN PHOTOS ON WORDPRESS: CHICAGO NOSTALGIA AND MEMORABLIA (SELECTED POSTCARDS AND RESTAURANT ITEMS)
 CHUCKMAN’S PLACES ON WORDPRESS
 CHUCKMAN’S PHOTOS ON WORDPRESS: TORONTO NOSTALGIA AND MEMORABLIA
 CHUCKMAN' S NON-SPORTS TRADING CARDS OF THE 1950s VOL.1/4
 CHUCKMAN’S ROBOTS
 CHUCKMAN’S ART
 CHUCKMAN’S GALLERY OF GROTESQUES
 CHUCKMAN’S CARTOON COMMENTS   
 CHUCKMAN'S MISCELLANEA OF WORDS
CHUCKMAN'S COMMENTS FROM THE WORLD PRESS
CHUCKMAN'S POLITICAL ESSAYS


ME, ROUGHLY: THE DECLINE IS RAPID NOW

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: TRUMP SEEN TRYING TO UNITE SAUDIS AND ISRAELIS AGAINST IRAN - I GUESS HE MISSED THE FACT THEY ALREADY ARE - DOES AMERICA WANT ANOTHER BIG MIDEAST WAR ? ISRAEL SURE DOES - SHIA VERSUS SUNNI MUSLIMS


EXPANSION OF COMMENTS POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN SPUTNIK


“Tryst in Tel Aviv: Trump Tries to Unite Israel, Saudis With Anti-Iran Rhetoric”


God, Trump is a disappointment.

Israel and the Saudis have shared a hatred of Iran for years, each for its own reasons.

After all, Israel and Saudi Arabia are virtually secret allies now and both important supporters, now or in the past, of outfits like ISIS and al Nusra.

Neither of them likes anything to do with change or social reform or revolution or anything which could endanger their comfortable and oppressive stability and the comfortable rule of wealth in the region.

Israel hates genuine liberals, for example, almost as much as the House of Saud does, and that is because liberals are seen as important critics of Israel’s ugly human rights policies.

In general, Shia Muslims compare to Sunni Muslims today very much as Protestants did to Catholics in 16th century Europe.

In the light of the time, Protestantism then stood for progressive matters, as for example education of people so they could read the Bible, an idea Catholicism, representing the doctrine of Church authority interpreting the Scripture for people, opposed.

Protestants also simplified many things about worship, again things Catholicism opposed.

There are many parallels to today’s Sunni-Shia hostilities in the Middle East.

Israel, of course, couldn’t care less about these issues except to exploit them for its own purposes.

Israel’s key impulse is to be the leading state in the region, serving also as a kind of chief lieutenant and enforcer for the American empire there in a kind of symbiotic relationship in which Israel’s attention in the region on behalf of the United States is repaid by the United States’ continued support of Israel in the wider world.

Quite apart from immense financial and technical subsidies and privileges America sends pouring into Israel, America’s active work of suppressing criticism of Israel in everything from the United Nations and other international organizations to the calculated, relentless bias of its corporate press has been an important tool in making Israel’s often lawless behavior seem legitimate.

Iran, by virtue of its size – 70 million people - and resources, is destined, unless someone interferes, to itself become the region’s dominant state. Israel will do anything to stop that natural progress. And just so, Saudi Arabia for several reasons of its own, including the religious differences which are used to disguise other social and political and economic interests.

The Saudis once quite disliked Israel and acted in public ways to make their dislike apparent, but since 9/11, things have changed dramatically. The Saudis were terrified that America would invade and topple them, so they have worked hard to become especially cozy and accommodating with the United States and its colony, Israel.

They keep the close friendship secret because it would not go down well with a great many Saudi Muslims who are largely very conservative Sunnis, called Salafists. In the world of Islam, they might roughly be compared to Israel’s ultra-Orthodox, a people who although a minority in Israel determine many of its laws and policies because their parties always have the balance of power necessary for a larger party to form a government. In the matter of being almost violently intolerant of other religious groups or anyone intruding on their community, Muslim Salafists and Jewish Ultra-Orthodox are close relatives.            

My great fear here is that Trump – now, by all appearances, loyally on board with the very American imperial establishment of whom he seemed, rightly, so critical only months ago – is going to prepare the ground for another Mideast War such as the terrible one between Iraq and Iran in the 1980s. That war, given allowance for the size of the parties involved, was about as bloody as the First World War.

America did everything it could to stoke and facilitate that war, always hoping that both sides would be badly bled and weakened. It supplied some terrible weapons, too, including the poison gas used by Iraq on tens of thousands of Iranians. The American strategy much resembled that of America in Europe during WWII. They dearly wanted Germany and the Soviet Union to both be bled and weakened, and they didn’t truly invade until the conflict was largely decided and they feared the Soviets might overrun all of Europe.

Israel would just love such a war. The typical view, if we are to judge by public statements, of Israeli officials concerning Arabs and Persians is pretty unpleasant, downright racist at times. And Israel is ruthless enough to encourage just such a conflict to weaken all parties involved.

From Ariel Sharon to Benjamin Netanyahu, there have been countless calls and demands for invading Iran, one way or another. Netanyahu, after being frustrated in his efforts to have the United States attack Iran, made serious preparations for Israel’s doing so on its own. In one of the few decent acts of his blood-drenched record in foreign policy, Obama prevented that effort by telling Netanyahu he’d shoot his planes out of the sky. Iran, unfortunately, has become a national obsession for Israel’s furious leaders.

Being a nation which has attacked no one in its modern history and a nation which has suffered terribly under numerous American policies – from the 1953 coup which destroyed a democratic government and put the brutal Shah into office to the 1980-88 induced war with Iraq which saw about a million people die – is not enough to save you if you stand in the way of empire. There is no pity or even humanity in the works of imperial power.



JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: SHAMELESS CALL TO ASSASSINATE A PRESIDENT AND ATTACK OTHERS BY ISRAEL'S THUG GOVERNMENT - AND NOT THE FIRST TIME



COMMENT POSTED TO AN ITEM ON YOUTUBE


 “Time to assassinate Assad & get to his allies in Iran – Israeli minister”

It is unbelievable that a government minister feels entitled to speak this way in public. And it is not the first time this has happened.

Were it any other country, the minister would be reviled, as he deserves to be.

Where are the voices of European leaders? Where is the voice of the UN Secretary-General? Where are the editorials of great newspapers?

But this is Israel, the world's black hole as far as respect for the rule of law and human rights are concerned, and so, the minister can speak this way without consequence.

You see, the US has his back, so to speak, while Israel, through its lobby, has the US government by the balls.



Thursday, May 18, 2017

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT A WASHINGTON SPECIAL PROSECUTOR'S APPOINTMENT, THE POSSIBILITY OF IMPEACHMENT, AND WHAT DRIVES THE WHOLE TRULY LUNATIC SPECTACLE


COMMENT WRITTEN IN RESPONSE TO AN ARTICLE IN THE INDEPENDENT


"Special prosecutor Robert Mueller 'will take Donald Trump from frying pan to fire' over Russia investigation"

Then there'll be a mighty thin meal because there is no meat here. Not a scrap. None.

Fire, hot pans, shouting, cooks sweating in a hot kitchen and absolutely nothing to prepare. That is the ridiculous spectacle we see right now in Washington.

Not everyone understands that impeachment is, in fact, a trial - a long, complicated trial involving some of the nation's finest legal minds at work.

I know the United States does many questionable and even brutally- stupid things, but I do think bringing someone important to a trial, a guaranteed international spectacle, with absolutely no evidence of any kind, just a lot of shouting and accusations, is not one of them. It is a guaranteed formula for failure. Does any thinking person, not a rabid partisan, believe the United States or the world deserve that?

It cannot happen because even the guys doing all the shouting know that they have nothing in the prosecutor's brief. However, the efforts and noise and groundless accusations can paralyze the government, blunt its efforts at any reasonable policy (such as, establishing a peaceful relationship with Russia). Of course, there are many other important matters, like the health of the entire Western economy, that the effort can also damage. An executive branch paralyzed by continuous and complete nonsense is dangerous for us all.

The politicians know they only have the accusations of angry partisans like Hillary Clinton, Chuck Schumer, and Nancy Pelosi plus the questionable assertions of Mr. Comey, an old Democratic Hillary partisan and a man who proved himself inept while in office if we are to believe that very same group of accusers - Hillary, Schumer, Pelosi, etc - by their own words of just months ago, all easily still found on the Internet.

Of course, the real danger here is the massive effort to undo a properly-conducted election. A great deal of that effort is coming from the security services, especially the CIA, including some former members of that dark organization.

They don’t like Trump because he, early on, disparaged their importance (as many of us feel is more than fitting) and they have willing helpers in the arrogant walking wounded of the Democratic Party who just cannot believe both that they lost the election and that they had an insider (almost certainly the late Seth Rich) leak the official secrets of their corrupt internal workings. Better to blame the Russians on all counts, and blaming the Russians does also help feed the new Cold War fires now raging in Washington, fires set alight by that smiling psychopath, Obama, with his destructive drives and policies in Europe.

After all, isn’t that the kind of thing the CIA does abroad, often work to unseat legitimate governments? It did so in Ukraine. It did so in Libya. It did so in Egypt. It is working at doing so in Syria. And it did so in many other places. Well, now, the ugly activity has come home to roost, the ultimate form of what security agencies call “blowback.”

America is in the process of tearing apart what very little legitimacy it has left as a democratic state, and millions stand around and cheer because they have been hyped day-and-night by our pathetic corporate media who never work to explain what really is happening anywhere, only passing on the re-written press releases of officialdom.

If you want an accurate perspective on the matter, we have Stephen F. Cohen, distinguished Princeton professor and a genuine expert on Russian affairs, someone who many times in past years was consulted by the American government itself, saying this:



Wednesday, May 17, 2017

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: THE TRUMP-RUSSIA CIRCUS ROLLS RIGHT ON WITH ISRAEL NOW SAID TO BE SOURCE OF CLASSIFIED INFORMATION SHARED WITH RUSSIA


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN RUSSIA INSIDER

“Washington Post: Trump Leaked ISIS Secrets to the Russians That Are So Sensitive, We Can't Even Talk About Them
“The gist of the newest manufactured 'scandal':
“As usual no evidence is offered
“White House has already denied it
“Is WaPo's position Trump should keep ISIS' secrets?” 

Thanks for summing up this latest Washington idiocy with some of your best amusingly-trenchant analysis.

Remember, The Washington Post is owned by the boss of Amazon, a man who is an open partisan for Hillary Clinton (all the chief American Internet-media companies support the War Party, aka, the Democrats) as well as being a willing helper in the CIA's exploits (again, as all the other big American Internet-media companies are).

As Mark Twain said, "Nothing can withstand the assault of laughter!"

It is almost beyond comprehension how the very center of the American empire - a place literally packed with highly-educated, highly-paid, privileged people with big-sounding job titles - behaves much the same as the 1960s' lunatic gang of the British "Carry On" movies.

Washington today regularly looks and sounds like a mob of badly-mannered children screaming and punching in the schoolyard, yelling words which make no sense and are intended only to hurt others.

And we are supposed to respect that?

Apart from every other argument of ethics, morality, and often-poor successes from insane projects, American leadership literally is unfit for the role it insists on having in the world.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: THE TRUMP-RUSSIA CIRCUS ROLLS RIGHT ON WITH ISRAEL NOW SAID TO BE SOURCE OF CLASSIFIED INFORMATION SHARED WITH RUSSIA


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE INDEPENDENT


“Israel was source of classified information Trump shared with Russia, say officials”

Well. if Israel was the source for the supposed information leak, as one commenter wrote in another newspaper, the US would undoubtedly have paid through the nose for it.

So you could say, Trump simply wanted to get some use from an over-priced trinket.

At any rate, this entire business remains totally asinine. It is a manufactured event, much resembling in tone packs of wolves howling at the moon.

Here's a refreshing view of it from an old Republican, no less:




Sunday, May 14, 2017

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: AMERICA SET TO SELL $100 BILLION IN WEAPONS TO ONE OF THE MOST BACKWARD GOVERNMENTS ON EARTH - WHY? SOME FACTS ABOUT SAUDI ARABIA


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE INDEPENDENT


“US closes in on $100bn deal to sell weapons to Saudi Arabia”

What a wonderful thing to do.

One of the world's most backward places in everything from democracy and human rights to waging aggressive war - what a fine customer for a massive pile of arms equivalent to the entire GDP of some small lands.

But for the United States, Saudi Arabia represents a couple of things important to the global empire.

First, the Saudis are good buddies with Israel, virtually secret allies in many projects such as Syria and Yemen. And the Saudis share with Israel a repulsion for such things as truly democratic government, opposition to many of the demands of human rights, and a concern for protecting the position of privileged wealth in the region.

Second, they aren't Iran. Indeed, they are viewed as a bulwark against Iran's natural development as the region's leading country, given its 70 million population and resources.

Israel, which wants for itself the unquestioned position of the region's leading country, shares the Saudi view of Iran.

And note that Israel does not oppose such a vast weapons deal with an Arab state, something it most certainly would have done some years ago.

The Saudi position vis-a-vis Israel changed dramatically, although quietly (don't want to upset their own population, now, do they?), after 9/11.

The Saudis were terrified of being accused and perhaps even invaded following 9/11. They went almost overnight from openly anti-Israel statements and acts of many years to something resembling groveling after American expectations for its Middle Eastern colony.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: BRITAIN'S JEREMY CORBYN QUOTED AS SAYING BRITAIN HAS NOT FOUGHT A JUST WAR SINCE 1945 - BRAVO - WE HAVE ALMOST NO LEADERS ADMITTING SUCH TRUTHS


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE INDEPENDENT


"Jeremy Corbyn: Britain has not fought just war since 1945'

Well said, M. Corbyn.

A profound truth, which I fear far too few understand.

After all, politicians generally will not admit this. And our corporate press never does anything but support the government of the day.

I only wish we had a few more leaders who had the insight and courage to speak as you have.

Good government is built on truth, just as good policies are based on science.

But we have, for the most part, not had good government, either in Britain or the United States.

We have had governments motivated by agendas not all that different than religious fanaticism.

From strident insane levels of anti-communism to strident insane levels of anti-Muslim "extremism." It's all the same, Captain Ahab chasing the white whale, destroying lives every step of the way.

And just as Ahab miserably failed, so has the United States. North Korea was left a wasteland with an estimated 20% of its population killed. Vietnam saw an estimated 3 million killed by bombing "heroes" like John McCain.

Cambodia, destabilized by the US, saw a million die by the results. A million died in Iraq. So far, more than a third of a million in Syria. How many in Libya, Yemen, Afghanistan?

There's a long list of lesser places too. And where do you see healthy democracy or great human rights in all that wreckage?

The United States' establishment has been dedicated to this immense destructive effort, and Britain, for the most part, has not had the leadership to resist their requests and demands.

What is really going on is a massive post-WWII effort by the United States to dominate in nearly every corner of the earth, and countries like Britain have gone along for the ride.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: BERNIE SANDERS PROVES HIS MEDIOCRITY YET AGAIN ON THE JAMES COMEY FIRING - FACTS MISSING IN NIXON WATERGATE COMPARISONS


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE INDEPENDENT


“Bernie Sanders responds to Trump firing James Comey: 'What is the administration hiding?'”

This is pathetic.

Bernie only further proves what a weak and dishonest politician he is, just typical establishment under the phony cover of a self-declared "socialist."

No one with a fully-operating brain believes there is a shred of truth in the hysterical garbage about Russia, and even if there were, so what?

And you do not have to like Trump to say so.

Comey is a rather dark and devious character. He made Hillary furious. He serves Trump badly. No one can even guess what nonsense he is up to on the lunatic Russia business.

After all, he had that phony dossier, commissioned for big bucks by a Republican Trump opponent from an old British agent working as a glorified private detective, himself once. Did he do anything with it? Did he explain anything about it?

My only question is, why did Trump take so long?
_________________________________

“Interesting to note that Nixon was not brought down because of the Watergate break in, but because of the Watergate cover up. Trump may be brought down by Russian ties and the cover up.”

You do not understand what you are talking about.

Nixon's stupid Watergate scandal starts with an old-hand CIA man, James McCord, using the sloppiest method to secure the door with tape and catching an alert guard's attention. A long- experienced operative like McCord could not make that kind of error except deliberately.

McCord was hired by the secretive Nixon "Plumbers" outfit, but he was almost certainly a CIA plant.

It was a set-up to dump a President the CIA did not like for several reasons, including the fact that he ran his own parallel intelligence operatives and almost certainly the fact that he never accepted the phony Warren Commission Report.

He was too smart and experienced to believe that crock of an investigation. CIA undoubtedly feared he would stumble upon stuff he wasn't to know with his operatives out investigating in various sensitive places.

Once Nixon actually sought the undisclosed files on the Kennedy assassination, but was refused. The President refused by people supposedly serving at his pleasure!

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: CHEAP-TRICK JOURNALIST ATTACKS HONEST POLITICIAN CORBYN BY WRITING ABOUT BRITISH POLITICIANS IN GENERAL NOT BEING UP TO THE JOB



COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY ANDREA WHITTAM SMITH IN THE INDEPENDENT


The one thing we have learned from the last two years is that our politicians are simply not up to the job
Displaying contempt for voters is the very opposite of rising to the level of events – but that is what Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn have done, just like their predecessors


This is just another cheap shot at Corbyn.

What the author has to say about May or Cameron is correct. They are not up to the job.

Cameron was an insipid, smug, dishonest man.

May puts on a pleasant face to do very unpleasant things.

Corbyn is an honest and thoughtful man. I don't know whether he will be successful, but neither does this propaganda-oriented writer.

He has been attacked almost every day of his brief leadership at the behest of the very special interests piloting the Mays and Camerons of this world.

Wretched Tony Blair is the titular leader of the special interests, and barely a week goes by in which the corporate press does not promote and publicize him and his devoted acolytes.

What it really comes down to is political parties being bought-and-sold to special interests.

The basic structure of politics in Britain is corrupt and rather anti-democratic.

Just as is the case in France and overwhelmingly so in the United States.

In many ways, it is as though the entire Western history since the French Revolution has been expunged. We do not have democratic government. Cameron misruled with about 35% of the people's support, and he promoted special interests everyday of his term of office.

Money and special interests guide the fate and policies of Britain, France, and the United States.

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: FRANCE'S MACRON BLAMES MISOGYNY FOR TALK OF HIS OLDER WIFE - HE MISSES THE POINT - NOT MISOGYNY BUT FAIR CONCERN OVER PEDOPHILIA AND STUDENT-TEACHER SEX - OUR FIRST MEASURE OF A POLISHED MEDIOCRITY


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE INDEPENDENT


"Emmanuel Macron blames 'homophobia' and 'misogyny' for obsession with his older wife"

Well, now, he would, wouldn't he?

These are favorite totemic words to be tossed about by today's establishment and corporate press. Just as prevalent and meaningless and tiresome as "anti-Semitism."

And if there is anything Macron is, it is establishment. France just elected a polished corporate vapidity as its president.

A very unattractive man who fits in well with the likes of Hollande or Fillon, polished, egotistical liars who offer the French people very little indeed.

And we know - from information posted on the Internet, but banned from all publication in France by the pathetic Hollande - that this man broke tax laws and plays covert games with his money.

As far as his wife goes - and I find her an attractive woman regardless of age - the source of people's concerns is nevertheless legitimate, teachers hopping into bed with students. She is twenty years older than he is because she was the 15-year old boy's teacher.

Is that something we really want to legitimize and paint as charming?

That is certainly what the establishment press has been doing.

Clearly, such personal behavior causes stress and grief for many witnesses, from parents to other students concerned with favoritism.
___________________________
Response to another reader:

I respect privacy, too, but it is not an absolute.

There are private matters that spill out into public concern because they involve serious ethical issues.

This is a case resembling a person shot in the abdomen whose 'guts" spill out on the floor for all to see.

If this age difference had been part of a relationship started later in life and under different circumstances than a pupil-teacher relationship, no one would have any business being critical.

But, you see, Macron is a man with almost no political background, so he has not had to face such criticisms.

He was hurriedly selected by establishment figures as someone to stuff into a hole in the political dykes.

They were desperate, given the known crippling crookedness of other potential Le Pen opponents such as Fillon, who superficially had seemed an attractive candidate.

Macron is a corporate milquetoast who just happens to have an ugly skeleton in his closet, and, given the circumstances, I think people have every right to object.

It is not about age. It is not about misogyny. It is about elevating a pretty ugly set of circumstances into acceptable behavior.

In today's world - with a lot of concern over sexual predators and pedophilia, the Jimmy Saviles and Rolf Harrises of this world about which there used to be silence - I do think people are not being unfair to criticize the behavior of this teacher with her young student.

Not at all.



JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: CORPORATE CONCENTRATION GIVES AN ILLUSION OF CHOICE IN BUYING - MORE IMPORTANTLY IT GIVES AN ILLUSION OF DEMOCRACY IN GOVERNMENT


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN INVESTMENTWATCH


“Illusion of choice: 6 corporations control 90% of US media outlets, 10 corporations control almost every product bought by consumers globally, 1 non-profit institution controls US presidential debates, 1 family owns the banks in all but 3 countries across the globe” 

To "Illusion of choice' of choice you can add Illusion of democracy.

Such concentration of corporate wealth and influence is at the root of all the nation's most serious problems.

In a way, it very much is as though we were talking about the great aristocracy and church officials of France before The Revolution, say, in 1780.

Many of the problems are similar.

And while America maintains an elaborate Potemkin Village of democracy, the underlying reality is that these people run the show.

Sunday, May 07, 2017

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: U.S. AND DICTATORS GET ALONG JUST FINE BUT THEY MUST BE "OUR" DICTATORS - HERE IS A NAIVE JOURNALIST WHO DOESN'T EVEN KNOW HIS SUBJECT


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY DAVID USBORNE IN THE INDEPENDENT


“Donald Trump's dangerous flattery of foreign dictators shows how little he cares about human rights”

Trump's?

Where has the author been? Travelling in deep space?

America's friends abroad for decades have included the likes of Ceausescu's Romania, the Shah's Iran, Diem’s South Vietnam, Thieu’s South Vietnam, Pinochet's Chile, the House of Saud, Mubarak's Egypt, Occupying Israel, Marcos’s Philippines, the totally-crooked PRI in Mexico (for over 70 years), the former junta in Argentina, the absolute monarchs of Bahrain and Kuwait and Oman, and on and on.

Morals and values and ethics never count in American foreign policy.

Never, although a great wall of meaningless words to the contrary is constantly under repair and extension by Washington’s army of PR flacks.

The only thing that counts with this throbbing imperial power is: are you with us or against us?

Always.


Saturday, May 06, 2017

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: YET ANOTHER WINDBAG AMERICAN GENERAL SOUNDS OFF ABOUT RUSSIA - RUSSIA'S DEFENSE MINISTRY ASKS WHY SUCH BLOWHARDS ARE HIRED - ANSWER GOES TO ROOTS OF AMERICAN CULTURE


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN RUSSIA INSIDER


Russian Defense Ministry Wonders Why Pentagon Hires So Many Blowhard Windbags
The Ministry is particularly amazed by US Special Operations Command General Raymond Thomas and his recent testimony before the Senate, during which he proclaimed Russia “one of the five main threats for the USA”

Being a blowhard or an arrogant windbag is considered a talent in many parts of American society.

In sales and marketing work of various kinds.

In fundamentalist Christian ministries.

Certainly, in politics.

And the military has always enjoyed and rewarded them.

It's been this way a long time. You could call it part of the national culture.

Making windbag declarations is a way to try distinguishing yourself when you really have not done anything worth talking about.

It is also part of Andy Warhol's famous comment about "having your fifteen minutes of fame."

A very astute observer of American society, Robert Hughes, years ago wrote a book called The Culture of Complaint. It described the way America has an endless set of polarizing internal conflicts and organizations and leaders who make a lot of noise but end by changing or solving little.

The sheer involvement in the conflict seems an end in itself. He attributes it to America's Puritan heritage, and, if the Puritans were anything, they were people who loved to point at others and damn them as wrong.

To my mind, the idea explains a lot about America and its position in the world.

Creatures like General Raymond Thomas regularly pop up and disappear in America's Culture of Complaint.




JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: AMERICA LOSING WORLD LEADERSHIP - EUROPE COULD REPLACE IT E.U.'S MOGHERINI SAYS - THERE IS SOME TRUTH IN THAT - BUT EUROPE HAS JUST NO LEADERSHIP


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN RUSSIA TODAY


“‘US losing world leadership, Europe can replace it’ – EU top diplomat Mogherini”

There is a grain of truth here.

But Europe simply lacks leadership.

The major countries are all led by weak personalities who loyally follow the American lead.

And, in effect, they allow themselves to be occupied through the illusion of NATO.

They allow themselves to support destructive policies such as that imposed on Syria - which of course generates the awful army of migrants now upsetting Europe - or America’s stupid coup in Ukraine which generates needless hostilities on the borders with Russia and costs European industry billions in sanctions.

There is not a single voice in power speaking to these terrible matters.

Always, for real change anywhere in the world, it takes great leadership.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: CHEAP PRESS TRICK OF COMMISSIONING AN IFFY POLL TO SUPPORT WHAT THEY ADVOCATE REPEATED YET AGAIN WITH CORBYN IN BRITAIN



COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE INDEPENDENT


“Majority of Labour voters want Corbyn to quit immediately if he loses general election, poll reveals”

You just will not let up on the man, will you?

From the day he was elected you've attacked him, allowing short intervals of relenting so you don't sound like a pre-recorded message being played endlessly.

Political polls, as anyone who understands a little about their production, are the easiest things in the world to play with for getting the result you want.

God, do you recall the totally ridiculous American polls you hyped in headlines before the 2016 Presidential election?

I do, and there was one after another of incompetent or crooked ones presented saying things which obviously weren't true.

Hillary sits dejected in a corner rather than in the Oval Office, having been rejected despite phony poll after phony poll saying it would be otherwise.

Political polls today are frequently a form of fake news, fake news done and presented by the corporate press.

The role of the press is supposed to be objectively presenting what has actually transpired in the world.

But the corporate press long ago abandoned that role, if, indeed, it ever performed it.

You are full-time advocates, and advocates which use highly questionable practices and techniques.

You are not advocating, at least openly, for Theresa May, although that may well be the net real effect of your efforts, but for the Tony Blair political ghouls gathered in dark corners hoping to pounce for fresh blood to extend their existence.

Well, the one good thing we can say about this article is at least you are not back into the moral filth of hurling accusations of anti-Semitism, but I will be surprised if that McCarthyite line does not return before the election is over.

Friday, May 05, 2017

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: AMERICA’S STATE DEPARTMENT COOPERATES IN ISRAEL’S NASTY GAME OF CALLING ITS CRITICS NAMES - IN THIS CASE THE CRITICS ARE AMERICA'S OWN CITIZENS


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY LAWRENCE DAVIDSON IN CONSORTIUMNEWS


"It is anti-Semitic to “deny the Jewish people their right to self-determination (e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor)"

A definition written in Tel Aviv. Completely meaningless since no one on the planet denies Jews their democratic rights. No one.

That is a strawman argument, and it is so clearly intended to fog up the genuine issue of Israel’s denying millions of their every right – democratic rights, human rights, rights to peaceful lives, and even the right of secure home ownership.

It is so patently false and twisted that I think such lobby-induced efforts serve only to offend fair-minded people.

Most of us know when people are being seriously disingenuous with us or attempting to manipulate us, as with cheap scam artists or Bible-thumping tent preachers.

This kind of nonsense from Israel initiates exactly the same kind of reaction in any informed and reasonable person.

I do not even understand what Israel thinks it achieves with such clearly manipulative and dishonest stuff. It is as effective as Don Quixote tilting at windmills, and the truth is it seems a one-way trip to nowhere.

I do know that, try as desperately as you will for years, long term, you can't keep a badly leaking boat afloat with mumbo-jumbo.

All Israel has to do is clean up its stinking human-rights mess, stop imposing on and abusing others, stop stealing homes and farms and gas fields and water, and return to its accepted 1967 borders.

There is nothing unreasonable in those expectations, and absolutely nothing anti-Semitic either, since anti-Semitism, as with all extreme prejudices, is just unreasonable superstition. We are talking about hard facts here, not superstition.

Most criticism would end immediately. But Israel deliberately chooses not to do so. It won’t even seriously discus doing so.

All such measures as those imposed on America’s State Department only scream growing desperation in the campaign to defend what cannot be defended.

Short of creating a Stalinist set of institutions in America, you cannot stop people from criticizing what richly deserves being criticized.

In the end, criticism of Israel is not, and can never be, anti-Semitism.

Israel is a state, and if it wants to be viewed as a legitimate state and not some kind of Crusader Fortress Enclave, it must meet the international standards and laws set for all states.

But it does not do so. It does not follow the most basic rule of law, it abuses millions, it wages aggressive war, seemingly without end, always safely protected by an American government which creates such bizarre institutions as the U.S. State Department’s Office to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism.

It only answers critics by calling them names and working to entrench nonsense like this, as though it were in any way the business of America's government to influence how anyone regards a foreign state.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: HILLARY'S SHABBY RUSSIA SCRIPT IS RE-CYCLED IN GERMANY - EUROPE'S LEADERS TODAY LITTLE MORE THAN A GANG OF SCHOOL KIDS YELLING AMERICAN SLOGANS


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE INDEPENDENT


'German spy chief warns Russia cyber-attacks aiming to influence elections'

I think you've worded that incorrectly.

It should read along the lines:

"German spy chief echoes official script from Washington (fully endorsed by his direct boss, Mrs. Merkel, a confessed admirer of Hillary Clinton who wrote the first draft of the script to explain her miserable defeat) about Russia influencing elections."

Please, is there even one country in the West whose top leaders today behave in anyway different to a gang of unthinking children all yelling the same nonsense in the schoolyard?

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: SOMETHING ABOUT NORTH KOREA AND THE UNITED STATES EVERYONE SHOULD READ - UGLY TRUTHS NEVER COVERED BY OUR PRESS


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE INDEPENDENT


Readers may enjoy this brief explanation of why North Korea feels the way it does about America.

The points are historical facts, ones never, never featured in corporate press:



Thursday, May 04, 2017

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: FBI'S JAMES COMEY CALLS RUSSIA GREATEST THREAT ON EARTH - INTERPRETING WORDS FROM A MAN WHO HAS AMPLY PROVED HIMSELF A COMPLETE ASS - SAD HISTORICAL RECORD OF THE FBI


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN SPUTNIK


“FBI Director James Comey Names Russia ‘Greatest Threat’ on Earth”

Comey, as he already amply demonstrated during the Presidential election campaign, is a total ass, but then you pretty well have to be one ever to be appointed to the post he holds.

After all, J. Edgar Hoover set the tone for the FBI for all time - a paranoid, dog-faced man who never did a thing to make America or the world a better place, who indeed used to blackmail Congressmen and Presidents with the secret files he had accumulated.

His record included many horrible acts, from trying to get refugee Albert Einstein deported to his plan to discredit and threaten Martin Luther King with the results of covert spying. His record in the Warren Commission investigation of John Kennedy’s assassination was a disgrace, his FBI having been given sole role as investigators for the Commission. His personal animus towards Kennedy was legendary.

He was notorious for letting the Mafia have a free ride after Prohibition ended while he chased non-existent communists all over America. It was said that meetings of the small American Communist Party were filled half, along with their collection plates, by his undercover agents.

There was a reason he never worked seriously against the Mafia which was able to establish itself firmly into American life.

He and his gay boyfriend (not conjecture but established fact by several biographers), Clyde Tolson, used to vacation for free at some of the Mafia’s resorts and gambled at their racetracks.

It has been reported by a prestigious investigative reporter that Hoover had been caught in compromising photos by the Mafia, and that's why he never made serious trouble for them.

His main aim in life was to stay in control of the Agency he largely built as a monument to himself, and he did a great many discreditable things to do so.

Well, that’s quite a pair of shoes for Comey to fill. I don’t think he can, but he is trying. He bays to the same moon as the main Washington establishment does.

Washington resembles cloudcuckooland with thermonuclear weapons.

Readers may enjoy:


JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: NEW BOOK SAYS WRITER HEMINGWAY WAS A SOVIET SPY - THE PERSPECTIVE WE NEED FOR ALL SUCH CLAIMS ESPECIALLY WHEN WRITTEN BY EX-CIA OFFICIALS AT A TIME OF AMERICA'S SECOND WAVE OF ANTI-RUSSIAN HYSTERIA


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE INDEPENDENT


“Ernest Hemingway 'was secret Soviet spy', claims new book
Written by a former CIA officer it says the famed author was recruited in 1940”

We can have no idea of the truth here.

Spies and former spies, like the author, almost always use books or memoirs to plant false or confusing information. It is almost standard practice.

I've seen it done many, many times, going back to Kim Philby's book written in Moscow or General Sudoplatov's claim in his memoir that American physicist, Robert Oppenheimer, was a spy for Stalin. There was also the CIA’s manufactured Penkovsky Papers which became a best seller in the 1960s.

Given the author's CIA status and given today's crazed witch-hunt hysteria in Washington, I am inclined to dismiss the claim as a trick saying, "See, even venerable figures could be connected to the nasty Russians." That is as likely an interpretation as can be given without more knowledge, which we will never see.

"A classified KGB file smuggled out of Moscow" stinks like a rotting fish carcass.

It is a virtual repeat of the now proved-phony dossier on Trump supposedly from "Russian sources" according to a British spy (read: close CIA associate) working as a highly-paid private detective for an unidentified well-off Republican.

I should add that if somehow it were true that Hemingway ever worked for Stalin's KGB, it is not hard for a well-informed person to understand.

The United States was a virtual insane asylum on the subject of the Soviet Union. At various times, it literally planned in detail a pre-emptive nuclear attack on Russia. The last I know of was in the early 1960s when John Kennedy left a Pentagon briefing with the comment that he was sick to his stomach at what he heard.

The Pentagon was packed with crazed figures like General Curtis Lemay, a certifiable psychopath who had bombed his way through countless victims.

Many famous figures in the world were repelled by what they saw and heard in the United States.

Disapproving of the Stalinist state was one thing, but accepting the intent to incinerate tens of millions of people was something else entirely.

Such attitudes secretly permeated through much of Britain's intelligentsia in the 1940-50s when the phenomenon of the Cambridge spy ring arose. It was not hard to be motivated against madmen in the United States who clearly were ready to commit mass murders in order to hold on to a monopoly on nuclear weapons and essentially become the world's great bully-dictator.

Tragically, these latter impulses still motivate large parts of the American establishment. Listening to high-level clowns who should (and, in fact, do) know better talk about Russian influence in American politics is enough to turn one's stomach it is so patently without evidence and intended to drive the hysteria of witch hunts.

We should all be extremely cautious about the dangerous nonsense being tossed about in Washington and repeated over and over in the corporate press, and books like this deserve being treated with the strongest skepticism.


JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: WITH PRINCE PHILIP'S COMING RETIREMENT IT WILL BE TIME TO RETIRE THE ENTIRE BRITISH ROYAL FAMILY


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE INDEPENDENT


“Now Prince Philip is set to retire, let's talk about getting rid of the monarchy entirely
This morning's royal announcement should make us think about what the royal family really is: an archaic, elitist institution with those prone to xenophobic 'gaffes' at the top and pampered 'woke' aristocracy at the bottom”


I find myself surprised to agree with an article in The Independent.

The Queen did an admirable job.

No successor promises anything remotely comparable.

Charles, the rightful heir, is extremely controversial.

Prince William, who seems a decent sort, is about as interesting or inspiring as an ear of corn.

Harry belongs in an institution.

But beyond the specific players, we have the fact of the modern age.

Britain's whole style and role of monarchy belongs to the era of buggy whips.

British monarchy is precisely the equivalent of insisting on using fancy old fountain pens and parchment paper and liveried horsemen to deliver letters instead of using computers. It has truly reached the point of silliness.

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: TRUMP IS NO LONGER RUNNING THE SHOW - MORE ON THE CIA AND AMERICA'S PRESIDENTS - A DEMOCRATIC SOCIETY CANNOT HAVE A CIA



COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY CHRIS MENAHAN IN INFORMATION LIBERATION

“Two Stories Signal Trump's No Longer Running the Show”

Two stories?

Sorry, but there is a mountain of evidence, both on the macro-level of policies and pursuits abroad and on the micro-level of personal behavior and the abrupt changing of the staff around him.

There was a turning point with the phony Clinton-CIA-corporate press-FBI Russian-influence attacks.

I can't pinpoint the day, but it is clear that there was a point where Trump completely buckled. Even his speech and communicating patterns have changed quite noticeably.

It was truly cowardly of him, but then these people, especially the CIA, can create an immense amount of difficulty for you if they are so motivated.

And they can be very intimidating, I'm sure. After all, they kill and overthrow and corrupt abroad, and they do not have to ever even testify truthfully as to what they've done. This was made clear by past Director Helms after the Kennedy assassination.

CIA resembles a huge gang of psychopathic frat boys with unlimited resources to play dirty tricks. And with so many decades of essentially free run, they have absorbed a set of attitudes and ethics that ordinary people simply cannot understand.

After all, the CIA's real business abroad - as an immensely well-financed covert army serving America's establishment in everything from corrupting foreign elections, arranging coups, disrupting economies, and even training mercenaries - gives them the tools and resources and the inclination to apply the same set of tricks at home.

I don't know why anyone would think otherwise.

A free society simply cannot have such an institution. It is a violation of every principle of democracy, human rights, and just plain ethics.

Genuine information collection abroad is fine, but that has long been only a small part of what CIA does. The operations side of the institution is overwhelmingly dominant, almost using the information side of the house as a cover story.

Again, they serve the corporate and institutional interests of a world empire, and you cannot have both a world empire and a decent society at home. It just cannot be, and you have the evidence right before your eyes, but, as a wise man said, there are none so blind as those who will not see.

A footnote: George Bush Pere, so far as we know, was the first actual CIA President. He was a lifelong “made man” going back to activities during the Kennedy years around Cuba. They don’t name the headquarters building after you just because you served a brief two-year term as Director, and his name actually is contained in one obscure document turned up after the Kennedy assassination.

I suspect, for many reasons, Obama was the second “made man” President. His whole personality - with an intense embrace of secrecy and hatred of leaks - and much about his resume – unexplained gaps and irregularities in his life - suggests the possibility.

There is the narcissistic personality, too, frequently crossing over into psychopathy, as with the murder of Gadhafi and destruction of Libya, the filthy program of murder and destruction in Syria, and his support for an industrial scale hi-tech extrajudicial killing program which just happens to be run by CIA.

The big smiles, the superficial charm, all while lying constantly and supporting the deaths of tens of thousands – that’s just the kind of man CIA seeks.

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: A FEW OBSERVATIONS ON BRITAIN'S TONY BLAIR AND THE INEFFECTUAL EFFORT TO RECLAIM HIM AS A WORTHY POLITICAL FIGURE



COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY HANNAH FEARN IN THE INDEPENDENT


"...here's why so many of my generation still call themselves Blairites"

No need to explain, Hannah Fearn.

America's P.T. Barnum said it best a century or so ago.

"There's a new sucker born every minute."

The truth is, apart from his monumental lying and war crimes, Tony Blair was a hyperactive, talkative incompetent.

For example, he made a mess with the Millennium Dome project, spending a billion dollars to produce an ugly structure that had no use whatsoever after the fairly insipid display put on for the millennium.

The show was dozy and dull. And Blair also pushed the Queen into doing things that she did not want to do and that demeaned her position, as for that big hand-holding circle he had her forced into as though she were an elderly flower child.

His incompetence was seen in many things, including acts after office. His appointment to the Mideast Quartet was a bad joke. He treated it as nothing more than a sinecure with a big salary, expenses, and a limo.

He made no contribution at all, and actually behaved cowardly several times, as the time he refused to fly in for a meeting because he was afraid.

Of course, Blair was always a bought-and-paid-for servant of the Israel Lobby, so he couldn't, if he wanted to, contribute anything to Mideast peace.

That is why he threw his hat into the invasion of Iraq and helped kill a million people and destroy an advanced Arab state. It was a favorite project of Ariel Sharon's.

That is, of course, also why he received the million-dollar Israel "Peace" Prize afterwards.

All in all, a tasteless, cowardly, narcissistic man of very little merit.

And what a couple he and his loopy fish-wife made. It was often a clown-show, as you can plainly see here:



And this is fun:




Saturday, April 29, 2017

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: SOME FACTS AND HISTORY CONCERNING AMERICA'S DANGEROUS AND DISHONEST POSITION IN NORTH KOREA - THE PENTAGON AND NUCLEAR WAR



COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE INDEPENDENT


"US wants North Korea nuclear talks, says Rex Tillerson"

Sounds reasonable, if you don't know much.

It is the US which has always refused even to speak directly with North Korea.

It is the US which maintains a sizable army at North Korea’s border.

It is the US which regularly puts on threatening war game displays offshore and in South Korea.

It is the US, during the Korean War, which conducted a horrific bombing campaign against North Korea. This is seldom discussed in the West, but North Korean cities were nearly levelled the bombing was so intense.

It is the US which keeps nuclear weapons - against Japanese law - in Okinawa.

It is the US which has been on a 15-year rampage through the Middle East, killing about 2 million people, setting an example to the contemporary world of arbitrary and brutal use of power.

It is the US which has ramped up a new Cold War in Europe, sending tanks, planes, and troops right up against Russia’s border, expanding NATO membership aggressively, building THAAD anti-missile systems, while making lots of provocative statements and periodically sending spy planes towards Russia with their transponders turned off, a dangerous practice – all this while declaring various economic sanctions for no sound reason.

It is the US which is placing the THAAD system in South Korea, something both China and Russia oppose.

This missile system is a much more provocative act than many understand because the ostensible purpose of the system is said to be defensive, and for several reasons.

The THAAD missile tubes and radars can be used covertly for entirely different kinds of missiles such as short-range ground-to-ground nuclear-armed ones. Just this possibility so near to China or Russia is inherently destabilizing.

They can also be used with other types of anti-missile missiles covertly substituted, to bring down ICBMs in their most vulnerable phase of early take-off. This always means the possible threat of launching a nuclear assault coordinated with neutralizing any response.

Even in John Kennedy’s time, the Pentagon was advocating detailed plans for a pre-emptive nuclear strike against Russia. He once left a Pentagon briefing saying it made him sick to his stomach. Does anyone believe that kind of thinking has just melted away?

Of course, both Russia and China are taking counter-measures, and they have many that they can take, but does anyone in his or her right mind think we need an arms race?

You do not have to like North Korea's government to understand their fears and why it is they have "gone nuclear."

I think it fair to say, too, that North Korea's reasons are precisely the same as those of Israel.

But, in the case of North Korea the US periodically gets worked up to possible warfare while in the case of Israel, it just pretends the nuclear weapons do not exist.

There is simply no rationality or balance or respect for others in US foreign policy.

It is always just a matter of, "This is what I want," and I’m pretty sure anyone else behaving that same way would be called a bully.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: HOW THE SECURITY SERVICES ASSISTED BY THE CORPORATE PRESS TURNED AN ELECTED PRESIDENT INTO A BIZARRE VERSION OF THE DEFEATED CANDIDATE - SO MUCH FOR ELECTIONS IN AMERICA


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE INDEPENDENT


“How relations between White House and intelligence agencies crumbled in Donald Trump's first 100 days
“Mr Trump cannot shake off the allegations that he was the 'Muscovite Candidate'”

American intelligence agencies have already ended the Trump presidency, in case you hadn't noticed.

And the corporate press, never checking facts and always quoting intelligence officials as though they were dependable, helped in the job of wresting power from an elected president. Look at you still using a stupid, baseless expression like “Muscovite Candidate,” even if you place it in quotes to cover your ass.

Trump, who was something of an interesting maverick, has totally collapsed to the internal pressures.

He proved a coward, something no one expected.

But then those hugely unaccountable, immensely well-financed, and dirty-tricks-oriented security services can be very scary.

And far be it from the corporate press ever to question anything that gang of life-long liars and dirty-tricks guys say. Rather, you only serve to amplify their volume and validate their authority.

Everyone should be concerned that what has been proved conclusively in three months is that American elections are noisy, expensive shows with no real meaning.

We now have killer Hillary sitting in the Oval Office in reverse-drag.
_______________________

Response to another reader calling Hillary the lesser of two evils:

I don't see how you can say that with any knowledge.

She has an appalling record of killing and brutality.

Remember her psychopathic, "We came, we saw, he died. Ha! ha! ha!" on Gaddafi's murder?

He had been a good ruler for his people - free education, good water systems, many good services, and kept them out of war - but Obama and Hillary knew better. Now Libya is in ruins and full of violence.

And that's just one of her achievements.

She made the call on the FBI attacking Waco because she wanted it out of the political headlines. Bill could never stand up to her demands because his long record of reckless sexual behavior gave her immense leverage over him. Eighty people were incinerated, including women and children. They were kooks, but they did not deserve that.

Hillary was also responsible for stocks of Gaddafi's chemical weapons, including Sarin nerve gas, being transferred to Syria to kill women and children. It was all part of an elaborate plan to topple another decent, but too independent-minded, leader in the Mideast, Assad. We know this from journalist Seymour Hersh.



JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: WIKIPEDIA TAKES UP THE CAUSE OF FIGHTING "FAKE NEWS" - JOINING AMERICA'S OTHER INTERNET GIANTS IN A PHONY CRUSADE FOR WHICH NONE OF THEM IS THE LEAST QUALIFIED


EXPANSION OF A COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN SPUTNIK


“Wikipedia Founder to Fight 'Fake News' Epidemic With New Online Service

Just plain silly.

But also amazingly pretentious.

How is Wikipedia qualified in any way to do anything approaching this?

They are not, of course.

And, of course, you are right to point out that their own site’s embarrassing shortfalls in accuracy and substance. On some subjects, Wikipedia resembles a spinning toilet-paper roll of changes to what are supposed to be facts.

Some entries are actually amusing because of the obvious efforts of posters to create an impression rather than give facts. PR flacks, celebrities, and special interest groups often write material shining a favorable light on themselves or a subject of interest. What we may call “partial truth” abounds on the site.

I'm sure all controversial entities - from CIA and FBI to Israel and the Pentagon - have low-level employees constantly churning out crap for this site, factual enough to stay posted but avoiding all unwanted complexities or subtleties or divergent interpretations - in other words, propaganda, the most effective kind which is always built on some truth, partial truth. I don’t know whether there is open complicity or just a bit of winking going on at Wikipedia.

This Wikipedia initiative is just one more effort by America's huge Internet corporations to pretend they are something more than what they are.

Facebook, Google, Wikipedia, Amazon plus others - all have some legitimate areas of effort and service, but they all serve the American establishment constantly in various ways from collecting personal information to spreading propaganda. And they all pride themselves in posing as deciders of truth.

They all are involved in giving security services users’ personal information. They all are involved in various degrees of misrepresentation about what they do. They all are involved in "serving the cause" of American world empire, sometimes embarrassingly so. They all, for example, through one mechanism or another, displayed blatant partiality for the official presidential candidate of the War Party, possibly the most corrupt candidate in American history, Hillary Clinton.

I can't help laughing every time I think of Google – once, long ago, a seemingly honest operation - inserting absurd warning-of-danger pages whenever I used to hit my link for Sputnik. The page included a button marked "back to safety" as though you were approaching serious malware.

I haven't seen it in a little while. Perhaps they realized how ridiculous it made them look.

But intelligence services do a lot of not-very-intelligent things at times, as does anyone who is dedicated to “getting out a story” rather than just performing an honest job or explaining something truthfully.

I still think Facebook is the most laughably absurd of all of them in this regard. A truly stupid site that has done everything from running fraudulent trending news story lists to suffering plagues of false “likes” (which affect advertising rates) to abusing its members’ privacy, without ever informing them, by using malware which tracks them everywhere they go on the Internet.

And then there is its preposterously pretentious owner who plays t-shirted, regular-guy guru and who also plays at the claim of being a great philanthropist by announcing he’ll give away most of his fortune someday. Oh sure, but don’t hold your breath.

The last immensely wealthy man in America who actually did that was Andrew Carnegie, and his kind of old-school Scottish conscientious character has not been a popular model since. Neither has his interest in philosophy and ideas and friendships with important thinkers of his day been adopted by other immensely wealthy Americans.

I don’t understand why anyone even uses the Facebook site, but it benefits from great numbers of people intimidated by the Internet in general and glad to find “one-stop shopping” so to speak. It is a highly controlled and regulated space which gives the illusion of the nearly-infinite variety and diversity and freedom of the Internet itself.

In sum, if there is such a thing as “fake news,” it is as likely to be found on the sites of the American Internet giants as anywhere else, and perhaps even more likely, since we see their clear set of declared intentions and biased behaviors rather than dealing strictly in facts.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: WHAT SO MANY AMERICANS SIMPLY DO NOT UNDERSTAND ABOUT THEIR OWN COUNTRY - PARALLELS OF AMERICA TODAY WITH 16TH CENTURY CHURCH


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN RINF


“FOR WHAT SHALL IT PROFIT A MAN, IF HE SHALL GAIN THE WHOLE WORLD, AND LOSE HIS OWN SOUL?”

Absolutely.

And what so few Americans even begin to appreciate is the simple fact that you can either have a world empire or you can have a decent society, but you cannot have both.

Whether Patriot-types or just ordinary party loyalists or genuine liberals (albeit there are mighty few of the latter in America) the entire gamut of American political society misses this point. They all pretend they have an explanation for who or what is responsible for all the things which are so clearly wrong, but almost none of them touches the truth.

Everything about Imperial America works against having a decent country.

Huge, intrusive security services. Intrusive everywhere abroad, causing great pain and injustice, and not the least reluctant to practice the same well-honed arts at home.

A massive military which influences all of society and, especially young people, daily, its fundamental principles being necessarily the opposite of free and democratic principles. The military is authority-oriented and no believer in democracy in anything it does. The larger it is, the more its values permeate. And that’s in addition to the destructive fact that its very existence provides a constant temptation for politicians to use it for more wars.

An entrenched, privileged political class which essentially lives off of the vast donations of America's wealthy. The best government money can buy is a joke often heard, but it is a joke with a bitter truth to it. Special interests are almost all that matter in American politics.

And with all of these institutions, Lord Acton's dictum about power is in full force.

"Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." Nothing truer was ever said, and it is unbelievably naive to think America is somehow exempt.

Waving the good old Stars and Stripes, a folded copy of the constitution in your wallet, a framed copy of The Declaration of Independence on the wall, reading endless blather about rights and freedoms – it all counts for nothing under the insidious, ongoing influence of great and corrupting power.

I think a good comparison for the extremely naive beliefs of so many Americans is found in the Catholic Church of, say, the Sixteenth Century.

High official principles. Glorified sense of purpose in the world. The words of Jesus. The genuine naive belief of many millions of humble followers. Pious painting and statues everywhere. Beautiful churches and music.

But the unquestioned reality of a power structure which worked only for power, both in money and political influence, and almost nothing else. Wars. Slaughters and massacres. Corrupt church officials with lifetime sinecures. Great temporal lords who know that money given to the right church official will buy whatever you want, from the appointment of a cardinal to a divorce or support for some claim.

Yes, the Catholic Church of that period closely parallels the reality of America’s establishment today, and it will take a grindingly long time or some great catastrophe for it to change.

I’m sure for some, especially for the American Patriot-types, the notion of repeating one of humanity’s many past rebellions and revolutions in history springs to mind, but that is a hopelessly naive thought because it ignores the reality of an establishment now so well-armed, it is untouchable. You cannot rebel against Zeus hurling thunderbolts from Olympus.

A fair number of people did believe Trump was going to go to the Temple and whip some money-changers until they ran away, but, instead, the money-changers intimidated him into complete submission. He is indistinguishable along any important line from the person many regarded as America’s genuine Political Satan, Hillary Clinton.

The American establishment is far too powerful and entrenched ever to be changed by the almost-silly ritual of America’s money-drenched elections, and any figure who is elected quickly faces, gathered around massive polished tables in Washington, the true face of American power.

Immensely-rich special interests, immensely-rich corporate owners and management, and their faithful servants, crinkly-faced Senators with lifetime sinecures, the brass-and-ribbon bedecked figures of the Pentagon and the Armani-clad, arrogant, almost unaccountable figures of the CIA and other security services.

But they all dutifully salute Old Glory and subscribe to all the words about rights and democracy, Just like the College of Cardinals and the Pope embracing the Holy Bible in the Sixteenth Century. A magnificent wine-drenched lunch in a church palace with a blessing for God’s Grace just before viewing a group of heretics being burned alive or having a quiet meeting with a great duke, seeking favors and carrying a heavy bag of gold.


Monday, April 24, 2017

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: WHY ISRAEL HATES HAMAS - IT COMES FROM THE SAME PLACE AS ALL ITS OTHER RELATIONSHIPS WITH NEIGHBORS: EXTREME DISCOMFORT WITH REAL DEMOCRACY


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE INDEPENDENT


“US Jewish organization condemns Pope Francis for comparing refugee centers to 'concentration camps'’
_____________________________

Response to another reader’s comment accusing someone of supporting Hamas terrorists:

Yours is an uninformed response, seemingly taken right from the official Israeli government crib sheets for making comments in newspapers abroad.

Honest and informed people do not regard Hamas as a terrorist organization.

Indeed, in the organization’s early days, Israel secretly supported Hamas in hopes of destroying Arafat’s Fatah.

Then, when Hamas had some political success as a result of its many effective charitable and organizing efforts, it suddenly became a terrorist organization according to Israel. And using its intimate political connections to get the United States to agree was a mere formality. So, Hamas became a terrorist organization by the same process we read of in Alice in Wonderland when the roses were painted red.

We have no less a figure than Jimmy Carter, one of the most intelligent and conscientious statesmen of his time, who has described the realities of Hamas vis-à-vis Israel, having met all the parties involved.

Israel only uses the "terrorist" ploy to prevent an effective democratic party from unifying the Palestinians.

That is what is really feared. Just as Israel hates democracy in any neighboring countries, a fact relatively few outsiders understand. Israel’s good friends in neighboring countries are all kings or tyrants. Tyrant in Egypt. Absolute monarch in Saudi Arabia. King in Jordan. Relationships with these and others run deep, and the word “democracy” never passes anyone’s lips.

The House of Saud and Israel are close friends and virtually secret allies, sharing many mutual interests including fears around democratic and human rights and concerns around defending the influence of wealth in the region. They often work secretly together on the same projects, as in Syria. It was not always so, but after 9/11, the House of Saud was terrified that the United States would attack them, and it started bending over backwards to cooperate.

The King of Jordan is a virtual servant of Israel, and he is well known in his own country for having no independence of thought or action. That’s why any critic in Jordan pointing out the fact out ends up in prison.

Israel got on extremely well with Egypt’s dictator, Mubarak, for thirty years, Mubarak receiving his annual “assistance” payments from America so long as that continued to be the case. Egypt’s flirtation with democracy was brought to a quick and deadly end shortly after its first elected president dared make a few brief statements angering Israel. Through a combination of covert activities by Israel and the United States, a new tyrant was installed in Egypt, again a man with whom Israel has good relations, a man doing Israel such favors as building a section of wall between Sinai and Gaza which extends a metallic skirt deep underground.

Israel’s long-existing list of governments which it wanted the United States to topple - including Iraq, Syria, and Iran, Ariel Sharon having been quite open at times about his murderous demands in the name of “democracy” in the Middle East – were all governments which did not toe the line with Washington, preserving for themselves some portion of their own legitimate national interests, something not accepted by Israel. That really is the key fact for any government’s having been listed, not any lack of democracy, because Israel simply has some of its best relationships with non-democratic (and extremely corrupt) governments.

Well, the principles applying to Israel’s major neighbors apply also to its closest and smallest, Palestine. That's why Israel still props up Mahmoud Abbas as “president,” a man who has not faced an election for years and has no basis in fact for his title.

Abbas also is a rather Stepin Fetchit type of personality, someone Israel finds useful even though they almost never talk even to him.

Hostility to democracy in its neighborhood is why Israel, early on after an observed clean election in Gaza, sent troops charging in to arrest properly elected representatives, a totally illegal act.

That's why Israel openly threatened the head of Hamas with assassination, a totally illegal act.

That's why Israel did assassinate some Hamas officials, totally illegal acts.

That's why we had the Nazi-like blockade of Gaza declared, Nazi-like because in its early period it actually included a calorie count of the minimum necessary calories to sustain life, that count controlling the level of allowed food imports. You could not buy a candy bar in Gaza.

That extreme measure, once it was known to the public, came under US pressure, and it was eased, but the Palestinians of Gaza still sit in many ruins from Israel’s bombing because they cannot import many basic building materials. And I don’t think anyone with an open mind believes Israel has any right – beyond might - to even impose any blockade.

It is absolutely savage, and no one who is not a partisan of the genuine terrorists, the Netanyahu government, can accept it.

By the way, not all readers may be aware but recently, for the third time I believe, Israel sprayed herbicides on large swaths of Gaza limited arable land.

Imagine, in that crowded place with many, many children, spraying herbicides? America’s arrogant use of Agent Orange in Vietnam is still causing birth defects and deaths all these years after the war.

Israel previously used this horrible technique of spraying herbicides, multiple times, on Bedouin in the Negev region they wanted to force away from where they lived.

That’s getting awfully close to Nazi methods I think all decent people can agree.