Friday, January 24, 2020

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



ABOUT JOHN CHUCKMAN


ME, ROUGHLY: THE DECLINE IS SO RAPID NOW





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

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

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

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

SOME INTERNET SITES FROM JOHN CHUCKMAN:


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

CHUCKMAN'S PHOTOS ON WORDPRESS: CHICAGO NOSTALGIA AND MEMORABILIA

CHUCKMAN'S PHOTOS ON WORDPRESS: TORONTO NOSTALGIA

CHUCKMAN’S MONTREAL

CHUCKMAN'S PHOTOS ON WORD PRESS

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

CHUCKMAN'S PORT STANLEY

CHUCKMAN'S BAYFIELD

CHUCKMAN'S GODERICH

CHUCKMAN'S ILES DE LA MADELEINE (MAGDALEN ISLANDS)

CHUCKMAN'S ART

CHUCKMAN'S ROBOTS

CHUCKMAN'S GALLERY OF GROTESQUES

CHUCKMAN'S CARTOON COMMENTS

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

CHUCKMAN'S WORDS ON WORDPRESS: POLITICAL ESSAYS

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

CHUCKMAN'S MISCELLANEA OF WORDS

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


JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: A HEAVY DOSE OF SARCASM, WELL EARNED, FOR BRITAIN'S GUARDIAN NEWSPAPER

John Chuckman


EXPANSION OF A COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE UNZ REVIEW

“The New Russian Government, A much-needed evolution but not a revolution”

___________________

Response to a comment which referred to the Guardian newspaper as very “left wing”

The Guardian is a terrible newspaper nowadays.

But it is not accurate to describe it as “left wing,” not at all.

Using that description is playing the Guardian’s own game.

The newspaper uses a great deal of window dressing that makes it appear “leftish” and progressive, features and filler material about minorities and women and the unfortunate. I suppose it’s intended to connect with the newspaper’s historic past and to provide a kind of sugar coating for what it truly advocates.

The Guardian’s heart and soul are pretty close to Tory in spirit. That is revealed through its choice of news stories covered, the slant given the stories, its editorials, the various public figures given regular favorable publicity, and even its highly-controlled and restrictive comment policies. Liberals don’t censor. The Guardian does, heavily.

It virtually led the howling mob attacking Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn, and it used some really underhanded techniques, like running little human-interest items about British Jews who were afraid and were going to leave Britain to take up residence somewhere else. It did this several times in the course of its campaign. Once, the person’s destination was even Germany. Of course, any Jewish person who had anything unpleasant to say about Corbyn was given space to say it.

The paper raised no objections to direct interference in British domestic politics by several Israeli politicians, including Netanyahu, who chimed in on Corbyn and anti-Semitism, and he was even mistaken in the facts he cited.

The Guardian is staunchly pro-Israel and pro-American empire, the two, of course, being tightly associated.

The Guardian has supported all of America’s bloody Neocon Wars and coups. It never raises any doubts or questions about matters like the externally-induced horrors in Syria. President Assad is always treated with disdain. Syria, in the Guardian’s manufactured reality, uses poison gas against its own people and deserves cruise missile attacks.

It has no problem with America’s torrent of invective and threats and sanctions against Iran, a country which has done in fact nothing wrong. It has no problem with severe war-like sanctions being used against tens of millions of innocent people to cause starvation and to deprive them of medications, vicious actions taken by the United States against Iran and Venezuela.

It despises Putin and Russia. It literally sometimes prints gutter-quality literature on those topics. It stands shoulder-to-shoulder with those who insist Putin has virtually invaded Ukraine and seized Crimea. And of course, he or his henchmen shot down Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 over Ukraine, even though the Prime Minister of Malaysia says that is not the case.

It has no problem with NATO, closely under American direction, running tanks up against the Russian border, sending risky, intrusive spy flights towards Russian airspace, doing armed cruises on the Black Sea, and carrying on with large-scale practice sea battles in the Baltic.

As far as The Guardian is concerned, the Salisbury Skripal Affair with Putin directly responsible for it - that indigestible mass of Theresa May accusations containing not a single proven fact - is a settled matter of history. It occasionally makes an effort to warm up the kettle, burning new bits flogged by security service outlets.

The Guardian played a sizable role in building up the public-relations image of that good friend of Netanyahu’s, the tyrant Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia. He was to be a dynamic and progressive new force in the Middle East. It even used chirpy little features about a few upper-class women being allowed to drive now to emphasize his fine qualities between executions, kidnappings, and launching wars.

It has attacked and lied about Julian Assange, one of the truest heroes of our time and a great investigative reporter/editor. But you see, Assange’s work works against America’s appalling injustices, and that just isn’t allowed. And it worked against candidate Hillary Clinton, world’s leading purveyor of Russophobia, killer of Libyans and Syrians as Secretary of State, and a favorite of Guardian editors.

I could cite many examples of how dreadful the Guardian has become, but here is my favorite:

https://chuckmanwordsincomments.wordpress.com/2018/05/21/john-chuckman-comment-absurd-lengths-to-which-our-press-goes-to-attack-russia-britains-guardian-holds-hate-russia-day-today-some-of-its-stuff-is-so-ham-fisted-it-reads-like-1959-

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: THE NATURE OF AMERICAN IMPEACHMENT - A POLITICAL ACT DESPITE BEING SET BY A RIGID CONSTITUTION - SOME OF THE CONSTITUTION'S MANY SHORTCOMINGS - ITS AUTHORS HAD LITTLE INSIGHT INTO THE COUNTRY'S FUTURE - HUGE UNANTICIPATED IMPORTANCE OF POLITICAL PARTIES - CONSTITUTION OFTEN IGNORED BY WASHINGTON, ESPECIALLY WHERE RIGHTS ARE CONCERNED - HOW EMPIRE HAS DESTROYED LIMITS ON PRESIDENTIAL POWER - HOW AMERICA'S POLITICAL CULTURE OF EVERYONE HAVING THEIR OWN TRUTHS SUPPORTS POLITICAL IMPEACHMENT - AMERICA'S VIGOROUS WORK TOWARDS CREATING WORLD CHAOS

John Chuckman


EXPANSION OF A COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN CBC NEWS


“Trump lauds U.S. economy at Davos as trial set to begin in Washington”


It cannot be stressed enough that American impeachment is largely a political act. I’ve written that before, but here is some background to support the claim.

Impeachment was not carefully designed by the Constitution's authors. They offered only a sketchy outline, perhaps naively believing that the provision would never be required in the brave new world they thought they were creating.

It is in fact just one of many instances where the American Constitution has proved inadequate or outdated in a complex modern world. For it is a world unlike anything the authors could imagine, a point which goes to the difficulty of writing constitutions intended to last for centuries. The Constitution is amendable, but only with much difficulty, a deliberate “safety” feature, but not one well suited to a rapidly changing world.

Its inflexibility in general terms has however never really stopped determined American governments from doing most of the nasty things they want to do. What is the most important part of the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, has been ignored or trampled countless times. At least in part that reflects the fact that it costs a lot of money to bring a case before the Supreme Court. That is another of the Constitution’s weaknesses, justice often depends on money.

But it is not just in matters of citizens’ rights that the Constitution is often effectively ignored. American Presidents, now virtually on their own, decide to commit acts of war (the assassination of a foreign leader, for example, or mass missile launches against a country presumed to have crossed some “redline”). Perhaps they briefly consult key members of Congress, but that’s not what the Constitution says you must do for acts of war.

And now, much in the fashion of Roman emperors, American Presidents use Executive Orders to do many of the things they want to do, behavior that is about as far as you can go from the Constitution’s rules. The Founders likely would have been horrified by the term, Executive Order. But, just as with acts of war, the Congress accommodates the President. Much of the “unconstitutional” behavior reflects the fact of America’s global empire and its often exigent needs. It simply is not how the country was designed to operate.

Of course, with a population of more than 330 million and growing, the concept of single set of judges established in Washington near the time of the first American census of 1790, to serve a population of 3.9 million, also has inherent problems. And the world has only grown more litigious and infinitely more complex.

The Founders hoped, perhaps, in a time closely following the Enlightenment with all its new political and scientific attitudes, to create something concise and fundamental in the Constitution – architecture’s Mies van der Rohe’s “less is more” - with no extra baggage, but for various reasons, I believe they did not succeed. Constitutions don’t work quite the same way as general scientific principles. They govern dynamic and growing and changing societies – living things.

Where any rule or process is not precisely defined, an intensely political environment always works to shape and manipulate it. In Washington, everything becomes politicized, literally everything, right down to what in normal life would be dull process, such as budgeting. And so it is with impeachment.

There were no true political parties in early America, but there sure are now. They are gigantic and powerful corporations such as the Founders could not have imagined, taking in vast sums of money, and all of American political life revolves around them.

(Perhaps, more precisely put, that would be all of American political life, including the parties, revolves around money, but that gets us into a different topic, one I’ve discussed elsewhere, but it is again something which was not anticipated.)

It is no coincidence that all the impeachment trials have occurred in the modern era, the earliest being Andrew Johnson in 1868, a few years after the Civil War, a time of great partisanship and party loyalties.

Trump, Clinton, and Nixon (who resigned, under advice, rather than endure a vote) are all in the late modern era. More than one politician remarked that Clinton’s impeachment represented a wish by Republicans to get even over Nixon’s impeachment, an observation which again goes to impeachment’s political nature.

The Founders could not have imagined America’s set of relationships with the world two centuries after their work. That America would come to displace the Redcoats and Hessians who represented in American eyes a global tyranny called the British Parliament. What Trump is accused of having done, and I certainly believe he did, could not even have occurred in early America.

If Impeachment is largely political in nature, claims on all sides can be "right," and it comes down to who has the votes. There is no precise body of law and only a small, generalized list of charges to which to refer. The Constitution offers as an impeachment “penal code” only the words, "Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors," with the last part not even defined.

By the way, “all sides being right” rather nicely fits in with America’s prevailing political culture where all sides have their own truths, and there are no verities or universally accepted authorities. There is no truth, only sets of attitudes.

Trump's just-developed line of defense has been summed up as "abuse of power is not impeachable." That may even be legally and technically correct. But of course, for the rest of world, it is a ridiculous and dangerous-sounding proposition, especially when it concerns such a powerful country as America, yet some very prominent lawyers in Washington are saying it.

I do think that gives us a terrible insight into what a cloudcuckooland America has become. In the most powerful country in the world, abuse of power may not be considered impeachable.

It's not just Trump, loud and extremely rude as he is. Others have enabled him, powerful Americans contribute hundreds of millions of dollars to his campaign war chest, which is filled to overflowing for the next election, and tens of millions of ordinary Americans voted for him. America just may be a ruder, more uncouth place than many appreciate.

It does seem the country is almost incapable of rational behavior anymore. The rule of law, that most fundamental building block of all civil society, is ignored by American leaders. Assassinations have become common practice, as have threats and aggressive wars and engineered coups. Sanctions, which are American laws which should apply only to Americans, are applied to all the world’s people, hurting tens of millions of innocents.

Constant lies are required to cover or attempt to explain away all of the criminal behavior. International trade and economic relationships are being destroyed by trying to put America first, ahead of all others. International treaties and agreements are being destroyed (the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty, the Iran Nuclear Agreement, the Outer Space Treaty, and the Open Skies Treaty and Strategic Arms Treaty with Russia are under threat) simply because America does not want to be bound by them. International organizations are being attacked or undermined – the UN (the US owes more than a billion dollars in back dues and often breaks its solemn treaty obligation to issue visas to leaders needing to come to New York), UNESCO (the US simply quit), the ICC (whose judges were openly threatened by a high American official), the WTO, the IJC, the OPCW, etc., etc.

International chaos is being actively promoted by Trump and much of the American political establishment. I only wish an impeachment conviction could halt or seriously impair those efforts, but I fear that it cannot.

Monday, January 20, 2020

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: BRITISH LABOUR PARTY LEADERSHIP RACE AND THE UGLY INFLUENCE OF SPECIAL INTEREST CHARGES OF "ANTI-SEMITISM" - A POISONOUS ACCUSATION USED TO DEFEND A HEAVILY-ARMED STATE THAT ABUSES AND BLOODIES MILLIONS FORCED TO LIVE UNDER ITS AUTHORITY - FOREIGN INTERFERENCE IN BRITISH ELECTIONS - WEAK POLITICIANS WHO FAIL TO CALL ON TRUTH - ISRAEL'S TERRIBLE "DEMOCRATIC VALUES" - TRUE LIBERALISM IS DEAD IN ISRAEL AND IN AMERICA - EMPIRE AND PRIVILEGED COLONIES HAVE NO ROOM FOR IT

John Chuckman


EXPANSION OF COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY GILAD ATZMON IN UNZ REVIEW

“For the 0.5% Not the 99.5%”

“Our Labour leadership candidates have attended to whims uttered by a tiny privileged voice while ignoring at least 99.5% of the British public.

“Instead of returning to universal anti racist politics consistent with so-called ‘Labour values,’ the compromised contenders for party leadership bow to the demands made by the Board of Deputies…”


There is some important truth here.

Labour leadership candidates Emily Thornberry and Jess Phillips literally make your toes scrunch uncomfortably up inside your shoes when you read some of their squishy, self-serving pleas being passed off as principles.

But I regard their words and behavior more a matter of sheer political incompetence than anything else. Incompetence is to be found in politicians far more than is commonly realized.

As well, of course, we have corruption, as we saw with Tony Blair, who literally became wealthy in gratitude for his helping kill a million Iraqis to please Aerial Sharon. Tony’s “New Labour” meant a party dedicated to lobby funds and strongly pro-Israel policies. Tony helped lead the charge against Corbyn, too.

We saw no complaints about “anti-Semitism in Blair’s heyday. Somehow, after he left power, anti-Semitism just suddenly exploded inside the Labour Party the way Athena exploded from the forehead of Zeus. Extraordinary.

I long defended Corbyn as a decent and humane politician - qualities frequently missing in the profession - and I still believe that of him. The idea that he was ever "anti-Semitic" is bitterly laughable. And as a matter of fact, we have very little active anti-Semitism today in the West, and much of what self-serving Jewish fraternal organizations call anti-Semitism and enter as incidents in their computer records is just fair criticism of the barbaric policies of Israel, a heavily armed state abusing the powerless.

The whole campaign against Jeremy Corbyn was McCarthyism resuscitated in the service of a new cause. It should have been confronted exactly that way. Truth well-spoken can still be a powerful weapon. We have far too little of it in Western politics.

In the end, Corbyn did prove weak vis-a-vis the Israel lobby, but that's easier to judge from the outside than when you are being libeled and insulted and pelted with eggs week after week.

The lobby uses an old established principle. Throw enough crap at the wall, and some it will stick. It is a standard principle of the advertising industry and has always been instinctively applied by groups like Germany’s 1930s Brownshirts.

The lobby and Israel do not want fairness and decency anywhere near the affairs of Israel. You are not allowed to be fair. You must be totally for Israel and against anyone Israel regards as undesirable.

That was Corbyn unforgivable sin, being fair. And he could not be allowed near power. And talk about external interference, several Israeli politicians, including Prime Minister Netanyahu, got directly involved in British party politics over the period of Corbyn’s leadership.

Israel - like a major part of racist cowboy America, notably all of Trump's crowd holding pick-up truck meets in Walmart parking lots - simply has no use for genuine liberals or progressives.

Why?

The essence of being a genuine liberal is deep regard for human and democratic rights. Obviously, Israel could not exist as it is today were liberal views to hold any sway.

And the same goes for America's imperialism abroad and its defense of the Plantation System in many parts of the world, as we see repeatedly in Latin America.

There almost are no liberals in America or Israel.

You do not even have a country in fact when you have an empire. Empire and military and security concerns dominate and provide most of the attractive career paths for talented people, crowding out everything else. The privileged rule, and ideology replaces thought. Resources are dedicated to war and secret security.

And what is Israel but a privileged strategic colony of the American empire? One pretending to represent high principles when the truth is literally the opposite. Israel’s best friends in the region are tyrants – Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince or Egypt’s Generalissimo - who keep their people suppressed and bloodied. Israel calls democratic organizations like Hamas “terrorists” for the same reason people such as Corbyn are attacked.

Some democratic values. But we do live in a world where painting the roses red has become an accepted practice. We see that in every word and activity of Donald Trump or Boris Johnson. And there are uncomfortable echoes today of what authoritarian states always busy themselves with doing.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: ON MARTIN LUTHER KING DAY AN ARTICLE SPEAKS OF THE FBI'S VILIFICATION OF KING - BUT IT WAS MUCH HARSHER THAN VILIFICATION - THE FBI HAS A TERRIBLE RECORD - AND IN MANY OF ITS ACTIVITIES IT RESEMBLES EAST GERMANY'S OLD DREADED STASI

John Chuckman


EXPANSION OF A COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN CONSORTIUM NEWS


“Remembering the FBI’s Vilification of Martin Luther King”


It actually went far beyond “vilification” to threats and police-state behavior.

The FBI has such a shameful history in fact that I often am amused by those pointing to its recent election-period work against Trump as though it were somehow out of character for these well-dressed goons.

The FBI has always been bent to serving political interests and has demonstrated remarkably little concern for justice or rule of law over its history.

It is a tool of the establishment state and its plutocracy, not all that different in a good deal of its behavior from East Germany’s old Stasi.

The founder of the FBI, the man whose name is still up in large metallic letters on the FBI headquarters building in Washington, had a personal career of bending and intimidating legislators regularly with material from his “personal and confidential” files. He also worked cheerfully with a truly crooked President like Lyndon Johnson to dig up dirt on opponents.

It was J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI that did all of the investigating for the Warren Commission’s shabby report. Solid evidence often was discarded, weak evidence emphasized, testimony altered, and the conclusion of the report existed from the first hour in Hoover’s head.

Hoover was pretty much in bed with the Mafia, or at least badly compromised by it. The Mafia is said to have had Jeffrey Epstein-type compromising photos of closet-gay and cross-dresser Hoover. He never pursued the Mafia with vigor when it really started to grow to power during Prohibition and into the 1960s with other revenue sources.

He always busied himself with the virtually non-existent threat of communism inside America, a country where people have always shown little interest in left-wing ideology.

You may enjoy these:

https://chuckmanwords.wordpress.com/2009/05/26/the-dreadful-record-of-the-fbi/

https://chuckmanwordsincomments.wordpress.com/2019/01/23/john-chuckman-comment-on-re-opening-the-kennedy-assassination-investigation-why-it-would-be-a-waste-of-time-the-nature-of-truth-where-empire-or-great-power-is-involved-some-truth-about-the-fbi/

https://chuckmanwordsincomments.wordpress.com/2017/08/23/john-chuckman-comment-shameful-effort-by-the-fbi-to-drag-americans-back-into-the-cold-war/

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: "WE HAVE MET THE ENEMY AND HE IS US" - A NEW PARLIAMENTARY COMMITTEE IN CANADA IS TO LOOK INTO THE COUNTRY'S TROUBLED RELATIONS WITH CHINA - BUT YOU DON'T NEED A COMMITTEE - YOU JUST NEED TO OPEN YOUR EYES - JUSTIN TRUDEAU'S SERVILITY TO TRUMP EXPLAINS THE SITUATION COMPLETELY

John Chuckman


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN CBC NEWS


"Special Canada-China committee to hold first meeting in Ottawa"

“A new special parliamentary committee created to examine Canada's fraught relationship with China will hold its first meeting today in Ottawa”


You really do not need a committee to understand the situation. Just open your eyes and look.

We’ve sadly followed Trump's foreign policies in many details, right up to willingly turning our excellent relations with China into a Northern Front in his war on China’s trade and influence.

We needlessly arrested a senior corporate executive, part of America's assault on Huawei. It was the equivalent of someone's arresting the head of Microsoft or Apple. This could have been avoided several ways, but our government chose not to do so.

We sailed a destroyer through the Taiwan Strait as though we were part of the American Navy. Anyone with the slightest knowledge of China knows that kind of behavior is openly insulting.

Trump's America means to be openly insulting, but does that mean Canada has to join the ugly mob?

Those critical decisions were made by Justin Trudeau and Chrystia Freeland, politicians who also have echoed negative Trump rhetoric about China many times, when in fact we've never had any reason not to keep on the best of terms with that great nation.

In the words of a famous old political cartoon character, Pogo, “We have met the enemy and he is us”

_______________________

Response to a comment saying, “The sooner we can wean ourselves off any dependence on China, the better”

Why do you say that?

First, we do not "depend" on China. We trade with them, and we are a trading nation.

Second, China is a great nation, one with an even greater future. Its New Silk Road is the greatest economic and trade project on earth, and it will offer immense future opportunities.

Why would anyone behave so foolishly towards them as you suggest?

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: TRUMP'S STUNNING LINE OF DEFENSE IN THE IMPEACHMENT TRIAL

John Chuckman


COMMENT ON TRUMP’S IMPEACHMENT DEFENSE


Trump’s line of defense in the impeachment trial has been summarized now as “abuse of power is not impeachable.”

Good God, what has America come to?

Sunday, January 19, 2020

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: BORIS JOHNSON ORDERS TALKS FOR AN AMERICAN TRADE DEAL WITH TRUMP TO BEGIN DAY AFTER BREXIT - BRITAIN IS GOING TO PAY A SERIOUS PRICE - LEAVING THE EU, ESPECIALLY NOW, IS FOOLISH - WHERE THE UNITED STATES IS RIGHT NOW - THE NARCISSISTIC NATURE OF ALL TRADE TALKS WITH TRUMP

John Chuckman


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY LIZZY BUCHAN IN THE INDEPENDENT


“Brexit: Boris Johnson orders Trump trade talks to begin the day after UK leaves the EU”


This is where Britain is going to pay a serious price, negotiating a trade agreement with Trump.

It doesn't matter whether Boris Johnson gets along well with Trump or not.

Trump craps on friend and foe alike. On his work associates and even on his spouse.

Trump is completely about Trump, and every trade issue everywhere is about Trump being seen to have come out on top.

He is the most complete narcissist I can recall. He also has a large streak of really ugly ideology.

And his beliefs and practices are not fully rational, as he has demonstrated a number of times, as in just suddenly ripping up the Iran nuclear agreement or the INF Treaty or in assassinating another country’s national hero.

He has no respect for rule of law, and literally shows contempt for international order – i.e., the WTO, the ICC, the ICJ, the UN, UNESCO, OPCW, etc.

And please note, Britain leaves the EU and seeks closer connection with the US right at a time of its increasing general aggressiveness and efforts to dominate.

That includes Republicans and Democrats alike, Trump only being the loudest and ugliest of them. They all recognize and fear America’s relative decline over decades. America is simply not competitive at many things and has been overtaken by rising countries who are competitive. It was also spoiled by so many easy, golden years in the postwar period. It has a serious attitude problem.

So, we have its new Pentagon slogan about “full-spectrum dominance,” which is just a charming thing to go around muttering. America simply is going to attempt muscling its way into getting what it wants from others. It really believes it can fight and bully its way to restoring the “American Dream,” which is, of course, complete nonsense.

In the attempt, America is going to increase instability, insecurity, and uncertainty in the world. Combined with the country’s lack of respect for rule of law, it promises to make for dangerous times ahead.

It is a bad time to be leaving a huge organization like the EU and attaching your hopes to America. America is simply not what it once was, in both its competitiveness and its ethics.

The EU has failed in a number of ways, but it has in great part been very successful, as in delivering increased prosperity, and countries still queue up to join. It has more potential still, and it is not in the business of starting wars and trying to tell everyone else what to do.

Those last two activities have become almost a full-time occupation for America.
_________________

Response to a comment saying, “The US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention reports an average of 420 deaths a year in the US from salmonella.  Figures from the UK show no deaths in recent years. Question for Brexiters.  Are you happy to introduce US food-borne illness rates to the UK?”

Good point.

And there are a lot of other comparable ones.

America is a society with a deep gut dislike of regulation.

And, look out, National Health Service!

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: BORIS JOHNSON THROWS AWAY A CHANCE TO IMPROVE RELATIONS WITH RUSSIA - RESUSCITATING THERESA MAY'S IMPOSSIBLY SICK FANTASY OF A "SALISBURY ATTACK" OR "SKRIPAL AFFAIR" - AND DEMONSTRATING JUST HOW SUBSERVIENT BRITISH LEADERS ARE NOW TO THE WHIMS OF THE UNITED STATES

John Chuckman


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY CONRAD DUNCAN IN THE INDEPENDENT


"Boris Johnson tells Putin there will be no normalisation of UK-Russia relationship..."

“Prime minister warns Russian leader that Salisbury attack ‘must not be repeated’”


It's a pity and very short-sighted.

And, of course, it's just blindly doing what the US wants done, demonizing Russia. British servility over respect for truth.

Salisbury attack? What Salisbury attack? It's based on nothing of substance.

Britain has never provided us with convincing evidence that anything happened other than two people got sick on a bench, and they did so after a lengthy period of time completely at odds with the known effects of nerve agents, which kill in a few minutes, at most.

I have a strong bias for facts and will accept what's proved.

Even if it were to damage the most exemplary world statesman of our time.

But hurling ugly accusations with no evidence only damages the British Prime Ministers doing it, people already recognized for mediocrity and no strong attachment to truth.

All Salisbury has ever been is assertions and scraps of information with no cohesive meaning, and no one has ever been allowed once to interview the “victims.” They’ve been made to disappear, itself a rather ominous fact. The claims of the Skripal Affair are as convincing as Theresa May’s long-winded and tedious efforts with the EU.

https://chuckmanwordsincomments.wordpress.com/2019/07/22/john-chuckman-comment-interesting-new-fact-on-salisbury-englands-skripal-affair-why-the-official-british-version-is-false-it-has-has-never-met-the-test-of-reason/

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: IS IT JUST THE SILLY SEASON OR AM I BECOMING SENILE? - MEGHAN AND HARRY AGAIN - NO, I THINK I JUST LIKE THE CHANCE TO SORT THE REALITIES OF CHARACTERS AND CLAIMS HERE MUCH AS I DO FOR STATESMEN - AND I FIND A LOT OF PHONY CLAIMS AND DISINFORMATION IN THIS STORY - HARRY TELLS PEOPLE HOW HE FEELS ABOUT WHAT HAS HAPPENED - BUT JUST WHAT HAS HAPPENED? - MY INTERPRETATION OF EVENTS WHICH ARE BEING PORTRAYED VERY DIFFERENTLY

John Chuckman


COMMENTS POSTED TO AN ARTICLE ON CBC NEWS


“U.K. still home despite plans to spend time in Canada with wife Meghan, he says”

"Prince Harry says he's saddened by move to step back, but wants 'more peaceful life'"


Translation: He had to do something to end Meghan's moods and anger at home about "how she was being treated."

Poor Harry.

She's an extraordinarily beautiful woman, but all the evidence of her brief time on stage points to a touchy and difficult temperament.

Smiles before the camera. Something very different when the camera is gone and she is not pleased about something.

She brought tensions to the family, even tears - future Queen Consort Kate, a charming woman, is reported to have been reduced to tears by Meghan on at least one occasion.

And this is not a family given to strong expressions of emotion, so Meghan would automatically feel alone or isolated, causing her to lean on and expect more support from Harry.

Meghan is an intensely ambitious woman who thought she wanted to be a Duchess, until she discovered what's really involved.

Given the way she smiles for the cameras, flicking instantly on like a light bulb when they are pointed at her, I'm pretty sure her vanity loves press attention, but she thinks she's entitled to receive only the part she regards as positive.

When she found that’s not the way it works and even more when she discovered herself at the center of numerous family conflicts, she picked up her marbles, tossed her tiara, and headed (almost) home.
__________________________

A comment below asks: "What's Harry going to do when the princess leaves him?"

An astute observation. Yes, indeed, and I think that's guaranteed in the not too-distant future.

She's so temperamental and ambitious, and she's done the "Duchess thing" now. It's old history.

And of course, she'll want to return to the United States at some point.

She has by far the best chance of the two at making money in some kind of career.

I've actually always regarded Harry as a bit slow.

The story here is really not about the press, it's about a strong temperamental woman who wanted something desperately, until she actually experienced it for a short while.

I think there can be little doubt she'll want to return to the US because most Americans never quite like other places the way they do good old America.

And Harry is saying Britain is still home. I can't imagine Meghan going back to the UK, even for a visit. She literally ran away.

Harry is going to very much miss his "job" of walking about in uniform, smiling to grateful Royal-watcher crowds. He was pretty good at it, and it's hard to imagine much else he would be good at.

Saturday, January 18, 2020

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: IMPEACHMENT CALLED "A MALICIOUS INDICTMENT" - TIRESOME INCORRECT STUFF FROM THE RIGHT WING - AND TRUMP HAS COMMITTED SO MANY CRIMES AND STUPIDITIES NOW THAT GETTING RID OF HIM WOULD RAISE AMERICA'S STATURE

John Chuckman


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY PAT BUCHANAN IN THE UNZ REVIEW


“A Malicious Indictment Mitch Should Toss Out” [the impeachment]


Tiresome stuff, Mr. Buchanan.

Trump has committed so many stupidities and crimes – including now, assassination of a foreign leader in return for big campaign contributions – that almost any excuse to get rid of him would raise the stature of the United States.

Anyway, while the indictment represents far from the worst he’s done, it is valid. His behavior was wrong.

I doubt he’ll be convicted, but, who knows, we could just get lucky?

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: AMERICA IS REDUCED TO OFFICIAL STATE MURDER IN RETURN FOR CAMPAIGN FUNDING

John Chuckman


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY PHILIP WEISS IN MONDOWEISS


"ADL lies about me so as to shut down discussion of Israel’s role in Soleimani killing”


There can be little question about Trump's motives.

It is reported this morning in the mainline press that Trump bragged about the killing to a crowd at a big fundraising dinner.

Just sick, official state murder for campaign donations.

That's what America is reduced to.

Friday, January 17, 2020

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: MUHAMMAD ALI - A GENUINE HERO

John Chuckman


COMMENT TO AN ARTICLE BY STEVE BUNCE IN THE INDEPENDENT


“Cassius Clay vs Sonny Liston: The amazing night Muhammad Ali became champion of the world

“On what would have been Muhammad Ali’s 78th birthday, reflections on  the night Cassius Clay announced himself on the world stage”


I met Ali once, in Vancouver in 1971.

A charming man and someone I admired greatly.

I regret not telling him why I so admired him.

It wasn’t about boxing.

It was about his courage in standing up to the American establishment over its holocaust in Vietnam (3 million killed).

He paid a serious price, being deprived of earning his living in his prime.

He was a genuine hero, the kind we so rarely see.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: CAN YOU IMAGINE THE LARGE AND FRANTIC BUREAUCRACY REQUIRED FOR TRUMP'S ONGOING SANCTIONS LUNACY ? - AND DEFINING THE REAL DIFFERENCES BETWEEN AMERICA'S DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS - CONSEQUENCES OF EMPIRE

John Chuckman


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY BEN NORTON IN CONSORTIUM NEWS


“Under US Pressure, Social Media Companies Suspend Venezuelan, Iranian & Syrian Accounts

“Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are censoring content that conflicts with Washington’s pro-war narrative”


Can you even imagine the large and frantic bureaucracy Trump has created just to dream up, explore, implement, and review sanctions of a hundred different kinds for a hundred different countries?

It truly represents a form of public lunacy, besides an immense waste.

I regard it as dramatic evidence of America's decline in meaning, quite apart from its decline in economics and in ethics.

_________________________

Response to a comment asking, "How many distinctions are left between parties in our system?"

When it comes to empire, with its trillion-a-year military/security establishment, the answer is "none."

And it's been that way a very long time, something remarkably few Americans seem to appreciate.

The Democrats can go on and on debating this or that social program, but with the country focused on empire and spending a trillion borrowed dollars a year on it, the debates are literally a political game show. There's no possibility of enacting significant social legislation of any description.

Apart from the hot air blown over proposals for social programs, when it comes to war and empire, the Democrats are indistinguishable from Republicans.

Indeed, the Party has given the world some full-time killer Presidents in Lyndon Johnson and Barack Obama.

Even progressive politicians like Sanders or Warren never really question how a free society can have a Pentagon and a CIA and an FBI and an NSA and engage in endless wars and coups.

Any politician who does raise that absolutely fundamental matter, such as Tulsi Gabbard, is simply ignored by the Party hierarchy and by the country’s corporate press.

The work for empire is very rewarding for the elites committing their talents to it, and to hell with the rest of the people.

The country is governed by and for plutocratic empire and its establishment servants.

You really do not have a country when you have an empire. And you certainly do not have a democracy.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: A RATHER LIGHT AND FLUFFY SUBJECT BUT ONE TOUCHING SOME IMPORTANT PRINCIPLES - MEGHAN AND HARRY COMING TO LIVE IN CANADA - CANADA'S RELATIONSHIP WITH BRITAIN AND THE CROWN'S ROLE IN CANADA'S GOVERNMENT - NO ROOM FOR RESIDENT ROYALS

John Chuckman


COMMENT ON MEGHAN AND HARRY COMING TO LIVE IN CANADA


I tend to agree with a good part of an editorial view published in Canada’s Globe and Mail newspaper about Meghan and Harry and their plans for living in Canada.

Canada has no aristocracy, and while it retains an attachment to the British Crown, as do a number of Commonwealth countries, the attachment is rather special in nature, involving no resident royalty. The country’s Governor-General, who represents the Crown, is always a Canadian appointed for a limited term.

There is also something almost demeaning in the notion that a Prince and a Duchess without enough to do back home can be shipped off to Canada until everyone figures out what their future roles are going to be.

And that does appear to be the couple’s situation, that they wanted for some time different kinds of duties than the ones they were doing, ones opening them to less press criticism, which I believe is especially upsetting to Meghan’s fairly volatile personality, and nothing yet has happened.

Meghan and Harry, as private citizens, would be welcome.

As Royals, they might be welcome for a formal tour or visit.

But they are not welcome coming to live as Royals, either as full-time Royals trying to figure out their future roles or coming under some kind of confusing concept such as part-time Royals.

It is rather patronizing that two highly privileged people think they can now both retain their privileges and live as private people, doing so in a country of which neither is a citizen.

And a great many Canadians would agree that a half-million dollar a year bill for security is completely out of order.

The very fact that they intend to try seems to me a confession of the confusion I have always associated with Harry, a man who has long appeared to have inherited his mother’s unbalanced psychological tendencies, which, despite her charm and beauty, were evident from many reports and anecdotes. They were the very tendencies that drove her to her death. Diana's family, the Spencers, has a history.

Harry’s record of unbalanced behavior is briefly highlighted here with images:

https://chuckmangrotesques.blogspot.com/2013/01/harry-is-prince-mad-he-does-have.html



NOTE ON FURTHER DEVELOPMENT

“Prince Harry and Meghan will give up royal titles, public funding
“Statement from Buckingham Palace says Sussexes also want to repay cost of Frogmore Cottage refurbishment”

If the report is accurate, and they give up the titles and public money, that settles my issues for residence in Canada.

The matter of security costs is unclear, but Canadians should not be paying them.

The couple already is being granted many privileges. For instance, they did not have to go through the same process other would-be immigrants must go through. They are being allowed to gracefully jump the queue.

I am glad they are going to repay the Queen for Frogmore Cottage.

She gave that charming place to them as a gift, and just before all this business about quitting broke, the Queen was apparently unhappily surprised to learn they had spent a few million, and not from their own funds, on renovations.

The costly renovations not long before leaving do further suggest issues of judgment and stability.


Thursday, January 16, 2020

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: CANADA'S TRUDEAU GOVERNMENT CONTINUES ITS SHAMELESS SHILLING FOR TRUMP - NOW CALLING FOR A SEPARATE "CRIMINAL" INVESTIGATION OF THE CRASH OF UKRAINE INTERNATIONAL AIRLINES FLIGHT 752 IN IRAN - THIS HAS NOT BEEN THE PRACTICE FOR MILITARY DOWNINGS OF CIVILIAN AIRLINERS INCLUDING SEVERAL BY THE UNITED STATES AND ONE BY ISRAEL - IT IS A DISTRACTION FROM TRUMP'S 35 PUBLIC MURDERS IN IRAQ, THE CAUSE OF ALL THE INTENSE NEW HOSTILITIES

John Chuckman


EXPANSION OF COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN CBC NEWS


“Canada calls for an independent criminal investigation into Flight PS752 crash

“Foreign Minister Champagne is in London today meeting with Ukraine, Sweden, Afghanistan and U.K. representatives”


Calling for an independent "criminal" investigation here is totally inappropriate.

We didn't call for that in the many other cases involving militaries and the loss of civilian airliners, including several by the United States' military and one by Israel's.

This represents rather shameful service to Trump's war-like White House, but then that has been a notable and consistent feature of Trudeau's government, supporting the Trump White House in foreign affairs.

Iran very much is sorry for what happened and is taking all reasonable steps. It has given the black-box data to other interested parties, including Canada.

It would be nice to see some understanding here instead of an effort to whip-up the mob.

It sure ain't Iran who started all the hostilities in the region.

And this event serves nicely to detract from the fact that the United States publicly murdered 35 people in Iraq, including Iran's General Soleimani, in the weeks previous. Talk about criminal acts.
_____________________

THIS ADDITIONAL COMMENT WAS REMOVED BY AN EDITOR

Here is something readers should find extremely interesting.

It is written by a former CIA senior analyst.

https://www.unz.com/pgiraldi/who-targeted-ukraine-airlines-flight-752-iran-shot-it-down-but-there-may-be-more-to-the-story/#comment-3664167

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: A FASCINATING SUGGESTION CONCERNING THE DESTRUCTION OF UKRAINE INTERNATIONAL AIRLINES FLIGHT 752 IN IRAN - DID AMERICAN CYBER-WARFARE PLAY A ROLE?

John Chuckman


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY PHILIP GIRALDI IN THE UNZ REVIEW


“Who Targeted Ukraine Airlines Flight 752? Iran Shot It Down but There May be More to the Story”


https://www.unz.com/pgiraldi/who-targeted-ukraine-airlines-flight-752-iran-shot-it-down-but-there-may-be-more-to-the-story/#comment-3664167


Just a terrific piece of informed speculation.

Quite plausible.

It suggests, too, as with the turning off of everyone’s electricity in Venezuela, how powerful and dangerous cyber-warfare can be.

And secretive. Certainly, something which appeals to an imperial power which has long used all kinds of proxies and false-flag operations, the United States.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: AMERICAN DEMOCRACY LOOKING MORE THREADBARE AND MEAGRE THAN EVER - THE IMPOVERISHED FIELD OF DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATES - FOCUS ON JOE BIDEN'S RECORD OF LYING AND SLEAZE - DEMOCRATS SUPPORT WARS AND COUPS AND SPECIAL INTERESTS JUST LIKE TRUMP - TRUMP'S SITUATION SUMMED UP

John Chuckman


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY SAM HUSSEINI IN CONSORTIUM NEWS


“Biden Has Been Lying About His Record on Iraq for Years

“Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his surrogates such as former Secretary of State John Kerry continue to falsely claim that he did not favor the Iraq invasion”


Biden has always been a pretty sleazy operator. And not just in his lying about his enthusiasm for invading Iraq. Look back at his record as Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee in the matter of Anita Hill’s charges about a Supreme Court nominee. Shabby.

He consistently supported wars and coups through his career. He worked closely with Obama on carrying some of them out. He served as Obama’s proconsul in Ukraine for a coup against an elected government, and appears to have gained financially from the work.

All the wars and coups, of course, involve deceit about what is actually taking place. So, he’s had a lot of practice with avoiding truth.

Biden is credited with helping convince Obama to start America’s extrajudicial killing industry. A hi-tech update of the old Argentine Junta’s “disappearing” people by the thousands without any charge or trial or defense. Now, a nameless operator sits at a screen playing computer games with real human beings.

Remember, he received the Medal of Freedom from Obama – that’s Obama of the jocular statement, “Hey, I’m pretty good at this killing stuff!” - and you don’t get that award without doing some seriously dirty work for America’s empire. Just ask Madeline Albright.

Somehow, Biden’s smile and folksy way of talking fool a lot of people.

Same phenomenon we saw with Obama.
___________________

Response to a comment saying, “Trump will be laughing his head off if Biden is the nominee”

Unless external events intervene – real possibilities include economic collapse or war with Iran – Trump will likely be re-elected. He's the devil they know, and he has many bamboozled into thinking he has achieved something. It is not hard to bamboozle large portions of America, the land of P. T. Barnum and Hollywood and Madison Avenue. If the impeachment fails, as seems likely, he will have come through an ordeal, gaining some sympathy and receiving, as it were, the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval.

News services are so manipulated in the United States that most people have no real understanding of what is going on in the world. A war might even help Trump if enough people believe Iran is evil and a threat to dear old America, and that he is there with his absurdly posed faces and bellowing to protect them. Americans have heard the claim that Iran is somehow malign repeated in the press in one form or another for forty years, and you would not find any Democratic candidate saying otherwise for fear of losing special-interest campaign funding.

Money replaces information in telling your story and getting it “out there.” Always remembering that owing to America’s antiquated, anti-democratic Electoral College system, only some people in certain marginal or swing locations need to be convinced of any such story. Those places receive intense campaigns of market research and polls and then advertising regurgitating what the polls say people want to hear. You can win with a minority, as Trump did in 2016 and as George Bush did in 2000. Trump, by virtue of his various services to special interests, some in complete violation of international law, will have the mother lode of cash.

The Democrats just do not have good material on offer. No spark. No heroism. Dull establishment views.

Bernie Sanders has his strong points, but he is old, has had a heart attack, and showed serious weakness vis-a-vis Hillary Clinton and her theft of the nomination in 2016.

Tulsi Gabbard, a really promising politician, is simply ignored by the Democratic establishment and the press.

It really doesn’t matter which of the candidates wins. They are all married to the Pentagon and war and empire, and with the United States spending about a trillion dollars a year, of borrowed money, for the military/security establishment, no social program of any consequence can possibly be enacted.

All the leading Democratic candidates worship at the altar of the Pentagon and CIA and special interests in the Middle East, just as Trump does.

American “democracy” is looking more threadbare and meagre than ever.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: HOW WORDS ARE USED IN OUR NEWS SOURCES TO GIVE IMPRESSIONS THAT MAY NOT BE ACCURATE - A NOTE ON THE PERNICIOUS AND WIDESPREAD PRACTICE OF "FACT CHECKING"

John Chuckman


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY THOMAS DAIGLE ON CBC NEWS


“Toronto-based fact-checking site tries to loosen Iranian regime's grip on the truth

“FactNameh purports to reach 1 million Iranians”


“Iranian regime”? Why are you using that term?

It is the Iranian government.

Its president is elected. Very much so. The Leader is not, but he serves a role similar to the British Queen in many ways.

Use of the word "regime" in any news source is always a signal that what follows is propaganda.

Please note that you do not use the term "Saudi regime" despite its being a genuine tyranny. Nor do you call the British government serving the unelected Elizabeth II a regime.

Poor work, CBC, but then you've been rather active in promoting America's line on Iran, the line our Prime Minister embraces and promotes. A Prime Minister, by the way, elected by just less than one-third of voters.

And note the claim of reaching one million Iranians, even if true, is actually a pretty small one. That’s slightly more than one-percent of the population of the country.

I'll add the thought that the term "fact checking," used virtually anywhere in media is an inappropriate claim. It not only often represents pretensions by people not qualified by their hard knowledge, but more generally it represents a mechanism for persuasion - that is to say, propaganda.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: IF IT'S TRUE PUTIN'S BIG NEW REFORMS IN THE GOVERNMENT OF RUSSIA ARE ABOUT HIS BEING ABLE TO HOLD ONTO POWER LONGER, THAT MIGHT NOT BE SUCH A BAD IDEA - HE REPRESENTS AN IMPORTANT FORCE FOR GEO-POLITICAL SANITY IN OUR WORLD

John Chuckman


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE ON CBC NEWS


"Putin announces constitutional reform in possible bid to hold onto power indefinitely"


If we had a guy with Putin's demonstrated talents - well informed, sound judgment, high intelligence, pragmatism, farsightedness, superb statesmanship - I'd want him to remain in power indefinitely too.

Look what our forms of election have given us in "the West": Donald Trump, Boris Johnson, Emmanuel Macron, and Justin Trudeau. Not a serious leader in the bunch.

Not only is there not a serious leader in the bunch, but there are a couple of genuinely dangerous, reckless ones.

I am exaggerating about wanting anyone to stay indefinitely, of course, but just barely, and my basic points are valid. Putin represents an important force for geo-political sanity in our world.

Note that the ultimate intent of Putin's dramatic reforms is not so clear as this article suggests. We'll have to wait and see, but I am confident that this remarkable man would do nothing to harm the interests of his country, including its interests after he is gone.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: HOW TO RUN A ONCE-GREAT COMPANY INTO THE GROUND...OR EVEN AN ENTIRE COUNTRY

John Chuckman


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY MIKE SHEDLOCK IN CHECKPOINT ASIA


“Orders at Boeing Drop to a 16-Year Low, Making a Trump War on Airbus That Much More Likely

“Another excuse for Trump to expand economic conflict onto Euro-poodle ‘allies’”


How to run a once-great company into the ground.

Cutting corners and lying…and ending with causing many deaths.

You might say that's the story for the entire United States in its activities abroad.

Cutting corners and lying…and ending with causing many deaths.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: IRAN'S ACCIDENTAL DOWNING OF AN AIRLINER - WE ALREADY DO KNOW WHAT HAPPENED - AND THE ONE PERSON WHO SHOULD BE CHARGED, DONALD TRUMP, CERTAINLY WILL NOT BE - ETHICS AND THE RULE OF LAW SHOULD STILL MATTER - BUT NOT TO OUR POLITICIANS SHILLING FOR TRUMP AND LYING ABOUT IRAN - WHAT KIND OF A WORLD DO YOU WANT FOR YOUR CHILDREN? - CALLS FOR PUNISHING IRAN IGNORE THE BIG TRUTHS AND IGNORE HOW PAST AIRLINER SHOOTDOWNS BY AMERICA AND ISRAEL WERE TREATED

John Chuckman


EXPANSION OF COMMENTS POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN CBC NEWS


“Iran says some arrests made for downing of Ukrainian plane, but gives no details”


A comment below speaks of a "mistake" (in quotes to express doubt or contempt for Iran’s explanation) and of our never being able to learn what happened.

That is simply incorrect.

It already is known, and in some detail. It involved a communication-connection error with an officer in charge of a missile battery some distance from others.

Of course, everyone was under great pressure from constant American threats, and there were reports of American cruise missiles being launched.

Given the height and speed of the airliner at the moment, its radar signature on the remote unit’s radar, not at all the latest technology, resembled that of a cruise missile.

The reports had to be treated seriously, and split-second decisions had to be made.

After all, the United States had just used missiles to kill 35 people, including Iran’s General Soleimani, in Iraq in the previous few weeks.

Ultimately, only one person is responsible for all of it. His name is Donald Trump, and he busies himself with threats and violent acts against a nation which has attacked no one in its modern history and is known by all experts to have followed scrupulously its nuclear treaty obligations, the treaty Trump just suddenly one day decided to rip-up.

But our politicians never address the matter fairly or accurately. They are all under Washington’s thumb and shill for Trump, some even asking for further hostile measures against Iran.

It is a shameful situation for Canada to be in.

What kind of a country do you want for your children?

Ethics matter, or why does anyone bother go to church or synagogue to pray and read scripture?

And the rule of law matters. In these matters, Trump has been in complete contempt of the rule of law.

Trump is given a free hand by our politicians to commit murder in public. And to make vicious threats, day after day. Please remember that in ordinary civil society, uttering serious threats can put you into prison.

If Trump’s vicious activities don’t cause our government to speak up, what would?

Certainly not the bloody terrors of Saudi Arabia, courtesy of Trump’s good pal, the Crown Prince. Our government says nothing about his murder, executions and bombing of civilians. Nothing.

We have constructed a society with all kinds of barriers against ethics, and we have learned nothing from the bloody horrors of the past.

All the hypocrisy towards Iran, charging it with crimes it has not committed, makes our ethics and respect for rule of law devoid of meaning.
_______________________

"Iran says some arrests made for downing of Ukrainian plane"

There really is only one arrest that should be made.

Complete responsibility for this mistake made under the threats and pressures of war, as well as for related violent events, is Donald Trump's alone.

It is of course a sign of Canada’s now close-to complete subservience to Trump's White House that this indisputable truth is not heard.

Harry Truman famously said, “The buck stops here,” a reference to the expression, “passing the buck”, but that sense of responsibility is totally ignored by Trump. Instead, a steady line of new lies and tales are spun daily to justify what cannot be justified.

And our guys just go along.

_______________________

Response to a comment about there being no justice after Iran’s downing of an airliner:

Please.

Where was the justice when the United States shot down Iran Air Flight 655, killing 290 Iranians above the Strait of Hormuz, Iran’s own territorial waters, in 1988?

The captain of the American warship that downed that airliner was even awarded a medal.

Or where was the justice when Israel sent 114 people aboard an airliner - Libyan Arab Airlines Flight 114 - to their deaths in 1973 over the Sinai?

A known, clearly marked airliner, trying to return to Cairo, was downed by two Israeli fighters. There were no repercussions at all for Israel.

Monday, January 13, 2020

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: ON THE NATURE OF TRUMP'S LEADERSHIP AND OF HIS FOLLOWERS - SOME ASPECTS OF AMERICAN SOCIETY PERHAPS NOT WIDELY UNDERSTOOD

John Chuckman


COMMENT – ON THE NATURE OF TRUMP’S LEADERSHIP AND OF HIS FOLLOWERS

Donald Trump is something new to the American presidency. In style and language, he is the first president from Dogpatch, the fictional home of the old Sunday newspaper comics character, Li'l Abner. It is remarkable for a man who seems also to like dress-up occasions with tuxedos or tails and resorts and mansions, but there is just no denying the identifiable mindset and attitudes. It’s the Beverly Hillbillies living in an expensive Fifth Avenue apartment.

A Trump political base supporter has many Dogpatch qualities, especially in wanting little to do with international arrangements of any kind, except bombing, or real progress which necessarily entails uncomfortable change. The attitudes towards foreigners and minorities are what you’d find in Dogpatch, as well as the conviction that much of that ugly world out there just wants to take things from Americans.

Trump understands all of that in his gut. He is not thoughtful or at all intellectual or analytical, but he has the animal cunning and instinctive understanding of a high predator.

When Trump showily hugs a big, thick, satiny American flag to his cheek, posing for a photo with a slightly crazed smile as though he were under the spell of a drug or a sensuous woman, he’s providing a kind of American patriotic parody of a Russian Orthodox Church icon. That flag, for those Americans, hugged that way, captures their constellation of beliefs and dislikes, including providing a symbol of their home team ready to take on all foreigners. It absolutely does not represent rule of law, democratic values, and close regard for human rights.

Emerson wrote of most men “living lives of quiet desperation,” and I think there’s much truth in that, but I believe confusion is the state of a good portion of humanity, more than many people would care to admit. And Trump’s crowd is confused. That’s one of the reasons his supporters are so enthusiastic about him. He is confused, quite apparently about a good many things, and that makes a kind of brotherhood bond.

As does the fact that he refuses to admit to ever having any confusion, insisting on just stomping his feet and charging ahead like a bull. Confidence. Leadership. At least what his crowd understands as leadership.

Part of the confusion we see fairly widely in America represents a lack of critical education. America’s public-school system is risk-averse and politically extremely touchy. It has little tolerance for the kind of educators who impart genuine critical thinking.

Part of the confusion represents irrationality, mental imbalance, forms and shades of madness, conditions remarkably common in people. Think about all our biases and prejudices and fears, think about our superstitions, our religions, our politics, think of all our violent crimes and senseless vandalism, and you may agree with me that we are much less rational than we credit ourselves with being.

Trump’s supporters recognize their qualities reflected in him. Trump is not a man who reads, at all, and he is not a man to listen patiently to experts. He is in fact an extremely impatient man. Those, too, are defining characteristics for a goodly portion of America’s people, and he is their man. Expressions like, “He don’t take no guff!” and “She thinks her sh-t don’t stink!” are ones I’ve heard repeated many times through my life. They are “as American as cherry pie.”

Great leaders, and Trump is anything but, do not necessarily mirror the nature of their followers. Instead they are able to fashion a set of actions and policies with which many can identify or take pride in at least some portion. Putin is a very good example. I don’t think a great many Russians resemble him. He is an exceptional person in many qualities, but he is able to construct a program, parts of which most Russians can identify with and take pride in. That is sophisticated leadership. What Trump offers is more along the lines of nativism and tribalism.

Many years ago, journalist Tom Wicker wrote a book about Richard Nixon called “One of Us,” and that phrase captures what the people of Trump’s political base see in him. Never mind the wealthy status and resorts and tuxes and endless rounds of golf, he is one of us. That makes for a strong bond, such people relishing Trump’s exalted status combined with the crude way he enjoys it, a kind of bringing things down to their level, the kind of thing some old comedy teams, such as the Marx Brothers, used to do in movies.

No high-falutin airs. Likes watching television and eating hamburgers. Often believes he’s done something when he hasn’t, reminding one of that old American architype, the gracious and gentile Southern Colonel who in fact never was a Colonel.

Trump’s always ready with a new outpouring of words to defend what he has done badly. Never at a loss for words even when the words contradict what he’s already said. Confusion. Irrationality. “Bull sh-t baffles brains,” another phrase once commonly heard in America.

The confusion of people who would never think of taking “the Lord’s name in vain” supporting a man who does so regularly. The confusion of people who like wars and anything where America gets to come out on top supporting a man who avoided military service through a feeble excuse, a college basketball player incapacitated by heel spurs?

The confusion of people who for the most part do not like people who are not like themselves, as say, Muslims or Mexicans or Chinese. There’s no denying it, various strains of racism have always been part of the American social-political fabric, likely originating both in the long-lived institution of slavery and in the brutal wars on indigenous people that came with the long westward expansion. Related also are America’s Mexican and Spanish wars and hostilities and acts for limiting or preventing Chinese migration to the West Coast.

Perhaps, too, the great waves of earlier migration, mainly from poor parts of Europe, brought the prejudices of many different peoples, for it is fundamental part of human nature to have prejudices. Prejudice is not the property of any one people. It is society’s job to control its possible effects and to enforce fairness, but it cannot make prejudice go away. A President or any high official who gives off a sense of indulging prejudice, as Trump does even if he isn’t personally acting on it, is working against the proper duty of government. Some of Trump’s people love him for that.

Americans are people with a lot of resentments and anger. You can feel the anger in American society in many places just by walking around on the streets. Hard to get a good job and keep it. Hard to earn enough to have the things an American thinks he should have. It’s been like that while, for a good many years since the blindly happy days of “the American Dream.” It is, of course, just a symptom of America’s relative economic decline in the world. And whatever Trump says, fantasizing for his political supporters, there is little to be done for that but hard work and sacrifice and investment for the future.

But that hardly provides an attractive, snappy political program. Far more appealing are fantasies, like MAGA, and bellowing aggression towards those who are doing well because they do understand those principles, like the Chinese. And so much more readily embraced when the opponent is different. Differences enable people to visualize hatreds, much like statues of demons on Cathedrals.

It wouldn’t occur to many that all that borrowed money spent on the Pentagon and foreign wars could have been spent instead on the homeland equivalent of China’s New Silk Road, vast infrastructure improvements that would generate jobs for many years to come, improve the nation’s future competitiveness, and at least leave things of worth behind when the inevitable time comes to pay the bills for all the borrowing. But that’s just not the way most Americans were raised to think.

In reality, their political system makes it almost impossible for Americans to choose such a path. As I’ve explained elsewhere, the Pentagon and security services serve empire, and empire serves the establishment and the plutocracy. It generates careers and wealth for all the participants, and it’s just too bad for everyone else. The political system isn’t structured for change. No one with power wants change. And Trump’s delusions about grabbing from the rest of the world and giving it to Americans represents a one-way trip to nowhere. It represents, in effect, a continuation with new rhetoric and raises the risks of war and conflict along the way, but, of course, that’s music to the ears of much of the establishment.

No, the Pentagon is regarded much like the photo of Trump hugging the flag. A holy icon. It has been brainwashed into the society.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: IRAN APOLOGIZED FOR ITS TERRIBLE MISTAKE - HOW DID THE UNITED STATES BEHAVE AFTER IT DESTROYED AN IRANIAN AIRLINER IN 1988 ? - SUMMARY OF THE IMMENSE PRESSURE THE UNITED STATES HAS PUT IRAN UNDER FOR DOING NOTHING BUT FOLLOWING THE RULES - THE DEATH AND DESTRUCTION TOLL OF AMERICA'S NEOCON WARS IN THE MIDDLE EAST

John Chuckman


COMMENT ON IRAN’S ADMISSION THAT IT ACCIDENTALLY DESTROYED A UKRAINIAN AIRLINER


Iran has apologized for its terrible error, and it did so promptly. And in judging, everyone should keep in mind the terrifying pressure Iran has been put under by the United States (see footnote).

Has America apologized for any of the pain and death and destruction it has inflicted on the Middle East in recent years?

America’s Neocon Wars in the Middle East (2003 – present) have killed something like two million people, destroyed many treasured historic and religious sites, reduced millions to primitive living conditions (eg, to this day, much of Iraq’s electricity, deliberately destroyed by America in its 2003 invasion, still has not been restored), and created so many desperate refugees that Europe’s stability was threatened.

Going back before the Neocon Wars, we have the Iraq-Iran War (1980-88), an extremely bloody war facilitated by the United States to hurt Iran's revolutionary government of 1979. In that war, America shot down an Iranian civilian airliner (Iran Air Flight 655), killing 290 people.

A United States warship, the USS Vincennes, was in Iranian waters of the Strait of Hormuz and fired missiles at the plane, claiming to mistake the airliner, flying a well-established route, for a hostile plane.

The Captain of the American warship was later actually awarded a medal, the Legion of Merit.

The United States absolutely refused to apologize or pay damages for its obvious destruction of a civilian airliner.

It wasn’t until the late 1990s, as the result of a lawsuit, that the United States properly acknowledged what it had done and paid damages to survivors.


WHAT IRAN FACED AT THE TIME OF ITS MISTAKEN DOWNING OF AN AIRLINER – INDEED WHAT IT FACES STILL


Iran has been under constant threat by the Trump White House, and for no good reason since Iran has started no wars in its modern history and is recognized as complying with its treaty obligations.

Trump started by suddenly ripping-up a valid international nuclear agreement, one which had been scrupulously kept for four years. He followed that by imposing war-like sanctions which seriously hurt millions of ordinary people. Iranian assets abroad have been seized, and every effort has been made to disrupt Iran’s economy.

Trump sent fleets of warships and nuclear-capable bombers to intimidate the country. He made many public threats, including the barbaric threat to destroy Iran’s national heritage sites. Trump even once bellowed he would “obliterate” Iran’s eighty million people.

Just before the airliner’s destruction, Trump had committed a set of murders in neighboring Iraq, including the murder of an Iranian national hero, General Qasem Soleimani. Iran had been put on the highest war alert.

Saturday, January 11, 2020

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: MEGHAN AND HARRY - ABOUT AS FAR AS YOU CAN TRAVEL FROM THE WEIGHTY MATTERS OF WORLD AFFAIRS

John Chuckman


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE INDEPENDENT


“Harry and Meghan believe they are being 'driven out' by Buckingham Palace, says friend

“Buckingham Palace denies couple were told they had no part in 'slimmed-down monarchy"


Well, talk about a tempest in a teapot.

It does seem the only forces at work here are the egos of Harry and Meghan.

A slimmed-down Royal Family is appropriate.

And it just follows that the focus should be on those near the top of the succession. After all that is what royalty is about, succession to ruling.

Fewer Royals clomping around and smiling for photos might serve to reduce the empty celebrity status that has so clung to the institution since the time of Diana.

I said "egos," but I think "ego" might be closer to the truth.

Meghan, by all accounts, has a large one. She has caused a lot of friction within the family during her comparatively brief time.

Now, she's off to Canada alone to sulk while Harry has been publicizing what the Queen had asked him to keep quiet.

Poor Harry, not a particularly able or sensible man to start with, is left half torn from both extended family and wife.

Regrettably, the matter of Meghan’s mixed racial heritage keeps being injected into press coverage, but I don’t see that plays any part here.

The idea of trimming back the Royals has been around for decades.

Now that they’re busy having so many kids, maybe it is time to do it.

Most European states who retain monarchies treat them in an entirely different way, less exalted, more like family, and not riding around in heavy gold-gilt coaches.

Family tensions caused by Meghan’s rather high-strung personality have undoubtedly played a part in getting the changes started.

Even with all the Royal Family’s ability to control much of the news about itself, enough has gotten out to give people a pretty vivid picture. Meghan has frequently made life seriously difficult for the future King and Queen, William and Kate. Kate has been reported being reduced to tears.

Why not just trim it all back, once good sturdy, dependable Elizabeth is gone, and join the 21st century?

__________________

Response to a comment on the many stories about Meghan in the Daily Mail:

Not to defend the Daily Mail, a pretty sleazy operation, but Meghan yearned for fame and attention, and she’s got it.

She perhaps only wanted the good part of the attention, but you can’t pick and choose.

If she believes she’s abused, she’s very naive.

Which wouldn’t surprise me at all. Her entire raging ambition to become a Royal does say something of the same thing.

It’s one heck of a meaningless job being a Duchess, and she had to marry Harry to get it. That’s quite a price, as we know from years of exposure to his unbalanced behavior, tantrums, and banal conversation.

Meghan also rates lots of attention because she is so strikingly beautiful. Beauty like that always attracts lots of press.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: THE WAY RELIGIOUS DIVISIONS FLOW OVER INTO POLITICAL AND GEOPOLITICAL DIVISIONS - MUSLIM WORLD NOT UNIQUE - EUROPE'S HISTORY FOR CENTURIES WAS MARKED BY THE CATHOLIC-PROTESTANT DIVISION - AND PEOPLE OFTEN FORGET THAT "THE WEST" IS ABOUT CONTROL OF OTHER PLACES AND DIVISIONS CAN ASSIST IN THE TASK - POSTED TO AN ARTICLE REMINDING THAT MANY MIDDLE EASTERN INFLUENCES LABELLED AS "IRANIAN" ARE REALLY "SHIA"

John Chuckman


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY PATRICK COCKBURN IN THE UNZ REVIEW


“The West Is Still Buying into Nonsense About Iran’s Regional Influence”


I welcome Cockburn’s analysis as a needed corrective to much Western thinking, and I especially like this:

“Much the same nonsense is being uttered today about an Iranian hand being behind anything the west and its allies do not like in the Middle East. When they claim to be targeting Iran, they are in practice targeting the Shia community as a whole – a mistake for which both they and the Shia are likely to pay a high price.”

But I do think many aspects of the Middle East’s religious division are just naturally blurred into politics and geopolitics, and perhaps it is unavoidable.

I regard the Shia-Sunni divide as something akin to the Catholic-Protestant one that dominated Europe from the 16th century.

It permeated all of European politics and generated wars. There was bloodshed for a very long period in Europe, actually a bit of it extending right into the 20th century in places like Northern Ireland.

The division drove all kinds of violence in a number of European countries, including wars of succession and massacres, and it was a key part in Britain's "Glorious Revolution."

It played an important role, often now unrecognized, in America’s revolt when Britain put parts of what would become the American Midwest, then regarded as Indian Reserve lands, under the jurisdiction of Quebec Province with the Quebec Act of 1774.

America’s colonials resented the well-intentioned Act deeply, both for cutting off their opportunities to exploit those lands and for putting them under the control of “popery,” a word very much heard then in New England.

So, for Europeans, political and religious matters were largely indistinguishable and remained that way for centuries.

If you understand that history, you do not look at the Muslim world's situation as anything mysterious or unusual.

It likely reflects a basic division in human psychological make-up when we see vast religious movements divide into factions, just as people divide themselves into political factions. Indeed, in Britain’s early 18th century Parliament, there were no political parties as we know them, and when they began to emerge, they were called factions.

I think I might identify the Shia a bit with the early Protestants in that some of what they represent is regarded as revolutionary or at least upsetting to the old order.

In any event, a lot of what is said about Muslims in the West is inaccurate and self-serving.

Remember, “the West” is really a global imperial power, the United States, with loyal satraps like Britain or France scurrying along behind.

The primary interest of “the West” in the world at large is control, not understanding or cooperation.

So, the Muslim world’s natural divisions are exploited towards control.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: ASSASSINATION IS AN ACT OF WAR AND THE ONLY REASON ANYONE WOULD THINK OTHERWISE

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY PHILIP GIRALDI IN THE UNZ REVIEW


“America the Repugnant. Assassinating Foreign Leaders Is an Act of War”


"Assassinating Foreign Leaders Is an Act of War"

Absolutely, there is no other logical or ethical way of looking at it.

But when you function as a global imperial power, treating entire countries as pawns and putting everyone's interests after your own, it's not hard to see how you could start thinking of political murder in god-like terms of just tidying up a bit.

It's part of the sickness of empire, the near total corruption that comes with near total power.

Friday, January 10, 2020

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: MORE AMERICAN OBFUSCATION ABOUT WHAT THE MURDERED IRANIAN GENERAL SOLEIMANI WAS DOING - WE KNOW EXACTLY WHAT HE WAS DOING - HE WAS EVEN TRAVELLING ON A DIPLOMATIC PASSPORT - AMERICA'S "GULF OF TONKIN INCIDENT SYNDROME" IN MATTERS OF EMPIRE

John Chuckman


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY JEFF SCHOGOL IN CHECKPOINT ASIA


“The Top US Military Officer: We’ll Provide Evidence of an Imminent Iranian Attack One Day”

https://www.anti-empire.com/the-top-us-military-officer-well-provide-evidence-of-an-imminent-iranian-attack-one-day/


All of the Pentagon and White House people just keep talking in circles, and that's because what they are claiming is nonsense.

We indeed know what Iran’s General Soleimani was doing, and it was something entirely different than Trump's blubbering claims about planning attacks.

He was dealing with Iran's response to a proposal from Saudi Arabia concerned with de-escalating their relations. He was even travelling on a diplomatic passport.

It was virtually the opposite kind of activity the White House claims.

Washington has never gotten away from the Gulf of Tonkin Incident kind of thinking in all its ugly imperial affairs abroad.

For those who don't recall, a phantom hostile incident in the Gulf of Tonkin off the coast of Vietnam became the basis for Lyndon Johnson's starting the massive American holocaust in Vietnam, a war in which America killed an estimated 3 million people, many of them in the most horrible fashion.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: THE NEXT DECADE IS CHINA'S - THE MAGNIFICENT BELT AND ROAD INITIATIVE GIVES CHINA A GALAXY OF PROJECTS FOR FUTURE WORK WHILE ESTABLISHING RELATIONSHIPS AROUND THE GLOBE AND CHANGING THE WORLD'S ECONOMIC GEOGRAPHY

John Chuckman


COMMENT TO AN ARTICLE BY MARTIN JACQUES IN CHECKPOINT ASIA


“This Decade Belonged to China. So Will the Next One

"The rise of China has provoked an existential crisis in the US and Europe that will last for the rest of this century"

https://www.anti-empire.com/this-decade-belonged-to-china-so-will-the-next-one/


A very good survey piece. Well written.

With the Belt and Road Initiative (the New Silk Road), China has established close relationships all over the world and has a galaxy of projects to support some economic growth for many years to come.

As well, it is as altering the world’s transportation network and economic geography in China’s favor.

The Chinese resemble skilful farmers sowing seed on many new fields, fields in some cases reclaimed from past abusive practices by the United States.

As that magnificent project proceeds, I believe the contrast between the new working-with-China experience and the former experience of working with an arrogant America in decline will become sharper and much to China's advantage.

I'm just surprised it appeared in The Guardian, a paper for which I lost all respect with its various dishonest campaigns of disinformation and propaganda - eg, Corbyn as an anti-Semite, the Skripal Affair as something genuine, extreme Russo-phobia, anti-Iran prejudice, and general tight support for American and Israeli activities in the Middle East.

For some interesting insight, read the second part of the following with its eye-opening details about American treatment of the government of Iraq, a country that has signed big new infrastructure agreements with China. The kind of American behavior discussed just couldn't provide a greater contrast with China.

https://chuckmanwordsincomments.wordpress.com/2020/01/08/john-chuckman-comment-almost-planned-the-interim-outcome-of-trumps-stupid-assassination-of-a-national-hero-and-irans-reprisal-missile-attack-although-it-aint-over-til-its-over-eye-openi/

Thursday, January 09, 2020

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS ON TRUMP'S IRAN CRISIS - THE CONTINUING DANGER TRUMP REPRESENTS - AMERICAN IMPERIAL DECLINE - ISRAEL'S DELETERIOUS INFLUENCE - AMERICA'S DISMAL FAILURES IN THE MIDDLE EAST

John Chuckman


COMMENT - ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS ON TRUMP’S IRAN CRISIS AND AMERICAN IMPERIAL DECLINE


The American empire has overreached itself in recent decades, in places like Afghanistan and Syria and Libya and Somalia and Yemen and even in Iraq. America has basically lost all of those wars in the sense of having created enduring unstable conditions and great hostilities, not peace or stability and not democratic values. All those places are wrecks with smoldering conflicts continuing and outcomes uncertain. The Neocon Wars of the Middle East have been a disaster, but Trump is closely tuned into the Neocons. He is literally surrounded with them.

Even though America clearly won the Iraq War, a war advocated for directly by Ariel Sharon, with a victory memorialized in the blood of a million Iraqis, it was a kind of technical victory, because the key result was something completely unwanted, that is, greatly strengthening Iran as a regional power. Iraq was a war that should not have been fought, but Washington was incapable of seeing that as a result of both its imperial hubris and its vulnerability to Israel’s tireless efforts to influence. Iraq’s invasion has been called by a number of experts America’s greatest strategic blunder ever.

Just as many Israelis live in a kind of foggy fantasy of sentimental Biblical names and notions combined with efforts to recreate American middle-class urban society in a hostile environment - Ozzie and Harriet on the Desert – all floated on an immense Noah’s Flood of American subsidies, public and private, many of them do not realize the full impact of what they do in the region. They believe America is there to bail them out no matter how badly they behave towards others and create unnecessary hostilities. America can flatten Iraq. American can topple Syria. And America can topple Iran. The thinking is terribly wrong and self-indulgent and dangerous. And people subservient to the Neocons, like Trump, are immersed in it.

Trump now seems perilously close to repeating the mistake of Iraq, only on a far grander scale, with Iran. There are many powerful Israeli interests who want to see America go to war with Iran, something they realize is beyond the capacity of Israel despite its rhetoric and threats. The assassination of General Soleimani seems almost certainly to have been a trap designed for that purpose, and Trump just thoughtlessly walked into it. If Iran had not proceeded in the carefully considered way that it did, giving Trump room to slip out of the trap, and without being humiliated, we would have a big new war.

The set of events carries important lessons. First, there is the remarkable steadiness and rationality displayed by Iran’s leaders. They are responsible for avoiding a gigantic, unnecessary conflict.

Second, I think are the unmistakable signs of American imperial decline. Iraq has asked America to leave. Iran has promised new pressures for America to leave. Syria is also effectively telling the United States to leave. America has been reduced to sophomoric jokes about stealing oil, and its treatment of the Iran nuclear agreement has made its word for many close to worthless. It’s pretty hard to stay in a place where the people don’t want you and where long and costly efforts have yielded little of worth. Especially as the near-term future promises nothing but continued relative economic decline for the United States with the privileged position of the dollar gradually disappearing.

Trump has listened to Israel’s bad advice time after time. And the assassination was just the most explosive instance. You do not increase stability or security with such acts. You actually create instabilities that weren’t there before. They may not all be matters to appear in tomorrow’s headlines, but they are like new fault lines in an earthquake-prone zone.

In the end, despite all the bluster, Trump was unwilling to retaliate against Iran. Of course, Iran made it as easy as possible for him with its orchestrated missile attack, an event perhaps better described as an orchestrated missile demonstration. Trump now looks more ineffectual and less in command than ever. The only people looking to him are special interests in Israel, dangerous ones that view him as a big piñata to be poked at with sticks for gifts, and the degree to which he listens to them measures our risk of war.

Trump is likely aware that Iran holds some important cards. No, Iran cannot possibly defeat the United States in a war, but Iran has never sought a war.

Perhaps I shouldn’t speak of “cannot possibly defeat the United States.” We must never forget what the tough and resourceful people of Vietnam achieved vis-à-vis the United States. Wars can go on for very long periods of time, and sometimes a less wealthy, less complex society is able to absorb the costs and demands better than a wealthier, privileged opponent. There have been other instances of that. Note that the United States has been killing peasants for eighteen years in Afghanistan, and the Taleban still controls major parts of the country, as much or more of it than when America started.

If you invade or attack someone without a clear and powerful purpose, you are condemning yourself to an unhappy future. It’s like trying to pour concrete without a mold. And the United States has done that time after time, confident just in its arrogant sense of overwhelming superiority. It is foolish, and absolutely no one is more subject to the illusion of American superiority and exceptional status than Donald Trump.

First, a war means Iran’s hurling fleets of missiles against Israel. It has the missiles. The missiles are very capable, as has been demonstrated several times. They are highly accurate. Iran has literally thousands at its disposal. Underground bunkers packed with them. So, unavoidably, the reason for starting a war against Iran, Israel’s intense and unwarranted hostility against Iran, will result in large-scale destruction of Israel.

The effort to build a deterrence has been one of Iran’s national projects, especially after the ghastly Iraq-Iran War, 1980-88, inflicted upon it.

That deterrent capacity is why Trump wants to strip Iran of its missiles, demanding, as he does, that missile technology be added to the terms of his notion of a new nuclear agreement. But that is like asking Iran to disarm itself and doing so at gunpoint. It will not happen.

Israel makes a rather compact target, meaning a determined opponent can saturate it. Iran can accurately target most of what is worth targeting in Israel. Israel’s anti-missile defenses would be overwhelmed. Besides past incidents demonstrated those defenses fail in part even under the highly favorable circumstances of a limited number of unsophisticated missiles.

Iran can also do the same thing to a number of American bases in the region.

Places like the Saudi oil facilities and the facilities of the Strait of Hormuz could quickly be rendered totally inoperable, bringing the world’s oil economy to a desperate crisis.

Iran several times has demonstrated how resourceful it can be at unconventional or guerilla operations. Any war with the United States would see these capabilities used fully.

Those and other hard facts do make starting a war with Iran an act of madness.

But if you put yourself into a bad situation deliberately, as Trump does, madness can easily happen.

Wednesday, January 08, 2020

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: ALMOST PLANNED - THE INTERIM OUTCOME OF TRUMP'S STUPID ASSASSINATION OF A NATIONAL HERO AND IRAN'S REPRISAL MISSILE ATTACK - ALTHOUGH IT AIN'T OVER 'TIL IT'S OVER - EYE-OPENING INSIDER STUFF ABOUT TRUMP'S TREATMENT OF IRAQ

John Chuckman


COMMENT ON THE OUTCOME OF IRAN’S MISSILE STRIKE - ALMOST PLANNED


Various bits of information suggest we may have an end, at least for the interim, to the crisis caused by Trump’s stupidly blundering decision to kill Iran’s General Soleimani. They suggest something which seems almost choreographed behind the scenes.

The United States was given advance warning by Iraq of the missile attack, although not provided with the names of the bases to be struck. That allowed Americans to seek safety. It would have been necessary for Iran to warn Iraq ahead since American facilities are generally contained within Iraqi military facilities.

Iran is said to have chosen its targets to avoid American casualties, and aerial photos of the damage suggest missiles with precision guidance were used. Of course, with precision missiles, results just the opposite were possible, so a message was communicated to the United States even if no one was killed.

Reports from Iran say eighty Americans were killed, but governments all make such claims when addressing their own people, especially very angry people.

It is telling that, despite an enormous volume of bluster and threats and crude words, Trump did not launch a counter-attack. He bellowed about additional sanctions, but that has become as regular with him as eating breakfast.

Iran’s President Rouhani said Americans leaving the region would be Iran’s goal in retaliation for the assassination.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Khamenei described the missile attacks as “open” and “proportional,” the kind of language used in international law and diplomacy to describe a “legal” armed response, as in self-defense.

Khamenei warned that it would not be the only response. It represented the opening of a long and quieter campaign to kick the United States out of the Middle East, with more responses coming in the weeks ahead.


SOME INTERESTING BACKGROUND INFORMATION ABOUT HOW AMERICA ACTUALLY TREATS OTHER COUNTRIES BEHIND THE SCENES WITH EYE-OPENING DETAILS OF TRUMP'S METHODS


Iraq’s Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mehdi, who has already resigned his office but serves in an interim capacity until a new appointment is made, has provided some fascinating details about recent relations between Iraq and the United States, the kind of stuff to which the public rarely is exposed.

He said that American infrastructure projects such as electricity grid destroyed in the war were deliberately being left unfinished. America invaded in 2003, and many Iraqis still suffer from the destroyed infrastructure. The United States was demanding one-half of the country’s oil revenue as the price for finishing the work.

The Prime Minister refused, and, instead, went to China and signed an agreement there to have the job finished. Trump called him and demanded he cancel the agreement with China, or Trump would see to it that huge demonstrations were launched in Iraq against the Prime Minister.

The Prime Minister again refused, and the promised huge demonstrations did appear.

Trump called again and threatened that Marine snipers on tall buildings would start targeting the crowds and Iraqi security forces. That of course was part of the technique used during the Ukraine coup of 2013-14, which began with protests and waves of shootings in Kiev’s Maidan Square.

The Prime Minister again refused Trump, but then handed in his resignation.

That is the kind of authoritative, first-hand account Americans rarely receive about the activities of their government abroad.

It is shameful. After all, the United States illegally invaded Iraq. It deliberately destroyed the infrastructure. Even in a “legal” war, it is accepted practice for a larger, more powerful victor to pay some reparations so the losing country isn’t left helpless on its back.

But here we are, seventeen years after America’s bloody invasion – in the war and surrounding events, about a million Iraqis were killed and in this once most-advanced country in the Middle East, millions were left without employment and essential services - and not only is the infrastructure still not repaired, but the President of the United States is attempting extortion around finishing it.

He then threatens the country with civil disorder and sniper killings because China has agreed to do the job on terms acceptable to Iraq, China of course, as part of its massive Belt and Road Initiation - the New Silk Road – being ready to undertake infrastructure projects almost anywhere.

Such are the dark inner workings of empire, and I doubt anyone can make a meaningful distinction between them and the former activities of Al Capone in Chicago.

Knowing Trump operates in this way, why would anyone be surprised that he would make a casual decision to kill a famous man regarded as a hero by millions and create havoc?