Monday, July 27, 2015
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
A GROTESQUE PIECE OF PROPAGANDA - COMPARING TRUMP'S PRINCELY LIFE DURING VIETNAM WAR TO JOHN MCCAIN'S BROKEN BONES - TRUE POLITICAL TRASH
COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE NATIONAL POST
This piece is uninformed trash. It tries to make a contrast in lives and character that simply does not exist.
The shabby stuff about Trump’s sexual voyeurism, juxtaposed to McCain’s broken bones in Vietnam, is grotesquely distorted. McCain’s record of sexual behavior is no more elevated than what the author asserts about Trump, and Mccain’s record as a soldier merits no praise.
McCain, when married or single, has a long reputation as a skirt-chasing reprobate. He is also an ugly bully who has always thrown around the weight of his family connections. McCain was a bully in school as a boy. He was a bully in the military. And is a bully as a senator.
The boyish smile, a gift of genes and having nothing to do with his actual character, easily deceives people.
His service in the military was in not one detail heroic. Having a father and grandfather who were senior admirals, this spoiled brat came under tremendous pressure to follow in their military footsteps even though he had neither their brains nor skills nor attitude.
He joined, making a muck of it all the way along including plenty of bullying and crashing five airplanes, but the pilot image also came with the traditional romantic image for women and earned him a good many opportunities for wild fun.
The simple fact is that neither of these men is in any way admirable, both being spoiled brats with lots of money and almost no ethics. They both have horrible, temperaments with ferociously maniacal anger, hardly suited to making calm decisions let alone having a finger on ‘the button.’
Trump is amusing right now because he saying things people instinctively know as true and are not used to hearing from public figures, something true of no other candidate. All of the candidates typically mouth slightly varied versions of the same official boilerplate rhetoric. Politics in America is no fun at all, so a tiny break is amusing.
But that doesn't mean he in any way merits being president. He would make a terrible president, resembling in many ways the recent loud-mouthed horror of Mayor Ford in Toronto, someone ordinary people voted for thinking he was one of them and also knowing they were tired of trite, thoughtless stuff delivered by the likes of Mayor David Miller. Neither Ford nor Miller were good mayors in reality.
And neither Trump nor McCain would be even half-adequate presidents.
If you want to know more about McCain’s background, see:
COMMENT POSTED TO THE GUARDIAN
Ya just gotta love Trump tossing hand grenades into the Republican headquarters.
The great irony is that it takes a nasty piece of work like Trump to speak truth to the other nasty pieces of work making up the party.
It all resembles a loony billionaire wearing a suicide vest to a high-end cocktail party.
Of course he leads Jeb Bush, a man who has all the appeal of a large glass of warm Ovaltine.
QUOTING TONY BLAIR ON LABOUR PARTY'S LEADERSHIP CONTEST - BLAIR'S CHARACTER - THE DEVIL'S BLOODIEST WORK - ALMOST CERTAIN PSYCHOPATHY
COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE GUARDIAN
Well, when you interview someone who has done the Devil's bloodiest work, you surely cannot expect to get views that are generous or thoughtful or even worthwhile.
Featuring Tony Blair's opinions, as the Guardian did, truly is not far from featuring the views of a Grand Inquisitor holding a record of thousands of public executions to his credit.
Blair is quite simply a man who never did anything of significance good for anyone beyond his own career and is very likely, in a psychological test, to reveal serious traits of psychopathy, especially the Narcissism.
COMMENT ON A REPORT ABOUT THE CURRENT MISERABLE STATE OF GAZA - ISRAEL'S SAVAGERY IS GENERALLY IGNORED AND CANNOT BE EXCUSED BY WHAT HAPPENED IN A DIFFERENT PLACE AND TIME
COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE GUARDIAN (AND PROMPTLY REMOVED)
It is a shame upon Europe and the United States that this savagery is allowed to continue.
What one group of fanatics in a different country in a different continent did to Jews three-quarters of a century ago cannot possibly excuse this ghastly behavior towards these people today.
Yet America and Europe behave as though it does.
Any government behaving in this fashion towards people who literally are their prisoners not only deserves severe condemnation but should be severely pressured to stop.
But, no, perhaps the worst human rights abuse on a per-capita basis by any government on the planet today is quietly allowed to continue with no real consequences.
And for the most part the mainstream press, serving the interests of indifferent governments, helps to keep it out of public awareness.
And the country carrying out these many barbarous acts is treated as though it were a worthy member of Western society.
It is not, full stop. Iran has a better human rights record, if truth be told.
IRAN ASSERTING ITSELF IN THE MIDDLE EAST - A WAY OF SAYING SOMETHING NEGATIVE ABOUT SOMETHING NORMAL
COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE GUARDIAN
I think the headline is worded badly.
Iran has no need to "assert” its right to play a role in the Middle East. This is its neighborhood.
Iran has a role just naturally owing to its great size - more population than France or Britain - and to the fact it has many cultural and historic connections throughout the region.
Israel, for example, is a newcomer and its main population consists largely of Americans and Europeans. Many of its traditions and symbols and its culture are imports into the region from just decades ago.
Persia has an immense history, and it is even likely the place of origin for the biblical Hebrews - not the Ashkenazim who immigrated to modern Israel and almost certainly have no relationship other than religion with the ancient Hebrews.
America's deliberate destruction of Iraq - done largely for the geo-political benefit of Israel - has only opened up new opportunities for Iranian influence too. That invasion will surely prove to have been a vast mistake in the long run, and I don't mean just because of Iran's new opportunities.
But people addicted to war and using force in their affairs – America and Israel, modern Iran never having attacked anyone – just do not understand that they cannot remold societies with bombs.
Sunday, July 19, 2015
DONALD TRUMP ON JOHN MCCAIN - THE ONE TIME TRUMP ACTUALLY SAID SOMETHING TRUE - BUT THERE IS MORE: A BRIEF REVIEW OF MCCAIN'S SHABBY CHARACTER
COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE NATIONAL POST
Actually, this is one of the few times I find myself in at least some agreement with Trump.
Indeed, I'd go farther and say McCain never remotely qualified as a hero. By the time the Vietnam War was over, Americans were desperate for some kind of meaning in all those ghastly years of killing and destruction and defeat, so they fixed on the released POWs from Vietnam who received inordinate and undeserved attention.
When McCain was shot down, he had been bombing civilians around Hanoi. Heroes do not bomb civilians, unless the word hero has a new meaning I don't understand.
After he was shot down, a Vietnamese man saved his life because he landed in water. That decent, poor man never received any serious thanks from creepy McCain.
McCain made a big deal about his treatment in prison, but other American prisoners have said he received special treatment. After all, his father and grandfather were admirals, and the Vietnamese absolutely knew this.
All McCain's early years, whether in school or the military, were spent acting out the role of loud-mouthed bully, counting on his father's exalted position to intimidate people. He was a nasty piece of work and still is.
When he returned home, McCain discovered his wife had been in a serious car accident, and she was badly disfigured. He promptly divorced her and eventually married Cindy, an extremely wealthy woman whose chief hobby was making first-class shopping flights to New York. Again, his behavior was hardly the stuff of which heroes are made.
Later, Cindy developed a taste for hard drugs and was caught stealing from the organization for which she did some volunteer work.
Senator McCain disgracefully used his influence to get her off with virtually no consequences. I've never heard McCain speak up for the thousands of American blacks who've done hard prison time for being caught with the same drugs Cindy used. Again, hardly the class of heroes.
There is more, but McCain is just one of those charmed rich boys - not unlike Georgy Bush - who've gotten away with murder over and over and still manages to hang on to some public admiration.
YOUNG GIRL IN GERMANY FIRST REFUSED REFUGEE STATUS NOW RECEIVES IT - WHAT RARELY-DISCUSSED FACT IS BEHIND THE IMMENSE FLOOD OF REFUGEES TODAY? AMERICA'S SHAME
POSTED TO A STORY IN THE GUARDIAN
This was a disheartening story about a girl refused refugee status in Germany, and I am glad for one good outcome even if her changed status is just public relations to overcome bad press.
But what really is lurking behind all the stories today of millions of refugees?
The answer is pretty simple although almost never touched by our press: countless millions have been displaced during America's unprecedented rampage through the Middle East, destroying countries and people. Iraq, Syria, and Libya plus bombing in Yemen and revolution in Egypt.
And does America do anything to take the unfortunate refugees it has created?
No, as is the case for David Cameron's nasty-spirited Britain and Stephen Harper's selfish Canada, not to mention the Australia of atrocious Tony Abbott.
Ms. Merkel's Germany, a pretty densely populated country, has taken hundreds of thousands of refugees, even though Germany is not part of the ignorant American-led terror creating them all.
Wednesday, July 15, 2015
ANALYSIS OF AN ARTICLE ASSERTING THAT PRESSURE ON ISRAEL DOES NOT HELP BECAUSE ISRAELIS WANT PEACE TOO
COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE GUARDIAN
Well, there is peace, and there is peace.
What most of the earth's people instinctively understand as peace is not what most Israelis want, I am convinced, and I am convinced solely by the realities I see, not by beliefs or faith or any other quasi-religious stuff.
They want, as best we can judge, by a long series of leaders and the general behavior of its people, peace on their own terms, and that is not what peace ever really is. Unconditional surrender is not peace.
By "their terms" I mean they want much of the remaining territory they have illegally occupied for half a century, but they want it without the people who live there. Nothing else explains Israel’s history. Where are those people to go? Anywhere, who cares, everything from the Sinai to Jordan having been advocated.
Israel’s vision of Palestine is a kind of amorphous thing floating out there somewhere in space, a place with almost no rights or initiatives, a place that serves as a vast encampment for a reserve pool of manual labor, pretty much the way they have kept things for half a century.
I don't see how it can be otherwise, judging by actual behavior and leaders’ words.
It is either less than honest or rather foolish to say that pressure doesn't help in terrible situations like this. Is the author blind to history?
How was apartheid ended in South Africa? Relentless pressure.
How was the Jim Crow South in the United States brought around? Relentless pressure.
Israel itself is a great believer in pressure and sanctions as we can see from countless examples, the savage situation in Gaza being the most extreme, but this belief extends only so far as the things Israel wants, not to what others want or are entitled. Relentless pressure for whatever it wants, including the America’s invasion of Iraq, the invasion by a proxy army of Syria, the invasion of Lebanon, regime change in Egypt, and serious threats of attacking Iran, a totally peaceful country. Israel is also in bed with such absolute regimes as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Generalissimo-run Egypt, and others. Thus while it goes on in speeches about democracy, its best friends and workmates in the region are tyrants.
The author only offers one more instance of tiresome special pleading for Israel, as though it were somehow exempt from all the normal expectations and behaviors of human society.
Sadly, being exempt pretty much summarizes Israel’s entire brief history: constantly making demands and threats, unleashing extreme violence periodically, treating millions as rather less than human, a long series of black operations and assassinations, and just relentless pressure on everyone, including its chief benefactor, the United States.
But Israel is not exempt. If you want the rule of law, you must yourself abide by the law, the law being our only protection in the long-run against the baser instincts of humanity. If we want Israel to join the ranks of normal countries - instead of continuing as a rather brutal occupying power which stunts and abuses the lives of millions while periodically stealing their property, always mouthing empty platitudes about democracy and human rights - only pressure will achieve it.
The author’s argument is really for the status quo with words dolled up in attractive window dressing.
A comment about Palestinians wanting only to destroy Israel:
Thanks for repeating the official boiler-plate.
We've likely heard that a thousand times in the last half century, and it is no truer now than it was at the beginning.
Now, if you really believe what you say, it follows logically that you might begin to ask, well, if that's the case, was putting Israel where it is a great mistake?
Is Israel's entire future to be nothing but a heavily armed garrison state? And who will want to live there in future? And is it even sustainable?
No matter what slogans you repeat over and over, in the end peace is the only meaningful choice.
Tuesday, July 14, 2015
OBSERVATIONS ON THE IRAN NUCLEAR AGREEMENT - FINALLY A REAL ACHIEVEMENT FOR OBAMA - IRAN AND HUMAN RIGHTS
COMMENTS POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE GUARDIAN
The nuclear agreement with Iran is Obama's first serious achievement as President.
Everybody, except the madman running Israel, knows that it is important.
Virtually all intelligence services have agreed that Iran is not pursuing atomic weapons anyway, yet they had to be seriously punished with sanctions to please Israel and its lobby.
Of course, the question which always goes unasked and unanswered in the press is why Israel is free to sit on an atomic arsenal?
The real threat ahead is Netanyahu trying to do something really stupid to destroy the agreement.
To a comment about Iran should be required now to work hard now on human rights:
Sorry, what's your point?
Look at the photos readily available on the Internet, and you will see a lot of happy, beautiful people in Iran.
No, they don't have every ideal of freedom, but what country does?
The United States is today one of the world's more repressive and unjust states, and the same certainly goes for its nasty little colony in the Mideast which holds half the people under its rule against their will.
We never, however, get a word about that in the mainstream press, only more cliches like yours about Iran.
COMMENTS POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN RUSSIA INSIDER
Not much to a reader’s observation about Putin and Trump being similar.
In fact, they are almost opposites in many ways.
Putin is soft-spoken, strategic in his thinking, and cunning.
Trump resembles nothing so much as a perpetual drunk shooting his mouth off at whatever crosses his path.
Trump is a walking emotional explosion.
In response to a reader who thinks big businessmen make good leaders:
Big businessmen and generals virtually always make poor presidents.
They are used to barking out orders, but that does not work in the real political world.
Clever persuasion is what's needed, a quality Trump lacks utterly.
To a reader who thinks I don’t realize the importance of the economy in the election:
Oh, I do think I ``realize.``
After all, I am a retired chief economist for a large Canadian company.
Anyone who understands classical economics knows that a government leader has very little to do with the performance of the real economy.
They do like to pose and strut around and take credit for what goes right, but it is mostly empty-headed nonsense.
The one way government can assist an economy is doing its basic job of providing essential infrastructure, avoiding wasteful spending like stupid wars, and seeing that the children receive good education. The United States has failed in every one of these essentials for decades, Republicans or Democrats making no difference.
You also fail to really comprehend Clinton`s election slogan. He was reminding himself of the importance of speaking on the campaign trail about what is important to ordinary people. In American politics, speaking about a subject is almost never the same thing as actually doing something about it if elected.
That was certainly true of Clinton, a pretty classless president who had not one admirable achievement.
As for Trump, he is a big-mouthed fraud, a confidence man, not an expert on economics, full stop.
IS NOW A GOOD TIME TO NUKE RUSSIA? IDIOT COMMENTS FROM AN AMERICAN ON THE MATTER - EXPLANATION OF AMERICA'S CHANGING ATTITUDES - ISRAEL TOO - DANGEROUS TIMES AHEAD
The quote from Ezra Kaplan reflects a kind of loose-lipped non-think now common in the United States, almost making a joke of mass-murder.
There was a time when most Americans regarded nuclear war as unthinkable.
But the public culture does seem to have changed, and I believe there are two key influences at work in changing it, and they are to a considerable extent interrelated.
First, is a growing sense of the relative decline of America is world affairs. This is something it is not easy for the average American to accept, raised as they were in the faith that America was king of all that it surveyed.
Yes, it has fearsome forces all over the world still, but, day by day, more countries reach a level where they can challenge America's bullying, and this is a phenomenon that will only continue as countries like the BRICS start reaching their full potential.
A world with a state behaving as an international bully is even more dangerous than an individual state run by a tyrant. A multi-polar world is the only structure to safeguard the future until the likely remote time that forms of proper international law and governance can evolve.
I think there is also a perception in America's establishment that it only has a limited time to use its current strength to re-inforce its geo-political domination before the relative decline becomes more apparent.
Thus, we have events like the coup in Ukraine and the reckless advance of NATO forces in Eastern Europe as well as America's dangerous moves in the South China Sea. America’s new military doctrine, sanctifying its right to invade any country but an ally, is the ultimate official document supporting the establishment’s fears. It is, in effect, a startling rejection of the Nuremberg Trials and of international laws and accords.
Second is the genuinely pernicious influence of Israel's government on public opinion in the US. Does a day pass that Netanyahu does not threaten someone, rage about something, demand something, or actually attack someone, generally killing many civilians, all the while claiming he stands for human values and democracy?
His outrages are not criticised from the US and its sadly obsequious partner, the EU, so that over time people begin to think of such behavior as in some way normal.
The two causes are related in that Israel has a special purpose in American geo-political thinking and enjoys an almost untouchable position in the US press, almost no matter how savagely it acts: Israel serves as an American quasi-colony in the Middle East.
That relationship too faces serious problems in the future with the relative decline of America and the general failure of Israel to become a self-sustaining entity. Israel is simply the most subsidized place on the planet and maintains a military-intelligence structure that is tremendously costly and out of all proportion to its economy, and that is not something which can go on indefinitely.
Israel, too, is keen to secure its dominance before it faces serious readjustments in its arrangements. This propels it do very dangerous acts with little regard for its neighbors.
So I do think there are very dangerous times ahead, perhaps the next couple of decades, and it is a good thing Russia has seriously re-invigorated its deterrent. It is important to the entire world that America's growing paranoia and uncertainty do not tempt to act as Israel does in its sphere.
COMMENT ON AN ARTICLE IN THE GUARDIAN
There is no question that Israel committed this crime.
The real question is why Lyndon Johnson tolerated its lies. He was not a patient man and certainly not a forgiving one.
I think it quite possible Johnson secretly cooperated with the Israelis on the attack and wanted that fact covered up. Perhaps he hoped to use it as an excuse to attack Russians?
Johnson was a vicious, murderous man, quite capable of anything.
Just as are the Israelis.
THE KLU KLUX KLAN - NASTY AND RIDICULOUS BUT NOT EVEN A REMOTE DANGER COMPARED TO SO MANY EVENTS IN OUR WORLD - TALKING ABOUT IT MIGHT BE UNDERSTOOD AS A DIVERSION FROM REAL HORRORS
COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE GUARDIAN
While the Klu Klux Klan is a nasty and rather ridiculous organization, as a source of evil in today's world it is minuscule, almost non-existent.
They were once a true national organization in America, as was the NAZI-like Bund organization, but today they are few in few places and virtually unseen.
It seems to me almost a distraction from our many far more terrible events in the world to spend time on what today is a kind of goofy club for people with various degrees of mental problems.
Actually, it might be said that the modern KKK almost serves a slightly beneficial purpose in bringing such people together into one organization rather than let them all go their various ways, and that organization today is thoroughly penetrated by government agents, a task the creepy FBI of J. Edgar Hoover in his heyday scrupulously avoided. After all, Hoover wouldn’t even employ black agents.
On the measure of threats, the KKK today is close to non-existent.
Hate and twisted minds will never cease to be until science either re-engineers the human brain or replaces it with robots.
You must always take account of perspective in such social phenomena. America's militarized local police alone kill between 1,000 and 1,500 citizens every year, injuring several times that number.
Americans murdering Americans has ranged over recent decades between 25 and 40 thousand each year. By the way, roughly half of that murder is black-on-black in America's dreadful ghettos.
The President of the United States signs off regularly now on death-squad killings. Thousands have died this way with no charges, no trial, and no voice, drones and computer operators being the only difference from the old Argentine junta dropping people out of helicopters.
America killed more than a million people in Iraq and pretty much destroyed one of the Mideast's most advanced and promising lands. It would have become a true democracy before too long under prosperity and a growing middle class. Today it is divided wreck.
America and its friends have created a living hell in Syria by supplying, training, and infiltrating lunatic factions into a beautiful and once relatively peaceful land, killing 200,000 and seeing millions of refugees created, refugees they do not even try to help.
Libya is a flaming wreckage today thanks to America and its spineless European associates.
And only four decades ago, America walked away from a true holocaust it created in Vietnam, 3 million dead from napalm and carpet bombing and fragment bombs and land mines and countless tons of Agent Orange.
Its blundering interference in Cambodia saw a neutral government fall and another million innocents die in the Killing Fields.
America’s quasi-colony in the Middle East just killed 2,200 people including about 500 children using American weapons, and that after a previous slaughter of about 1,200, and still they blockade the poor survivors and make weekly threats.
There are many more statistics I could cite, but truly the KKK is about as important as slipping on a banana peel as a source of genuine danger.
JEB BUSH'S GROTESQUE COMMENT ABOUT HOW AMERICANS SHOULD WORK HARDER - FACTS ABOUT HOW AMERICANS DO WORK - IGNORANCE OF AMERICAN OLIGARCHS - WORD ABOUT GUNS IN AMERICA
POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN RUSSIA TODAY
Americans are among the West's hardest-working people.
Those with good quality jobs - analysts, managers, specialists of every kind - often put in 12-hour days.
And America's great corporations expect this as a matter of course.
This class of Americans almost always have both husband and wife working to even be able to keep up a good, middle-class lifestyle.
It is a fact that per-capita, real earnings for America's middle class have fallen for decades.
Those without good jobs - and there are tens of millions - work 2 or 3 part-time jobs to make a living, and because their work is all part-time, they have no benefits at all.
In some companies who pay quite poorly - notably Wal-Mart or McDonald’s – workers are sometimes directed to social assistance agencies for a scrap of help.
The actual number of unemployed is tremendously understated in unemployment stats because those who have given up actively looking are not counted.
In general, workers' benefits - family leave, child care, holidays, sick days, vacation, and others - are pretty much the stingiest in the West.
In addition, in most poor areas of the country, the public schools are unbelievably poor in quality so that the young are not well-equipped for the future.
These words out of Bush's mouth show what a hopeless, uninformed clown he is. Remember, his rich daddy had never seen the inside of supermarket until he went to one on a campaign stop, and he just blubbered over the way groceries were checked out by bar code, something ordinary Americans had known for years.
What a pathetic group of candidates is running for this dumb-show election.
Rude loudmouths, crooks, ignorant, and privileged jerks – but all of them dedicated to a stronger America, endless mountains of spending on the military.
And all any of them will do to help their own people at home is preach to them.
America today is all about its gigantic military and intelligence apparatus and trying to undermine every state in the world who disagrees with its intentions. The only beneficiaries are those institutions and monstrously-greedy corporations they serve and protect.
Oligarchs in America? You bet, and probably more so than in any other country other than Israel, America’s miniature replica colony in the Middle East.
Working Americans get nothing, no government attention, no real help, no policies to improve things - just dumb, almost-mocking words like those of Jeb Bush.
It is a brutal place to live in many ways, a fact often under-appreciated by observers abroad.
Response to a comment:
You are not thinking or have a very odd sense of humor.
Americans should make use of their guns? How?
Against the best-equipped armed forces on the planet?
Against a well-equipped secondary army called the National Guard based in every state?
Against a huge, belligerent and heavily-militarized police in every city? Police with an international reputation for violence who kill somewhere on the order of 1,000 to 1,500 citizens each year as it is?
Even the most cuckoo American must understand in private that all talk of "resistance” or “rebellion" or “demanding their rights” is stupidly naive.
The real, unspoken reason for America's high ownership of guns is fear of its black population, a group greater in size then the entire population of California. Just as slaveholders in 1850s went to bed each night with a gun and/or a dagger under the pillow, Americans today still do.
And vehicles like SUVs and massive pick-up trucks - fuel wasters all - owned in suburbia are psychologically about suburbanites having to drive through poor areas in something resembling an armored car.
Friday, July 03, 2015
IRAN MUSEUM TO MURDERED NUCLEAR SCIENTISTS AND WHO KILLED THEM - NATURE OF ISRAEL'S SELF-PROCLAIMED DEMOCRACY MUCH LIKE THE OLD CONFEDERATE STATES - SIX-DAY WAR FACTS
POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE GUARDIAN
"...the state claims were murdered by Israeli spies."
Are you kidding?
Who else but Israel - whose leaders have a long record of killing innocent people and launching weekly rants about non-existent Iranian nuclear weapons - has a motive to do these murders?
Only Saudi Arabia, but that is virtually the same thing as saying Israel.
The absolute monarchy and the one-kind-of-people-only "democracy" work hand-in-glove now on regional policy, as they do on supporting cutthroats like ISIS.
Comment in response to another:
Yours is the silly repetition of official slogans, but then I don’t doubt you are one of the thousands of Israelis paid so much a word by the government to fill discussion sites with such “truths.” The purest dishonesty, surely.
Israel is a democracy only and exactly in the sense that the American Confederacy and apartheid South Africa were democracies. After all, the select or privileged population voted in both those historical places. But no one else voted and no one else had any rights.
You cannot meaningfully call a place a democracy where half the people living under its government have no votes.
Besides, genuine democracies have Bills or Charters of Rights to prevent a majority from tyrannizing minorities. After all, even genuine democracies are capable of evil behavior. That’s why there are Bills and Charters of Rights. Israel has none, and it cannot ever have one, a meaningful one, so long as it holds to its ugly Netanyahu-Sharon form of existence - that is, a garrison state holding millions of unwilling prisoners and attacking every neighbor that it has.
Yours is pure Ministry of Truth nonsense about being surrounded by tyrannies.
We see clearly that the tyrannies are Israel's best secret friends. Israel’s best secret partners in crime today are the tyrant now ruling in Egypt, the absolute Saudi Royal family, and ghastly Qatar. Israel loved Mubarak for thirty years, never mind the misery he inflicted upon Egyptians.
Israel loves having a Generalissimo in Egypt suppressing Egyptians, a Generalissimo quietly friendly to Israel to keep his American pay-offs. Israel hated the late elected government in Egypt simply because it knows that the people of Egypt do not agree with Israel's suppression of Palestinians, its piracy on the high seas, and, in general, its self-assumed role of Decider of Affairs in the Middle East, with all the costs paid by its American imperial sponsor.
If you examine Israel’s behaviors - ignoring empty, insincere words and slogans - Israel is the de facto tyrant of the region - threatening everyone, assassinating, attacking, and demanding this and that through its entire brief existence.
Even the Six Day War was carefully engineered to make the Arabs look like bad guys while the entire point was to steal all the property of others it yet holds: Jerusalem, the West Bank, and Golan Heights. It was the very height of hypocrisy and blubbering about poor David fighting off Goliath.
It doesn't matter how many empty words you utter, in the end Israel's current situation is untenable. The world will not in the long run allow you to keep all the properties of others you stole in that war.
Israel is a great puffed-up presence in the area, puffed up by countless subsidies and allowances from others. Even Israel's many human rights crimes have been tolerated in view of guilt over what Germany did 70 years ago. But the realities are just too terrible now to keep suppressed. Millions as prisoners with no rights at all, and government after government attacks everyone they do not like. I do not detect an ounce of difference from the old South Africa, which, by the way was a great friend and trading partner of Israel’s too.
Even Israel's own people will not want to go on long as the world's greatest garrison state and, on per-capita basis, the world's greatest suppressor of human rights. After all, even the most repressive systems like the Soviets or Apartheid South Africa always collapse in the end.
And the Jewish people in Canada, America, or Britain lead infinitely richer lives than the ordinary ones in Israel who must fight, pay huge prices, live in a controlled environment, swallow endless nonsense, and often cannot even afford a home.
Monday, June 29, 2015
MORE ON MALAYSIAN AIRLINES DOWNED FLIGHT MH-17 - UKRAINE UNQUESTIONABLY RESPONSIBLE - DUTCH COMPLICITY - GOING TO TODAY'S UNITED NATIONS WILL NOT HELP - BAN KI-MOON IS AN AMERICAN FLUNKY
COMMENT POSTED TO A COLUMN IN RINF
There can be no doubt that Mr. Zuesse is correct about Ukraine having destroyed MH-17, however I cannot agree, without further evidence, that the act was a "black flag” operation.
It may have been, of course, but we have no solid evidence for that as we very much do for Ukraine's actually downing the airliner.
Sheer incompetence alone, demonstrated over and over, by Ukraine's military provides a pretty compelling explanation with no further motives required.
I think the greatest lesson we can all learn from these events concerns America's approach to world affairs today.
The United States unquestionably has spy satellite data of this event - its fleet of "Keyhole" satellites with capabilities resembling those of NASA's space telescope cover the earth - yet it has never offered any of it to the international community.
It also unquestionably has radar data of the event, this being a region of constant interest to America’s military, and America has some of the world's best radars yet, again, it has offered absolutely nothing to the international community.
Last, the extraordinary - virtually criminal - dilatory proceedings of the Dutch investigators can only reasonably be interpreted as suppression of evidence in response to American pressure, America having been deeply concerned that its fledgling coup-created government in Kiev would be discredited so early in its life by a destructive blunder.
We have seen many times a fairly straightforward crash like this explained by authorities within weeks or less, as was the recent case with the German plane widely scattered over difficult terrain in the Alps. The delay over MH-17 surely can only be deliberate.
Whatever the final resolution, the entire matter remains one big tissue of lies, and it is profoundly disturbing that European leaders remain so under the malign influence of the United States here and in other matters, allowing themselves to hurt their economies through America's insistence on penalties and needlessly to threaten a new cold war over an ugly set of lies.
Comment from another reader:
“Sadly, I think the UN is as corrupt as any other politically controlled entity. Don't expect a different result”
Indeed, today the UN behaves as corruptly as the Dutch crash investigators and the seeming victory of Malaysia in bringing the investigation to the UN’s scrutiny likely amounts to nothing. Ban Ki-Moon is Washington's man in every last matter, often displaying the most obsequious and embarrassing public behavior.
STEPHEN HARPER AS PUBLIC SPEAKER - HARPER FACES ELECTION WITH A MUCH REDUCED BENCH - WHY I THINK SO MANY HAVE ABANDONED HIS GOVERNMENT
COMMENT POSTED TO THE NATIONAL POST TO A CCOLUMN BY REX MURPHY
What is Mr. Murphy on, medical marijuana?
An excellent speaker? Harper? The guy who addresses us as "friends" much in the manner of a tent preacher?
Harper is only comfortable either giving a set speech on a topic with which he is comfortable or in delivering a cheap, fast put-down in Question Period.
Hardly the skill range of a good speaker.
Add to that his basic dislike of people and the kind of stiff arrogance we saw in Ignatieff, and you do not have a winning combination.
Really great speakers always possess a kind of honesty in wanting to communicate something - even if its selective in nature - and Harper is likely the most dishonest personality ever to hold office in Canada.
Harper is driven by negatives.
He doesn't like Canada and its traditional way of doing things. He said so himself.
He hates the Liberal Party and would love to destroy it. Again he said so himself.
He admires the way things are done in the United States, a country which today approaches no longer even being a democracy.
This is a man full of resentments with not a lot positive to contribute.
I almost suspect he was bullied as a kid in Toronto and has never forgiven his tormentors. He works hard to get back, possessing a genuinely destructive personality.
He has little popular appeal, naturally enough, and I think it fair to say his career is largely one of circumstances, of having lucked out with the Liberals so divided.
His lack of genuine feeling - except for a warm feeling about power - comes right through. He can't hide it.
I believe the Conservative Party associates who have left before the election have done so for a generally unobserved reason: they are tired of his private tyranny and relentless suppression of individuality. They've put up with it long enough, likely believing he should have retired as leader and given someone else a chance, but, no, his negative personality listens to no one and his love of power has reached badly corrupt levels. Most of them will return after he is defeated.
And he is going to lose and lose big, no matter what polls may say.
Saturday, May 30, 2015
SEPP BLATTER SOUNDLY RE-ELECTED TO FIFA LEADERSHIP - WHAT AMERICAN CHARGES TRYING TO DO - AMERICA'S OWN VAST CORRUPTION - SOMETIMES YOU EVEN MUST SUPPORT BAD GUYS
COMMENT POSTED TO THE GUARDIAN
I'm happy for Mr Blatter.
I have no idea whether American corruption charges against other officials have any validity. After all, America lies to us pretty much around the clock about what it is doing in many things.
In a very real sense, there is no more corrupt organization than America's government. Its members are the best government money can buy in a set of elections based on vast fortunes donated by special interests. Even much of America’s foreign policy is for sale.
I have no idea whether Blatter was aware of any corruption by others, but it doesn't really matter.
I don't think there can be any doubt that America had an agenda here to take away the World Cup from Russia. America really will stop at almost nothing to punish Russia's rational response to an America’s induced coup and chaotic war in neighboring Ukraine.
CANADA'S PETER MACKAY (AKA, PETER POTATOHEAD) ANNOUNCES HIS RETIREMENT FROM POLITICS - MACKAY'S GENUINE ACHIEVEMENT - MACKAY'S ETHICS - WHAT IT ALL MAY MEAN
COMMENT POSTED TO THE NATIONAL POST
Peter Potatohead likely holds the Canadian political record for the number of government portfolios to which a complete mediocrity was appointed. It is, after all, a very thin bench with which Harper works.
Apart from that let's remember Peter’s idea of ethics.
He had an affair with someone who was effectively his direct subordinate as Deputy Leader.
When she bailed out, Mr Potatohead went on the grand tour of news media, lamely whining to each one about what she had done to him!
Still later, he insulted her in Parliament, within hearing of several, yet he refused to apologize and indeed lied about ever having done so.
Our glorious PM seconded him in the outright lie.
A secondary thought: Those two – John Baird and Peter MacKay – “big-name” retirements from the Conservatives months before an election are often described as rats leaving a sinking ship.
Maybe, but I think there is another explanation, at least as likely.
COMMENT POSTED IN THE GUARDIAN
Good God, what a hypocritical bunch.
For years America tried invasion, assassination, vandalism, bombs planted in various places, even an airliner downed - yet Cuba was the one on a blacklist.
And while America removes Cuba from its ridiculous list, they also busy themselves killing people with no pretense of legality in at least half a dozen places.
It really is time to treat the U.S. for what it is, the world's greatest terror state.
Friday, May 29, 2015
COMMENT POSTED TO THE GUARDIAN
The American Justice Department had every right and reason to pursue the American branch of FIFA.
They have no right to go after Europeans and others.
The fact that Europeans are cooperating in arresting their citizens and sending them to the U.S. to stand trial is just further evidence of Europe's pathetic acceptance of America's right to govern Europe.
It is a terrible precedent, setting things up for ever greater intrusions into European affairs.
No one likes bent sports officials, but the issue of American laws applying in Europe is a far greater one than the issue of some bent sports officials.
Wednesday, May 27, 2015
COMMENT POSTED IN THE GUARDIAN
Chelsea Manning is one of the few genuine heroes of our time.
She risked everything and did so out of a profound sense of human decency.
The truly brave always in history are abused by authorities.
The ones who get medals are not so much the brave but the compliant.
Most of the vast stores of secrets the United States has hidden away are not in any way threats to national security.
They are mostly threats to the security of authorities who are afraid of public reaction to their lying, incompetence, and poor judgment.
We cannot have democracy unless the people understand better what their government is doing and why.
And today I think it fair to say America is no democracy but a collection of elites using the immense powers of that government to do as they wish.
Killing, destroying, and overthrowing on a vast scale - all while supporting brutal and tyrannical governments such as Saudia Arabia or Israel who serve its purposes abroad.
NEWS COVERAGE OF THE PLIGHT OF ROHINGYA MUSLIMS IN BURMA - A GROUP IN EVERY WAY COMPARABLE TO THE OCCUPIED PALESTINIANS WHO RECEIVE NO SUCH COVERAGE
LETTER TO CBC RADIO'S THE CURRENT
The Rohingya Muslims of Burma by all accounts are treated badly.
But in not one particular cited by your guests does the situation of these oppressed people differ from the situation of the millions of Palestinians under Israeli occupation.
Inability to freely travel limiting opportunities to earn a living; unfair treatment by officials and police; hate speech - all of these and more are the everyday experience of Palestinians.
The Rohingya, concentrated on the west coast of Burma in Rakhine State, sometimes leave their oppression because of the seas, yet the people of Gaza, stretched along the sea in much the same fashion, are not even free to use the sea: fishermen who go outside their tiny permitted zone are shot at regularly by Israeli naval forces; ships of needed supplies from other places are subject to attack by Israel on the high seas; and even natural gas fields discovered in the Mediterranean in areas which under international law should belong to Palestine are seized by Israel.
The comparisons are even closer because if you ask Burmese officials, they would tell you the Rohingya want their own state, something Burma will not grant, and are regarded as rebellious, something none of your guests discussed.
Yet CBC Radio, and The Current in particular, would not dream of treating the Palestinians’ plight, which after all is in every sense closer to home. You have not done so once in any meaningful way.
To add insult to injury in the piece you did, you interviewed a representative of the American Holocaust Museum whose investigations are said to have established that all the “early signs of genocide” were now present in Burma. I wasn’t aware that there was an official handbook of diagnosis for genocide, but these people appear to have one.
It does seem to me in view of the appalling conditions in Israel/Palestine, people from the Holocaust Museum are simply not qualified to comment on Burma.
AFTERWORD: In a follow-up interview the next day with Burma's ambassador to Canada, he said something along the lines of "There's no such thing as the Rohingya people."
These were exactly the same words uttered by Golda Meir about the Palestinians decades ago, and her chilling words have been echoed many times since, including a few years ago by Newt Gingrich on the campaign trail after receiving the best part of $20 million in campaign contributions from billionaire Sheldon Adelson, a devoted supporter of Netanyahu's vision of Israel.
Friday, May 08, 2015
DANGEROUS FLAILING AND BELLOWING OF THE BEAST
When I think of America’s place in the world today, the image that comes to mind is of a very large animal, perhaps a huge bull elephant or even prehistoric mammoth, which long roamed as the unchallenged king of its domain but has become trapped by its own missteps, as caught in a tar pit or some quicksand, and it is violently flailing about, making a terrifying noises in its effort to free itself and re-establish its authority. Any observer immediately knows the animal ultimately cannot succeed but certainly is frightened by the noise and crashing that it can sustain for a considerable time.
I think that is the pretty accurate metaphor for the situation of the United States today, still a terribly large and powerful society but one finding itself trapped after a long series of its own blunders and errors, a society certain ultimately to become diminished in its prestige and relative power with all the difficulties which that will entail for an arrogant people having a blind faith in their own rightness. America simply cannot accept its mistakes or that it was ever wrong, for Americanism much resembles a fundamentalist religion whose members are incapable of recognizing or admitting they ever followed anything but the divine plan.
America has made a costly series of errors over the last half century, demonstrating to others that the America they may have been in awe of in, say, 1950, and may have considered almost godlike and incapable of mistakes, has now proved itself indisputably, in field after field, as often not even capable of governing itself. The irony of a people who are seen as often unable to govern themselves advising others how to govern themselves brings a distinct note of absurdity to American foreign policy.
America’s establishment, feeling their old easy superiority in the world beginning to slip away in a hundred different ways, seems determined to show everyone it still has what it takes, determined to make others feel its strength, determined to weaken others abroad who do not accept its natural superiority, determined to seize by brute force and dirty tricks advantages which no longer come to it by simply superior performance.
Rather than learn from its errors and adjust its delusional assumptions, America is determined to push and bend people all over the world to its will and acceptance of its leadership. But you cannot reclaim genuine leadership once you have been exposed enough times in your bad judgment, and it is clear you are on the decline, just as you cannot once others realize that they can do many things as well or better than you.
In the end, policies which do not recognize scientific facts are doomed. Policies based on wishes and ideology do not succeed over the long run, unless, of course, you are willing to suppress everyone who disagrees with you and demand their compliance under threat. The requirement for an imperial state in such a situation is international behavior which resembles the internal behavior of an autocratic leader such as Stalin, and right now that is precisely where the United States is headed. Stalin’s personality had a fair degree of paranoia and no patience for the views of others. He felt constantly threatened by potential competitors and he used systematic terror to keep everyone intimidated and unified under him.
Stalin’s sincerely belief in a faulty economic system that was doomed from its birth put him in a position similar to that of America’s oligarchs today. They have a world imperial system that is coming under increasing strain and challenge because others are growing and have their own needs and America simply does not have the flexibility to accommodate them. America’s oligarchs are not used to listening to the views of others. Stalin’s belief in a system that was more an ideology than a coherent economic system is paralleled by the quasi-religious tenets of Americanism, a set of beliefs which holds that America is especially blessed by the Creator and all things good and great are simply its due. Americanism blurrily assumes that God’s promise in the Old Testament that man should have dominion over the earth’s creatures applies now uniquely to them. Such thinking arose during many years of easy superiority, a superiority that was less owing to intrinsic merits of American society than to a set of fortuitous circumstances, many of which are now gone.
In Vietnam, America squandered countless resources chasing after a chimera its ideologues insisted was deadly important, never once acknowledging the fatal weaknesses built right into communism from its birth. Communism was certain eventually to fail because of economic falsehoods which were part of its conception, much as a child born with certain genetic flaws is destined for eventual death. America’s mad rush to fight communism on all fronts was in keeping with the zealotry of America’s Civic Religion, but it was a huge and foolish practical judgment which wasted colossal resources. In Vietnam, America ended in something close to total shame – literally defeated on the battlefield by what seemed an inconsequential opponent, having also cast aside traditional ethical values in murdering great masses of people who never threatened the United States, murder on a scale (3 million) comparable to the Holocaust. It used weapons and techniques of a savage character: napalm, cluster bombs, and secret mass terror programs. The savagery ripped into the fabric of America’s own society, dividing the nation almost as badly as its Civil War once had. America ended reduced and depleted in many respects and paid its huge bills with devalued currency.
Following Vietnam, it has just been one calamity after another revealing the same destructive inability to govern, the same thought governed by zealotry, right down to the 2008 financial collapse which was caused by ignoring sound financial management and basically instituting a system of unlimited greed. The entire world was jolted and hurt by this stupidity whose full consequences are not nearly played out.
The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were completely unnecessary, cost vast sums, caused immense misery, and achieved nothing worth achieving. We now know what was kept hidden that more than million Iraqis died in an invasion based entirely on lies. These wars also set in motion changes whose long term effects have yet to be felt. Iraq, for example, has just about had its Kurdish, oil-producing region hived off as a separate state.
America’s primitive approach to the Soviet Union’s collapse, its sheer triumphalism and failure to regard Russia as important enough to help or with which to cooperate, ignored America’s own long-term interests. After all, the Russians are a great people with many gifts, and it was inevitable that they would come back from a post-collapse depression to claim their place in the world.
So how do the people running the United States now deal with a prosperous and growing Russia, a Russia which reaches out in the soundest traditional economic fashion for cooperation and partnership in trade and projects? Russia has embraced free trade, a concept Americans trumpeted for years whenever it was to their advantage, but now for Russia is treated as dark and sinister. Here America fights the inevitable power of economic forces, something akin to fighting the tide or the wind, and only for the sake of its continued dominance of another continent. Americans desperately try to stop what can only be called natural economic arrangements between Russia and Europe, natural because both sides have many services, goods, and commodities to trade for the benefit of all. America’s establishment wants to cut off healthy new growth and permanently to establish its primacy in Europe even though it has nothing new to offer.
America’s deliberately dishonest interpretation of Russia’s measured response to an induced coup in Ukraine is used to generate an artificial sense of crisis, but despite the pressures America is capable of exerting on Europe, we sense Europe only goes along to avoid a public squabble and only for so long as the costs are not too high. The most intelligent leaders in Europe recognize what the United States is doing but do not want to clash openly, although the creation of the Minsk Agreement came pretty close to a polite rejection of America’s demand for hardline tactics.
The coup in Ukraine was intended to put a hostile government in control of a long stretch of Russian border, a government which might cooperate in American military matters and which would serve as an irritant to Russia. But you don’t get good results with malicious policy. So far the coup has served only to hurt Ukraine’s economy, security, and long-term interests. It has a government which is seen widely as incompetent, a government which fomented unnecessary civil war, a government which shot down a civilian airliner, and a government in which no one, including in the West, has much faith. Its finances are in turmoil, many important former economic connections are severed, and there is no great willingness by Europe, especially an economically-troubled Europe, to assist it. It is not an advanced or stable enough place to join the EU because that would just mean gigantic subsidies being directed to it from an already troubled Europe. And the idea of its joining NATO is absolutely a non-starter both because it can’t carry its own weight in such an organization and because that act would cross a dangerous red line for Russia.
Kiev is having immense problems even holding the country together as it fights autonomous right-wing outfits like the Azov Battalion in the southeast who threaten the Minsk Agreement, as it tries to implement military recruiting in Western Ukraine with more people running away than joining up, as it finds it must protect its own President with a Praetorian Guard of Americans from some serious threats by right-wing militias unhappy with Kiev’s failures, as it must reckon with the de facto secession of Donetsk and the permanent loss of Crimea – all this as it struggles with huge debts and an economy in a nosedive.
America is in no position to give serious assistance to Ukraine, just plenty of shop-worn slogans about freedom and democracy. These events provide a perfect example of the damage America inflicts on a people with malicious policy intended only to use them to hurt others. There is such a record of this kind of thing by America that I am always surprised when there are any takers out there for the newest scheme. One remembers Kissinger encouraging the Iraqi Kurds to revolt against Saddam Hussein and then leaving them in the lurch when the dictator launched a merciless suppression. I also think of the scenes at the end of the Vietnam War as American helicopters took off in cowardly fashion from the roof of the embassy leaving their Vietnamese co-workers, tears streaming down their faces, vainly grasping for the undercarriages of helicopters, a fitting and shameful end to a truly brainless crusade.
I don’t know but I very much doubt that the present government of Ukraine can endure, and it is always possible that it will slip into an even more serious civil war with factions fighting on all sides, something resembling the murderous mess America created in Libya. Of course, such a war on Russia’s borders would come with tremendous risks. The American aristocracy doesn’t become concerned about disasters into which they themselves are not thrust, but a war in Ukraine could easily do just that. In ironic fashion, heightened conflict could mark the beginning of the end of the era of European subservience to America. Chaos in Ukraine could provide exactly the shock Europe needs to stop supporting American schemes before the entire continent or even the world is threatened.
I remind readers that while Russia’s economy is not as large as America’s, it is a country with a strong history in engineering and science, and no one on the planet shares its terrifying experiences with foreign invasion. So it has developed and maintains a number of weapons systems that are second to none. Each one of its new class of ballistic missile submarines, and Russia is building a number of them, is capable of hitting 96 separate targets with thermo-nuclear warheads, and that capability is apart from rail-mounted ICBMs, hard-site ICBMs, truck-mounted missiles, air-launched cruise missiles, sea-launched cruise missiles, and a variety of other fearsome weapons. Modern Russia does not make threats with this awesome power, and you might say Putin follows the advice of Theodore Roosevelt as he walks softly but carries a big stick, but I do think it wise for all of us to keep these things in mind as America taunts Russia and literally play a game of chicken with Armageddon. I don’t believe America has a legitimate mandate from anyone to behave in this dangerous way. Europe’s smartest leaders, having lived at the very center of the Cold War and survived two world wars, do understand this and are trying very carefully not to allow things to go too far, but America has some highly irresponsible and dangerous people working hard on the Ukraine file, and accidents do happen when you push things too hard.
In another sphere of now constant engagement, instead of sponsoring and promoting fair arrangements in the Middle East, America has carried on a bizarre relationship with Israel, a relationship which is certainly against the America’s own long term interests, although individual American politicians benefit with streams of special interests payments - America’s self-imposed, utterly corrupt campaign financing system being ultimately responsible - in exchange for blindly insisting Israel is always right, which it most certainly is not. An important segment of Israel’s population is American, and they just carried over to Israel the same short-sightedness, arrogance, and belligerence which characterize America, so much so, Israel may legitimately be viewed as an American colony in the Middle East rather than a genuinely independent state. Its lack of genuine independence is reflected also in its constant dependence on huge subsidies, on its need for heavily-biased American diplomacy to protect it in many forums including the UN, and on its dependence upon American arm-twisting and bribes in any number of places, Egypt’s generous annual American pension requiring certain behaviors being one of the largest examples.
Here, too, inevitability has been foolishly ignored. The Palestinians are not going anywhere, and they have demonstrated the most remarkable endurance, yet almost every act of Israel since its inception, each supported by America, has been an effort to make them go away through extreme hardship and abuse and violence, looking towards the creation of Greater Israel, a dangerous fantasy idea which cannot succeed but it will fail only after it has taken an immense toll. Despite America’s constant diplomatic and financial pressure on other states to support its one-sided policy here, there are finally a number of signs that views are turning away from the preposterous notion that Israel is always right and that it can continue indefinitely with its savage behavior.
Recently, we have had a great last effort by America and covert partners to secure Israel’s absolute pre-eminence in the Middle East through a whole series of destructive intrusions in the region – the “Arab Spring,” the reverse-revolution in Egypt, the smashing and now dismemberment of Iraq, the smashing and effective dismemberment of Libya, and the horrible, artificially-induced civil war in Syria which employs some of the most violent and lunatic people on earth from outside and gives them weapons, money, and refuge in an effort to destroy a stable and relatively peaceful state.
I could go on, but I think the picture is clear: in almost every sphere of American governance, internally and abroad, America’s poor political institutions have yielded the poorest decisions. America has over-extended itself on every front, has served myths rather than facts, has let greed run its governing of almost everything, and has squandered resources on achieving nothing of worth.
I view America’s present posture in the world – supporting dirty wars and coups in many places at the same time and treating others as game pieces to be moved rather than partners – as a desperate attempt to shake the world to gain advantages it couldn’t secure through accepted means of governance and policy. America is that great beast, bellowing and shaking the ground, and for that reason, it is extremely dangerous.
Sunday, May 03, 2015
JIMMY CARTER'S BRAVE COMMENTS ON THE TERRIBLE SITUATION IN GAZA - ISRAEL'S INEXCUSABLE BRUTALITY - CITING WHAT HAPPENED IN THE HOLOCAUST CANNOT EXCUSE WHAT WE SEE - A SOCIETY OF LAWS OUR ONLY DEFENCE
COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE GUARDIAN
Bless you, Jimmy Carter, a man who genuinely deserved a Nobel Peace Prize.
Carter, a man of immense integrity and great understanding, is one of the only prominent people in the Western world to speak truth about Israel's unending brutality.
Our press goes on and on about natural disasters like Nepal's earthquake, yet almost never gives notice to the very unnatural disaster Israel has created before our eyes.
And Mr. Carter’s reward? To be called an anti-Semite by many Israelis.
Using what happened three-quarters of a century ago in another country in another continent in extraordinary circumstances of war and hate to justify such atrocities makes no sense to any honest, impartial, and informed person.
Injustice is injustice no matter what history you may cite.
If you want a society of laws, then you must abide by laws.
You cannot stand outside the law, as Israel has done for its entire existence, and create anything worth creating.
The logic of Israel’s excuses is the logic shared by every tyrant and conqueror and criminal through history, all of them having their own important reasons for doing what they did, and it goes nowhere towards establishing the rule of law that is the only true refuge we have against the powerful and hateful and mad.
CANADA'S LEONA AGLUKKAQ'S BIZARRE COMMENTS ON EASTERN UKRAINE DURING A MEETING OF THE ARCTIC COUNCIL GROUP OF NATIONS WHOSE IMPORTANT PURPOSE IS NOT POLITICS BUT THE EMERGING PROBLEMS OF THE ARCTIC
COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN RUSSIA INSIDER
Please don't take Leona Aglukkaq’s words too seriously. They do not represent mainstream thinking in Canada.
Leona Aglukkaq has had a record of mishandling the ministerial portfolios she has been handed by Stephen Harper. Her time as Minister of Health is a genuinely embarrassing memory.
Stephen Harper's 39%-government (his share of vote totals split several ways) is mighty light on talent. It is team, as they say in hockey, whose bench is pretty thin. So he must use virtual incompetents like Ms Aglukkaq to fill posts.
Mr. Harper has been appropriately nick-named a party of one. He has a personality, and this is not an exaggeration, sharing some characteristics with Stalin. No one in his government says one word that was not put into their mouths by him. The various comments coming from Ministers like Ms Aglukkaq these days not only do not reflect the views of most Canadians, they often may not even reflect the timid minister’s own views.
Readers may enjoy:
MORE MONEY WON’T FIX CBC
I’ve heard leaders of both the Liberal Party and the NDP promise more money for CBC should either of them be elected later this year. We know CBC has suffered fairly severe cuts in funding from Stephen Harper’s bleak government. But at the same time, something else has been happening for years at CBC, and much of it has little to do with money. CBC relentlessly has dumbed itself down, hiring hosts with little interesting knowledge or even effective intelligence, muting and censoring the content of shows, and demonstrating, again and again, its implicit rejection of what should be its mandate.
A national broadcaster can never compete directly with commercial broadcasters. You don’t have to be an expert to understand that. A national broadcaster only makes sense if it focuses on quality, as a showcase for the nation’s talent, as an educator for children and the nation’s immigrants about the political and cultural nature of a country, as a forum for new ideas, and as a contributor to general understanding by others about what Canada is.
CBC is failing miserably today on all fronts. I address radio broadcasting since I am not someone who watches television, and besides it is the radio service which long has enjoyed the superior reputation, but that now has ceased to be the case. Much of what now is broadcast day-in, day-out, both on Radio One and Radio Two, is simply a waste of airtime. Blubbering about pop music for hours of every day, as CBC Radio has done now for years, is about as far as you can run away from the responsibilities of a national broadcaster.
Some once-excellent shows are decaying even as we listen. “The Current,” for example, with Anna Maria Tremonti, one of most capable interviewers Canada has ever produced, has her doing few incisive interviews, avoiding topics, and substituting Oprah Winfrey-style fluff, as for example, a half hour about plus-size women recently. I’m eagerly anticipating the “complete make-over” show. Apart from the noticeable decline in political or cultural interviews, which to my mind were the show’s raisons d'être, the now-usual Friday host and temporary fill-in is a person (aka, future possible replacement in training) who has neither the skill nor sharp intelligence to conduct an enjoyable, hard-hitting interview.
Moreover, that fill-in host just happens to be the wife of a senior newsman on the same station, raising once again the problem of nepotism and favoritism which has long plagued the radio network.
The “Sunday Edition” with Michael Enright is a mere shadow of itself, not only cut from three to two hours but filled with boring crap like precious personal essays and documentaries from wannabe producers and there is a noticeable limit on the worthiness of the people being interviewed. There is a rather viciously quiet, persistent strain of bias on some topics, one being the Middle East, injected regularly and without the least effort to balance other views. Such news and current event shows have been drained of most of their meaningful content.
The show, “As It Happens,” has been literally run into the ground, its original premise of telephone interviews with an assortment of the day’s newsmakers or eccentrics having become outdated by the timeliness of events on the Internet. Anyone who spends a bit of time on a computer knows those things before this show gets around to them today, yet the show desperately tries to hold on and find a purpose with not-very-good interviews and even boring little panel groups.
The National News and the regional news, coming out of Toronto, border on embarrassing at times. Apart from the now-often poor grammar of newsreaders, the content is just thin and uninformative. There is no digging, there is no follow-up, and there is no judgment or concern demonstrated over clearly unanswered questions. It comments on events in other parts of the world today with no understanding and often considerable bias, often sounding as though as though press releases from Washington were being read. A truly Canadian viewpoint has just about disappeared. Reportage on other stories throughout the country is often by very young women correspondents who sound as though they just graduated from Ryerson, using the obviously-learned gimmicks of journalism courses, always attempting to end with little punch-lines, which are more often than not predictable and desperately contrived.
The parade of not even second-rate musical talent jammed into every available opening - everything from junky rap to knock-offs of soul or 1960s stuff and a lot of silly girlie-sounding elevator music - has increased steadily everywhere so that barely a few minutes pass before it starts up again. I doubt one out of ten of these is worth broadcasting, making CBC sound like what I imagine the old, fabled Ted Mack Radio Amateur Hour must have sounded like. And besides, the main content of Radio One should be intelligent talk, not music, much less starving-artist style pop music.
All of the classy, knowledgeable people on specialty shows – from Bernard St Laurent to Bob McDonald or Eleanor Wachtel or Ed Lawrence – are getting old, and one can only imagine with what teeny-bopper horrors they will be replaced.
The show, “Ideas,” originally of some interest, now is pretty much a tired, deflated balloon. There rarely is anything worthy of the name idea making an appearance. The show buys documentaries of remarkably little worth and broadcasts them with a vapid voice-over by the host.
A complete lack of imagination and meaningful direction at CBC has been running things into the ground for years. The management has only one theme, come up with some pop stuff so that we’ll be popular, and of course that’s questionable assumption as well as a dereliction of its duty as a national broadcaster.
I think the hideous Jian Gomeshi saga nicely illustrates what has happened, serving almost as an allegory, his dreary career closely corresponding with the descent of CBC into meaninglessness. Apart from his grotesque personal life, the man always was a walking mediocrity with almost nothing he said worth hearing but with a lot of bad judgment and bad taste thrown in as flavoring, yet because the show achieved some popularity – after all, if you throw enough crap on a wall, there will always be people entertained by the act - the man was allowed to run his show for years as a sadistic bully, supposed CBC principles of humanity and fairness cast to the wind by all involved. No, there’s far more in that dreary story than a man charged with rape and abuse of women, there’s the mask of the CBC ripped off to reveal a whining, inadequate, and timid management.
I simply do not see how handing over hundreds of millions of additional public funds can change CBC for the better, given the people who are entrenched there now and have made nothing but poor decisions for years.