Monday, July 16, 2018

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



ABOUT JOHN CHUCKMAN


ME, ROUGHLY: THE DECLINE IS SO RAPID NOW





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 PLACES ON WORDPRESS: FEATURING THE BELOVED URBAN VILLAGE OF SOUTH SHORE CHICAGO

CHUCKMAN'S PHOTOS ON WORDPRESS: CHICAGO NOSTALGIA AND MEMORABILIA

CHUCKMAN'S PHOTOS ON WORDPRESS: TORONTO NOSTALGIA

CHUCKMAN’S MONTREAL

CHUCKMAN'S PHOTOS ON WORD PRESS

CHUCKMAN'S KODACHROMES ON WORDPRESS: JOHN AND BOBBY LONG AGO

CHUCKMAN'S PORT STANLEY

CHUCKMAN'S BAYFIELD

CHUCKMAN'S GODERICH

CHUCKMAN'S ILES DE LA MADELEINE (MAGDALEN ISLANDS)

CHUCKMAN'S ART

CHUCKMAN'S ROBOTS

CHUCKMAN'S GALLERY OF GROTESQUES

CHUCKMAN'S CARTOON COMMENTS

CHUCKMAN'S PHOTOS ON WORDPRESS: 1920s ARCADE CARD BEAUTIES – THEIR CHARM AND GRACE AND WHIMSY

CHUCKMAN'S WORDS ON WORDPRESS: POLITICAL ESSAYS

CHUCKMAN'S WORDS ON WORDPRESS: COMMENTS FROM THE WORLD'S PRESS

CHUCKMAN'S MISCELLANEA OF WORDS

CHUCKMAN'S NON-SPORTS TRADING CARDS OF THE 1950S VOLUME 01 (OF 4 VOLUMES)


JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: WHY I THINK TRUMP IS GOING TO HELSINKI - ANALYSIS OF TRUMP'S WEAK POSITION IN WASHINGTON - THE REASONS RUSSO-PHOBIA CANNOT BE DISLODGED IN WASHINGTON - ALL THE POWERFUL ACTORS SUPPORT IT FOR A VARIETY OF REASONS - WHAT THE SUBTLE PUTIN IS DOING WITH TRUMP

John Chuckman


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN RUSSIA INSIDER



“Trump's Open Defiance of Washington's Russophobia Is a Revolutionary Act”



This analysis is flawed.

Yes, it is good that Trump is meeting Putin and, yes, that fact flies in the face of many Washington establishment figures.

But please examine the overall record of this man, Trump.

It is loaded with contradictions and downright stupidities.

You cannot count on anything when dealing with someone like that. He is out-of-touch and uninformed on a great many matters. He often is caught making up his own version of something while he speaks or is being interviewed. He listens to almost no one, and he has little patience for most people trying to tell him anything.

He is a total living, breathing America-Firster. Actually, I believe Trump is a Donald Trump-Firster, always and in all things, and America really only comes into the picture because it provides the stage for his hammy and often-blundering acting performance. He is in many ways a rather sick and isolated man.

But he does have a fairly powerful political base, which feeds on the raw meat of xenophobia and fear of migrants and Islamophobia and love of walls, and he uses that base to push back in Washington. He has to push, even his own party, because most of its establishment truly dislike Trump. He’s treated like an unwelcome dinner-party guest who somehow got a genuine invitation by mistake.

With Trump, there's no substance of which to get hold, just a lot of noise and a massive ego. He betrays friends, insults allies as well as enemies, and is totally for himself and is highly protective of his hermetically-sealed mindset about the world and its people.

This trip for Trump serves another purpose, too, having nothing to do with geo-politics. He is effectively telling the Washington establishment off about Russia because he fears some of the efforts underway by the Special Prosecutor are leading to serious trouble.

Whether the material the Special Prosecutor is gathering from past Trump associates - and several are cooperating - is damning enough ultimately to remove him from office is, in the end, up to the court of public opinion.

Evidence in any legal case of any nature can be interpreted in different ways. And we often end up with either convictions or exonerations which don't reflect the underlying hard facts.

Humans are fallible and the legal systems they create are fallible. Often, the truth, the kind of truth you would believe if you actually sorted through all the evidence carefully and without partiality, gets tossed into the garbage.

We've seen it happen many times - from the phony case made against Lee Oswald in the Kennedy assassination or the manufactured investigation into the downing of TWA Flight 800 to the phony "not guilty" verdict in the O J Simpson murder case. Truth simply does not prevail in an atmosphere thick with interests and influence.

Trump has reason to fear because there's no denying it, Washington is just totally in the grasp of the Russia-Fear-and-Loathing Crowd. Not just the Democratic Party, but the security services, the Pentagon, and some of the most powerful lobbies, such as the one for Israel.

Yes, Russia maintains pretty good relations with Israel - one of Putin's great strengths is maintaining good relations with many differing interests – but Israel’s rulers’ deepest feelings are undoubtedly that Russia is intrinsically a barrier.

You see, Israel and its lobby in Washington very much like a hyper-aggressive United States, the kind of United States which has rampaged through the Middle East. They see that kind of United States as a guarantee of Israel’s future. Israel’s position in the Middle East is inherently weak and always has been, but its de facto role as an American colony in the region gives it strength it wouldn’t have on its own as a truly independent nation state, something it emphatically is not.

And no group is more influential in Washington than the Israel Lobby, owing to the sheer fact that it represents so many very successful and influential American businessmen, including those who own or manage all of the high-end national press and broadcasting. Trump has bent over backward trying to please them with stuff like the illegal recognition of Jerusalem as capital of Israel and his total ignoring of Israel’s murderous activity against the people of Gaza, who want nothing but their rights.

He also has his big plan brewing for an “historic final settlement” between Israel and the Palestinians, which is in the hands of his son-in-law, a good friend of Netanyahu, and, by all accounts leaking out, is so biased against Palestinian interests, it is sure to fail, however that does not mean that the effort won’t please members of the Lobby.

The CIA and Pentagon tend to be on side with the Israel Lobby because they see Israel as a strategic asset in the Middle East, and they just basically loathe the only country on earth, Russia, which is capable of destroying the United States. The Democrats are “on side” because they are political opponents of Trump and because they are loyal servants of American imperial interests and because they have pretty much all been politically bought-and-paid-for over many years by the Israel Lobby. But then, so has the Republican Party whose biggest big-shots do not really like Trump.

I do not see any powerful interest group in Washington right now which wants or demands better relations with Russia. It’s a good cause that completely lacks a base of support, because nothing in Washington is decided on the basis of merit. Matters are decided by politics and by imperial geo-politics.

Those groups – Democrats, Republicans, CIA, Pentagon, and powerful lobbies - are all married to the concept of America re-asserting itself in the world through a new kind of multi-faceted and hybrid aggression on almost every front.

They are not satisfied to accept the relative economic decline underway for “the indispensable nation” as states who were not competitors in the past become competitors. They want to push and bully their way into as many advantages in the world as they possibly can. It really is a Mafia-like business model for the country. And that is just what has been happening, with or without Trump, for some years now. Obama, for example, worked full-time towards the goal although you never heard him make speeches about it.

There’s only Trump in Washington saying America needs better relations with Russia – and, of course, he is right, but being right in Washington won’t get you so much as a cup of coffee. There is also the fact, not appreciated by many people abroad, that, in terms of the American Constitution, the President just isn’t all that powerful inside the United States. His only unquestioned power comes in time of war when he is Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. In other matters, it is a constant struggle with other elements of a divided government, one divided by its very design in the American Constitution.

Putin understands this all clearly, I’m sure, and I believe he is using Trump to drive a wedge into the heart of the powerful and dominant anti-Russia coalition in Washington. I don’t think he necessarily sees Trump as Russia’s friend – and, let’s be honest, with an erratic man like Trump, what kind of dependable friendship does he offer to anybody? - but Putin very much sees Trump as a tool to use in a very dark and dangerous game being played inside the United States. This is the way high-level power-politics is played, and Putin is a master at it.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: I AGREE WITH THE VIEW HELSINKI IS LIKELY TO BE A DAMP SQUIB - STILL IT IS IMPORTANT TO MEET - TALKING WITH FRIENDS OR OPPONENTS IS ALWAYS GOOD

John Chuckman


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN RUSSIA INSIDER



"Let's Be Serious, the Helsinki Meeting Will Be a Damp Squib

There is actually nothing the two can or are willing to bargain on"



I tend to agree with the point of view.

And we have a great deal of evidence that Trump is less an opponent of the Washington establishment than a supporter, albeit a very noisy and unpleasant one. I also think he is being driven in this summit by certain personal fears, as I explain in another comment.

But it is important that they meet. Talking is always good, whether with friends or enemies.

Just the fact of their meeting is of some substance given the poisonous atmosphere in Washington, truly poisonous.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: SILLY PROPAGANDA IN GUARDIAN CALLS HELSINKI AN "UNHOLY ALLIANCE" - WHY THAT IS RIDICULOUS - AND WAR ON IRAN - GUARDIAN AGAIN SUSPENDS ME FROM COMMENT AFTER THIS ONE - FREE SPEECH AND INFORMED THOUGHT INDEED!

John Chuckman


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY SIMON TISDALL IN THE GUARDIAN

(AND NOTE: NOT MANY DAYS AFTER THIS POST, THE GUARDIAN YET AGAIN SUSPENDED ME FROM MAKING COMMENTS – I HAD BEEN MAKING THEM UNDER A PSEUDONYM SINCE THE PREVIOUS SUSPENSION)



"Trump and Putin’s unholy alliance could lead to war with Iran”



Unholy alliance?

Are we to take the writer seriously using a phrase like that?

They've met briefly, likely have spoken a few times on the phone, and they are an unholy alliance?

Moreover, the United States remains at loggerheads with Russia, a totally artificial state of aggression by America's establishment, and I don't see where he's lifted a finger to make things better.

Indeed, Trump promotes war everywhere. In personal relations. In international trade. In intelligence activities. And with record spending and bomb-dropping.

He has troops illegally in Syria, in Iraq, in Yemen, and a lot of other places. He speaks now of invading poor democratic Venezuela, a government the CIA has worked to destroy for several years.

He has done nothing about the mess America created with a coup in democratic Ukraine. He sends fleets charging around to anger China. He supports horrific acts in many places, including notably in Gaza by Israel.

The US drops a large bomb somewhere today every twelve minutes. And it spends almost a trillion dollars a year (when you take all the costs into account such as veterans' hospitals) on death and destruction. A trillion dollars, and it doesn't have a dime in its pocket.

The pragmatic, calm, even-tempered Putin maybe could teach Trump something. We'd all benefit.

In truth the only thing on earth pushing anyone towards war with Iran, a country which has attacked no one, is the influence of Israel, a country which literally has attacked every neighbor that it has, some more than once.

Its dark influence upon the United States has never been greater or more dangerous than under Trump.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: THE AMESBURY INCIDENT IN BRITAIN - ALMOST MORE BIZARRE THAN THE ORIGINAL SALISBURY "NOVICHOK" INCIDENT

John Chuckman


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN PRAVDA



“As expected, Russia was accused of the death of a British woman, who died at a hospital in Britain a few days ago after she was supposedly exposed to Novichok nerve agent”



This latest event in Amesbury is almost more bizarre than the original Salisbury “Novichok” Incident.

If we can even believe the British government and press after a great many fables from the original incident, the chemical in the recent one came from a small bottle in the home of the stricken people, something they picked up somewhere.

It has not been confirmed yet whether the chemical is the same batch (supposedly) used in the Salisbury Incident, but nerve poisons are not exactly common things to be around.

If it proves to be the case that the poison came from the same batch, it suggests someone disposed of the bottle after Salisbury, and rather carelessly.

Was a vile of this material stolen from Britain’s nearby Porton Down facility by someone or other, with the authorities never advising anyone? All these major government labs either have samples of such material or they can synthesize it. That is part of their job, to know all the different compounds so they can be identified in future and appropriate antidotes administered.

You may recall the big Anthrax scare in the US in the 1990s. We never heard more, but it appeared from some evidence that the material may have been stolen from an American military lab by an insider.

Readers may enjoy:

https://chuckmanwordsincomments.wordpress.com/2018/05/18/john-chuckman-comment-the-scandal-that-never-stops-giving-everything-that-is-but-some-truth-new-disinformation-provided-on-the-british-skripal-poisoning-affair-implausibilities-of-the-affai/

https://chuckmanwordsincomments.wordpress.com/2018/03/25/john-chuckman-comment-manufactured-events-in-salisbury-are-a-response-to-recent-events-in-syria-a-fascinating-news-report-about-the-doctor-who-found-the-daughter-and-treated-her/

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: HOW AMERICAN FOOTBALL RESEMBLES THE ARENA SPECTACLES OF ANCIENT ROME ONLY THEY DON'T KILL THE PLAYERS, JUST INJURE THEM - BUT THAT COULD CHANGE GIVEN DEVELOPMENTS IN AMERICA

John Chuckman


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN PRAVDA



“The NFL is a criminal enterprise”



I've always regarded American football as resembling imperial Rome's arena spectacles.

It's a sports culture designed to reinforce the attitudes and values of American empire.

Marching bands in the full splendor of Ruritanian palace guards, monster flags carried by an obligatory real-soldier color guard with rifles and white shoulder straps, gals in Ruritanian military caps high-stepping with short skirts, sequined panties, and matching booties while twirling batons, the unsingable imperial anthem with a loud-speaker demand for all to rise, not infrequently sung by someone who can’t sing or garbles the words, and the crowds of tens of thousands straining their vocal cords.

A big war parade before armor-clad players come out the field to hit and smash each other

They are very similar types of gatherings to those of Rome with the noise and displays and bloodlust, only football doesn't kill the players, it just hurts them.

But I'm sure if it were possible America would have a big audience for the exact Roman spectacles.

Maybe it will come to that with all the spirit of killing, from the colonial wars abroad to local cops who kill about three people a day in America, with ignoring great human misery, as in the refugees of the Middle East or in the horrors of Gaza, and with readiness to accept the violation of many traditional laws and ethical principles and agreements that today characterizes America.

After all, in America's South, well into the 1930s, while FDR was in the White House, lynchings were often treated as family picnic occasions with gatherings on the town square while a man was hanged. Eleanor complained to Franklin about it and asked him to intervene, but he said he could do nothing without losing his support from Southern Democrats.

Ah, yes, America, you do have some proud moments. The rah-rah is good for the guys you send off to places like Vietnam where you managed to kill 3 million souls or Iraq where you killed another million.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: THERE'S EFFECTIVELY ONLY ONE POLITICAL PARTY IN THE UNITED STATES WHEN IT COMES TO KEY MATTERS AND IT WINS EVERY ELECTION AS SURELY AS DID THE COMMUNIST PARTY IN THE USSR

John Chuckman


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN PRAVDA



“The Future of NATO”

________________________________________

Response to a comment about the nations of the Warsaw Pact, “The leaders of these nations were not elected by the people but were hand-picked in Moscow.  There was never a free election in the USSR.”:



And you think there are free elections in the US?

A choice between Maniac Trump and Killer Hillary?

Wow, that's some choice.

America's duopoly political system is designed exactly to give the appearances of choice without actually providing any.

The establishment wins every election, no matter who runs.

When it comes to imperial affairs and America's Frankenstein military, the two parties are identical.

Friday, July 13, 2018

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: TRUMP WALK AWAY FROM NATO? WHY IT WILL NOT HAPPEN EVEN IF HE HAS THE AUTHORITY WHICH IS NOT CLEAR - NATO'S CHANGED PURPOSES SERVE AMERICAN INTERESTS SO WHY SHOULDN'T IT PAY? - THE HOPE EUROPE WILL SEEK NEW DIRECTIONS AFTER BEING BULLDOZED BY IGNORAMUS TRUMP

John Chuckman


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN INVESTMENTWATCH



“Trump Puts Merkel on Notice, Threatens to Pull Out of NATO”



There has been no real need for NATO, when judged in terms of its founding purpose, for many years.

It was created out fear that the USSR’s massive Red Army would roll over Europe. Well, neither the USSR nor the Red Army has existed for decades, and Russia is a place keen to get on with business and new development.

But with the fading to irrelevance of its original purpose, the US has developed new ones for NATO, largely reflecting its own new needs.

One is just as a mechanism for peacefully occupying one of its greatest potential competitors and manipulating its policies. America does a lot of manipulation towards its own interests in Europe.

This purpose very much includes preventing that long-held fear of an economic marriage between Europe and Russia, something that one glance at a map will tell you is a “natural.” Napoleon certainly thought so. As did Hitler. As well as other German historical figures, such as the Kaiser of WWI. There is in fact a long history of Germans, many specialist and technical people, working and living in Russia. Resources, industry, and markets make powerful incentives.

America wants to prevent this from happening, and it likely feels it is already somewhat underway with arrangements such as Russian natural gas sales, which it wants to prevent. A crude and awkward man like Trump insists on using language to express his opposition which makes him sound as though he thinks the date is 1957.

Two is to sell arms to NATO members, a huge captive market, the US being far and away the world's greatest arms dealer. And, as America’s newest weapons are horrendously complex and expensive, as the F-35, expecting all NATO members to place orders effectively has Europe subsidizing the Pentagon.

NATO provides America many reasons to be used in support of these demands, such interchangeability of parts and entire machines among member states with volume production runs supposedly lowering costs, not that you’d ever notice with something like the F-35.

And three is the use of NATO as a kind of geopolitical fig leaf. It provides a way for American imperial wars to appear as though they reflect international interests, which they largely do not.

NATO members each send token forces to places like Afghanistan to keep America happy. The news headlines, instead of reading "American bombing," read "NATO bombing."

It diffuses responsibility and gives a sense of greater international legitimacy.

After all, the US now avoids the UN as much as it can (when it isn’t actually actively trying to dismantle it), the very place where some international legitimacy would come from.

And that isn't just because the US hates the UN, which just happens to represent the other 95% of humanity.

It is because the US has so many wars now, all of them with very little point except in America’s own estimation, that it would be impossible to have the UN legitimize many of them. The UN did turn them down at the beginning of the Iraq War, a totally illegitimate, criminal enterprise., the first big step in the coming Neocon War rampage across the Middle East.

NATO wasn’t ready for that one, but Britain’s pathetic Tony Blair, thinking he would be part of a great historical achievement, was practically on his hands and knees to join the murderous enterprise. America took what it could get and started the bombing, its favorite international activity over the last couple of decades.

NATO - and an expanded NATO flush with grateful small new member states who all look forward to increased entrĂ©e with American officials and would never dream of contradicting them - provides a kind of ersatz (and purchased) international support. These smaller, relatively unimportant states much resemble some ugly girls asked out on a date by some “hunk,” and they act accordingly, as the US very much counted on them doing.

In most cases, it costs the major European countries comparatively little to keep the great angry bully happy. They each sent numbers of troops to Afghanistan previously on the order of hundreds to a few thousand with many or most not even in combat roles.

Were Afghanistan what America always claimed it to be, a serious threat to the world, I think the Europeans would have acted much differently. Their level of support eloquently said what they really thought.

For all of these reasons, it is unlikely the US would walk from NATO. It is largely a set of American purposes being served, so why would America end it and why shouldn’t America pay for it?

Telling the Europeans, they must now pay a great more is just a kind of extortion racket, and Trump is just the kind of lowlife to see whether he can get away with it.

Except for a few countries with very unusual backgrounds – rather pathetic places such as Latvia or Poland – I don’t think any of NATO’s significant members regard Russia today as a threat to anything, but they are unwilling to say so openly in view of the long past American relationship and the fear of offending the US, which really is capable of taking some serious economic or financial reprisals.

The US is even toying now with yet another self-serving purpose for NATO. Colombia has become an “Alliance Official Partner” a new kind of designation with new American purposes behind it. In this case, a threat right on the border of a Venezuela America hates, the potential threat of “international” intervention into a country the CIA has been working hard to destabilize for years and one Trump has now openly mused about invading.

This is stretching NATO’s purpose about as thinly as it can be stretched from the organization founded to protect Western Europe from Soviet aggression.

For all these reasons, no, Trump is not going to leave NATO. And it is not even clear, under America’s system of divided government, he would have that authority if he wanted to. NATO is a tool of the new American hyper-aggression being used to reclaim international dominance, and I think the Europeans understand that well enough to call his bluff. They are not going to start handing over all that money.

But maybe Trump’s increased pressure - conducted with no diplomacy, rudely and in public - is just the thing to move the Europeans in new directions. I sure hope so.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: THE FIRST DOCUMENTS IN THE KENNEDY ASSASSINATION RECORDS RELEASE TO GIVE US SOME GENUINE INFORMATION ABOUT WHAT HAPPENED

John Chuckman


EXPANSION OF A COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY JERRY KROTH IN INFORMATION CLEARING HOUSE



“Two U.S. Soldiers Overheard JFK Assassination Plans”



Released assassination documents show that two people - Eugene Dinkin of the Army and David Christensen of the Air Force - intercepted  independently, in their official work with decoding and secret communications, some advance discussion of the Kennedy assassination. The names Jean Souetre, Guy Banister, and William Harvey were in the decoded material. Both men were committed to mental institutions for a time, the old Soviet trick to totally discredit someone.



Well, finally some really serious stuff from these record releases.

Much of what was released in the past made you wonder why the items were ever classified in the first place.

It is very interesting the name of the Corsican assassin coming up.

The greatest book ever written on the assassination was Anthony Summer's original "Conspiracy" about forty years ago.

It is not to be confused with any of the later editions which are totally different books. Indeed, I’ve always suspected someone got to Summers for his later editions. The books tended to take the unconvincing Mafia-did-it slant which offialdom made great efforts to promote.

Summers, who was a gifted investigative reporter from Britain and did some other ground-breaking work, as with his books on J. Edgar Hoover and Marylin Monroe, mentioned the Corsican figure and trying to trace him in the original book.

Of course, the name Guy Bannister (retired Senior FBI agent from Chicago) is interesting too. He was in his retirement from FBI running some kind of dirty operation in New Orleans under a cover. Guns for anti-Cuba forces likely and other anti-Castro activity. He was a virulent American commie-hater type.

He had Oswald working at his shop, something we only learned by an accident.

Oswald was running a phony campaign about fair play for Cuba in which he handed out pamphlets to people which contained a form to be filled-out and mailed.

The concept is an old security agency trick for getting names of people who are sympathizers with some cause under suspicion.

The accident was Oswald's in using an office stamp for Bannister's Camp street office on the backs of some of the pamphlets. It connected them, and that wasn't supposed to happen.

One eye witness also said Oswald was seen around the place. The Warren Commission ignored all such leads, anything which disagreed with the plotline created by J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI, the people who did literally all of the investigative work of the Warren Commission. Hoover was a serious Kennedy-hater and had every motivation to see someone replace Kennedy, especially a crooked friend and fellow Kennedy-hater like Lyndon Johnson.

Oswald's pamphlet activity has always been cited as yet more evidence of Oswald's communism or sympathies with communism, but we know from many little facts that Oswald was not a communist. He was a patriotic type in fact. His statements about Marxism, made, mind you, at the time of working covertly with Bannister, were clearly legend-building stuff.

Just the opposite was true. He was being paid to hand out phony pamphlets and to do other tasks, working against Castro and with guys like red-neck Bannister.

Cuba is pretty much what the whole assassination was about, which is why the assassins needed someone identified as a communist as their patsy. There were large numbers of men associated with America’s security agencies at the time who were almost hysterical about Castro because he represented a serious challenge to an American Imperial Plantation System which had long kept an entire continent subservient.

And one of those particularly vicious types at the CIA was William Harvey, the third name mentioned on the intercepts. Harvey ran such dirty stuff as Operation Mongoose, a 1960 secret plan to decapitate Cuba's leadership. He was known as CIA's chief assassin.

Oswald’s earlier participation, when he was in the Marines, in a murky program of defectors to Russia to gain information about day-to-day life in the USSR – there were several such defections, and the later immensely-discredited James Angleton, head of CIA counterintelligence, appears to have run the program – basically tarred Oswald as a defector and communist sympathizer and made him an ideal candidate as assassination patsy.

Oswald was, in fact, a patriotic young American, having joined the Marines underaged, and was enticed into a covert defection program which offered a sense of mystery and fed his sense of self-importance. He was taught Russian by experts, which we know he spoke well before going to Russia and saw his time in Russia as an opportunity both to serve his country and to have a grand adventure., pretty heady stuff for a young ambitious man with little formal education and a poor background.

When someone saying he was Oswald traveled to Mexico City, shortly before the assassination, to secure a visa for either Cuba or Russia, he was just helping build the Oswald legend, helping set up Oswald as the assassination’s patsy.

The CIA covers such embassies 24 hours a day with cameras., and it records all phone calls, as you might expect.

But when asked by investigators, to produce a photo of "Oswald," a completely different-looking man was in it and no explanation was offered.

When asked for phone recordings, investigating officials were told that the tapes had been routinely recycled.

It was just all rubbish, as was the entire Warren Commission report.



JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: SNEERING OVER VENEZUELA'S SUPPOSED ECONOMIC IRRESPONSIBILITY - THE REAL PROBLEM FOR VENEZUELA IS THE CIA - AND IF YOU WANT TO SEE REAL ECONOMIC IRRESPONSIBILITY JUST LOOK AT AMERICA WHERE IT IS TRULY MONUMENTAL

John Chuckman


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN INVESTMENTWATCH



“A Month’s Pay In Venezuela Now Only Buys Just A Few Cups Of Coffee”



Well, put the blame where it belongs.

The CIA has worked hard for several years to destroy Venezuela.

It has interfered in its markets, caused all kinds of internal problems, supplies opposition forces with money and supplies (talk about interfering in elections!), carries on all kinds of sabotage, and I am sure it has been counterfeiting the currency, which is greatly responsible for the inflation. This last, in true criminal style, is a measure used many times in the past by CIA.

Washington has long resented a democratic government which it doesn’t like but which keeps getting elected and attacks no one.

Why? It works against the American Plantation System in Latin America. The natives can't really be trusted to work towards their own future.

If Venezuela were to fail under its own efforts, then so be it, and a fair test of whether certain changes offer any hope for others.

But America never allows that anywhere in which it has an interest. Instead, it is always chooses to interfere, manipulate, threaten, and perhaps invade.

It has all happened so many times.

And Trump supports it. He not only does nothing to halt it, he is now speaking of invading Venezuela.

How can anyone even pretend he brings anything new to Washington - other than his loud and careless mouth and his open prejudices - when he perfectly well carries on with the darkest operations of the Dark State?

Some hero fighting the establishment!

And, by the way, if you want to look at a failed economic state on a massive scale, look at the United States. Twenty-one trillion in debt and still growing.

Burning through about a trillion a year – when all costs are included, such as the VA - for death and destruction from the Pentagon. And it does not have a dime in its pocket to support the spending, quite apart from the sheer waste of it, the military anywhere being the most inefficient and wasteful industry there is.

America's excesses are floated on the fact that it monumentally abuses the American dollar being the world reserve currency, but that is a situation that we can see is changing before our very eyes.

And the big-mouth coward in the White House is busy starting trade wars all over the planet. Remember it was the Smoot-Hawley Tariff, very similar in concept to Trump's international trade excesses, which helped tip the world into the Great Depression.

Again, it was American excesses in its financial system which brought us the financial crash of 2008, something we still have not fully recovered from and something no sound measures were taken to prevent in future.

It is actually hilarious to read of any American pointing the finger at any other country's government over economic failure and irresponsibility when yours is truly the grandest example on earth.

You've been protected, like the proverbial big bank, by being "too big to fail," but everything has its limits, and you have just about reached yours.

Unfortunately, the entire world will have to suffer some of the consequences.



JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: "ORIGINAL INTENT" AND AMERICA'S SUPREME COURT - THE CONCEPT IS PART OF THE CREED OF AMERICA'S CIVIC RELIGION - AND THE SUPREME COURT HAS ALWAYS BEEN CONSERVATIVE, ONLY VARYING IN DEGREE - AN IMPORTANT EFFECT OF THIS FACT ON THE VERY NATURE OF AMERICAN GOVERNMENT

John Chuckman


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE GUARDIAN BY JILL ABRAMSON



“Brett Kavanaugh's nomination [to the US Supreme Court] is a victory for 'originalists'”



The "original intent" people in America are a strange group.

Their strongly-held beliefs about the Constitution closely resemble those of religious fundamentalists who believe the Bible is the literal word of God and not subject to interpretation.

The belief is a big part of what has been called the American Civic Religion with its Holy Writ (Constitution and Declaration of Independence), its Apostles (the constitutional Convention figures), its Judas (Benedict Arnold), its cross symbol (the flag), and even a form of Christ (Lincoln, as he is portrayed and not how he actually was), etc.

Of course, there were so many American Founders who descended from the Puritans (the Pilgrims) it should come as no surprise. In America, the Puritans (referred to as the Pilgrims and who feature heavily in Thanksgiving myths)  are portrayed as the people fleeing religious oppression rather than what they were, intolerant religious extremists fleeing the law and public dislike. The influence of that nasty narrow group has been immense in America, even for many Americans no longer embracing Christianity.

The Constitution, which is so hallowed by this group, proved over the years to have many errors and still has outdated undemocratic concepts, the Founders as a whole definitely not being people who embraced democracy.

In any event, it is indeed a strange belief that rules laid down in the 18th century should govern the 21st.

The net effect of the conservatism of the Supreme Court (and it has always been conservative by any meaningful measure, only varying in degree through its history) has been the growth of the modern dark state with its plutocratic elites, its duopoly of parties (who agree completely in all things imperial and militaristic), its immensely powerful lobbies, and the powerful agencies like the CIA and Pentagon who protect and serve the whole thing to keep it going.

All of the recent efforts of America in foreign affairs and now trade have been aimed at reasserting the American establishment’s world authority in the face of relative economic decline. That effort included Obama as much as it does Trump.

You may enjoy:

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

https://chuckmanwords.wordpress.com/2014/07/07/reflections-on-the-origins-and-meaning-of-americas-independence-day-re-posted-from-6-years-ago-nothing-having-changed/

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: A FEW WORDS ON THE CURRENT FAD OF TRASHING PLASTICS - WHICH ARE IN FACT VALUABLE USEFUL MATERIALS - WHO SHOULD BE BLAMED FOR PROBLEMS BLAMED ON PLASTICS?

John Chuckman


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE GUARDIAN



“I rely on plastic straws and baby wipes. I’m disabled – I have no choice”



The problem with plastic is with not the material, which is a wonderful one having many uses and advantages, it is with the people using it.

I think it irresponsible to keep barking away at plastic itself.

It is the careless and slobby and irresponsible among us who are responsible for everything that the material is blamed for.

In effect, the slobs get off free.

We do not make progress that way.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: A BIG NEW DEAL COMING FROM RUSSIAN-AMERICAN SUMMIT? I TEND TO DOUBT IT - AND HERE ARE SOME COMMENTS ON AMERICA'S GENERAL LACK OF DEPENDABILITY IN INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

John Chuckman


EXPANSION OF COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN RUSSIA TODAY



“Middle East officials flocking to Moscow – is there a big deal to be made before Putin meets Trump?” 

“Amid the flurry of visits there is some speculation in the media that a grand deal between the US and Russia”



I rather doubt it.

Some comments here speak to the issue of dependability. The truth is America has always been an undependable partner. There is a long and pretty ugly record.

And likely no one appreciates that better than a clear-thinking, hard-headed pragmatist like Putin.

There is also the matter of Trump’s own demonstrated unreliable, almost unstable, character and personality to be added to the general lack of American dependability.

Both America and Trump will adhere to anything so long as they are getting something out of it, something tangible, something valuable.

That’s why America has the appearance of a long loyal and stable relationship with Israel. Every key American politician receives regular tangible benefits – campaign funds plus favorable publicity treatment from the mainline press which help guarantee their jobs - by keeping up appearances with Israel.

Of course, Israel also brings the benefit of serving as an American pied-a-terre in a strategically important region and as a surrogate actor in many dark activities. So, tolerance for its atrocious public behavior has almost no limit.

And it is the same for an institution such as NATO. NATO enables America literally to occupy and heavily influence one of the world’s major economic actors and American competitors.

Fear of Russia is nonsense, especially today, but there very much is American fear of Russia and the NATO countries doing a lot of business together, of forming a huge and valuable economic marriage of resources, industry, and markets. NATO effectively prevents that, a very real benefit to America.

The stresses being felt today in NATO I believe actually reflect the fact that America perceives that Europe is nevertheless gradually moving towards that rather ideal economic marriage. Trump’s response is to demand new resources from NATO, compensation, a form of disguised Mafia protection money, as it were.

Principles play absolutely no role for America’s major actors, ever, except as stuff to make speeches with.

So why do people still try to do deals with America? Because it is so big that it simply cannot be ignored.



Saturday, July 07, 2018

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: HIDDEN REASONS FOR ANGELA MERKEL'S DECLINE AS A FORCE IN EUROPE - THEY REVEAL MUCH ABOUT AMERICA AND PROVIDE A SERIOUS WARNING OF THE BRAVE NEW WORLD WE ENTER - PLUS WHAT TRUMP TRULY REPRESENTS

John Chuckman


EXPANSION OF A COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN RUSSIA INSIDER


“As Merkel's Star Fades, This Is What Is Really Happening Behind the Scenes”

______________________

Response to a comment which said: “A simple solution for the EU would be to not follow the US into illegal wars, support of terrorists and proxy wars then they wouldn't be in this mess and for those politicians who were involved in destroying Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria…”

That really goes to the heart of the matter.

America today pushes aggressive and destructive policies everywhere.

Europe's leaders just quietly go along, often joining in with varying degrees of token participation to buy American good-will. This really gives America the freedom to describe its aggression as multi-national in character, as the work either of NATO or of such ad hoc constructs as “the coalition of the willing,” rather than as what it truly is, just plain American imperialism.

Europe is left, so to speak, holding the bag, for all the ensuing consequences. This happened with so-called “international terror attacks,” which are just blow-back from America’s Neocon Wars. It has now also happened with floods of refugees nearly destabilizing the continent, the refugees being entirely a product of American bombing and support for rag-tag mercenaries like those operating in Syria.

America takes no responsibility for the consequences of its rampages, especially the huge, years-long one through the Middle East. Of course, the consequences of all that bombing and destruction include millions of desperate refugees. But officials in Washington just brutally ignore the problem.

America’s general public has been conditioned, by politicians and by the commercial press which always supports America’s ugly campaigns abroad, to treat the refugees with sarcasm and contempt. Desperate migrants are spoken of in the best tradition of Senator Joseph McCarthy and his phantom “communists,” a delusional concept which that closet-drunk used to destroy many innocent lives.

Donald Trump perfectly embodies attitudes of a fair part of the American public about refugees, and that fact provides the driving engine of his political support.

America, in fact, has never taken responsibility for the horrors it creates in its imperial wars. It left Vietnam literally as a hell on earth, giving it no help or aid after all those years of destruction – carpet bombing, napalm, Agent Orange, land mines, cluster bombs, and armies of night-crawling assassins. The plight of today’s refugees in the Middle East results directly from the same American national trait of not taking responsibility.

The refugees, which should bring tears to the eyes, are ignored, and they are even laughed at, as are those who do try to help them, such as Merkel, ignored, despite being the direct result of America’s horrific violence.

Merkel, seeing what America had created, was only trying to show some humanity with her now much-despised refugee policy. She may also have felt twinges of guilt about not having stood up to America's savage policies in the first place.

There was also the consideration that Germany, being an advanced country, simply does not replace its own population anymore. This situation is true for all advanced countries. Economists refer to it as having passed through Demographic Transition.

Populations will inevitably decline in all such countries without migration. All advanced countries are destined to more resemble the early United States or Canada as countries of immigrants, rather than continuing as they are used to thinking of themselves, countries of long-fixed identity and language and culture. I’m sure Merkel understands this.

But an almost uncontrolled, sudden flow of migrants is not really welcomed anywhere. And, in this case, great differences in religion and appearance and customs only fueled resentments and prejudices and hatreds, the very stuff burning and smoldering in Trump’s United States.

So, while I think Merkel had humane and decent intentions - informed also by an understanding of Germany’s, and Western Europe’s, changing population-age structures – her policy was an unavoidable failure owing to the problem’s suddenness and huge size. And it now serves to help the political ambitions of Europe’s own right-wing extremists resembling Trump.

One can only hope that reflecting back on this experience may help Europe’s leaders to begin standing up to some of America’s irrational, unfair demands, such as isolating Iran for no good reason or trying to tell Europe where it should buy its natural gas. These are simply the demands of a bully, and the bully needs to be told.

You know, there was a very telling change, not widely publicized, in the official mission statement of the Pentagon recently. The central purpose of the US military went, with the stroke of a pen, from “deter war,” something with which anyone might agree, to “sustain American influence abroad,” something which reflects almost no other country’s interests.

Of course, that’s exactly what we’ve been experiencing anyway with all the American aggression across a dozen lands, but now it is a stated public purpose. No more pretense. It’s imperialism.

America’s establishment, recognizing its relative decline in the world’s economy since its fortunate glory days after WWII when all competitors and potential competitors were flattened, now is going to use its considerable remaining power simply to muscle its way to every possible future advantage. It’s a business model with which the mafia is long familiar: you give us a piece of the action, or we’ll burn your business down.

Trump’s bull-headed, shameless approach to relationships of every description – in trade, in treaties and agreements, in international organizations, in alliances - seems almost custom-designed to suit the establishment’s need, which is the reason I laugh at all the claims that he heroically fights the establishment, or “the swamp,” as he likes to put it in comic-book terms.

It is already rather late in the day, but Europe’s leaders must try standing up to this challenge. Europe is one of the few political entities in the world capable of resistance, along with China and Russia and, hopefully, India. If Europe is to have any future beyond being an American order-taker and a polite debating society, it must act, although it is now in such disarray – stemming from its past failure to resist American policies such as those creating the refugees - it is not clear whether it still has the capacity.

If it does still have the capacity, the difference will come from that essential, but often elusive, concept, leadership. We get no change without it.

We are entering a “brave new world,” a very dark one, quite different in its form to that Shakespeare’s phrase was intended to describe, a world in which a powerful pretender to high principles acts, in fact, with almost no principles.

Europe’s leaders need to wake up to the new reality. It’s too easy to drift on in old familiar terms about America, as though Jimmy Stewart’s sincerity and sentiments still represented it. They do not. Russia, as you can see in the statements of Putin and Lavrov, is keenly aware. China’s Xi very much is, too, as you can see in his recent proposal to Germany’s leader to combine efforts between Europe and China.

The brave new world we face is one where the bravery of America is on the level of Trump’s getting out of Vietnam service in 1968 with the pathetic excuse of “heel spurs,” an excuse which came from a man playing on the college basketball team, a man now ready to drop bombs or tear-up treaties anywhere. An American bomb now drops somewhere every twelve minutes.

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: A PIECE BY JUSTIN RAIMONDO ABOUT TRUMP AND PEACE SCREAMS AT US JUST WHAT KIND OF A CLOUD-CUCKOO-LAND AMERICA HAS BECOME - "WAR IS PEACE" SAID WITH A BIG GRIN - I THINK WE REALLY ARE ON THE ROAD TO HELL

John Chuckman


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY JUSTIN RAIMONDO IN RUSSIA INSIDER



“All Aboard the Trump Peace Train! He's Taking the Fight to the War Party

“He wants out of Korea, Germany, Syria – and NATO!”



"You have to be blind not to see that Trump wants to radically reduce the US presence overseas – and you’re part of the problem if you find that worrisome"



We could all wish Raimondo were right about Trump, but there is no evidence to support his assertions. None. Not a shred.

Raimondo sounds like one more tiresome Alt-right Trumpista from the Internet, full of admiration for an aggressive, loud-mouthed gas-bag.

My God, Raimondo takes at face value all Trump's various assertions, yet we've seen, time and again, Trump caught outright lying, being factually wrong, bragging about nonsense, and just being ugly with his mouth.

His aggressive personality and thoughtless words have offended almost every Western leader.

Indeed, we've seen so much of that kind of speech, I think it fair to say it is the norm for this bizarre politician.

If you look at facts, instead of ideologically-based wishes, Raimondo is busy like some of the characters in Alice in Wonderland, "painting the roses red."

There are alternate explanations for everything this writer regards as promising peace.

Trump in fact has an extremely aggressive personality, resembling a steam engine always in full throttle.

He has actually expanded the possibilities for war with his mad drives on trade and sanctions everywhere. Virtually all of them unnecessary and dangerous.

History shows clearly that such efforts as trade wars can start shooting wars. They can also assist in the launching of a depression, as they very much did in the Great Depression with America’s Smoot–Hawley Tariff, a measure that was very much in keeping with Trump's thinking.

You don't get a free ride to tell everyone else on the planet, "Do it my way, or it’s the highway." There are consequences, real and quite unpleasant consequences, from that approach. Trade or any economic effort is a partnership, and partnerships require cooperation and good will.

That's just on the economic front, but in other areas, the story is just as bleak.

Telling the CIA it can decide who dies in America's industrial-scale extrajudicial killing program?

Giving the Pentagon more money than it knows how to spend?

Appointing a series of major officials who might well have served faithfully in Germany of the 1930s: Haley, Bolton, Pompeo, Haspel, and many others - just a series of nightmare appointments of pushy ideologues who do little apparent thinking.

Trump has now said a couple of times he'd like to invade Venezuela, a democratic country with no record of aggression. Hardly sounds like peace to me. Trump and the American establishment he so clearly represents dislike that country's moderately socialistic economy, and the CIA has been hard at work for several years trying to destabilize it with everything from counterfeiting its currency and interfering in its markets to subsidizing undemocratic internal opposition groups, but these intensive efforts still are not succeeding because the government is popular and wins elections, so the great man of peace, Trump, speaks of invasion.

And Trump's relationship with Netanyahu and Adelson is deeply dangerous.

Israel is one of the most aggressive and oppressive countries on earth, and so far under Trump it gets literally everything it wants. Its idea of peace is Orwell’s “boot in your face.”

It gives nothing, makes no compromises, and continues to treat millions under its control as Untermensch – all while working hard to expand its poisonous influence further afield.

There are its efforts in Syria, its efforts towards Iran, its efforts in East Jerusalem, its efforts in the West Bank, its drive to get Western governments to virtually ban all criticism, and its hostility to the United Nations and other important international organizations – all this, while openly committing genuine war crimes in Gaza and keeping itself free of criticism for the darkest possible acts.

Anyone who sees promise here has a problem, a serious problem. And this kind of thinking has become all too common in a country which sees enemies in every corner and under every bed and believes that if it can just be allowed to dominate the earth, everything will turn out fine.

Tuesday, July 03, 2018

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: WHAT REALLY DRIVES THE FALSE AND MALICIOUS LINKING OF LIBERALS TO ANTI-SEMITISM ? - ORIGINS AND TRUE NATURE OF AMERICA'S VERY STRANGE RELATIONSHIP WITH ISRAEL - SOME PARALLELS BETWEEN AMERICA AND ISRAEL

John Chuckman


EXPANSION OF A COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY ANDREW JOYCE IN RUSSIA INSIDER



“'Leftist Anti-Semitism' Is Much in the News, But It's Not True Anti-Semitism’



Israel and its supporters have long promoted the association of "the Left" with anti-Semitism.

It is an absurd claim to anyone who knows some history, but Israel’s establishment has its own reasons for doing so.

The genuine anti-Semites have pretty much always been on the Right. That's where you find people like Henry Ford, who wrote a terrible book and was much admired by Hitler, or the other great robber baron types with their long history of unfairness to Jews, excluding them from clubs and schools and partnerships, etc.

Israel dislikes liberals simply because the essence of liberalism is regard for human rights and democratic values.

Israel's entire history pretty much is in violation of these principles, and Israelis do not like being reminded of the fact.

Yes, Israeli politicians always blubber about "the Middle East's only democracy," but that is an empty advertising slogan, much like America’s hot air about being the land of liberty and justice.

What kind of democracy allows as immigrants people of only one religious background?

What kind of democracy has roughly half those under its governance people with no rights and no citizenship? People, moreover, who clearly do not want to be ruled by Israel?

Many do not understand the fact that "democracies" also can be tyrannical. A majority anywhere, with bad intentions, perpetually can keep the minority, even a huge one, in oppression. Power is power, no matter how it is conferred, and those with power make the rules and laws and enforce them.

That is the purpose of a Bill or Charter of Rights, to protect basic freedoms for everyone from a tyrannical majority. As America’s own history amply proves, the concept doesn’t always work – again, there is the matter of enforcement of the law by a majority with bad intentions, something which extends to the realities of the courts where judicial appointments are loaded with politics - but I think most would agree it is better than not having such protections.

But Israel has no Bill of Rights, nor can it ever have one, given its founding principles. You can’t write a Bill of Rights for Some.

Israel’s situation in many ways closely parallels those of the old American Confederacy or the government of Nationalist South Africa. The ruling group in both cases held elections and maintained all appearances of democratic process.

It was just that a very large group of people living in both those places, by law, could not vote or enjoy the privileges of citizenship. Indeed, it wasn’t just a large group, in both cases, it was an actual majority, a majority stripped of rights by law.

Israel – which clearly suppresses a huge minority - is in fact rapidly approaching exactly the same situation as those two historical states since the Palestinians will, before too long, be an actual majority, if they are not so already. Palestinian birth rates are much higher than those found among most Jewish people in Israel. This is universally the case for poorer groups versus more prosperous ones.

Israel’s situation is, long term, completely unsustainable, and we can be sure that most Israelis don't like being reminded of that either. Everything that true liberals say is unwelcome.

The great liberal voices of the past were always critics of injustice, lack of civil liberties, and the absence of the proper rule of law, and that basic identifying characteristic of liberals is much resented in Israel.

As for Israel's own political parties, in the matters with which we are concerned, it hasn't mattered at all which one ruled. The results always were pretty much the same, the pressures of the county's strange situation pushing against any leader.

It is much like what we see in the United States where the two major parties - despite some social welfare differences - both completely support America's empire and gigantic military and all of its many imperial wars. There is virtual unanimity when it comes to those matters.

Indeed, anyone who questions them in public will be branded, at best, a kook. Charges of being unpatriotic or even treasonous are ready to be hurled at a moment’s notice, and those charges are taken very seriously in both places.

There is no true Left, always excepting a few outliers, when it comes to America's empire. And it is just the same in Israel. After all, Israel really is a colony, a colony in the Middle east of people who are mainly European in origin, people whose native tongue is neither Arabic nor Hebrew. People whose native culture is European, not Middle Eastern. And it is a very aggressive colony, spreading its control and influence as much as possible through many wars and interventions and dark operations.

It is a curious position in which America finds itself with regard to Israel. America simply had no history of helping Jews. It rejected them by the boatload when Hitler sent them as migrants. American society was widely affected by the kind of thinking we find in Henry Ford and others of his class.

America latched onto becoming “the mother country” for Israel because in the beginning it cost America nothing in terms of its own social comfort. The price was all paid by poor people with no voice in world affairs. America’s support promoted American colonialism in an important part of the world. It also earned the domestic political support of a relatively large and successful American Jewish population.

America’s support did all of that while allowing it to pose as a defender of victims, much as Israel today poses as a defender of democracy. They both ridiculous claims, but the truth is that so many people never pause to think critically, they just repeat the slogans they hear, much like people humming an advertising jingle.

America’s role was also able to appeal to American Christian fundamentalists - a very large group at least at the time of modern Israel’s founding - on the basis of sentiments about Biblical Israel, sentiments which of course have nothing to do with the reality of contemporary Israel and which never should play a role in geopolitics or foreign affairs.

Liberals speaking to any of these matters are not welcome in either country. They are widely disliked and discouraged, and even hated, in both places because they speak of matters the ruling establishment does not want to hear, including the glaring fact that all its major acts and policies violate every principle to which it is always paying lip service in speeches.

The charge of “anti-Semitism” has literally become a kind of mantra for defenders of Israel and its many appalling acts. We have the unhealthy growth and promotion of the idea that criticism of Israel is anti-Semitism, deliberately blurring the immense difference between criticism of injustice by an armed state and an irrational prejudice. It gains its motive force, of course, from the Holocaust, an event which actually has no more to do with the Middle East than does the War of the Spanish Succession.





Thursday, June 28, 2018

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: DO ALIENS EXIST? - ALMOST CERTAINLY - BUT WHAT INTEREST WOULD TRULY ADVANCED CIVILIZATIONS HAVE IN US? WE STILL RESEMBLE CHIMPANZEES WHO MARCH OUT REGULARLY IN GROUPS TO SLAUGHTER NEIGHBORING CHIMPS

John Chuckman


EXPANSION OF COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY JIM AL-KHALILI



“Aliens may not exist – but that’s good news for our survival”



I just cannot accept the study as being valid.

It boils down to speculation with some numbers assigned. It goes against the basic concept that the sheer size of the cosmos guarantees abundance of life, a concept embraced by some of our greatest physicists, including Hawking and Fermi.

This view of the cosmos reminds me of ancient religious people who had the arrogance to say the earth and all its creatures were created just for mankind. And we still have lots of humans who believe that. It is based on the skimpiest bits of evidence, such as our failure so far to pick-up radio signals or to experience any sightings or contacts.

Advanced alien civilizations may well have discovered new forms of communication of which we are not yet aware, including quantum operations.

Our own use of radio waves is only about a century old. It takes four-and-a-half years for a signal to go just one way from the nearest star, and that is truly an infinitesimal distance in astronomical terms. It represents a next-door neighbor, so to speak, considering the billions of known galaxies, each containing hundreds of millions or billions of stars.

I also tend to think that at some point with any intelligent species, machines eventually take over from the biological critters. Brains invent and keep inventing, striving to make life better and more convenient, just as they discover and keep discovering principles which result in still more powerful inventions. This is a basic driving force in human history, which itself only goes back about a fifth of a million years.

And this continuous effort to invent and to discover leads directly to what we are glimpsing the first bits of right now in our own civilization.

Artificial intelligence and associated machines seem likely to be the next great stage of evolution, as when mammals arose and dinosaurs - who had ruled the planet for a couple of hundred million years, even evolving huge varieties of their type over that time – completely disappeared.

Wherever this evolutionary change has occurred in the cosmos, there would then be very little interest in critters like us, critters who still, despite all our pretensions, resemble chimpanzees in so many ways, as in marching out to murder groups of neighboring chimps regularly.

We’re doing it right now on a colossal scale. American now drops a large bomb somewhere every twelve minutes of every day. It spends a trillion dollars, all costs included, a year on destruction and death.

Those who say we are alone in the vastness of the cosmos remind me also of another form of thinking earlier in human civilization. It was a conception in a number of earlier civilizations and empires that there was nothing worth knowing about beyond their borders, just mere barbarians in the far hinterlands. Arrogance has long been a human trait.

I don't see how anyone can think things are radically different in various corners of the universe. The same physical principles and processes appear to apply everywhere.

We haven't even discovered all of the principles yet, and we do not yet grasp the full life-cycle of our own species, but there is no reason to believe things are greatly different in different locations of the cosmos, except to the extent that they are either earlier-on or later along our path.

Where there is water, oxygen, and some warmth – and that has to be in tens of billions of places – there almost certainly will be life in some form. The novas of stars and the collisions of galaxies are constantly spewing out chemicals which in the deep reaches of space form all kinds of compounds, including organic ones. These drift and are picked up by comets and meteors which sometimes deposit them on suitable planetary surfaces. It is all a huge ongoing, stochastic process.

Of course, there may also be forms of life without our same basic requirements.

Readers interested in the topic of alien life may enjoy a little story I wrote many years ago:

http://chuckmanmiscellanea.blogspot.com/2006/11/short-story-cosmic-hum.html









Friday, June 22, 2018

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: SOMETIMES YOU SIDE WITH THE DEVIL - THE CASE OF TURKEY'S ELECTION AND ERDOGAN - PICKING YOUR BATTLES AND ALLIES STRATEGICALLY IN THE MURKINESS OF WORLD AFFAIRS

John Chuckman


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY HARUN YAHYA IN PRAVDA



“'Turkey's choice' is not only Turkey's

“Turkey is gearing up for an important election that is going to take place on June 24th. Turks will choose their new President who will be in office for the next five years”



The situation in Turkey is one of those where one has to make a choice based not on any ideals or hopes but on certain nightmarish realities.

Erdogan is a very strange man. Sometimes he says things one can praise for their insight and suitability. Other times, he sounds like a genuine madman. His lunatic pleas and lawsuits in Europe against cartoons or other journalism he finds offensive. His various threats against this, that, and the other.

And his acts follow the same pattern, perhaps tending more on the side of madness. His brutal non-stop campaign against the Kurds. His years-long covert participation in the horrors of Syria, he was an early major partner in trying to destroy a peaceful country. Turkish border guards even discovered containers of poison gas being smuggled into Syria in a Turkish security services vehicle. The journalists who reported the facts remain in prison. His literally insane attack on a Russian bomber when he became frustrated at Putin's success in breaking up what Turkey was doing in Syria.

But in the end, his position vis-a-vis Russia is important in Putin's tremendous efforts to oppose American exceptionalism and hyper-aggression. And there can be little doubt the United States would be pleased to see Erdogan go. I have no doubt the big attempted coup against Erdogan was at least in part CIA work, and I am sure that today the CIA is pumping money and resources into the political opposition.

Also, after Erdogan's past lunacy in attacking Russia, he appears to have settled into a mutually beneficial relationship, a very good thing for all those who do not want to see the now-crazed United States dominating the planet, as it is very much trying to do. By the way, Putin’s handling of that entire business with Turkey showed him at his very best and most effective.

So, in the end, I do think it best that Erdogan be re-elected. You do have to pick your battles carefully in this world. And also have to embrace some allies you otherwise would rather not, a philosophy to which the very pragmatic and effective Putin holds.

This election is certainly one of those times. Hold your nose and vote Erdogan. And the truth is, in the end, there is no one in Turkey with the power to just suddenly make everything better anyway, and the CIA beckons just around the corner in the darkness.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: ACTUALLY TALKING TO THE PEOPLE YOU ALWAYS TALK ABOUT - HERE, IRAN - WHAT REAL JOURNALISM WOULD DO - FACT THAT YOU NEVER SEE THAT IN AMERICA'S CORPORATE PRESS SHOULD ITSELF RAISE QUESTIONS BUT IT DOESN'T

John Chuckman


COMMENT POSTED TO AN INTERVIEW BY CHRIS HEDGES IN RUSSIA INSIDER



“The View from Iran - Chris Hedges Talks to Iran's UN Ambassador

“Hedges is invaluable. Here he largely reproduces verbatim what Iranian officials are saying, which is almost completely barred from the main news media which only allows the Israeli view. A dangerous situation.”



https://russia-insider.com/en/politics/view-iran-chris-hedges-talks-irans-un-ambassador/ri23866

Good interview.

Readers and viewers in "the West" receive virtually no exposure to high-level spokespeople from countries like Iran.

You might think in theory since countries like Iran or Syria are so much in the news, there might be more effort to gain accurate information about them, and from good sources within the countries.

But of course, that is not how it works at all.

America's tightly-controlled press (not by the state directly but by a quite small number of owners loyal to the state's interests) and its political establishment do exactly the opposite. Iran and Syria are only in the news because they are targets, and you don’t have interviews with those you are targeting.

The American establishment wants you to hear about such places only from the outside, which is to say, only from the official American perspective.

If the average citizen were really thinking about these matters, they'd realize that just the fact alone of never hearing from anyone in a number of countries, countries often on the lips of politicians, says a very great deal about the press and its intentions.

There is never any real effort to inform people about international affairs in America, only to motivate them in supporting the official, established view, something which, of course, has absolutely nothing to do with informing people.

And I have to say, increasingly, this is so also for Canada and Western Europe which are under the American shadow as perhaps never before in my lifetime.

This just again points out the immense contemporary importance of Russian media.

Russian media have their own bias, of course, but it is not the bias of the one party trying to control the entire planet, and that fact alone is very important.

Chris Hedges is one of those rare Americans, combining intelligence being well-informed with dedication to getting at the truth. He has worked towards that for years. A very admirable journalist.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: THE HORRIBLE PEOPLE LEADING THE UNITED STATES TODAY - AND THAT ISN'T JUST TRUMP - ARE DRIVING THE WORLD TOWARDS DESTRUCTION OF MANY INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTIONS AND RELATIONSHIPS AND LIKELY TOWARDS ECONOMIC DEPRESSION

John Chuckman


EXPANSION OF COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY MOHAMED EL-ERIAN IN THE GUARDIAN



"The G7 has not been dealt a fatal blow..."



Well, not quite so fast.

It takes a while to feel the full impact of something like Trump's G-7 performance.

It was nothing less than frightening.

And Trump's every step and word since has been equally frightening, I think it possible the G-7 will come to mark something of an historical watershed.

You see, already Europe eats a great deal of American crap - everything from politely accepting its rampage through the Middle East, which has directly hurt Europe through masses of piteous refugees, to supporting America’s massive assault on Russia, which costs Europe literally billions in trade and impedes cooperation of every description for no rational cause.

Those needlessly destructive things could be accepted for a while from an old ally whom Europe knows is suffering from internal problems and having doubts about its future identity, but can they continue to be accepted from the extended nightmare America rapidly is becoming?

Who really is more dangerous to Europe's long-term interests, a Russia wanting to cooperate and be a productive partner or an America taking every possible opportunity to oppose, to argue, to call names, and to pile on still more demands for eating crap?

Whether it is caging children at its border or quitting United Nations’ organizations like UNESCO and the Human Rights Council or killing legally-innocent people with drones on an industrial scale or slapping down European sensibilities in everything from the environment to telling them from whom they may buy commodities or ripping-up valid, working international agreements, we see a steady march towards a kind of international nihilism from America.

It is very unsettling, and there appears to be no end in sight. In the serious American efforts now underway to start a massive international trade war, openly boasting about something that will hurt the entire planet and possibly contribute to toppling an already weak international economic system into depression, it is hard to believe that traditional Western alignments can remain unaffected.

As in an old marriage where one of the partners suddenly turns abusive and intolerably demanding, the old friendly ties of alliance cannot be stretched to accept just anything.

Some very dangerous and unpleasant people now are running American policy, and Trump is just the ugliest big-mouth among them. A spokesperson from hell. He certainly is not alone in determining the nation’s course. Indeed, American government doesn’t work that way. Presidential powers are quite limited except in the role of commander-in-chief in a war. America may not be terribly democratic, but power is divided among established elite groups – the Senate, the House, powerful lobbies, the major security services, and the Pentagon - and some consensus is absolutely required for extreme policies and acts.

Readers may enjoy:

https://chuckmanwords.wordpress.com/2014/04/14/john-chuckman-essay-hurtling-into-darkness-americas-great-leap-towards-global-tyranny/

https://chuckmanwords.wordpress.com/2015/05/08/john-chuckman-essay-dangerous-flailing-and-bellowing-of-the-beast/

https://chuckmanwords.wordpress.com/2009/06/05/decline-of-the-american-empire/



Tuesday, June 19, 2018

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: WHY EVEN THE WORST NEW LAWS CANNOT BE "UNCONSTITUTIONAL" IN ISRAEL - AS THE NEW LAW TO BAN FILMING ISRAELI SOLDIERS

John Chuckman


EXPANSION OF COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN RUSSIA TODAY



“Nothing to see here! Israeli ministers approve ‘unconstitutional’ bill to ban filming of IDF actions”



Israel has no Bill or Charter of Rights, so something like this cannot be ‘unconstitutional,’ even in quotes.

Given Israel's structure and founding principles, there never can be a Bill of Rights. It would be like Nationalist South Africa or the American Confederacy having a Bill of Rights. The concept makes no sense.

Of course, the whole idea of defined and protected rights is so that a tyrannical-minded democratic majority does not permanently suppress a minority.

Democracies can be tyrannical just as much as dictatorships, and Israel proves that every single day.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: WORLD'S REAL "ROCKET MAN," THE NOISY FOOL IN THE OVAL OFFICE, ORDERS A WHOLE NEW BRANCH OF THE U.S. ARMED FORCES CREATED WITHOUT A DIME IN HIS POCKET

John Chuckman


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN INVESTMENTWATCH



“Trump Announces Formation of Official space Force

“He said that he is directing the Pentagon to create the space force as an independent service branch to join the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force and Coast Guard”



What a complete idiot the man is.

All he knows, in anything, is "I wanna be number one!"

America cannot pay the bills of its current military, which costs the best part of a trillion a year when you take account of everything such as the VA.

Where does the money come from to even begin this stunt?

And when, before very long, Trump plunges the world into a new Great Depression with all his trade wars and fights with everyone on the planet on top of an already-fragile world economic system, he won't even be able to borrow it.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: PUTIN'S REAL QUALITIES AND STRENGTHS - RUSSIA'S PUTIN AND CHINA'S ZI HAVE HISTORIC DESTINIES - NO ONE ELSE CAN BLUNT AMERICA'S RAGING HORMONAL URGE TO DOMINATE THE EARTH

John Chuckman


COMMENT POSTED TO AN INTERVIEW WITH ALEXANDER DUGIN IN RUSSIA INSIDER



“'Putin Is Surrounded by Liberals' - an Interview with Alexander Dugin “



Sorry, but this seems like gibberish to me.

It is not even clear what is meant by the word "liberal."

There are many meanings for that word, and unfortunately in some circles a word with a proud and wonderful history has been dragged in the dirt.

In the history of Europe, true liberalism is about basic freedoms and human dignity. Its membership list has been a very distinguished one.

The truth about Putin, whom I admire and follow in the news, is that in general he is an extremely pragmatic man, not an ideologue of any type.

His strong Russian nationalism, which of course is valued by Russians and not valued by others, as I see it, actually serves a larger global purpose at this time.

America's current intense hormonal surge of exceptionalism and entitlement and its hyper-aggressive acts absolutely require offsetting forces in the world.

Well, we sure do not see them coming from Europe whose leaders have acted the role of cheerleaders for America for years, and to their own harm and detriment, only further encouraging America's current rampage.

Putin and Xi are just the men for the job, each of them coming at it from somewhat different directions and with somewhat different goals. Their roles, as I see them, are historic and very important for everyone.

The net effect of a good deal that they do serves the larger global human interest in opposing a global dictator.

Putin's views on building many partnerships abroad and looking to a multi-polar world where the interests of each country are respected is just what we want.

And so is China's magnificent effort to build new paths for global trade and enterprise.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: COLUMN ON POLITICAL POPULISM DOING WELL OWING TO PEOPLE'S SENSE OF INSECURITY - YES BUT OTHER THINGS ARE AT WORK - OUR GOVERNMENTS LIE FULL TIME AND SEEM INCOMPETENT

John Chuckman


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY LARRY ELLIOTT IN THE GUARDIAN



"It's easy to see why populists do well in an age of insecurity'



I think the author has used the wrong word.

There is of course insecurity, but I think other qualities dominate.

This is an age of government deception as I've never seen in my lifetime.

Almost nothing national governments tell us is true anymore.

I do think people get very tired of the idea that they are almost never being told the truth. They may not all understand in detail but a sense of the state of things manages to get through.

In addition, governments in Europe, from Britain to Germany, give any observer the impression almost of incompetence, and that I believe is more than a mere impression.

Is there a leader in Europe who seems able to deal with the problems facing his or her country, especially the major ones?

Not that I can see.

In most cases, they are unable even to admit what the basic problems are.

And, then, going back to the first point, they lie about it.

Friday, June 15, 2018

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: TRANSSEXUALS IN THE MILITARY - THE IGNORANCE DOESN'T STOP - HERE ARE SOME OF THE BASIC FACTS OF HUMAN SEXUAL IDENTITY - THEY SHOULD HELP WITH THE IGNORANCE

John Chuckman


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN RUSSIA INSIDER



“America Is 'Committing Suicide' By Allowing Trannies in the Military (Russian TV News)”



Pretty trashy stuff.

Efforts to make jokes out of the fact that some people are gay are a quarter-of-a-century out of date.

And they weren't in good taste then.

It is estimated that somewhere between 4% and 10% of any human population is gay. If you are observant, you can also see this identity occurs with some animals, too, such as dogs.

It is a naturally-occurring phenomenon. You might just as well make fun of skin color or the size of people.

There were, in fact, some very famous soldiers who were gay.

Starting with Alexander the Great

___________________________

Response to a comment:

Sorry, but that displays terrible ignorance.

Sexual identity has at least two major components.

One is the set of organs with which a person is born.

The other is that portion of the brain dealing with all the thoughts and feelings concerned with sex.

These can be out of sync, as they very much are for transsexuals. For such people, sex-change operations are their only escape from a perpetual psychological crisis in their lives. They, of course, are not a perfect solution, but they appear to work well for some.

You see, with biology and human life, across millions of beings in all their variety, there really is no such thing as 'perfect.' There is endless variety and differences. Nature experiments with us continuously as a population.

For transsexuals, as with everything else with humans, there also is a whole range of degrees or intensities involved. Some are simply able to live with the internal conflict. Others are not.

Just think about even "the ordinary or normal” range of sexual identity and the vast differences we find. We have males and females who can never have enough sex. We have males and females who want nothing to do with sex. Asexual people, too, are a reality. And, of course, we have everything in between the extremes.

We have males who have serious psychological problems concerning the size of their organ. We have females who just can never achieve a climax. And on and on, as many variations and twists as you can imagine, and they all exist.

By the way, are you aware that all new human fetuses are female to start with? A portion of them become male as they develop.

That portion is more than half. We have more male babies born than female, however, males suffer a much higher rate of death in infancy and childhood, and so by the time children are adults, there are more females.

Did you know that babies born with both sets of sex organs are a fairly regular occurrence?  Historically, doctors arbitrarily selected one or the other and did some cutting.

But not always. Hermaphroditic people have lived that way their whole lives sometimes. I wonder, by your way of thinking, how they are supposed to identify and respond?

Not only that, but many males and females are physically incomplete or irregular in some way. We have males with no testes. We have males with such tiny penises that they cannot have normal sex. We have females who are shaped so that they cannot have normal sex or have babies.

Sexual identity is a very complex thing, and almost anything that you can imagine happening does indeed happen at times. I don’t know why anyone would choose to disparage those born with an unfortunate or uncomfortable set of circumstances.

After all, nature does the same with all other portions of the body. Retarded brains. Brilliant brains. Short. Tall. Hairy chests. Smooth chests. Well-formed limbs. Malformed limbs, or sometimes no limbs. Huge breasts. Almost no breasts. You don’t make fun or criticize them, I hope?

Thursday, June 14, 2018

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: IN A DISCUSSION ON AMERICAN-RUSSIAN RELATIONS THE GORBACHEV-REAGAN ERA IS CITED - BUT AMERICA HAS CHANGED SO IMMENSELY SINCE THEN, IT IS USELESS TO CITE - SUMMARY OF AMERICAN CHANGES

John Chuckman


COMMENT ON AN ARTICLE BY PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS IN RUSSIA INSIDER



"Is Europe Too Brainwashed to Normalize Relations with Russia?'



I think the author has used the wrong word.

Not "brainwashed," "intimidated."

Europe hasn’t a single bold leader to challenge anything the United States says or does.

_____________________________

Response to a comment:


You conveniently forget one thing, the passage of time.

Citing American-Russian relations in Gorbachev's time is irrelevant to the situation which exists today.

We have an altogether different America, and in so many unpleasant ways.

Just to start, there is America’s widespread use of mercenary terrorists, people who pose as independent jihadi-types, in its efforts to destroy a number of legitimate governments it doesn’t like. Outfits like al Nusrah and ISIS serve effectively as American allies, having received everything they have – weapons, transportation, intelligence, and money - through dark channels under American control.

This murky world has many dark aspects, including hellish outfits like the Western government-supported White Helmets. They are ceaselessly proclaimed to be humanitarian, but they are known in fact to be affiliated with terrorist groups in Syria, having been investigated closely by a number of independent journalists.

They were involved inciting totally-illegal American missile attacks against Syria by staging faked chemical weapons incidents, producing disinformation videos for public consumption. Earlier, they may well have staged real incidents, too. We know with certainty that there was an elaborate American effort some years ago to supply small amounts of chemical weapons to some terrorist outfits in Syria from the murdered Qaddafi's stocks. Hillary Clinton ran it.

And there’s good old Hollywood ready to give a “documentary” about this crummy organization an Oscar. Perhaps some technicians in Hollywood supplied the White Helmets with the equipment, know-how, and props they use in making disinformation videos?

We’ve even had photographic proof of White Helmets using make-up on children who would be filmed as poison-gas victims. Of course, it is the same Hollywood which each year puts on a huge gala dinner to raise money for Israel’s army. Millions of dollars every year. And Israel is known to be one of the main sponsors of efforts for Syria’s destruction.

All of the ugly stuff in Europe labelled as “international terror,” such terrible activity as in Paris for example, is in fact direct “blowback” from the American- Israeli-Saudi efforts in the Middle East, which are well supported covertly by France and Britain, the countries where it is easiest to carry out reprisals.

We have America’s Neocon Wars burning through the Middle East with at least two million killings and countless refugees over the last decade and a half. We have Europe almost destabilized by armies of refugees from bombing and American-supported mercenaries, with America itself not willing to lift a finger to help.

“Full-spectrum dominance” has become a stated national purpose of the United States, a goal the German Wehrmacht might well have embraced.

America now conducts aggression across a huge front in many lands, bombing daily, somewhere or other.

We have the stunning establishment of a permanent American industrial-scale machinery for extrajudicial killing, absolutely no different in its legality or morals to what the old much-hated junta in Argentina did by "disappearing" people it did not like.

But while this is stunning to someone of my age and sensibilities, we see no reaction of any degree against such an unholy institution from inside the United States. No reaction by political leaders. No reaction by the public. No reaction by the press.

This, in my view, might be the most-convincing measure of what a vastly changed-for-the-worst place America is. Give someone a name like “terrorist,” which, after all, is not so very different or scientifically-established a concept than calling someone “witch,” and it is perfectly okay to murder them with no evidence or charges or rights.

Of course, the entire concept of this kind of “witchery” has been adopted from calmly watching Israel’s grisly operations in de-legitimizing an entire people from whom they have taken everything, right down to their dignity as human beings.

American (and the now greatly American-influenced European) reaction to Israel’s small army of snipers, week after week, shooting down thousands of unarmed people in Gaza, killing many and permanently crippling many others through the use of illegal dum-dum bullets has been appalling. If you ever wondered how something like the Holocaust could happen, here is your number-one contemporary lesson in the poisonous nature of human psychology intermingling with politics and power.

How about the President of the United States, Trump, telling the CIA, not long ago, that it should decide who is killed by drones and missiles? The CIA as judge, jury, and executioner? The concept simply leaves anyone with either a sense of justice or morality gasping. But was there any great protest? Organized mass killing by a security agency now quietly operates in the background almost like some air-conditioning equipment switched on.

We had the breathtaking establishment of an American International Torture Gulag with a number of dark sites used for victims who were simply kidnapped right off the streets of the world and shipped off, every one of them legally guilty of nothing. All secretly subject to torture by the psychopaths of the CIA. And then, we have one of the reputedly bloodiest practitioners appointed to head the CIA by Trump. It is a changed America indeed.

We now have the established, systematic abuse of the rights and privacy of American citizens, with practices and technology which make the old East German Stasi look amateurish. While Trump and others go on over gun ownership, all of the truly vital parts of the Bill of Rights are being gutted with each passing day. The FBI enjoys close to unlimited powers to interfere and spy and incite and play dirty tricks. The CIA now openly interferes in domestic matters, its head actually having spoken out on political matters several times, all in complete violation of its own charter. Does anyone protest?

At home in the United States, a galaxy of massive NSA super-computer dark sites now work around-the-clock against the rights Americans thought they had. And here is an outfit whose very product, vast files of recordings of the most intimate communications, endangers ultimately every aspect of American life, certainly including elections.

The work of the NSA creates powerful opportunities for everything from blackmail to intimidation, and, in my observation over time, when something becomes a real possibility, it eventually emerges as a reality. That’s just the way power and human psychology work.

Today, we see America’s piece-by-piece work to bend to its will, or destroy, international organizations such as the United Nations. It feels entitled to withhold or end legal treaty obligations such as dues to various UN agencies. And we actually see open, public intimidation of members just before a vote. Has there ever been a more intimidating and disgraceful spectacle than Nikki Haley and Donald Trump warning people about the consequences of their votes? That’s some support for democratic rights. But where is the protest?

America now has a United Nations ambassador with such retrogressive and outlandish views that she might happily have "worked towards the Fuhrer," as the Germans used to say, had she been born a century earlier and in Germany. And she boldly punctuates all of her excesses with crass public statements any decent person should be ashamed of.

Yes, indeed, it is a changed America, one infinitely worse than in the past cited, and it has very little to do with Putin or Russia, beyond the fact that he is a target for a great deal of the aggression and hatred we see coming from America. Why? Simply because he is seen as opposing much of the American aggression and unbalanced insistence on its own exceptionalism. He is not a saint, but at any given time in world political affairs, you must carefully choose your battles and you must choose allegiances which least threaten peace and cherished values.

We have an American power establishment, utterly corrupted by money and unchallenged power, now playing the 21st century-version of the Ancien Regime in 18th century France before the Revolution.