Monday, December 05, 2016

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



ABOUT JOHN CHUCKMAN

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

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

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

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

SOME INTERNET SITES FROM JOHN CHUCKMAN:


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


ME, ROUGHLY: THE DECLINE IS RAPID NOW

JOHN CHUCKMAN ESSAY: THE PROFOUND DISAPPOINTMENT OF ANGELA MERKEL


THE PROFOUND DISAPPOINTMENT OF ANGELA MERKEL


John Chuckman

Anyone who says she admires Hillary Clinton, as Angela Merkel has said, plainly invites revulsion if not contempt. The lack of judgment broadcast by such words strikes the mind like a grating noise. Clinton's record of behavior literally stinks to high heaven, much as a pile of corpses left to rot in the hot sun, and, as it happens, there are a great many rotting corpses in Clinton’s history.

What an immense disappointment Merkel is. Intelligent and well educated with an appealing, fairly benign face, but, wait, am I describing Merkel or, in fact, Obama? It turns out not to matter. They are a pair of malignant soul mates born thousands of miles apart who conspired later in life to bring the world a great deal of unhappiness.

Merkel has been de facto leader of Europe during an extremely challenging period, one demanding real statesmanship. Instead, she has provided attitudes and short-term fixes married to complete acceptance of the most destructive American policies possible. Her policies have alienated large numbers of her own people and, almost more importantly, contributed mightily to the weakening of loyalties in Europe – not a record of which to be proud.

Unfortunately, during the period of her Chancellorship, there have been no other European leaders of stature and ability to balance or oppose her. Absolutely none. Britain had the flabby joke of David Cameron who collapsed his own house of cards through sheer political incompetence. France had the absurd Francois Hollande, an impossibly pompous man with not a single achievement to his credit, a parody of a French President, certainly the worst leader in modern French history.

So, Europe at a time when America put great new stresses and demands upon it for its own selfish reasons had no leadership worth mentioning. All the major figures were content with accommodating America’s harsh and destructive initiatives. Well, I do think there is something to be said for the dictum that history is biography.

Everyone involved has suffered for Merkel’s attitudes and whims. Europe simply could not have done much worse. The press so glibly speaks of the rise of the political Right in Europe and in America, but what we really see on both continents is public reaction to years of blundering policies causing vast misery in many places.

You cannot support America’s destruction of the Middle East without accepting its direct consequences both in massive migrations of terrified people and in the rise of terror by relatively powerless young men wanting revenge for what has been done to them, their families and homes. Yet this is precisely what Angela Merkel has tried to do, trying to avoid inevitable, destructive consequences of stupid acts she has supported. Having never raised her voice against what America was doing, Merkel decided to deal with some of the consequences by playing the grandmotherly figure who welcomes an avalanche of refugees, seemingly not appreciating for a second what that means on the streets of her own country.

No decent person is against organized, peaceful immigration or against giving assistance to desperate refugees. There is an ethical obligation for both as well as some sound economic reasons. But if a truck, set to deliver two hundred gallons of fuel oil to your home’s heating system, pumps instead two thousand gallons, you suddenly have a disturbing, costly, and dangerous situation. The analogy is actually quite inadequate for what has happened in some places with armies of terrified people fleeing America’s imposed-horrors.

Merkel, realizing what her support of America’s destruction in Libya, Syria, and other places has wrought, tried setting the example of a benign figure ready to help everyone, a kind of bonhomie approach to what was a totally-avoidable catastrophe. The impossibility of this should have been seen, but it was not. Too many extremely-different refugees – different in language, customs, religion, wealth, and politics - cannot be absorbed quickly or peacefully by any country, and perhaps that is even more true of relatively old and homogeneous societies such as Germany.

We like to speak of xenophobia with contempt, but in the gritty real lives of vast populations everywhere on the planet, it is a reality just as much as backward religious practices, which cannot be wished away. True xenophobia, indeed, much resembles fundamentalist religion in that it is an expression of superstitious instincts, deeply-rooted instincts whose origins go beyond mere learned behaviors. Just try asking highly religious people to set aside their feelings for completely different newcomers, the example coming to mind of the Ultra-Orthodox in Israel and their “take” on others. It is possible only in the imagination.

But xenophobia is only part of the mix, despite the claims of a superficial mainstream press, and I am not just speaking of it. We promote nationalism and national unity in every Western country with flags, anthems, pledges, holiday customs, uniforms, speeches, parades, even laws, and then some leaders seem to expect their people, almost on command, to turn their backs on all the lifelong indoctrination and embrace sudden, great change? It simply cannot be done.

As with anything else you may care to discuss, the time to act is before a great problem or crisis has been created. Preventative health care is no less valuable for nations than it is for individuals. The leaders of Europe should have seen what America’s fanatical crusade was going to do and opposed it, forcefully, before it was started. In doing so, Europe would have been strengthened instead of diminished as it has been., to say nothing of preventing the death and maiming of millions in the Middle East. Instead they quietly supported it and even donated resources to the insane efforts of America’s Grande Armée in the Middle East.

Merkel’s contribution to disaster goes further, to her relations with one of the planet’s genuine madman-leaders, Netanyahu. She has been selling him sophisticated submarines at knock-down prices for years. Only recently they agreed to three more of them in a deal which has Netanyahu being examined in Israel for criminal activity. I think it fair to ask, too, why a sardine-sized country needs a fleet of sophisticated submarines, some or all of which are widely rumored to be outfitted with nuclear-armed cruise missiles? Does that make sense to anyone other than Merkel, Netanyahu, Clinton, and Obama?  Does that contribute to stability in the Middle East? And why doesn’t the excruciating injustice of Israel’s occupation and regular theft of land enter into considerations?

Germany’s taking a million refugees is roughly equivalent to America’s taking four million. It does not take a great imagination to see what the results of such a massive, short-term influx would be. Moreover, never mind Donald Trump, there has been no American government, ever, willing to accept such numbers at one time. Indeed, had America’s recent governments demonstrated the slightest sense of responsibility for what they had caused, they would have taken extraordinary steps for the refugees, but they did not. Instead, they encouraged measures like Merkel’s response, which, in terms of total numbers involved in the human catastrophe, is necessarily pathetic.

But, if you read enough history, you will know it has always been part of the American government’s character to do what as it pleases in the world with little or no regard for the consequences, so long as those consequences are on foreign shores. It is an attitude bred in a people who too often feel they can have it all and have it now and a people who have the illusion, generated both in commercial advertising and in fundamentalist Christianity, of endless youth with all its happy irresponsibility. It is something which actually marks America as especially unsuitable for enlightened world leadership, while it is the very quality demonic figures such as Kissinger or Brzezinski regarded as useful to their twisted international purposes.

Merkel quickly learned what she had done was a terrible political mistake. Consequences were quick, so she backtracked, never a dignified behavior for a national leader. But more than that, Merkel, realizing what the consequences might be of a few million more refugees temporarily encamped in Turkey continuing on into Europe, was quick to strike a deal with another of our planet’s most unscrupulous and dangerous leaders, the madman who rules Turkey, Erdogan. She agreed to pay him several billion Euros to keep the refugees in their massive Turkish camps.

This was not just a highly unethical deal, it should have been seen for the ongoing danger it represented, especially in view of Europe’s general relations with Erdogan and its confused efforts to deal with his many demands, ranging from visa-free travel in Europe for Turks to full membership in the EU. Again, American policy had created a huge problem by treating Turkey, an undemocratic country with limited respect for human rights and one for some years ruled by a madman, as an indispensable ally against Russia, so the EU to this day feels it must accommodate that ugly reality in all its policies.

Obviously, a country in the state we see in Turkey – constant war and terror against the Kurds, serious government suppression of free speech and activities, assassinations, widespread Muslim fundamentalism, and now new waves of repression following a failed coup – is in no shape to qualify for EU membership under the EU’s own requirements, which at least struggle to be faithful to Enlightenment principles.  

Erdogan, never one to be shy about what he wants, has already threatened publicly to “open the gates” if the EU does not proceed in treating his demands appropriately. So, Merkel’s dirty deal with the devil is seriously threatened and becomes just one more source of uncertainty and instability. It is not a promising situation.

I believe Merkel was permanently scarred by growing up in East Germany and likely harbors both inordinate fear of Russia and slavish admiration for America, neither attitude being warranted in the least today. Her mental landscape possibly includes images of Andropov versus Jimmy Stewart, but policy built on fantasy and fears is bad policy, always.

The Bush-Obama years have been, in so far as foreign policy goes, about as stupidly and blunderingly destructive as Lyndon Johnson’s bull-headed insistence on fighting a major war in Vietnam. Johnson ended by killing about 3 million people, generating instability and misery, dividing America itself, and achieving nothing worth achieving. Bush-Obama have killed at least a couple of million, generated instability and misery, divided the countries of Europe, also achieving nothing worth achieving. There is not one part of the vast sphere America has arrogantly viewed as its area of influence that has not been made worse by Bush-Obama policies.

Mass killing, mass destruction of old societies and cities, induced-coups, threats, fears, torture, the creation of huge and desperate human movements, promotion and reward of terror as a covert policy tool, the decline everywhere in the rule of law, extra-judicial killing on an organized scale, a huge erosion in respect for international institutions like the now much-debased UN, an endless and confusing patchwork of lies told about terrible events - all while ignoring genuinely terrible situations like those in Palestine or in Saudi Arabia or in Turkey.

Apart from the horrors Merkel has implicitly or explicitly embraced and apart from the anger and disruptions and economic hardship her embrace has meant for Europe – America’s arbitrary and unwarranted sanctions against Russia have cost the German and French economies literally billions which America smilingly allows them to pay -  one look at a map of Europe tells you just part of the reason why her views are so utterly counter-productive.

For scores of reasons, the future of Europe is in a cooperative and close relationship with Russia. It just cannot be otherwise, although, if you are determined to waste enough resources, impoverishing to some degree your own people through decreased trade and increased military waste, you can hold the inevitable off for quite a while. Look at America’s ten years of sheer insanity in Vietnam if you doubt for a moment that it is possible for a great country to do absolutely pointless and insanely costly things. Well, another insane and costly crusade is exactly the course America has been on in recent years, and leaders like Merkel have served as the most willing helpers in the task.

Obama and his political associate, Hillary Clinton, are total failures as figures of principle and as leaders, and Merkel very much resembles them, even down to the pathetic recent appeal she is using with German voters in anticipation of 2017 elections. She has imported wholesale Hillary’s squalid, 1950s-style claim that Russia threatens the integrity of elections, her empty claims being just an effort to stoke-up fears to get what she wants.

And then there are the remarkably empty and pretentious words she wrote in her official letter to President-elect Trump:
"Germany and America are united by shared values: through democracy, freedom, respect for the right and dignity of every individual, irrespective of origin, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation or political attitude. On the basis of these values, I would like to offer you a close cooperation between the governments of our countries."

No clear-thinking person can accept such words as anything but hypocritical establishment claptrap - the kind of phony stuff just rejected by the American people. There is not a sincere phrase contained in the paragraph, just an arrogant assumption of moral loftiness and a presumption of setting standards for future relations. Can any thoughtful reader not sense almost an insult in the words? Insufferable stuff coming, as it does, from someone who never lifted a finger, except to assist, in the killing of tens of thousands of women and their families in half a dozen lands.

Trump will not do everything right, I know, but Merkel has done almost nothing right, much as her admired friends, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.



Friday, December 02, 2016

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: NEOCON APOLOGIST MARY DEJEVSKY REGRETS THAT ASSAD WILL WIN IN SYRIA - BUT WE CAN BE GLAD THE LONG RECORD OF MASS MURDER BY AMERICAN NEOCONS AT LEAST WILL END PEACEFULLY IN ONE PLACE


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY MARY DEJEVSKY IN THE INDEPENDENT


"We have to accept that Assad will win in Syria"

Here’s what that should say, were the piece not the trashy propaganda that it, in fact, is, "We have to accept that the legitimate government of Syria is going to win"

Further, the legitimate government is going to win over a terrible mob of mercenary killers dumped into the country by Saudi Arabia and Turkey, thugs supplied and recruited and paid by those two countries plus the United States, Qatar, and Israel with additional help from Britain and France.

Well, thank God that something awful is going to end up right for once.

Assad's is a pretty decent government supported by many factions in Syria, including Christians.

And note that his army has stood by him for five years of this deliberately-induced horror, despite many efforts at bribes and inducements from outside.

It says a lot for the respect he commands in much of the Syrian population.

The Neocons will not be happy, but so what?

They are in fact as close to Nazis as we have in the Western World today.

Never mind your “deplorable” Trump supporters, never mind the ‘alt-right,” only the Neocons have started, against all international norms and treaties, wars of aggression, committing murder on a truly massive scale.

Thursday, December 01, 2016

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: WE ENTER AN AGE OF DIGITAL BOOK-BURNING WITH ALL AMERICAN MAJOR HI-TECH INTERNET COMPANIES TRYING TO SUPPRESS FREE SPEECH - MY EXPERIENCE WITH GOOGLE


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN RINF


For a while and on a number of occasions, when I went to the Sputnik site, I've received one of those warning pages from Google about a possibly unsafe site.

To proceed, you must press the "unsafe" link.

Well, that's just the shabbiest crap.

If it is any consolation, they do the same thing at times for Yahoo mail.

So, it is both political opponents and competitors against whom they use this dirty trick.

Boy, long gone is Google's original motto of "do no harm."

But then the motto was in the days before Google became a massive, secret extension of the CIA.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: ON THE WASHINGTON POST'S SAD CLAIM THAT IT HAS DISCOVERED ABOUT 200 ALTERNATE-NEWS INTERNET SITES WORKING AS TOOLS OF RUSSIAN PROPAGANDA - MY GOD THAT NUMBER WAS USED BY SENATOR MCCARTHY


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN RINF


It really is interesting with the number around 200.

It was a similar figure that old drunk Joe McCarthy, as he worked feverishly to revive a declining political career with explosive unproved claims, threw around as the number of Communists said to be infesting the State Department.

Ah, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: A TRUMP TWEET ABOUT FLAG-BURNING PUNISHMENT HOPEFULLY CAN BE IGNORED - A DUMB AND HOPELESS OLD REPUBLICAN IDEA - AND HOW MANY AMERICANS JUST DO NOT UNDERSTAND WHY MUCH OF THE WORLD REGARDS THEIR FLAG ENTIRELY DIFFERENTLY THAN THEY DO


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE INDEPENDENT


Well, I am sorry he's recalled this tired old Republican idea of the 1980s.

It was one that went on and on in droning tedium, never going anywhere. I always understood it as a sign of a party with no real purpose trying to spark attention.

But Trump is a man who just bubbles over with concepts, good and bad, and most of the bubbles are allowed to harmlessly pop.

Of course, recalling this is also an effective way to float a notion and see how the public reacts, which will not be well for this one, at least with the great majority.

The dumber Republicans tried for years and got nowhere.

This is also a way to keep minority portions of his base happy with little periodic noises they like to hear.

I cannot believe he really means what he hurriedly typed at seven in the morning.
________________________

Response to another reader’s comment:

Many simply do not understand that controversy and troubles around the American flag stem from the fact that it is no longer just an innocent national symbol.

For great numbers of people in the world, the same flag some Americans fly affectionately from a pole on their porch, represents aggression and bloodshed and grave injustice. The parallel with the Union Jack in 1776 is rough, although Britain’s imperial forces never killed and destroyed on the scale of America’s today.

I know that is hard for many naively-faithful American Patriot types to accept - thinking as they do that America is the fount of all that's good and fair on the planet - but it is simply the truth.

There has not been a single American war since WWII that was about self-defense or, indeed, about any matter of principle beyond America's self-assumed right to tell others what to do, and with deadly force. Although there was plenty of empty speechifying with slogans and empty words accompanying each bloody event.

Millions, literally millions, have died at America's hands in Vietnam, Cambodia, Somalia, Iraq, Libya, Syria, and in a host of other places.

And they all died, with others wounded and vast amounts of property destroyed, at the hands of American forces waving the flag and mouthing slogans about democracy and rights. It is an appalling record.

All of them died for no good reason except that the American establishment wanted it that way. Now, wasn't that kind of arrogance and indifference to people a major factor in Trump's victory? Many Americans are simply sick of it because the establishment treats them the same way.

And how bitterly ironic it all is because America seems incapable of running its own affairs - from its titanic debts to its shabby third-world inner-cities.


JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: APOLOGIES TO RUSSIA FOR A NEW POINTLESS SANCTION IMPOSED BY CANADA - BUT IT MUST BE SEEN IN LIGHT OF THE HARSH TRUTH OF CANADA'S CIRCUMSTANCES VIS-A-VIS THE U.S.


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN SPUTNIK


As a Canadian, I am sorry for this.

But, in a way, such acts by our government are just public declarations of its weakness.

Canada is effectively a colony of the United States, and only a rare Canadian leader is able to work against America's stupid pressures.

Such a leader was Pierre Trudeau, late father of our current Prime Minister.

Justin, for all his charm and apparent decency, is simply not made of the same stuff as his father.

But, then again, American demands today are being made by a Neocon-led government at such a pace and intensity that even Justin's father would find himself in difficulty.

The world's bully just seems to generate unhappiness in whatever it touches.



JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: BRITAIN'S NEWSPAPER THE INDEPENDENT CONTINUES ITS EFFORTS AT FEAR-MONGERING POST-BREXIT PIECES - ONE THAT TRULY REACHES THE RIDICULOUS


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY ZLATA RODIONOVA IN THE INDEPENDENT


"Brexit pound slump causes Christmas pudding prices to jump 21%"

Well, the author has done it.

I didn't think it was possible, but Zlata Rodionova has managed to write the most ridiculous post-Brexit vote piece I have come across.

Christmas pudding prices, my God.


I think she should look into the price of coal because that is what Independent editors deserve in their stockings for publishing such utter rubbish.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: RUSSIA HOPING FOR FUTURE BETTER RELATIONS WITH EU - OLD GUARD IN TROUBLE IN A NUMBER OF EUROPEAN COUNTRIES - THE CASE OF GERMANY'S CHANCELLOR MERKEL AND HER ABSURD LETTER TO TRUMP


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN RUSSIA INSIDER


A catastrophe is precisely what Ms Merkel's policies have been.

She will not be treated kindly by history, both for having supported America's savagery in the Middle East and for doing bizarre things to deal with the domestic effects of that very savagery.

She fancies herself a decent, enlightened, democratic person yet supports the likes of Erdogan and mass killer Obama.

She has also been a serious supplier of modern weapons to Israel which continues with its horrible occupation, oppression, and theft of other people's property.

You cannot have it both ways, although clearly Ms Merkel thinks you can.

That utter confusion of thought and principles is why the American establishment has taken a beating from Trump. Obama and Hillary think much like Merkel.

I am always a believer in what you actually do in international relations, not in the words you use.

Obama has never stopped blubbering about democracy and rights while killing hundreds of thousands of people and running a major extra-legal operation to make people "disappear."

He is a total failure as a man of principle and a leader, and Ms Merkel very much resembles him, even down to the empty words about principles she writes in her letter to Trump.

"Germany and America are united by shared values: through democracy, freedom, respect for the right and dignity of every individual, irrespective of origin, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation or political attitude. On the basis of these values, I would like to offer you a close cooperation between the governments of our countries."

No clear-thinking person can accept those words from that leader as anything but an example hypocritical establishment "boilerplate" - the kind of phony stuff just rejected by the American people.

Trump will not do everything right, I know, but Merkel has done nothing right, just like her admired friend, Obama.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: IT IS CLAIMED TRUMP MAY ASK AMBASSADORS TO URGE FOREIGN GOVERNMENTS TO PROSECUTE HILLARY - IT WOULD NOT BE INAPPROPRIATE AT ALL FOR MANY CASES - THE HIDEOUS EXAMPLE OF HAITI AND THE CLINTON FOUNDATION


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE INDEPENDENT


I'm sure this article is more of the usual Independent anti-Trump crap.

But, in fact, it would be only right for this outrageous international criminal to be prosecuted in other jurisdictions.

There are dozens of justified examples, including the matter of thousands of dead women and their families in Libya and Syria.

But perhaps the most touching example was the Clinton Foundation work in Haiti after the earthquake.

$30 million was collected by the Foundation for relief in that horror which killed about a quarter of a million people, but it just literally disappeared.

The Foundation's own books say it spent $3 million, and they do not even specify on what.

Chartered air flights? Luxury hotel accommodation? Fees and expenses for photographers to do come-on advertising brochure pictures?

We do know there was no help of any substance to the poor people despite $30 million in the coffers.

Somehow, too, Chelsea, a woman who has never done an honest day's work in her life, came up with $3 million for her wedding, almost as though she were a Royal.

Of course, Chelsea served as executive on the Clinton Foundation and, one way or another, that's where the money likely came from.

A truly disgusting bunch, the Clintons.

America's Ceausescus.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: ISRAEL CLAIMS TO BOMB ISIS AFTER IDF SOLDIERS ATTACKED FOR THE FIRST TIME IN GOLAN - UNDOUBTEDLY A TOTALLY FRAUDULENT SET OF EVENTS


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE INDEPENDENT


This is just a total fraud.

Anyone even hinting at doing anything around Israel's stolen land and resources in the Golan would get attacked, full stop.

The issue here is not ISIS and any imagined attack on Israel.

ISIS has never attacked Israel, and indeed Israel has secretly supported both ISIS and Al Nusrah for years.

ISIS and Al Nusrah are Saudi-endowed entities, and today's Saudi Arabia does nothing to displease Israel.

They are indeed fast friends behind the scenes sharing many common interests, including a dislike of democracy in any neighboring governments and indeed at home.

Both also have little respect for human rights, despite public relations statements to the contrary.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: PRIME MINISTER THERESA MAY REVEALS HOW HER FAITH IN GOD GIVES HER CONFIDENCE SHE IS DOING THE RIGHT THING


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE INDEPENDENT


This sounds remarkably like some Republican "family values" drivel of the 1980s.

With God on her side, she can do no wrong, I guess.

So, does that mean she had a sign from Above to appoint Boris Johnson?

Sunday, November 27, 2016

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: A POLITICAL STAGE PLAY: STARRING JILL STEIN AS LEAD IN THE WISCONSIN VOTE RECOUNT - HILLARY'S CAMP JUST HAPPENS TO SAY THEY'LL JOIN THE CHORUS - BROUGHT TO YOU BY A BITTER OLD RICH MAN WHO WANTS TO CHANGE WHATEVER HE CAN LAY HIS HANDS ON MUCH IN THE FASHION OF A TEENAGER DEFACING BUILDINGS EVERYWHERE WITH GRAFFITI - AKA GEORGE SOROS PRODUCTIONS


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY KATIE FORSTER IN THE INDEPENDENT


But a scam is exactly what it is.

Interesting, isn't it, that the initiative did not come from the blind ambition of Hillary? Jill Stein’s tiny percentage of votes could not possibly change enough to matter.

The Green Party's Jill Stein is being used as a stalking horse here.

Yes, that's the same Jill Stein who during the campaign said that Trump's thinking on foreign policy was preferable to Hillary's aggressiveness.

Who is responsible behind the scenes?

George Soros, Hillary's great intimate - as we saw in the Wiki-Leaks material, he regularly felt entitled to intimate access and to advise her on positions to take - and big financier and a billionaire dedicated to throwing his weight around in America and abroad.

His fake NGOs abroad, such as the phony White Helmets in Syria, have been directly associated with CIA activity in its efforts to re-make the face of the world.

His American NGOs, such as MoveOn.org, are associated with the early efforts to disrupt, in the fashion of Nazi street thugs of the 1920s, Trump rallies with hired strong-arm tactics.

A study has been made of the pattern of the supposed thousands of individual contributions to this recount cause.

The donations, in fact, come in neat little dollops with regularity, following a nice curve, the pattern of a computer bot operation - not of thousands of individuals acting.

So, Mr. Soros is able to contribute several million dollars - nothing for him, he has given Hillary tens of millions in the past - for this destructive purpose without the public's knowing it.

And Hillary of blind ambition gets a last, desperate try for what she has lusted after for decades, again without the public's knowing anything.

I don't know what is in it all for Jill Stein for taking the lead role in the play, but you can be certain something important has been promised.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: FREEDOM OF THE PRESS - AMERICA VERSUS RUSSIA


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN RUSSIA INSIDER


As for American media, they are free, too.

Free, that is, to do as their very small number of large corporate owners dictate they should.

And I have yet to hear of a large American corporation which does not cooperate, hand in glove, with the government of the United States on a vast range of matters.

We saw the snowstorm of trash thrown at Trump by virtually every one of them, a relatively small version of what the last couple of years were like on the subject of President Putin.

And we are all aware of the stories of the ways Google, Microsoft, Apple, Amazon and other (non-media) giants cooperate fully with the CIA and NSA as well as how they worked in many surreptitious ways against Trump during the election.

Anyone who believes in the integrity of corporate journalism is simply someone not worth paying any attention to. Such ignorance and naivete disqualify anything they might say.

I think still the best statement ever made on American journalism is the one that says that to have a free press, you have to own one.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: CASTRO'S ROLE IN HISTORY AND THE KENNEDY ASSASSINATION


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN SPUTNIK


“Castro to Go Down in History as the Only One to Hold Out Against US Empire”

Absolutely.

He was extraordinarily brave and dedicated to his purpose, whether you agree with everything he did or not.

What a time it was, both frightening at times and exciting. I recall as a very young man what an exciting figure he was. Lots of young Americans admired him then.

The United States government threw just about everything they had - short of open war, which in those days it seemed to still have the desire to uphold appearances about - against him.

He survived in large part owing to the great loyalty of most of his supporters, a fact which is powerful testimony to the man's leadership.

There is the suggestion, from what we know of some of the CIA plots, that there was an insider in Castro’s retinue who was secretly working with the CIA. We don’t know his name, and, for all we know, he was in fact a counterintelligence figure working for Castro.

Despite many efforts, the forces after Castro in the United States failed in attempt after attempt to kill him, but then they went after John Kennedy, who had more or less guaranteed Castro's future to end the Cuban Missile Crisis, and killed him.

They even deliberately faked up the trail leading to Kennedy's assassination with clues and hints which were intended to link Castro to the assassination, thus warranting an American invasion of Cuba after all.

It sure wasn't poor little old Oswald, a man who actually liked Kennedy, doing any of that.

Who else still is not completely clear, but the crazed, fanatical Cuban refugees, trained and supplied by the CIA, along with some fanatical CIA guys working on the file have always seemed the strongest candidates to me.

Money for the plot undoubtedly came from the Mafia who had been working with the CIA in this dirty business and also were disillusioned with Kennedy.

That is of course the untold story of the Kennedy Assassination, an event which punctuates Castro's early years much like a giant historical exclamation point.




JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: ONE OF THE LESS INSIGHTFUL ARTICLES APPEARING ON CASTRO'S DEATH - A HERO OR A TYRANT?


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY RUPERT CORNWELL IN THE INDEPENDENT


"A hero or a tyrant? Fidel Castro's legacy will echo long beyond his death"

Would the silly author of this silly piece please name one great historical figure who was not complicated, complex, and viewed quite differently by different groups?

Winston Churchill? My God, the man used machine guns on third-world people, regarded the British Empire as sacred, called opponents names, thought nothing of giving one group's property to another group, made insider deals with hugely influential men, expressed contempt for ordinary voters on many occasions, admired Stalin in secret, plus many other delightful behaviors.

I do not say these things lightly, having read a number of biographies and a great deal of Churchill's own writing.

Only naive people think great figures are either black or white. Very naive people, the kind who should not even be writing articles about one.

Friday, November 25, 2016

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: THE INDEPENDENT SAYS HILLARY SET TO WIN 2.5 MILLION MORE POPULAR VOTES THAN TRUMP - THE COMPLETE LACK OF UNDERSTANDING SHOWN BY SUCH POP JOURNALISM - HOW AMERICAN ELECTIONS ARE REQUIRED TO WORK - THE LACK OF INTEREST AND DIFFICULTY IN CHANGING THE RULES - MORE ON AMERICAN "DEMOCRACY"


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE INDEPENDENT


Really, this is an idiotic column.

America's way of electing governments has never been what could be called democratic.

Indeed, the Founders went out of their way to call the new political entity a "republic" rather than a democracy. And the word "republic" is one of the most undefined terms in political science, meaning little more than government by some kind of representatives, however selected, and the absence of a monarch.

America has had many minority presidents, including the very George W Bush you mention, in 2000.

It is because of the Electoral College system set up by the Founders in the Constitution. These were mostly men who did not trust democracy and wanted safety valves against popular votes disturbing the privileges and wealth of the upper class.

Until 1913, the Senate, that most powerful body in the American government, was an appointed body for the same reason that the President is not directly elected by the people. All that grand pageant through the Nineteenth Century of American history, involving many famous and infamous names of Senators, was in fact about appointed officials, a fact few Americans even know.

The Electoral College system of election could be changed, but the Founders deliberately made it exceedingly difficult to change the Constitution they were creating. An amendment would require approval of the Senate, the House of Representatives, the President, and a vote in all fifty states. That’s a lot of effort and political capital spent to correct something that only pops up to irritate people once in a few decades.

The matter has never generated the intense public and political momentum necessary. Hillary Clinton, after Bush's minority win in 2000, said it should be abolished, but, as with so many things Hillary said, she never did much about it.

What your column boils down to is a statement something like Trump was elected exactly according to the rules for American elections with an added sentiment, owing to ignorance of history and the rules, of "Gee, that ain't democratic."

No, it is not, but then neither is America.

Added thoughts.

As a reader below has pointed out, does the rising Clinton total of popular vote include the 3 million non-citizens who are said to have voted, completely illegally?

This behavior was definitely a form of vote fraud, and it was encouraged and enabled by Obama and Clinton in a kind of burst of faux populism put on just to keep their losing cause going.

And further, academic studies have shown, Hillary in fact stole the nomination of her party from Sanders. It was a long and shameless set of behaviors, and things just do not come more anti-democratic than that.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: A PHOTO OF OBAMA'S LAST HANDSHAKE WITH PUTIN - THE GENUINE AND DEADLY SYMBOLISM OF IT


COMMENT POSTED TO A COLUMN IN RUSSIA INSIDER


Putin's appearance is just what you might expect from an intelligent, extremely capable man who has done his very best to reason with a man who has done nothing but create chaos and disorder for eight years.

Obama is one of the biggest disappointments of my adult lifetime. A man who seemed bright and hopeful and a little out of the mainstream has done nothing more than sit like a ventriloquist's dummy on the knee of the most savage group in America and mouth platitudes while they murdered hundreds of thousands of people.

He leaves office having done almost nothing worthwhile at home or abroad, leaving a shambles of world affairs.

Yet he still enjoys some popularity, and I think it is because of his boyish smile (seen far less though than years ago), his baritone voice, and the general residual astonishment that a black man succeed in rising to the highest office. It is also because the general public in America is so abysmally poorly informed of what America actually does abroad, and why.

Imagine a black man who never did one worthwhile thing for his own people? A Peace Prize winner who has done nothing but generate war and death on a grand scale? A man who leaves office with his last big effort having been running around the country at the public's expense trying to promote the most corrupt and vicious candidate for President in memory? An arrogant man who never stops preaching his narrow concepts to others with his finger pointed up right under their noses?

An utter failure. An international shame.

The pictures are found here:

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: TONY BLAIR SAYS HE WON'T RE-ENTER FRONTLINE POLITICS BECAUSE THE PRESS WOULD GO INTO DESTROY MODE - THE TRUTH ABOUT THIS SELF-SERVING EVIL MAN AND WHAT KEEPS PUSHING HIS NAME FORWARD


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE INDEPENDENT


I don't think he ever had the proverbial "snowball's chance in hell," and I think this truly widely-despised man well knows it.

After all, he is genuinely evil, but he is clever like many truly evil men. Such a predatory animal knows when the odds are against him for fresh kill.

It is only the hack editors at The Independent and The Guardian who have promoted for some time this notion of Blair returning to politics as a kind of Don Quixote of Brexit.

But their judgment we may all judge for ourselves in the stream, the literal raging flood, of complete rubbish they have published day-after-day in the last year on the subjects Corbyn, Brexit, Clinton, and Trump.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: RUSSIAN WRITER ASKS WHY SO MANY SEE TRUMP AS A "PEACENIK"- SOME PERSPECTIVE ON WHAT PEOPLE SEE


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY VICTOR KOTSEV IN RUSSIA INSIDER


"Peacenik" is far too strong a word. I can't imagine anyone really thinking this flag-waving American Oligarch is going to be anything remotely like that.

What thoughtful people do see is a man whose words suggest he is open to diminution of America's intense and blood-soaked aggression of recent years, and if that proves true, the world will be a better place.

A Peace Prize winner and a wannabe first woman President have left the American military-security establishment totally raging out of control, threatening and killing people in many lands.

I don't know whether their behavior was sheer incompetence in leadership or shared viciousness. It doesn't really matter.

What we do have a chance for some hard-headed sense and decency in policy, much as we see with President Putin.

The American imperial reality is not going to disappear any time soon, but that does not mean it has to act like a savage bully at all times in all places.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: EU PARLIAMENT APPROVES RESOLUTION EQUATING RUSSIA TODAY AND SPUTNIK TO ISIS PROPAGANDA - THE INFLUENCE OF OBAMA'S GENUINELY SICK GOVERNMENT - OBAMA'S DARK TALK OF FAKE NEWS


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE POSTED IN SPUTNIK


Just disgusting. We can all hope it goes no farther into some kind of action.

We literally live in a world turned upside down in which war is peace and lies are truth.

It was in fact some of these very governments which supported and covered for ISIS in recent years.

This kind of stunt is just a way of criminalizing free speech and yet one more pointless attack on Russia.

Of course, it all reflects the influence of Obama's truly sick government.

At the same time, this utterly failed man uses his remaining time to talk up the fake idea of fake news in the alternate press and doing something about it.

Of course, the reality is that we have had absolutely nothing but fake news from the "credible" press for the entire era of the Neocon Wars.





JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: COMMONS COMMITTEE SAYS WALTER MITTY TYPES WEARING FAKE MILITARY MEDALS SHOULD GO TO JAIL - FAR BETTER TO JAIL THE COMMITTEE MEMBERS FOR WASTING TIME AND RESOURCES ON NOTHING


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN RINF


The members of the Commons Committee each need to get a life.

Jailing mentally-unbalanced people who pin some medals on?

What would be next, going after boys who dress up as policemen or firemen?

God, government can be an idiotic waste of resources at times.

Actually, it is the members of such committees who should face jail.

Jail for wasting the public's time and resources while attacking helpless people with problems.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: ROYALS GET BIG PAY RAISE AND HARRY OFF TO FUN IN THE CARIBBEAN - WRITER SAYS THEY ARE THE TRUE SCROUNGERS IN BRITISH SOCIETY - AND A WORD ABOUT THE ROLE OF MONARCHY TODAY IN GOVERNMENT


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE INDEPENDENT


Harry is not just a scrounger, he is pretty much a useless non-event of a human being.

His record of behaviors and statements is appalling, and that's based just on what we know, what hasn't been kept secret.

He undoubtedly received the worst of the Spencer (Diana’s family) genes, a family which has had many troubled and troubling people in its history.

Harry is the best argument there is for getting rid of the Monarchy after Elizabeth hangs up her crown.

He is a publicly-supported non-entity with virtually no ethics or purpose.

Monarchy is an outdated and slightly ridiculous institution whose cost to the public just keeps rising. Sentimentality around it is mostly uninformed of its actual costs and lack of genuine purpose.

Believing the Monarch serves as a kind of check on the powers of Parliament in the 21st century is nothing more than belief in a rather silly fable.

No modern democratic government would tolerate a Royal veto of anything, and, as we saw in the case of Tony Blair’s determined, dishonest campaign to drag Britain into a vast war crime - about as darkly serious a thing as a government can ever do - the Monarch made not a whit of difference.

Monday, November 21, 2016

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: EFFORTS TO VINDICATE BERNIE SANDERS ARE MISPLACED AND RATHER PATHETIC - HIS OWN ACTIONS PROVED HE WOULD HAVE MADE A WEAK PRESIDENT - THE REALITY OF POLITICIANS WHO CAN CAMPAIGN BUT NOT LEAD -ANOTHER READER'S COMMENT ON BERNIE AS PART OF 1960s' WHITE FLIGHT FROM CITIES TO PLACES LIKE VERMONT


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN RINF


"Vindication Of Sanders"

Sorry, but this is an extremely superficial view.

Bernie proved himself a poor prospect for President when he utterly capitulated to Hillary, abandoning the hopes and enthusiasm of millions of followers.

She embodied everything that he rightly said was wrong, and he still went ahead, campaigning for this murderous and utterly corrupt person.

It was Bernie's moment on the world stage, and he blew it, completely.

Well, if he could not stand up in private to Hillary and her flacks, he certainly could never hope to stand up to generals and admirals and high-level security people and the representatives of massive special interests.

Bernie’s behavior added strong evidence in support of the idea that a person may prove an excellent campaigner and a failure at actually doing anything worthwhile after campaigning.

Of course, Barack Obama had already provided convincing evidence for the truth of the idea.
________________________________________

Response to another reader’s comment about Bernie moving from New York to safe white Vermont:
There is truth in what you say.

There was a huge movement of urban whites out of the cities in the 1960s.

It was called White Flight, and I witnessed it first-hand in Chicago of the mid-1960s.

It remains one of America's most profound and unresolvable realities.

The very high violent crime rates among black males is the main driving force, not skin color.

The stats are unmistakable with young black men committing violent crimes at something on the order of 8 times that of others, and we find exactly the same thing in places as diverse as South Africa or the Caribbean.

In fact, in recent years, we have seen successful, middle-class American blacks doing exactly the same thing. Leaving urban areas, on a smaller scale, smaller because there are simply fewer of them.

There is much hypocrisy around this matter amongst genuine American liberals like Bernie.

And hypocrisy doesn't solve problems.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: ROBERT KENNEDY JR SAYS SYRIAN WAR STARTED OVER EFFORT TO SECURE QATARI GAS PIPELINE - NO DOUBT THAT WAS IN THE MIX BUT IT IS A SUBSIDIARY MATTER USED TO COVER A TRUTH WHICH WOULD NOT GO DOWN WELL IN PARTS OF AMERICA


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN YOURNEWSWIRE


I think Robert Kennedy Jr. is right only in small part. The pipeline is indeed something the establishment would like to create.

But war in Syria, like Iraq, is part of a grand plan to re-mold the Middle East into Israel's liking and secure its hegemony there.

Politicians like Kennedy would never discuss it for fear of offending America's powerful Israel Lobby.

A kind of giant cordon sanitaire has been abuilding around Israel for years, and at an immense cost in human lives.

We have comments over the years from high American officials suggesting support for the concept.

Condi Rice once brutally called the screams of the hundreds of thousands killed in Iraq something to the effect of the screams of a new-born Middle East.

George Bush once candidly remarked on how much more Sharon demanded in the Middle East, saying something like I already invaded Iraq for him and how much more does he want?

In Iraq, American forces directly invaded, blatant aggression, and to the shock of much of the world.

In Libya and Syria and Yemen, surrogates were used with secret support, a very dirty business.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: HOW OBAMA EXPLAINED TRUMP'S VICTORY TO HIS DAUGHTERS WRITES OLIVIA BLAIR IN THE INDEPENDENT - INGRATIATINGLY STUPID PROPAGANDA - COMMENT ON OBAMA AS A SUPREME SCAM ARTIST


COMMENT TO AN ARTICLE BY OLIVIA BLAIR IN THE INDEPENDENT


Perhaps, the same way he explained to them about the Easter Bunny?

Really, Independent editors, I don't see how you could possibly come up with a more ingratiatingly stupid piece of propaganda.
--------------------------------------------------------
Response to another reader’s comment calling Obama a scam artist of the highest quality:

It's all in the big smile and the baritone voice.

I actually welcomed this man's first election warmly, believing he represented some real change.

I resented reports early on that Bill Clinton had said in private that on talking with Obama "he just did not have it (the skills for being President)."

But it wasn't long before I understood.

He quickly proved not only a failure, a complete failure, but a horribly hypocritical failure.

And his level of arrogance is convincing evidence for mental illness.

By the way, great superficial charm combined with murderous lack of empathy are the hallmarks of a psychopath.

Readers may enjoy this image of extreme arrogance:







Sunday, November 20, 2016

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: ABBAS RAISES THE MATTER OF ARAFAT'S ASSASSINATION SAYING HE KNOWS WHO DID IT AND PEOPLE WILL BE SURPRISED - WELL SOME OF US ALREADY DO KNOW WHO DID IT AND IT'S GUARANTEED NOT TO BE THE SAME NAME ABBAS MIGHT REVEAL - ABBAS'S CONTINUING ACT AS ISRAEL'S VERSION OF STEPIN FETCHIT


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY JONATHAN COOK IN INTIFADA PALESTINE


There is little doubt that Arafat was murdered, and by the agency of Mossad.

About that time, Israel had reached a huge head of steam over Arafat. He wasn't permitted to attend even Christmas services, and then his compound was partly wrecked by Israeli tanks in the clearest personal threat.

Sharon had a meeting with George Bush, and he was reported by a few sources as asking Bush if he could be released from Israel's promise to not harm Arafat.

Bush, always the insipid and obsequious fool with Sharon, was reported as having readily agreed. It wasn't a great deal of time after that that Arafat died.

The Israelis may well have employed a dissident Palestinian to do the actual job, something which is a common practice with outfits like the CIA, who for example once used a reputed Castro insider to try killing Castro. 

But please, there are only a tiny number of sources on the planet for radioactive Polonium, and one of them is Israel's nuclear industry.

I think it more than likely here with his suggestions about who killed Arafat that the unelected Abbas wants to point the finger at a political rival rather than reveal any truth.

Abbas is pretty much a sad creature of Israel's. He is allowed, every once in a while, to do or say some seemingly challenging thing to reinforce his “creds” with his own people, but, in the end, Israel is quietly happy with him.

Of course, Israel would prefer there were no Palestinian government at all and, indeed, no Palestinians, but so long as it must keep up pretenses, Abbas is their man.

Readers may just have noticed that Israel never likes democratic leaders in its neighborhood. It likes unelected strongmen, while pretending otherwise, Arab “irrationality” and penchant for dictatorship being great propaganda phony talking points with the outside world for “the Mideast’s only democracy.”

That is why it hates Hamas. That was why it hated the elected Morsi government in Egypt and undoubtedly had it put on a CIA list for restorative action, restorative of military dictator ship.  

And that is why it such great secret allies of the Saudi Princes, with whom it shares so many interests, especially an aversion to human rights and genuine democracy as well as a preference for only one kind of people living in each country.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: SUPPOSED ISIS ATTACK ON ISRAELI FOOTBALL TEAM IN ALBANIA FOILED - SIMPLY AN OUTRAGEOUS PROPAGANDA STUNT TO SUGGEST ISRAEL IS NOT CONNECTED TO OUTFITS LIKE ISIS WHEN IN FACT IT IS


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY LIZZIE DEARDEN IN THE INDEPENDENT


Really crap, almost laughable, propaganda which tries to tell the world ISIS is not Israel's friend.

ISIS has never once attacked Israel or Israeli interests, which, if you believe in the fantasy stories about what ISIS is, should be their number-one target.

No, Israel has always been one of the sponsors of ISIS and Al Nusrah.

And ISIS has done virtually all of its filthy work against the countries Israel hates most, Iraq and Syria. It is a very convenient arrangement.

Saudi Arabia, under American auspices, is one of the main sponsors and suppliers of ISIS, and Saudi Arabia and Israel basically have been secret allies for years.

They share many common interests, both essentially being privileged powers in the region and both representing very regressive interests against any form of popular government near them or even genuine democracy within their borders.

The Saudis would do absolutely nothing important that would harm Israel. Moreover, the overseer of both countries, the United States, would simply not allow it, but it has very much tolerated ISIS while pretending not to do so.

ISIS was the creature of America, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, and Israel - each of these having its own reasons for supporting it.

It was born in the insane tumult created by America's illegal invasion of Iraq (which was largely for Israel's benefit) and was fostered by these countries in a number of covert and overt ways. American servants like Britain and France also assisted, while pretending to fight them.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: THE DELUSIONAL RAMBLINGS OF AN UTTERLY FAILED BARACK OBAMA - HE THINKS HE DID A PRETTY GOOD JOB AND SHOOK THINGS UP - HE IN FACT LEAVES BEHIND A WASTELAND AT HOME AND ABROAD


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN CNS NEWS


‘I Think I Did a Pretty Good Job’ as President; People Wanted to ‘Shake Things Up’

Obama is delusional.

The only shake-up for which he is responsible is the deaths of hundreds of thousands - men, women, and children - in the Middle East

He's slaughtered on a wholesale scale in Libya, Syria, and Yemen.

Of course, there is his wonderful system of extra-judicial killing at work in at least half a dozen places, no different to past outfits like the old Argentinian junta, except in its technology.

The entire Middle East is in flames, and where there hasn't been great death, there have been other disasters like a return to dictatorship in Egypt.

He achieved absolutely nothing for his own people.

He achieved absolutely nothing in reforming the national financial regulation after the 2008 disaster.

He has done nothing but print money since he took office.

Nothing at all was done for the millions of victims in Gaza or the West Bank.

His proclaimed "strategic pivot" to Asia - ill-considered in the first place, is a complete shamble.

China will be stronger than ever, which is in fact good, and it will cooperate with countries like the Philippines. TPP is dead, and that's a good thing.

And the last great act of this pathetically ineffectual man was to vigorously support Hillary Clinton, the most corrupt candidate in American history.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: YET ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF A WRITER WRITING WHAT HE KNOWS NOTHING ABOUT - DAVID USBORNE WRITES OF CHAOS IN THE TRUMP TRANSITION TEAM AT THE TOP OF THE TRUMP TOWER - AND A NEO-CON SURREPTITIOUS TACTIC BEING AVOIDED


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY DAVID USBORNE IN THE INDEPENDENT


This is a remarkably uninformed article, even by The Independent's standards.

They are not in chaos, not a bit.

Of course, there are debates and arguments going on, but Trump is one tough and smart man who would not permit chaos for five minutes.

What has indeed happened is that some Neo-con-friendly people have been shown the door.

They have tried doing to Trump's future administration just what they did to the pathetic Obama's - that is, to slip in numbers of vicious Neo-cons into important posts.

That tactic helped create Obama's virtually complete failure in foreign affairs.

He had high-ranking opponents within his own government, and he was too weak to ever take them on. Hillary Clinton, for example, was one of them.

Well, Donald Trump is not weak, I think we can all agree.

And this columnist doesn't know what he is writing about.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: NONSENSE ABOUT PUTIN BEING EMBOLDENED BY TRUMP TO QUIT THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT - AN EXAMPLE OF A WRITER WRITING WITHOUT THE LEAST IDEA OF WHAT SHE IS EVEN WRITING ABOUT - A NOT UNCOMMON PRACTICE IN TODAY'S PRESS


COMMENT POSTED TO A COLUMN BY LIZZIE DEARDEN IN THE INDEPENDENT


"emboldened"?

Truly nonsense written by someone who doesn't even understand the subject.

Russia was an early signer of the treaty, and to this day supports the ICC's principles.

Russia is withdrawing because the ICC has absolutely not lived up to its principles. It has been close to a complete failure in fact.

By the way, the countries which originally refused to sign the ICC treaty are some of the world's worst offenders.

They include the United States, Israel, Qatar, China, and a few others.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: JENS STOLTENBERG OF NATO WARNS TRUMP AGAINST GOING IT ALONE - JENS CARRIES ON WITH HIS WELL-ESTABLISHED PERFORMING SEAL CIRCUS ACT BARKING OUT ON COMMAND YET ANOTHER TUNE COMPOSED BY WASHINGTON'S DIM-WITTED ESTABLISHMENT


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE INDEPENDENT


Jens Stoltenberg has been performing a kind of circus clown act for years now. Only missing is the big red nose ball.

I might even compare him to one of those trained seal acts balancing various objects on the end of his snout while barking.

He has given so many stark warnings to this or that party - mainly, of course to Russia - that I rather imagine him at home over the dinner table giving stark warnings to his family, or perhaps, even sitting up in bed at night giving stark warnings to his unfortunate wife.

He is a thoroughly ridiculous figure, but the establishment newspapers treat him seriously and duly report his nonsense simply because this particular seal was trained by Obama, Clinton, and Company.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: THE FOOLISH AND MUCH-REPEATED NOTION OF GLOBALIZATION BEING A FAILURE - BUT THAT CAN BE BE TRUE ONLY IF YOU DO NOT UNDERSTAND WHAT THE WORD GLOBALIZATION MEANS


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN BLACKLISTED NEWS


Sorry, I just do not agree that globalization is a failure.

Actually, it rather silly to use that expression because true globalization is a natural phenomenon, not a conscious effort or policy which is susceptible of failure.

Global interventionism is indeed a failure, one of the fundamental failings of the establishment which has been rejected by American voters.

And some free trade agreements may well be flawed. After all, we do not have truly free trade, we have managed trade governed by agreements.

But basic globalization is an inevitable step in the evolution of our world, and this author and others have some confusion as to what it means.

Where once, just a few centuries ago, goods traveled mainly between nearby towns with poor wagons and poor roads, now they travel across the globe. What makes globalization a reality is modern transport, telecommunications, and computers. It is not going away, ever. That would be the equivalent of saying we must stop technological progress, and that cannot be done, except by war.

It must not be confused with free trade agreements. They are not the same thing at all.

Globalization has made the world a richer place.

China and other Asian lands are all enjoying new prosperity.

American stores are packed with affordable, attractive goods of every kind.

Free trade agreements attempt to govern trade between different societies with regard to taxes, tariffs, government regulations, and special barriers such as unusual inspection or health requirements. These things can be adjusted and renegotiated, and they do not constitute globalization, except in very inaccurate speech.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: TRUMP IS ACCUSED OF NEVER LISTENING TO ANYBODY - BUT HOW DO SPEND DECADES NEGOTIATING DEALS WITH PEOPLE YOU NEVER LISTEN TO?


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY RUPERT CORNWELL IN THE INDEPENDENT


"Donald Trump has never listened to anybody in his entire life – why would he start now?"

Oh, please, you do not make $8 billion doing scores and scores of big business deals, face-to-face with other tough, smart people without ever listening to them!

That is simply ridiculous on the face of it.

But the fact that he is tough in his positions is an immensely important merit when you are dealing with Admirals, Generals, and the heads of vast international corporations.

Obama has proved pathetically weak and ineffective, an echo chamber for the views of a small coterie of others who are dangerous and not well informed. He is a total failure and has killed hundreds of thousands of people.

I think any open-minded reader can appreciate that.

It is almost beyond me how Rupert Cornwell spends time cooking up slop like this, serving it, and retaining any self-respect.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: FRENCH PRIME MINISTER ADMITS MARINE LE PEN COULD WIN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION IN 2017


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY MATT PAYTON IN THE INDEPENDENT


Marine Le Pen is an intelligent and fresh voice in French politics.

And the establishment in France has created much the same ugly circumstances that the establishment in the United States did, perhaps worse.

Francois Hollande has been the most ineffectual president in modern French history, much resembling Obama only without the superficial charm.

He obsequiously serves American and other special interests, and much of this effort by Hollande is not in France's own genuine interests.

For example, France is a traditional good friend to Russia, and now, under Obama's withering influence, French farmers are in a mess with billions in lost sales, and the country's heavy industry has lost both an important customer and its reputation for reliability with the stupid Mistral ship affair.

France's economy is doing poorly, and Hollande takes no decisive measures. Hs record on foreign policy is confused and blundering. And even on domestic security, he has performed abysmally. 

Hollande's approval rating is not much above zero.

The country can only benefit from Marine Le Pen if she is true to the best of what she has said.

I know, the Neo-con crowd hates her and likes to paint her with the same ugly name-calling they have Trump, but people need to think for themselves and look to genuine and legitimate interests, not slogans and propaganda.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: SENATOR BOXER INTRODUCES A BILL TO ABOLISH THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE - A MATTER LIKELY TO GO NOWHERE


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN RINF


Big deal.

Some readers may not be aware that a bill cannot do this.

It just isn’t that simple, or it would have been done. Hillary Clinton called for the College's abolishment after the 2000 fiasco election of Bush.

There have been quite a number of minority presidents owing to this backward institution created by Founders who feared democracy and did not like change.

The country would be better off without the College, but getting rid of it is a monumental task involving not just the Senate, Congress, and the President as in ordinary legislation but also a vote of all fifty states.

Constitutional Amendments in the US are huge, many-step affairs, sometimes taking years, and by the end of the process interest may even have been lost in the goal.

That, quite simply, is how America's Founders planned it.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: BERNIE SANDERS SAYS HE WOULD HAVE BEEN ELECTED PRESIDENT - BUT BERNIE YOUR OWN ACTIONS SHOW US THAT YOU WOULD HAVE BEEN A POOR PRESIDENT


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN RINF


All I can say is that it is good thing that you were not elected, Bernie.

You seemed a worthy man during your campaign, but you proved a sniveling coward in the end, giving in to corrupt Hillary who truly represents everything you said you opposed.

No one can change the monstrously powerful American military/security/corporate establishment who is a coward, Bernie.

It cannot be done. America's awful power structure is not in the business of respecting nice words.

And if there is one thing that needs doing, it is changes in the institutions that gave us the bloody Neo-con Wars.

Trump at least stands a good chance for some real reform. I'm more convinced than ever.

Friday, November 11, 2016

JOHN CHUCKMAN ESSAY: WHAT HAPPENED IN THIS ELECTION?


WHAT HAPPENED IN THIS ELECTION?


John Chuckman

Brushing away the extreme claims and rhetoric of much election analysis, there are some observations which deserve attention. These unfortunately mostly provide hard lessons and not a lot of encouragement for people who hold to principles of democracy, enlightenment, and progressivity.

The election demonstrated perhaps better than ever, and better than has been generally been recognized, that American is, indeed, a plutocracy. It took a genuine American Oligarch, a multi-billionaire, a man with a lifetime’s economic empire-building, to defeat a family which could provide the very definition of being politically well-connected, a family which had laboriously constructed and carefully maintained a kind of deep well ever-flowing with money for their ambitions.

It was the ever-flowing well of money, drilled by Bill Clinton with help from some extremely shady friends, such as Jeffrey Epstein, that made the Clintons keystone establishment figures in the Democratic Party. It was not personal charm or exceptional political generalship – although Bill, in his heyday, displayed some of both of those – that earned the Clintons their place, it was the money, the “mother’s milk of politics.” In what is euphemistically called “fund raising,” many hundreds of millions of dollars were provided for the party over the last couple of decades by Bill Clinton’s efforts.

Hillary fully appreciated the fact that money buys power and influence. She lacked Bill’s superficial charm, but she certainly more than shared his ambition.  On the charm front, when she was ready to move into running for office, she adopted, perhaps under Bill’s tutelage, a kind of forced clown face with arched eyebrows, bugged-out eyes, and a smile as big as her lips would allow, and these expressions were accompanied by little gestures such as briefly pointing to various on-lookers or waving helter-skelter whenever she campaigned.

Her gestures reminded me of something you might see atop a float in a Christmas Parade or of the late Harpo Marx at his most exuberant. These were not natural for her. They were never in evidence years ago when she spent years as a kind of bizarre executive housewife, both in a governor’s mansion and later in the White House, bizarre because she indulged her husband’s non-stop predatory sexual behavior in exchange for the immense power it conferred on her behind the scenes over her far more out-going and successful politician-husband.

Anyway, Hillary knew that gestures and simulated charm do not get you far in American politics. She determined to build a political war chest long ago, and there are many indications over the years of her working towards this end of making this or that change in expressed view, as when running for the Senate, when sources of big money suggested another view would more acceptable. She was anything but constant in the views she embraced because when she ran for the Senate she spent record amounts of money, embarrassingly large amounts.

In her years of speaking engagements, she aimed at special interests who could supply potentially far more money than just exorbitant speaking fees. Later, in the influential, appointed post of Secretary of State - coming, as it does, into personal contact with every head of government or moneyed, big-time international schemer - she unquestionably played an aggressive “pay for play” with them all. Covering up that embarrassing and illegal fact is what the private servers and unauthorized smart phones were all about.

A second big fact of the election is that both major American political parties are rather sick and fading. The Republican Party has been broken for a very long time. It hobbled along for some decades with the help of various gimmicks, hoping to expand its constituency with rubbish like “family values,” public prayer and catering to the Christian Right, and anti-flag burning Constitutional amendments, and now it is truly out of gas. That is precisely why a political outsider like Oligarch Trump could manage to hi-jack the party.

He was opposed by tired, boring men like Jeb Bush, seeking to secure an almost inherited presidency, and a dark, intensely unlikable, phony Christian fundamentalist like Ted Cruz, and it proved to be no contest. It was a remarkable political achievement, but I think it was only possible given the sorry state of the party.

The Republican Party had been given a breather, some new life, by Ronald Reagan in the 1980s. He had an extremely mixed record as President, but he was popular, held in some affection, and did have a clear vision, but his effect on the party was not lasting. Trump could be seen as another Reagan, but I think the comparison is superficial. Trump literally hi-jacked the party, and he was not deliriously crowned by its establishment.

The Republican Party itself was formed not long before Abraham Lincoln’s candidacy out of the remains of worn out and collapsed predecessors, including the Whigs and Free-Soil Democrats. Parties do not last forever, and here was Trump creating something of a minor political revolution inside a tired and fairly directionless old party, a phenomenon which I do not think was sufficiently noticed.

The press was too busy attacking him from the start to take notice or do any intelligent analysis, and he was attacked precisely for the potential damage to the establishment he represented. His most promising quality is his potential for creating a new coalition of interests and one excluding the continuation of the Neocon Wars Hillary vigorously embraced and would expand.

But the Democratic Party is in serious trouble, too. It has a great deal of internal rot, as the Wiki-Leaks material from the DNC clearly shows us. Arrogance, lack of direction, ignorance of the people it has always claimed to serve, bad decision-making, and the absolute prostrate worship of money are the major symptoms.

It would have been impossible for the party to have so made up its mind and committed its resources to Hillary Clinton without serious rot. She has always had strong negatives in polling, always been (rightly) suspected concerning her honesty.

The Wiki-Leaks material tells us about many internal conflicts, including harsh high-level judgments of Hillary’s decision-making, resentment over the back-stabbing character of daughter Chelsea who is said to resemble Hillary in her behavior and attitudes, and the belief of some that Hillary just should not have run. And, frankly, she had become for many a rather tiresome, used-up figure from whom absolutely nothing spectacular in politics or policy could possibly be expected. But they not only blindly supported her, they broke all their own party rules by internally and secretly working to defeat a legitimate and viable contender, Bernie Sanders.

Sanders might well have been able to win the election for the Democrats, but their establishment was blind to the possibility and rejected his candidacy out-of-hand. After all, there were Bill and Hillary beckoning to their running well of money. In hindsight, it might be just as well that Sanders was cheated out of the nomination. He proved a weak individual in the end, giving in to just the forces he had claimed to oppose and leaving his enthusiastic followers completely let down. He may well even have been secretly bribed by money from the Clintons since he bought a fairly expensive property not long afterward. But, in any event, there he was, out on the hustings, supporting everything he ever opposed personified in Hillary Clinton. Men of that nature do not stand up well to Generals and Admirals and the heads of massive corporations, a quality which I do think we have some right to expect Trump to display.

Another important fact about the election is that it was less the triumph of Trump than the avoidance of Hillary that caused the defeat. The numbers are unmistakable. Yes, Trump did well for a political newcomer and a very controversial figure, but Hillary simply did badly, not approaching the support Obama achieved in key states, again something reflecting the documented fact that she is not a well-liked figure and the Party blundered badly in running her. But again, money talks, and the Clintons, particularly Bill, are the biggest fundraisers they have had in our lifetime. No one was ready to say no to the source of all that money.

Now, to many Americans, the election result must seem a bit like having experienced something of a revolution, although a revolution conducted through ballots, any other kind being literally impossible by design in this massive military-security state.  In a way, it does represent something of a revolutionary event, owing to the fact that Trump the Oligarch is in his political views a bit of a revolutionary or at least a dissenter from the prevailing establishment views. And, as in any revolution, even a small one, there are going to be some unpleasant outcomes.

The historical truth of politics is that you never know from just what surprising source change may come. Lyndon Johnson, life-long crooked politician and the main author of the horrifying and pointless Vietnam War, did more for the rights of black Americans than any other modern president. Franklin Roosevelt, son of wealthy establishment figures, provided remarkable leadership in the Great Depression, restoring hopes and dreams for millions. Change, important, change, never comes from establishments or institutions like political parties. It always comes from unusual people who seem to step out of their accustomed roles in life with some good or inspired ideas and have the drive and toughness to make them a reality.

I have some limited but important hopes for Trump. I am not blind or delirious expecting miracles from this unusual person, and after the experience of Obama, who seemed such a promising young figure but fairly quickly proved a crushing, bloody disappointment, I can never build up substantial hopes for any politician. And what was the choice anyway? Hillary Clinton was a bought-and-paid one-way ticket to hell.

Trump offers two areas of some hope, and these both represent real change. The first is in reducing America’s close to out-of-control military aggressiveness abroad. This aggressiveness, reflecting momentum from what can only be called the Cheney-Rumsfeld Presidency, continued and grew under the weak and ineffectual leadership of Obama and was boosted and encouraged by Hillary as Secretary of State. Hillary, the feminists who weep for her should be reminded, did a lot of killing during her tenure. She along with Obama are literally responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of women and their families, many of them literally torn apart by bombs.

The other area of some hope is for the welfare of ordinary American people themselves who have been completely ignored by national leaders for decades. George Bush’s lame reaction to Hurricane Katrina (before he was internationally shamed into some action) has become the normal pattern for America’s national government when it comes to ordinary Americans.

The truth is that the legacy of FDR has withered to nothing and no longer plays any role in the Democratic Party, and of course never did in the Republican Party. By welfare, I do not mean the kind of state assistance that Bill Clinton himself worked to end. Nothing can impress someone not familiar with America’s dark corners more than a visit to places like Detroit or Gary or Chicago’s South Side, parts of New Orleans, or Newark or dozens of other places where Americans live in conditions in every way comparable to Third World hellholes. No, I mean the people’s general well-being. Trump’s approach will be through jobs and creating incentives for jobs. I don’t know whether he can succeed, but, just as he asked people in some of his speeches, “What do you have to lose?” Just having someone in power who pays any attention to the “deplorables” is a small gain.

People should never think of the Clintons as liberal or progressive, and that was just as much true for Bill as it is for Hillary. His record as President - apart from his embarrassing behavior in the Oval Office with a young female intern and his recruitment of Secret Service guards as procurers for women he found attractive on his morning runs - was actually pretty appalling. He, in his own words, “ended welfare as we know it.” He signed legislation which would send large numbers of young black men to prison. He also signed legislation which contributed to the country’s later financial collapse under George Bush. He often would appoint someone decent and then quickly back off, leaving them dangling, when it looked like approval for the appointment would not be coming. His FBI conducted the assault on Waco, killing about eighty people needlessly. A pharmaceutical plant in Sudan was destroyed by cruise missiles for no good reason. There were a number of scandals, including the suicide of Vince Foster and the so-called Travelgate affair, which were never fully explained to the public. It was his Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, who answered, unblinkingly, a television interviewer’s question about tens of thousands of Iraqi children who died owing to America’s embargo, “We think it’s worth it.”  He committed the war crime of bombing Belgrade. When news of the horrors of the Rwanda genocide were first detected by his government, the order secretly went out to shut up about it. No effort was made to intervene.

No, any real change in America could never come from people like the Clintons, either one of them.