Friday, June 17, 2016
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
SOME INTERNET SITES FROM JOHN CHUCKMAN:
CHUCKMAN'S PORT STANLEY
CHUCKMAN'S ILES DE LA MADELEINE (MAGDALEN ISLANDS)
CHUCKMAN'S PORT STANLEY
CHUCKMAN'S ILES DE LA MADELEINE (MAGDALEN ISLANDS)
CHUCKMAN PHOTOS ON WORDPRESS: CHICAGO NOSTALGIA AND MEMORABLIA (SELECTED POSTCARDS AND RESTAURANT ITEMS)
CHUCKMAN’S PLACES ON WORDPRESS
CHUCKMAN’S PHOTOS ON WORDPRESS: TORONTO NOSTALGIA AND MEMORABLIA
CHUCKMAN' S NON-SPORTS TRADING CARDS OF THE 1950s VOL.1/4
CHUCKMAN’S GALLERY OF GROTESQUES
CHUCKMAN’S CARTOON COMMENTS
CHUCKMAN'S MISCELLANEA OF WORDS
CHUCKMAN'S COMMENTS FROM THE WORLD PRESS
CHUCKMAN'S POLITICAL ESSAYS
JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: THE UGLY USE TO WHICH ORLANDO IS BEING PUT - THE AMERICAN ESTABLISHMENT'S PROGRAM OF GLOBAL "FULL-SPECTRUM" DOMINANCE - THE SIMPLE TRUTH OF EVENTS IN ORLANDO - THE WORLD'S UTTER LACK OF LEADERSHIP
COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY PATRICK COCKBURN IN THE INDEPENDENT
“Distortions over Isis involvement in Orlando play into the hands of the jihadists”
Maybe, but I think far, far more important is the fact that distortions play into the hands of the American establishment which now works night and day now to control events throughout the world, establishing what is so charmingly termed “full-spectrum dominance.”
Fear - often groundless fear – is the chief tool for this effort, and it works extremely effectively as men such as Hitler and Stalin knew full well in the past in making it a weapon of choice.
America’s efforts domestically include the NSA and 16 other security agencies plus intelligence-connected corporate allies like Facebook and Google and Microsoft plus a totally compliant, often groveling, press literally to spy on every detail of everyone’s life.
Its international efforts include about a dozen wars and conflicts, some using proxies and some using its own troops, plus a junta-like extra-judicial killing program plus the fomenting of coups in half a dozen places plus extreme, unwarranted aggression against Russia and China.
Its military/security efforts include everything from facial and behavioral recognition programs to a gigantic secret effort to upgrade its thermos-nuclear arsenal.
Its diplomatic and foreign relations efforts include efforts ranging from pressuring Ban Ki-Moon to remove Saudi Arabia from the UN’s list of child killers – where it very much belongs owing to its many atrocities in Yemen, including the use of cluster bombs on civilians – to the insane economic pressure being applied to Russia through Europe at Europe’s expense and to the continued complete toleration of one of the world’s most repressive states, its colony in the Middle East.
It needs public support for all this and more, and it keeps feeding logs to the fire to make people sweat.
Obama’s “home-grown extremist” and the crazed rhetoric of Clinton and Trump serve only to raise the intensity of the fire.
Please, this is just ignorant nonsense serving the purpose of scaring people into supporting more resources for the military and the security services.
The facts in this case are simple, and they have nothing to do with terror.
The man was a psychotic. His ex-wife says he was a manic-depressive who was very abusive to her and who had an intense dislike of gays.
Anything else you say is beside the point, if not deliberately blurring what should be the focus.
Whether he was Muslim or Zoroastrian makes not one whit of difference.
Add to his mental instability the fact that this man was freely able to buy powerful weapons and to work for a security firm handling weapons, and the blame for this horror is significantly on the shoulders of obtuse officials who made it all possible.
A proved psychotic person should never be able to buy guns, full stop.
While we have had many examples of events in the Age of Terror Superstition where newspapers and government officials make fools of themselves, this one is the topper.
His religion or ethnic background is just about as relevant as that of some paranoid schizophrenic who stabs a person on the street claiming he is Brutus and had to kill Caesar.
Every instance of this kind of twisted thinking is dangerous to our society.
Please think. The number of actual terror events is so small that they represent about the same risk you have in breaking your back in getting out of the bath tub.
And mass murder in the United States is not only not unusual, it is a regular part of the fabric of life in this extremely violent and aggressive society.
Meanwhile, American police shoot 1,100 Americans each year in the streets, and don't think all the foolish hype about terror makes them even more trigger happy?
Meanwhile, America fights vicious and illegal wars, killing thousands monthly.
Meanwhile, American drones assassinate innocent people regularly.
Meanwhile, Israel holds 5 to 6 million people against their will, abuses them terribly, and gets off as free as a bird, being treated as a victim rather than the perpetrator it certainly is, and for the most part the press says nothing and our governments say nothing.
Our world is full of genuine horrors, and we don't need to focus on fantasies about "terrorists. The word “terrorist” has become a kind of witch’s charm used without any thinking, the situation in Israel being the origin for this language. There people who make any effort for their own freedom or rights are immediately labelled “terrorists” and our press simply accepts the usage.
Now, I am certainly not saying there are no genuine terrorists in the world. After all, we had the IRA and ETA and others for years (and I might add Irgun and the Stern Gang), but the astute observer will have noticed we never treated those situations as we now treat so-called “international terror.”
There is good reason for that. Today’s so-called terror is mostly the natural reaction of many peoples to America’s huge, global program of aggression and control. And part of today’s so-called terror is the deliberate manipulation of people such as the members of ISIS by the United States and others to achieve their own dark purposes.
A violent, unstable person with guns is a formula for disaster, and that is just what we have in the Orlando events. It was not terror of any description, but it already being exploited as terror to make people fear.
JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: NONSENSE ABOUT WHAT ALLAH WOULD SAY ABOUT ORLANDO - MUSLIMS SHOULD NOT VALIDATE THE IGNORANT ACCUSATIONS ABOUT ISLAM AND ORLANDO'S HORROR - WHY THERE HAS BEEN A STEADY STREAM OF MUSLIM HATRED SINCE 9/11
COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY HIBA KHAN IN THE INDEPENDENT
"...this is what Allah would have said about Orlando"
Oh, please, I appreciate what the writer is trying to do, but this is pathetic.
Islam has nothing to do with Orlando, and the world's huge number of decent Muslims should not validate the ignorant accusations that it does.
The man was sick. The man was violent. The man hated gays, even though he may have been one. The man had guns.
What his religion was or for that matter any other personal characteristic of his matters not at all.
Society has gone off the deep end with Orlando, and there's a reason for that.
The reason is we've been fed a complete diet of suspicion and hatred of Muslims now for about fifteen years.
It's ignorant superstition for the most part where it is not deliberately stoked propaganda to serve America's rampage through the Middle East and Israel's murderous occupation.
It's amazing how well it works though.
JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: WRITER ASKS WAS ORLANDO WORTH IT FOR THE FREEDOM TO CARRY A GUN - JUST SOME OF THE SICK STUFF COMING OUT OF ORLANDO -NONSENSE ABOUT THE SECOND AMENDMENT
COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY NASH RIGGINS IN THE INDEPENDENT
"Was the Orlando shooting worth it for the freedom to carry a gun?"
I'm sorry, but that's pretty close to sick.
You are twisting a hideous event - in its nature, much like a random strike by lightning - to make a political point.
And your facts are not even right.
"The Second Amendment of the US Constitution clearly outlines the right of all Americans to own a weapon."
Simply not true.
It authorizes holding of guns for " a well ordered militia."
In the 18th century, this was the inexpensive way for a government to be prepared for attack, just as we see in Switzerland. It wasn't even an American idea. It was adopted from Britain, which, for long periods, since the time of Elizabeth tried to minimize state costs of defense.
And the majority of the "Founding Fathers" did not believe in the concept of a standing army (they wouldn't even recognize today's America).
"But that particular piece of legislature [sic] was created in a time of immense instability..."
Wrong on all counts. It wasn't just legislation, it is part of the "Law of the Land," the written Constitution which supersedes all other legislation and which can only be changed in a long and costly fashion, even when the will exists to change it.
There was no special instability at the time of the Constitution's being written, which was long after the War of Independence was over.
You really should get your facts straight before writing an argument.
And while I criticize your words, I am not a gun supporter.
A few really dumb comments below, including some about the Second Amendment which could easily have been avoided by reading what it is you are talking about. Amazing how that works.
The facts of The Second Amendment are:
"One version was passed by the Congress, and a slightly different version was ratified.
"As passed by the Congress and preserved in the National Archives, with the rest of the original hand-written copy of the Bill of Rights prepared by scribe William Lambert, the amendment says:
"'A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.'
"Here is the amendment as ratified by the States and authenticated by Thomas Jefferson, then-Secretary of State:
Sunday, June 12, 2016
JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: ERIC ZUESSE WRITES THAT GERMAN SPY AGENCY BND CONSIGNED ALMOST TO A ROLE AS A BRANCH OF CIA - THE GREAT MYSTERY OF ANGELA MERKEL VIS-A-VIS THE UNITED STATES
COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY ERIC ZUESSE IN RUSSIA INSIDER
Angela Merkel is a complete mystery.
She is a highly intelligent woman effectively leading the EU, a bloc of 500 million people.
Yet she seems to have not the least shame at her groveling behavior towards America.
And her groveling comes at a time of unprecedented American aggressiveness.
It's not as though she doesn't know what's going on in Syria, in Ukraine, in Eastern Europe, in the Baltics, in Libya, in the South China Sea, in Brazil, in Venezuela, and still other places.
America literally has gone on a terrible rampage, threatening to become a 21st century re-incarnation of Tojo's Japan.
All the world’s citizens have reason to be deeply concerned with these developments.
Yet Ms. Merkel, effective leader of one of the world's most powerful groups, only smiles at Obama and says, "Yes Sir, yes Sir, three bags full," every time this psychopathic man asks or suggests anything to her.
Sine we have some of weakest most ineffectual leaders in modern history in Britain and France today, only Ms. Merkel could bring some change in direction, but she makes no apparent effort.
I am reminded of T.S. Eliot's “This is the way the world ends/ Not with a bang but a whimper.”
JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: TONY BLAIR LAUNCHES A LUNATIC ATTACK ON JEREMY CORBYN NOT SPEAKING OUT ABOUT BOMBING IN SYRIA - BLAIR AS ONE OF THE MOST UNETHICAL AND SLEAZIEST MEN OF OUR ERA AND HIS EFFORTS TO CARRY RIGHT ON WITH EVERY LIE AND DISTORTION POSSIBLE - OFFERING A FETID DREAMWORLD AS REALITY AND ATTACKING A DECENT MAN FOR HIS DECENCY
COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE INDEPENDENT
Well, the first issue is why The Independent features this man making his lunatic claims?
You don't do the same for Anders Breivik, who is the closest in personality traits to Tony Blair of any person in the news I can think of.
Well, I suppose publicizing him has some merit, something like publicizing the circus is in town.
The totally twisted nature of what Blair is saying might not be apparent to all readers since it involves misinformation along several lines at the same time.
First, he's still defending the mass terror perpetrated on Syria by America, Israel, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia - with Britain and a few others in the cheering section - now for five years.
Now, I'm perfectly sure he knows otherwise in private, but he continues his tradition of lying, and lying on a grand scale. That's what he did, of course, to assist in killing a million people in Iraq and basically destroying its economy for a generation.
Second, he's still condemning President Assad who is not only the legitimate leader of Syria, widely supported, but a pretty decent leader overall for his people. In some areas, especially religious freedom, Syria is freer than most parts of the Middle East, especially some of those parts where the leaders commission Tony at sky-high rates on special tasks. Or those who've awarded him prizes and medals for his good work in mass murder. This is a real friend of democracy and human rights speaking here.
He's continuing the entirely inaccurate American line about barrel-bombs, which is complete nonsense. Barrel-bombs are not terror weapons, they are weapons against terrorists. They are cheaper - important when your back is to the wall with American proxy killers - and they in some ways minimize greater damage. Only an idiot would assert that Assad deliberately drops them on his own people. Well, I've never regarded Tony as an idiot, just narcissistic, ravenously greedy serial liar.
And where was Tony's voice when America shipped quantities of deadly Sarin gas from collapsed Libya to Turkey for transshipment into poor Syria, where it was promptly used on civilians by America's proxies to create an excuse for a larger war directly involving America? Why, he was probably over in his counting house busy counting the latest shipment of blood dividends from America and Co. which is always generous afterwards to its bloody minions. It's rather like "blood diamonds" from which Tony has generated all his wealth.
Of course, he's also attacking Jeremy Corbyn, yet again, an incredible low-life attacking a decent man. Tony can't seem to stand the fact that a man of some honor and honesty might actually rule the country one day, so he does all that he can think of doing to throw mud.
After all, Tony worked very hard - it is hard work selling your soul and lying incessantly - to help create the mess we see in today's world, and he undoubtedly has a bit of pride of ownership about the rampage through the Middle East which likely has killed two million souls. So he sure doesn't want any decent man coming along to muck it all up.
JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: YET MORE ON ANTI-SEMITISM AND THE LEFT - THIS PIECE BY JACOB FURENDI BEING AN ESPECIALLY LAME ONE AND A PERFECT EXAMPLE OF POORLY-WRITTEN PROPAGANDA - BRIEF NOTE ON THE FABLE OF HEBREW BONDAGE IN ANCIENT EGYPT
COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY JACOB FURENDI IN THE INDEPENDENT
"Anti-Semitism is all the craze these days."
I can't believe an intelligent person could write such a sentence, and the author should be absolutely ashamed for doing so.
But I know he isn't because he is not writing to communicate facts or ideas.
He is writing propaganda.
Shameless propaganda, but given a playful tone as though it were the furthest thing from the writer's mind to create propaganda.
Another shovel-full of the ugly, smelly stuff we've had, on and off, for many weeks. Quite literally a witch hunt used as a political tool.
Get Corbyn and all like him. David Cameron hates him. Tony Blair hates him. The government of Israel hates him. And every opportunity will be taken to tear him and his supporters down for being nothing beyond decent politicians.
Response to another reader’s comment about the writer referring to Jews in bondage in Egypt:
This statement is beyond "corny."
The author, obviously busy with his propaganda purpose and self-indulgent attitude, apparently has no idea that the enslavement in Egypt never happened.
Not one archaeological find, not one, has supported a myth which is the same class with Jonah and the big fish and Lott's wife. And archaeology in Egypt has been deep and extensive. Indeed, the name "Moses" is of Egyptian origin and not Hebrew.
JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: ROBERT FISK SAYS KILLERS AT ISRAELI SHOPPING CENTER WANTED TO PROVOKE NEW DEFENSE MINISTER INTO ACTING ON SOME OF HIS UGLY PROMISES - I DON'T AGREE - THE TRUTH ABOUT ISRAEL'S OCCUPATION IS MOTIVE ENOUGH FOR VIOLENCE - I AM ONLY SURPRISED THERE IS NOT MORE
COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY ROBERT FISK IN THE INDEPENDENT
I think Robert is into his decline.
This analysis is not convincing, nor is the piece especially informative.
No matter who is Defense Minister or any other official, Israel keeps millions of people in a kind of perpetual prison with no rights whatever, unless you count having your home or farm stolen, whenever it pleases the Israelis, as a kind of perverse right.
Actually, I am always amazed at the general passiveness and peacefulness of the Palestinians.
Just as I remain amazed at the West's indifference to the nightmare situation Israel perpetuates virtually without censure.
We often hear empty words about how restrained Israel is, as in not eliminating all those people in one fashion or another, and I cannot believe what I hear.
Restrained is keeping 5 to 6 million people with no hopes, no rights, no votes, and no future? Actually, some might view the situation as just as terrible as mass murder, and we are well into a third generation being kept this way. Truly, one of the most disgraceful situations on the planet.
And we always are dishonest about it, as in calling it a war. It isn’t a war and never has been. It is overwhelming oppression with the rare small explosion of violence from a few of the oppressed.
JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: JOHN LICHFIELD WRITES IF TRUMP GAVE A GETTYSBURG ADDRESS - NOTE ON LINCOLN'S PROSE - MY COMPARISON BETWEEN TRUMP AND KENNEDY - SOME POSSIBILITY OF A GREAT PRESIDENT
COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY JOHN LICHFIELD IN THE INDEPENDENT
I mostly liked this.
Lincoln's speeches were biblical in cadence and phrasing, even though Lincoln was not in the least religious, as we know from his intimate friend biographer, Herndon.
This likely reflected the largely self-taught nature of his education. He went to school less than two years, but his native intelligence pushed him I'm sure to read and re-read the few books available to him.
Actually, and I know some readers will object, Trump has aspects of John Kennedy. No, he isn't literary. No, he isn't fascinated by history. And, no, he doesn't have the kind of "class" Kennedy had.
But Trump shares with Kennedy a bold spirit and some disdain for conventional wisdom of the establishment of his time.
Kennedy in private was extremely disdainful of the military, the State Department, and the corporate chiefs of his day who were not willing to compromise for the country as a whole.
I don't recall anyone's observing the fact, but that outlook is very much shared by Trump.
Both men were raised in wealth so that they were comfortable and self-assured, yet both men reflect a bit of a higher purpose as it were.
Trump's patriotism is genuine and deep, and, while I am not an admirer of excessive patriotism, it seems to motivate him to do something good for his country.
If he gets a chance, he could prove a great president.
Yes, he has policies I don't agree with and, yes, he could disappoint, but I am pretty sure there's something there of considerable worth.
You simply do not get everything when you elect someone as a leader. You get a bundle of qualities, some of which you like and some of which you don't like.
America's recent policies have made the world a very dangerous place, and they have put America in the position of being a mass killer comparable to the old Argentine junta. If Trump can moderate these poisonous tendencies, he will have done a good work for the world, not just America.
JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: STUFF ABOUT HILLARY AS CANDIDATE TELLING EVERY LITTLE GIRL, YES YOU CAN DREAM BIG AND BE ANYTHING YOU WANT - WHAT HILLARY AS CANDIDATE REALLY MEANS
COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE INDEPENDENT
'To every little girl who dreams big: Yes, you can be anything you want - even president'
Most people would agree with the generality.
But here we are dealing with a specific case.
Likely the most unethical woman on the planet, a truly ruthless person with a ferocious, almost uncontrollable temper, and one who has gladly supported every major piece of bloodshed in her time.
So, this specific case is not one to celebrate.
Quite the opposite, should she manage to be elected, we will all regret it deeply.
JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: HILLARY ANNOUNCED BY THE PRESS AS THE CANDIDATE OF THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY JUST BEFORE THE CALIFORNIA PRIMARY - A FEW OBSERVATIONS
COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE INDEPENDENT
I'm glad you put "clinching" the nomination in quotes.
She is only candidate presumptive, and she is only that because of the undemocratic business of Super-delegates in the Democratic Party.
And this announcement on the eve of the country's largest primary is a highly questionable tactic, intended undoubtedly to discourage supporters of Bernie from voting in the primary.
No one becomes the candidate until the convention, and many things can happen between now and the convention.
This move of Super- delegates to her is nothing less than an insider pressure tactic on Bernie to withdraw.
But I'm pretty sure he's made of sterner stuff than that.
They've already appealed to him in private, but he wishes, rightly, to continue his magnificent effort.
If Bernie wins in California today, the Party insiders are going to look very foolish, although more acts of voter suppression by Hillary’s followers may prevent that embarrassment, and there are rumors about extensive questionable use of provisional ballots. This very press announcement on the eve of the nation’s largest primary is of course itself a bit of underhandedness.
If he does win, they will have created an impossible situation by crowning a presumptive candidate who simply is not popular nor well-liked.
Trump is certain to defeat her, absolutely certain.
Bernie is their only hope, but the fact that he is not viewed in that way is testimonial to the overwhelming power of money in American politics.
The Clintons are literally bought and paid for, many times over, with big money. The Party's Super-delegates are only reminding us of the fact.
FOOTNOTE: I note, after writing this, that the Los Angeles Times reports more than two million ballots not counted yet, a substantial portion of the total.
JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: WEST DOES NOT UNDERSTAND THAT IT MAY BE REJECTING LAST CHANCE FOR A PRO-WESTERN RUSSIA - WHAT AMERICA'S ARROGANT POLICIES TOWARDS RUSSIA HAVE ACTUALLY ACHIEVED
COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN RUSSIA INSIDER
How very true, and regrettable.
Not even a hint of a genuine leader in the West.
The statesman of a lifetime in Russia.
Everybody made poorer.
Sunday, June 05, 2016
COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE INDEPENDENT
I greatly admire Ali, but my admiration is not just for his boxing prowess.
It is for his genuine courage in standing up for what is right, and he did so against a great ugly roaring crowd.
He refused to go to the insane Vietnam War, citing his beliefs as a newly-converted Black Muslim.
He said "I beats 'em up, but I don't kills 'em," and “I ain’t got no quarrel with them Viet Cong,” among other memorable lines on the matter.
He paid for his beliefs. Many of the ugly crowd called him names, with the usual bellowing American Patriot stuff about “Love it [America] or leave it!” heard. The political establishment worked hard to ruin his career and succeeded to a considerable extent, but he was just too big a world figure for them to crush him, as they would lesser people.
He stuck to his beliefs, and of course he was always right. Vietnam proved a disaster for all involved, a genuine holocaust with an estimated 3 million Vietnamese killed and their land left wrecked with bomb craters and land mines and saturated with ghastly Agent Orange, something which is crippling and killing children to this day. More bombs were dropped there than in all of WWII, including early versions of cluster bombs to cut bodies to ribbons and shiploads of hellish napalm to burn flesh right off the bones of living people.
Much of this is forgotten today, both the complete horror America inflicted on a country which never attacked it and the courageous stand of Ali. Had there been more like him, perhaps the foul Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon would have failed earlier before creating so much destruction.
Ali stood tall against the crowd, much like Dr. Stockman in “An Enemy of the People,” and he eventually prevailed, regaining his career with his talents and natural charm, and eventually became one of the most loved popular figures of the century.
I feel honored to have met him once, in Vancouver in 1971. We spent a couple of minutes chatting after he finished a demonstration of rope-jumping tricks in a hotel lobby, sharing the background of living on Chicago’s South Side. He put his fist up for me to put mine against as he returned to his room. I’m sure he could see the admiration in my face, something he was used to seeing in the faces of fans, but I will always regret not telling him why I really so admired him.
Footnote: I’ll just add that today in Syria we can see that America’s establishment learned nothing from a decade’s slaughter in Vietnam, except to not use drafted troops in its deliberately created horrors. Once again, they are killing and maiming and making armies of refugees, only now they use proxies gathered and supplied from the four corners of the earth.
JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: A POLITICIAN BRAVELY OPPOSES A NEW LOUISIANA LAW REQUIRING A DAILY BRIEF READING FROM THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE - SHE IS ATTACKED - FACTS ABOUT THE DECLARATION THAT LIKELY FEW OF THE ATTACKERS KNOW, NEVER HAVING READ THROUGH IT
The Declaration of Independence, while having some good opening lines, is on the whole a pretty tedious thing to read, a special pleading of great length.
The opening lines were written by Jefferson in draft but edited significantly by Franklin.
The document would have been even more tedious than it is (after the opening) had it not been for the Continental Congress’s extensive effort at reducing Jefferson's verbiage, an act which appalled Jefferson.
The part of the Declaration which is most annoying, and laughable, is Jefferson's effort to put the slave trade as a terrible British crime, an amusing effort “to have your cake and eat it too.”
Well, Economics 101 tells you need demand, not just supply, to have a market.
What the grand hypocrite, Jefferson, was doing here is expressing concern over the falling price of human flesh. He owned over 200 slaves (and freed not one at his death) and new supplies were reducing his stock's value.
The document is only regarded for the opening words, but even those words aroused great cynicism as when the great Dr. Samuel Johnson dismissed "drivers of Negroes talking of freedom."
After the opening words, we have a long list of silliness, which in some ways today resembles what you might expect as a list of grievances against white males from BLM or a radical feminist professional protester.
It really is that silly in what it tries to blame on Whitehall, especially when we have the words of contemporary visitors from Europe telling us how free the early colonies seemed compared to many places.
The slave-trade stuff was the topper though. It reminds me of America, as the world's greatest arms exporter whining about this or that place that just having sold a small quantity of arms somewhere.
There's junk about taxes, too, although we know, again from contemporary visitors, the colonists were not heavily taxed by standards of the day. Of course, Americans still hate taxes and portray that hatred almost as something from Scripture, always forgetting taxes are essential to good government anywhere, and I think we all know America today has anything but good government.
JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: SCHOLAR STEPHEN COHEN LOOKS AT FIVE FOREIGN POLICY QUESTIONS RAISED BY TRUMP AND TAKES HIM VERY SERIOUSLY - BUT THERE IS AN IMPORTANT SIXTH TO BE ADDED
COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY STEPHEN COHEN IN RUSSIA INSIDER
This is a good piece.
I might add another important Trump foreign policy question.
He asked why Israel can't pay for its own defense.
That is a huge and very important question.
The attitudes reflected in Trump's questions are the reason Israel - and ipso facto Israel's powerful lobby in the US - do not like Trump.
The Neo-con views (eg. people like Victoria Nuland) which have dominated in Washington for a couple of decades reflect two essential desires. One, America should use its muscle everywhere and maintain dominance, including overthrowing governments not liked. Two, Israel remains at the center of American foreign policy concerns. The two beliefs are interrelated because so very many of the leading Neo-cons are American Jews with a keen interest in Israel.
These parallel Neo-con concerns have been highly destructive and are responsible for at least two million deaths, stretching from the invasion of Iraq to the continued efforts to destroy Syria.
The only candidate even likely to review this nightmarish system is Donald Trump. Bernie Sanders might have some inclination here but he has very little chance of winning.
JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: ARTICLE IN SPUTNIK SAYS AMERICAN ESTABLISHMENT HATES AND FEARS TRUMP - AND THAT IS THE TRUTH -EXACTLY WHY THAT IS SO - AMERICAN EXCEPTIONALISM IN THE WORLD AND THE NEOCON PROGRAM OF AMERICAN AGGRESSION
COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN SPUTNIK
The US establishment fears anyone who is independent-minded.
That applies to foreign leaders like Putin, Assad, or Qaddafi and that applies to American politicians, including Trump or Ralph Nader or decades ago, John Kennedy.
The establishment is all about keeping itself on top of the heap, unchallenged. In the last decade and a half, its agenda has been molded by the Neocons, a group who wants the US always to apply its full strength to get what it wants in the world. The Neocons, while uttering the words of classical liberal ideas to justify themselves, are as far from genuine liberals as you can get. They are in fact advocates of America working as the world’s schoolyard bully.
The Neocons have always had an undeclared agenda for their advocacy, and that is support for Israel. Given all its atrocious behaviors and its inefficient economy (it is in fact the most subsidized entity on earth), Israel is unlikely to have a long-term future without the US always acting as a bully boy and supplier of subsidies and a whole set of special privileges, which range from access to the highest political levels at unbelievably frequent times to plums like a free-trade treaty and access to American technology.
Not that Israel is being threatened by anyone, but it is almost certain to collapse of its own weaknesses eventually, very much in the fashion of the former Soviet Union. There are great parallels, and both lasted as long as they did through an almost mystical belief in what was being done. The USSR lasted a long time, but there were such fundamental weaknesses - as no market-sensitive price system and an unwilling, burdensome empire - which doomed it to ultimate collapse.
Exactly the same analysis applies to Israel. It is not an efficient economy, it holds to the extremely outdated concept of being home to only one kind of people, its military/security costs are gigantic in relation to its size, it functions as a garrison state, and it holds millions of people against their will. Basically, you cannot build a long-term viable state on such weak foundations.
The Neocon program, which included everything from destroying Iraq and Libya to the current efforts to destroy Syria with proxy terrorist-fighters, is a terribly brutal one. It includes acts like the induced coup in Ukraine to attack the stability of one of their greatest foes, contemporary Russia. It needs to tolerate violent madmen like Turkey’s Erdogan because such men too are thorns in Russia’s side. The difficulties created by these events have provided the perfect vehicle, too, for re-asserting America’s predominance over Europe, some of whose leaders the American establishment views as naive children playing with dangerous strangers like Russia.
Right now they are pushing things dangerously close to war in Europe and in the South China Sea. Trump simply threatens these arrangements, and he is hated by the Neocons, who of course use less-than-honest arguments about his being a dangerous man. Bernie Sanders, too, represents something of a threat, but not so great a one because he has happily worked inside the framework for years. Trump is a complete political outsider. Hillary Clinton is the official candidate for all Neocons and an establishment which genuinely embraces the idea of American exceptionalism and America’s right to tell almost everyone what they should be doing.
JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: ROBERT CORNWELL SAYS HILLARY GOES ON THE ATTACK AGAINST BOTH BERNIE AND TRUMP - SO WHAT? - FEW TRUST ANYTHING SAID BY THIS VISION FROM HELL
COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY ROBERT CORNWELL IN THE INDEPENDENT
The woman is an insane vision from hell.
What she says matters not a jot to the great majority of humanity.
Only the special interests she serves so slavishly care about her words.
She embodies absolutely everything that is wrong with American politics.
JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: MATTHEW NORMAN WRITES OF PEOPLE BEING BORED WITH HILLARY BUT IT IS NO TIME FOR A NOVICE LIKE TRUMP - HERE'S A PERFECT EXAMPLE OF DISHONEST JOURNALISM -UNDECLARED AGENDAS IN JOURNALISM - THE MIDDLE EAST AND THE NEOCONS
COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY MATTHEW NORMAN IN THE INDEPENDENT
You are right about people being bored with Hillary.
But it's not just that she has been in the lights for 25 years, it's a palpable sense of knowing what it is she'll say on any matter combined with an almost certain knowledge that she is only speaking words, reciting a script as it were with no connection with her future acts.
"With the Middle East in relentless turmoil this is no time for a novelty act novice like Donald Trump"
Here it seems apparent to me, Matthew Norman, that you are supporting an undeclared agenda.
The Middle East is a mess precisely because of the acts of people allied with Hillary Clinton, notably the Neo-cons and the Israel Lobby.
The destruction of the Middle East is one of the very things that needs to be stopped. Only Trump offers even a dim hope of doing so.
It is a completely false assertion to write of "a novelty act like Trump" That might sound cute, but I believe you know better than that, or should if you belong in your job.
Every President starts as something of a novelty.
But more important than that, when you have entrenched problems like those in the Middle East and the excessive influence of the Neo-cons, it is then precisely the time for a fresh set of ideas and openness to doing things differently.
And that's what so many are hoping for from Trump, but that's also precisely why there is universal antagonism towards him from Neo-cons and Israel Lobbyists.
Readers may enjoy this analysis;
Tuesday, May 24, 2016
JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: ZOE WILLIAMS ASKS IF ROBOTS ARE TO DO ALL THE WORK WHERE DO HUMANS FIT IN? - EVOLUTION AND THE ROLE OF ROBOTS
COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY ZOE WILLIAMS IN THE GUARDIAN
They don't, at least in the long term.
The coming of robots is effectively the next stage of evolution.
I suspect, on any of the many worlds out there in the cosmos with life, that the ones capable of reaching or communicating with us are likely robotic. They have no interest in us.
The entire great saga of evolution seems to me to be about the emergence of intelligence, of the universe becoming self-aware.
Humans are just one long step in the great effort, and they have no more long-term future purpose than would dinosaurs.
That's hard for us to swallow, given our huge egos.
The real difficulties will be in an interim period of maybe a century in which robots do take virtually all the work and begin reproducing and improving themselves.
Will they be hostile to us the way we were to, say, Neanderthals?
Or will they tolerate us the way we do chimpanzees?
In any event, there definitely will not be room for seven billion or so of us with all our pollution and demands and murderous stupidities.
Readers may enjoy:
JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: EXPERT SAYS BRITAIN HAS ONLY BECOME MORE SEGREGATED OVER LAST 15 YEARS - SUGGESTED REASONS - AMERICAN EXPERIENCE WITH VOLUNTARY SEGREGATION AFTER THE END OF FORMAL SEGREGATION
COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE GUARDIAN
Well if true - and that's a big "if" because measuring such things accurately is not easy - it would not surprise me.
In much of America this is very true despite the end of all formal segregation many years ago. It has been replaced by informal or voluntary segregation.
There are many reasons for this, and people should avoid jumping immediately to saying "racism."
First, blacks tend to be, on average, less economically successful for whatever reasons, so there are differences in worth or wealth. More well off people always live in different places than less well off.
Second, it is an easily observed fact that people of one type or another tend to show a preference for having people of their own kind as neighbors. This is just as true of blacks as it is for whites. And, of course, it explains phenomena like China Town or Korea Town or Spanish Harlem or many other such concentrations.
Three, all the stats from places as diverse as the United States, South Africa, Jamaica, and other places say that places with large concentrations of black people tend to suffer more crime. That's not an opinion, it's just what the stats say, millions of them.
In America, for example, cities or states or regions with high black population concentrations - Detroit, Washington, Atlanta, New Orleans, and increasingly, Chicago - there is a much higher incidence of crime, especially violent crime.
In a state like Maine with few blacks, crime rates are comparable to those in Canada. That is a major reason why whites often flee to new locations as the population in an area changes noticeably. It's called "white flight."
White flight also happens out of parents' concern for children in changing schools, concern both over violence and a sense of declining achievement in the schools.
These are very hard facts, but they are facts and society cannot pretend to deal with a situation unless it starts with facts.
Prejudice owing just to skin color is much less common than many people imagine. We see this in the United States, which, despite its history and despite its voluntary segregation, has twice elected a black man as president.
JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: WRITER SAYS MICROSOFT RUINED HER DAY AND MAYBE HER LIFE WHEN IT DUMPED ITS NEW SYSTEM INTO HER COMPUTER UNASKED - THE WINDOWS 10 TALE OF UGLY CORPORATE BEHAVIOR CONTINUES - SOME REFLECTIONS
COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY MICHELE HANSON IN THE GUARDIAN
Microsoft has spent its corporate lifetime ruining people’s days.
It consistently sells incomplete or faulty products, repairs them in a half-assed way as you use them, and then comes out with another faulty product.
And that's apart from its long record of unfair competition and squeezing the little business guys.
Now, they’ve hit upon the notion of Windows as a service you keep renting – like anti-malwares – rather than a set of bits you pay for once. To really get the new money-machine rolling they decided to make the first install free and to basically dump it into people’s computers willy-nilly. There are reports on the Internet of all kinds of problems with incompatibilities and lost files.
It's actually a pretty ugly outfit, and I always get a laugh out of Bill Gates, a man who made his money as a pretty ruthless corporate predator, putting on his Dalai Lama air while protecting control of his fortune from taxes by ladling out charity here and there, all the while keeping himself center stage, for that is precisely what American foundations were designed to do.
Seriously, you can prevent this corporate burglary in your computer by downloading something called GWX Control. A software engineer built it, and it's free, and it really works.
You can always change your mind later, but it has given me peace of mind for many months. Windows 7, while far from perfect, is probably the best operating system they ever built. All the sharp guys tell me Windows 10 is not as stable and that it has some undesirable features, to say nothing of having been installed against your will.
This highly aggressive behavior is only intensifying in the next few months.
JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: EGYPTIANS DISCOVER THAT THERE WAS AN EXPLOSION INVOLVED WITH EGYPTAIR 804 - SOME FURTHER EARLY OBSERVATIONS
COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE INDEPENDENT
There are three suggestive facts around this crash.
1) The plane flew right through the area of a joint naval exercise called Phoenix Express 2016.
2) The plane was detected by the Greek Defence Forces taking unusual evasive action like nothing involved in normal flight. Although the Egyptians already are saying this isn't so.
3) A Greek recorded some video of a "fireball" across the sky at the time. At least to my eye it resembles a rocket trail.
The shooting down of civilian airliners by the American military has happened about half a dozen times. These events are always either completely lied about (TWA Flight 800 off the US East Coast) or presented as something other than what they were (The downing of an Iranian airliner during the Iran-Iraq War).
It should come as no surprise if this proves to be the case here. America's ships and jets are in many locations and carry many deadly missiles. We also live in a time of extremely elevated tensions thanks to the US, so such weapons are all the more prone to being fired in error.
Of course, Egypt will never tell us the truth just as the US lied about TWA 800 and as it lies about Ukraine's role in downing MH-17.
Already Egypt's government is contradicting the experts at the morgue who said the bodies proved an explosion.
Monday, May 23, 2016
JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: THE GUARDIAN PRINTS AN ARTICLE ABOUT REFUGEES BY TURKEY'S MURDEROUS PRESIDENT RECEP ERDOGAN - SYRIA AND ASSAD - AMERICAN BRUTAL POLICY OF MIGHT MAKES RIGHT
COMMENT POSTED (AND SOON REMOVED BY EDITOR) TO AN ARTICLE BY RECEP ERDOGAN IN THE GUARDIAN
Why do you print anything with this man's name on it?
He may have the title President but he is a mass killer, a killer of Kurds and Syrians.
He suppresses freedom of the press throughout his own country, and he makes lunatic demands of other countries such as insisting Germany prosecute a television comedian for making fun of him.
Never mind he has refugee camps, it is mainly his fault that there are streams of Syrian refugees in the first place.
And now he is blackmailing the EU around the future of the refugees.
He has sent wave after wave of cut throats and maniacs, gathered from all over, covertly there to destroy the country.
He has sent weapons, including Sarin nerve gas taken by America from Gadhafi’s stores, and he arranged an entire system for stealing Syrian oil and selling it on the black-market to help finance all his dirty operations.
Indeed Turkish journalists who uncovered his filthy shipments are now spending five years in Turkish prison.
President or not, he is simply a bloody thug, one of the world's worst.
The Guardian should know that, yet you give him space.
I guess it can only mean you support his goal of getting rid of Assad, a leader who in fact is far more tolerant and intelligent than Erdogan.
But the United States wants Assad gone - in part because Israel hates him and in part because he doesn't do some things America has demanded which he views as not good for his country – so you fall into line with David Cameron in effectively telling a country’s people who their leader should be. There is no other way to interpret any support for Turkey or Saudi Arabia on this matter.
In supporting this and giving a killer space in the paper, The Guardian effectively embraces a world where only might makes right, hardly the position of a truly liberal or progressive publication.
Tuesday, May 17, 2016
JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: THE PENTAGON AS A BIG DUMB AND DESTRUCTIVE BUREAUCRACY - RUSSIA HUSBANDS ITS RESOURCES AND DOES NOT MAKE TROUBLE FOR ITSELF PUSHING PEOPLE AROUND ALL OVER THE PLANET
COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN RINF
The US military is simply the world's biggest dumb bureaucracy, much resembling a school board with a trillion-dollar budget.
Most of what it does is reckless and even counter-productive, typical of big dumb bureaucracies.
Russia works with far more limited means and it skillfully husbands them.
Russia is also gifted with the most extraordinary leader of our generation, and he does not busy himself with crazed efforts to control all outside events, something America's rather poor leadership has specialized in since WWII.
COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY JILL ABRAMSON IN THE GUARDIAN
Hillary Clinton can only convince the extremely naive or those already singing in her choir - that is, the kind of special interests who've created the nefarious Clinton Foundation's wealth.
Anyway, I doubt Bloody Hillary is even going to make it through the contest.
John Boehner, former Speaker of the House, has now said more than once he sees her withdrawing in light of the ever growing scandal around her State Department e-mails.
The FBI is seriously into investigating. The Russians are rumored to hold 20,000 of her e-mails from hacking her insecure computer and to be debating between agencies whether to release some of them.
And a Rumanian hacker has said he saw the trails of ten hackers when he broke into her server.
We also see many comments on what a tired and lacklustre campaign she is running.
JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: SCREEN ACTORS IN THE PRESS MAKING POLITICAL COMMENTS - EXPLANATION AS TO WHY THIS NONSENSE GOES ON
I don't understand why anyone looks to screen actors such as George Clooney for political advice.
They are, in general, not a very bright bunch, as the late Truman Capote famously observed.
John Voight and his daughter, Angelina Jolie, have made some astoundingly dumb political comments.
Jolie, especially, keeps making them and the press keeps dutifully giving her publicity even though what she says borders on the absurd.
I guess it is all a reflection of the magic of the big screen which converts some rather unimpressive people into demi-gods by virtue of their photogenic faces and resonant voices, all larger than life.
This is the same psychological effect we see with advertising on television.
JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: COLUMNIST SAYS TRUMP SUPPORTERS ARE NOT THE MINDLESS BIGOTS THEY ARE OFTEN DEMONIZED AS - AN IMPORTANT CONCEPT OF HOW WE ELECT GOVERNMENTS - THE VARIOUS CAMPS OF TRUMP SUPPORTERS AND WHAT MOTIVATES THEM
COMMENT POSTED AT AN ARTICLE BY JOHN HARRIS IN THE GUARDIAN
You are right, John Harris.
The fact is that in our Western politics with political parties, choices are almost never simple, black or white, good or evil – although some people never stop pretending that they are so.
Voters are faced always with a choice between two or more highly complex bundles of goods.
No single leader's positions on every issue that can satisfy all individual voters.
We all make (sometimes regrettable) choices in favor of this or that leading issue.
For working class Americans, this choice is going to be about a long period of decline in their opportunities.
For others, concerned about America's having put itself into a perpetual state of war and descended into many horrors such as drone-murders, it is foreign affairs which matter.
Both of these matters, as well as a few others such as the financial crisis we have been in since 2008 leave a great cynicism and distrust of the ruling American establishment, who themselves do very well under all these conditions.
What Americans have been experiencing for decades now is a long, slow come-down from being the world's only great manufacturer left standing after WWII to the birth of a multi-polar world where other countries can do many things as well or better than America.
Much of the world no longer buys America’s goods, choosing the products instead of other countries. America’s own great manufacturers have responded by themselves becoming firms which do much of their work abroad.
That is a set of realities that a single nation on its own cannot greatly alter, and I do not think Trump can do much about the working class situation although he sincerely believes he can, much like, say, Democrats of the 1960-70s.
But in foreign affairs, Trump offers a bit of genuine hope. He has made a number of encouraging statements which head in the direction of ending the long, bloody, pointless reign of the neo-cons. He doesn’t see why America should be in conflict with Russia and China. He doesn’t see why America busies itself in Syria, with Russia being quite capable of sorting the terrorists. He believes Israel should pay for its own defense, a stunning truth almost never heard in American politics.
The neo-cons in America have had a terrible war-inducing influence. Much of the Middle East is in flames thanks to them, and likely a million souls have been killed. The hordes of refugees in Europe are virtually completely the doing of neo-con policies. The needless, artificial hostilities deliberately re-kindled in Europe towards Russia are not only senselessly dangerous, they are costing everyone money and jobs.
Obama has proved a complete tool of the worst people guiding American policy. He is a disappointment from his hopeful start beyond describing, a smiling, baritone-voiced killer and devotee of American exceptionalism.
Here, Trump can really help, or at least stands a good chance of helping. In military and foreign affairs, Presidents have some real power.
And what is the alternative? Blood-drenched Hillary who oversaw the mess at Benghazi, approved shipments of arms (including Sarin poison gas stocks) from there to Turkey for insertion into the horrors of Syria, who never saw a war she did not support, and who has a long record of being caught lying and participating in screamingly blatant corruption.
Yes, in at least a few areas, Trump seems to have something to offer.
Readers may enjoy:
JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: A THOUGHTLESS ARTICLE BY MICHAEL WHITE ABOUT "INTERVENTIONS" IN IRAQ AND SYRIA - THE TRUTH ABOUT THE WORD "INTERVENTION" - A WORLD WITHOUT VALUES EXCEPT FOR THE VALUE OF MIGHT MAKES RIGHT
COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY MICHAEL WHITE IN THE GUARDIAN
"...but not intervening carries a price too"
Pure, thoughtless crap, Mr. White.
These weren't "interventions," they were aggressive wars by proxy and otherwise.
A million or so people destroyed.
Many portions of beautiful lands destroyed.
People's jobs destroyed for a generation.
Refugees by the millions created.
Only people with no feeling for humanity or the servants of special interests can speak this way.
It's pure Hillary-speak with no sense of moral or ethical values.
George Orwell would have been appalled by the word "intervention" as used here and by the neo-cons.
If it's okay to "intervene” in this fashion, then pretty much all everyone from Tojo to the Argentine Junta did is just fine, and we live in a world without values, except for the value of might makes right.
JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: SADIQ KHAN, LONDON'S NEW MAYOR, IS RAPIDLY PROVING A VERY DISAPPOINTING POLITICIAN
COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE INDEPENDENT
Sadiq Khan doesn't like Jeremy Corbyn, that's clear because he is allowing himself to be used in the anti-Semitism witch hunt.
I don't know why he doesn't like Corbyn, but I am sure it has nothing to do with anti-Semitism.
Maybe he's already making Boris noises about succession?
Maybe he is bending over backward to be acceptable to the establishment?
But I am disappointed that this man who seemed decent and was himself a victim of Conservative name-calling, has turned out the way he has.
Is there nothing better for the Mayor of London to do than have armchair chats attacking members of his party?
JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: RUSSIA'S VICTORY DAY CELEBRATIONS - SOME IMPORTANT FACTS ABOUT WORLD WAR II AND RUSSIA'S ROLE IN IT
COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE GUARDIAN
They have every right to celebrate.
The WWII victory was without parallel.
Just as individual parts of the titanic struggle were.
Stalingrad was the greatest battle in all of human history.
Kursk was the greatest tank battle ever fought.
The Soviet losses were an unimaginable 27 million killed.
In Russia World War II is not called that. It is called The Great Fatherland War, and rightly so.
Three out of four Germans killed were killed by the Soviets.
The West's efforts seem almost paltry when compared.
For example, the United States lost about 300 thousand men on all fronts in the entire war.
It is shameful that today America goads Germany to again put troops on Russia's border.
It is also shameful that, under American pressure, European leaders aren't all making an appearance in Moscow.
The ones who saw the Russians as "expendable components" were the West.
They wanted Russia bled white before making a serious effort themselves.
Monday, May 09, 2016
JOHN CHUCKMAN ESSAY: AN AMERICAN ORIGINAL: JOHN KERRY - FROM HIS REMARKABLE RECENT COMMENCEMENT ADDRESS AT NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY TO THE REMARKABLE CAREER THAT MADE IT POSSIBLE
AN AMERICAN ORIGINAL: JOHN KERRY - FROM HIS REMARKABLE RECENT COMMENCEMENT ADDRESS AT NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY TO THE REMARKABLE CAREER THAT MADE IT POSSIBLE
John Kerry is, besides many other unpleasant things, a rather ridiculous man, and he has managed to prove that proposition time and time again.
He used his recent commencement address at Northwestern University to attack Donald Trump. It is difficult to understand why young graduates at one of America’s better universities would want to hear political boiler plate from a key member of a failed and dying administration, rather than the usual vaguely inspiring stuff about the future, but that is what the graduating class got for their student fees.
I suppose, as so often is the case in America, the empty prestige of having someone with a big job speak, even when they have nothing to say, mattered. After all, Hillary Clinton has collected countless millions doing exactly the same thing for audiences at investment banker and defense contractor banquets in recent years.
Well, the part of Trump on which Kerry focused was his proposal for a wall with Mexico.
I don't like walls myself, and it is my belief that even if elected Trump, for many reasons, will not succeed in emulating the Emperor Hadrian. Still, you might expect from the point of view of a Secretary of State, supposedly gazing upon the world’s countries with an impartial, god-like eye, that if it is okay for Israel to keep building walls, and it has several new ones underway right now, all built on other people's property, why can't others? The reasoning in both cases, and in all other cases such as those in Kerry’s contemporary Europe where new walls of various forms are frantically being built, is the same: we need to stop unwanted people crossing the border.
Can anyone even imagine Kerry - this man who, once not long ago, reminisced over Champagne toasts about some distant relative or another of his who was allegedly part-Jewish (truly, has grovelling by a Secretary of State reached such levels before? I would have expected his entire audience either to choke or throw up) - ever saying a single word to Israel about its walls, walls which go far beyond serving Israel’s border fears to literally chopping up and destroying the land which supports millions of other people? It would be as though Trump were demanding a series of walls inside Mexico to balkanize the entire country and then set about building them himself with America’s armed forces. Now that would be utterly ridiculous, not to say criminal, but Israel’s doing just that is never called ridiculous or criminal, and it is certainly is never questioned by Kerry.
And then, as though in an effort to reclaim the stature of his address from just political campaign boiler plate, Kerry’s rhetoric drifted off to the subject of a future borderless world.
Now that is an old idea that appeals greatly to me, but I know very well that Kerry is being dishonest here. The world in fact, not all that long ago, pretty much was borderless. It was precisely the rise of the modern nation state in the 19th century which killed off that amiable concept requiring no passports or visa or permissions for moving about. Of course, we are talking about precisely the kind of modern nation state which Kerry has lovingly served in expanding its power and influence over others for his entire adult life.
Kerry’s dishonesty extends into what he even means by a “borderless world.” Now, I have always believed the Apostle Paul in emphasizing deeds rather than words, so If we are to judge by Kerry’s actual acts and those of predecessor Secretaries of State such as Hillary Clinton or Madeleine Albright or Henry Kissinger, and not by the State Department’s regularly-broadcast, doubtful advertising claims, John Kerry’s concept of a “borderless world’ is one in which the United States runs everyone's affairs, rendering the borders of individual countries meaningless.
Now, that is a concept which very much does not appeal to me, nor does it appeal, I suspect, to a great many of the world’s seven billion people and their governments.
Just recently, this dishonest and generally unpleasant man has put an ultimatum to the government of Syria, making threats that if he doesn't see what he wants by the beginning of August, there will be serious consequences. That certainly sounds to me like a Mafia Don speaking, demanding payment of protection money from some business, or else.
John Kerry has no business telling the government of Syria to do anything, much less to dissolve itself. It is, and has been, a reasonably popular government, one which receives the support of a majority of Syrians in polls and elections. Among other reasons for its popularity is President Assad’s defence of religious minorities. Syria’s citizens form an elaborate quilt of various religions, and they know their rights to worship as they please are protected in a region of the world where that is not common. Some of Mr. Kerry’s closest working associates in the region cannot say the same thing, and indeed they include associates who are quite violent towards people of differing faiths.
The proxy forces which Kerry and his predecessor, Hillary Clinton, have supported for five years in tearing Syria apart consist literally of various gangs of intolerant extremists and cut-throats. Boy, when it comes to double-speak, John Kerry is your man.
By what right does he do this? None, except that might makes right. America has supported terror in Syria, supplying weapons, platoons of cut-throats, and training while supporting the thugs of Turkey and Saudi Arabia in their logistics of destruction, all while pretending in State Department advertisement after advertisement that it opposes terror. And we’ve only just learned that Hillary Clinton supported the transfer of supplies of deadly Sarin nerve gas from Gadhafi’s stockpiles in wrecked Libya (another stunning State Department achievement) through a secret pipeline (read: Turkey) to the cut-throats in Syria where it was promptly used to kill civilians in the hope of blaming Assad and creating a casus belli for the United States (or, as Obama put it in his elliptical language, responding to Assad crossing a red line).
But John Kerry still hasn't got what he wants in Syria, so now we have a new threat. Why is Kerry so determined to topple the government of Syria? Because Assad is an independent-minded leader, one who does not immediately say “yes, sir,” to every whim of Washington’s, and if there is anything which recent history teaches us, it is that the outfit Kerry serves has no tolerance for the independent-minded. So as to emphasize the point, Washington has left behind a trail of death and destruction in the region – perhaps a million dead and millions made refugees - all of it aimed at getting rid of inconvenient independent leaders.
This intolerance by Washington of independent-mindedness is strongly supported - supported is actually much too feeble a word, demanded being more apt, and demanded regularly over heated phone lines – by the government of America’s colony in the region, the same government to whom Kerry fears even saying so much as a word about its many walls criss-crossing other people’s land.
Quite a disgusting business I think which somehow manages to be converted by our press into “foreign policy,” just as one of its authors, John Kerry, manages to be converted into a “diplomat.’
Kerry was a rich boy who, after graduating university, started his political ascent by spending four months in Vietnam, busying himself with shooting peasants in the back from an armored speedboat racing up and down rivers. He wanted to gain some war “creds” for an anticipated political career. Apart from his killings in Vietnam, he made such a muck of things, leaving behind colleagues who had only contempt for his false heroics and self-promotion. Then our man Kerry, having returned home and seeing how badly the Vietnam War was regarded by people, decided to add some new “creds” to his resume, anti-war ones. So, no matter how the political winds turned in the future, John-boy was covered. He appeared with some anti-war demonstrators, once throwing his filthily-earned medals into a bin, from which they were later quietly retrieved for him.
As to Kerry’s actual attitude towards America’s dirty colonial wars, we have the testimony of his whole career in the Senate, as a Presidential candidate, and finally as Secretary of State, faithfully serving and supporting them.
Kerry’s campaign, in running for President in 2004, was so unbelievably dreary and empty of all meaning, that the American people actually re-elected the most disliked president in the country’s history, George Bush. That feat stands as a remarkable testimonial to John Kerry’s talents.
The only big thing Kerry seems ever to have done that was genuinely successful was marrying the woman who inherited the Heinz Ketchup and Pickle Fortune. That made him wealthy beyond his dreams, perhaps planting in his brain fanciful thoughts of an ambitious young George Washington marrying the widow, Martha Custis, said to have been the wealthiest woman in the American colonies.
When John Kerry says anything on any topic, his listeners would be wise to consider the source, for even though he walks around in the appointed robes of America’s Secretary of State, he is pretty much a life-long, ambitious, and dishonest failure.