Thursday, October 17, 2019

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: ACTING AS A NAZI ISN'T RESTRICTED BY ETHNICITY OR RELIGION - EVERY GROUP IS PERFECTLY CAPABLE OF PRODUCING SOME PEOPLE WITH THIS BEHAVIOR - AS WE SEE TODAY AMONGST SOME DESCENDENTS OF THE NAZIS' MOST TERRIBLE VICTIMS - ISRAEL AND ITS TREATMENT OF THE PALESTINIANS

John Chuckman


EXPANSION OF A COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY EVA BARTLETT IN MINT PRESS



“Under Fire from Ukraine and Misperceived by the West, The People of the DPR Share Their Stories

“Eva Bartlett traveled to the besieged Donetsk People’s Republic to see firsthand how residents are faring amidst a western-backed Ukrainian incursion”

__________________________

Response to a comment saying, ‘"There is a Nazi state in the middle of Europe in the 21st Century. They are dangerous both for us and for the Western world" ‘Give me a break. Ukraine is basically run by Jews.’ In the length of his comment, the reader was essentially saying it was a contradiction in terms to speak of Nazis in a place run by Jewish people.



First, as to the article author's observation of "a Nazi state in the middle of Europe," something to which this commenter takes exception, see the interesting discussion and photos at: https://southfront.org/the-saker-zelenskii-in-free-fall/ 

But the focus of my response here is Israel's treatment of the Palestinians, a people whose numbers in the occupied territories and in Israel proper, are on the order of six million.



So, Jews can't possibly behave as Nazis?

A ridiculous assertion when we see millions of people held against their will with no rights and no votes and no hope by Israel for over half a century. Not just held but frequently abused and wounded and killed.

The people, the Palestinians, are left in a kind of perpetual institutionalized hell, modelled from the words of the conquering general in the Six Day War, Moshe Dayan, who said publicly afterward that it would be necessary to make the Palestinians miserable enough so they'd want to leave voluntarily.

Dayan’s advice has been Israel's unspoken policy ever since.

Frequently, there are even voices in Israel advocating such measures as driving the Palestinians off their land entirely. Quite prominent figures have thoughtlessly and angrily advocated that.

To where? Who cares? is basically the attitude.

And while they are held by Israel in a form of modern bondage, confined to Apartheid-style Bantustan districts, often, we see yet more homes and farms just openly stolen. Families are assaulted and, sometimes, killed. Farmers’ orchards and vines are often uprooted or vandalized. Streets are patrolled and homes are raided by heavily-armed Israeli soldiers.

The ugliest possible insults are used by some Israelis. Prominent voices have used the most savage language in describing Palestinians. Words like “vermin.” Gigantic concrete walls, with high observation and gun towers, have been constructed across some areas, always with their foundations laid on Palestinian land, walls which, apart from their dreariness, break up traditional routes and patterns, making life that much more difficult.

And where there aren’t walls, there are the many checkpoints at which people must stand in line sometimes for hours to speak to a rude soldier before being able to proceed to their destination. And if they don’t have their required identification in order, they won’t proceed at all.

Regular Israeli practices include improper imprisonment - that is, imprisonment with no proper legal charges or trial - for thousands. The arrest of children. Torture. Assassination of leaders and potential leaders. Brutally unfair laws and arbitrary restrictions, even around such humble, everyday matters as a small home improvement or repair. Harshly limited opportunities for employment and business growth. And really, just no opportunity for millions of people to thrive and develop as in a normal society.

That’s going on three entire generations of massive repression.

And the situation in the separate enclave of Gaza, a place whose very dense population reflects its having become a refugee camp for those driven from their homes and farms by the advancing terrors of 1948?

Gaza is one of the most appalling human situations on the planet. A giant, unsanitary, open-air prison surrounded by fences and automated radar-operated machine-gun towers and armed patrol boats on the water. Fishermen, in their tiny old-fashioned boats, straying at all from the tight distance limits imposed on the water have often been shot over the years.

Many of Gaza’s buildings and sanitary facilities have been left in ruins for years after several successive Israeli attacks, attacks which killed several thousand people, some of the streets’ open gutters literally ran red with blood at the time. Supplies needed for repairs are not permitted under a years-long, war-like blockade.

And when residents protest in marches, invariably without guns, Israel's "moral army" kneels behind a fence and shoots into the crowd, killing men, women, and children.

Over the last year and a half of protests, more than 300 have been killed and thousands wounded, some very seriously wounded because part of the "moral army" was using illegal butterfly-type ammunition, which, like dum-dums, blows big holes in limbs with even a slight contact.

The badly wounded only immensely compound the problems of poor sanitation, broken facilities, shortage of supplies, and no ability to receive adequate assistance from outside.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: OBAMA HAD A FINE SMILE AND NEVER MADE THE RUDE LUNATIC NOISES OF TRUMP SO THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO THINK HE WAS A GOOD MAN - BUT VIOLENCE AND SECRECY WERE HIS TRUE GIFTS

John Chuckman


EXPANSION OF A COMMENT POSTED TO AN INTERVIEW BY NICK LEHR WITH DAVID BROMWICH IN CONSORTIUM NEWS



“Why Barack Obama Was Particularly Unsuited to Live up to the Ideals of the Nobel Peace Prize

“A new book is unsparing in its assessment of Obama’s legacy”



I can’t believe how many people still are fooled by Obama’s boyish smile and baritone voice.

Perhaps the sheer contrast in style to the rude, incessant bombast and repulsive insults from his successor in office contributes to sustaining some illusion.

Perhaps also his being the first black man elected as president lends him a special aura, associations in people’s minds that do not really fit the man.

As though he were somehow associated with all those struggling people in the Third World and in the vast sprawl of ghettos which pockmark most of America’s cities.

(Of course, when he ran for office, he played off those very things, as when speaking to crowds of black Americans in the rhythms of old-style preachers with a much-repeated phrase like, “Yes, we can!”)

As though he weren’t at all associated with the brutal, soulless officials of Washington’s vast imperial establishment. Men who sit at meetings around large polished oak tables and decide the fates of others thousands of miles away. Who will live, and who will die. Men, women, and children.

Although much reduced from his earliest days in office, he does still have a following.

I agree with the author that early on he was seen as something of an anti-war figure. I saw him that way myself, briefly regarding him as almost heroic, but it really did not take very long to see how wrong that assessment was.

Indeed, by the time he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009, it was already clear what sort of man he was. Of course, many of the Peace Prizes have been awarded on the basis of airy hopes, somewhat better than the numerous awards to outright killers and terrorists.

https://chuckmanwordsincomments.wordpress.com/2009/10/12/on-obamas-nobel-peace-prize/

Not only did he not keep his own promises, such as closing that shameful place called Guantanamo, this man spent eight solid years killing people.

He bombed somewhere every day of his two terms.

And he holds the distinction of having created an industrial-scale extrajudicial killing system, incinerating people far away who were never legally charged or tried for anything. The method frequently kills bystanders, too, but even the targets are legally guilty of nothing.

All in the name of freedom, the same freedom as is used in the name of the medal he awarded to Joe Biden, his Vice President, a strong inside advocate for creating the mass hi-tech operation for “disappearing” people.

Obama turned an extremely well-run country like Libya - maybe not a democracy, but a place where no one did without clean water and housing and free education and health care, and a place that remained at peace for decades - into a vision from hell. It remains so to this day.

And he worked very hard to do the same for Syria, having his Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, oversee the transfer of savage fighters and storehouses full of weapons from the ruins of Libya through devious channels to the beautiful, historic land of Syria.

We even know from one of our finest living investigative reporters, Seymour Hersh, that she had a small amount of Libya’s stock of poison nerve agent shipped for ultimate use in Syria. Gaddafi, just as several Arab leaders had done, kept such stocks as a counter to Israel’s secret nuclear arsenal.

They wanted to create an incident so that Obama’s public warning about Syria’s government “not crossing red lines” (in its fight against the terrorizing mercenaries sent to destabilize the country) could be used to bomb the crap out of the place, just as had been done in Libya.

He only failed because of immense efforts by others (especially Russia’s Vladimir Putin).

He signed off on a coup against an elected government in Ukraine, something done for no other reason than to threaten and harass Russia, creating a series of conflicts and problems we have to this day, including a civil war in the country’s East, the Donbass, that has killed thousands.

He once quietly joked with words to the effect, ‘Hey, I’m pretty good at this killing stuff.’ I have no idea why he spoke in that strange way, but his words were recorded.

A penchant for brutal humor seemed to be part of the environment of his government. After the unspeakably grisly death of Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi (there is a video you could not pay me to watch), his Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, was recorded saying, “We came, we saw, he died! Ha, ha, ha!”

He pressed hard against the elected government of Venezuela with economic measures that served only to reduce the lives of millions of ordinary people.

In addition to the immense amount of violence Obama oversaw as President, he had a very strong tendency towards secrecy, and went after whistleblowers with a vengeance.

Poor dear Chelsea Manning was imprisoned under him, an ordeal she almost didn’t survive.

Edward Snowden was forced into exile under his watch.

John Kiriakou went to prison under him for revealing the CIA’s use of torture.

And it was in his time as President that Julian Assange sought asylum from Ecuador.

The intelligence community’s massive new Utah Data Center, designed to hold unholy amounts of secret data about people was opened under this President.

He often was remarkably arrogant, something not widely noticed, but you can see it clearly in his posture and finger-pointing in some old photos.

https://chuckmangrotesques.blogspot.com/2016/10/john-chuckman-grotesque-obama-best.html

This truly was a monster, just one with a deceptively pleasant face.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: AMERICA'S GROTESQUE PRESIDENT ACTUALLY DID SOMETHING RIGHT IN LEAVING SYRIA, ALTHOUGH HE DID IT VERY BADLY

John Chuckman


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY MARKO MARJANOVIC IN CHECKPOINT ASIA



“Donald J. Trump’s Brilliant, Hilarious Rebuke of the War Party”



"Trump is a lazy, demented degenerate."

Indeed.

He's almost unbelievable. You have to rub your eyes watching him.

An American original grotesque. Like something strange escaped from a zoo. Or Victor Frankenstein’s creature lurching around.

But, despite his ghastly nature, getting out of Syria was a good thing, although he did it very badly, costing many lives.

I actually did not think it would happen. After all, it very much goes against Israel's wishes.

I think the key considerations for Trump were that he felt he had done enough for Israel's desires in other matters that he could afford to oppose them here, and, the really important thing for this ultimate narcissist, that he was convinced he needed a "withdrawal" somewhere to get re-elected.

And, I'm inclined to think him right in that. Biden or Warren running against him is just the same old, same old, undeviating support for Pentagon and Empire. He won't have done much, but his opponent will have done nothing.

Of course, this for that other segment that supported him in 2016, not the base wearing red MAGA caps on shopping trips to Walmart, the folks who love walls and hate anyone kneeling near Old Glory or speaking Spanish.

His opponent will say he did Putin’s work for him, but I don’t think that charge carries any weight with those opposed to America’s insane wars.

He has created an extraordinary political situation.

Readers might like:

https://chuckmanwordsincomments.wordpress.com/2019/10/15/john-chuckman-comment-trump-and-northeastern-syria-withdrawal-turkeys-invasion-putins-success-notes-on-saudi-arabias-crown-possibly-endangered-prince-irans-new-pride-in-its-capabiliti/



Monday, October 14, 2019

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: TRUMP AND THE BADLY-HANDLED SYRIA WITHDRAWAL - TURKEY'S INVASION - PUTIN'S SUCCESS IN REUNITING SYRIA - SAUDI ARABIA'S INEPT AND POSSIBLY-ENDANGERED CROWN PRINCE - IRAN'S NEW PRIDE IN ITS CAPABILITIES - RISE OF RUSSIA'S INFLUENCE IN THE REGION AND DECLINE OF AMERICA'S

John Chuckman


EXPANSION OF A COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY MARKO MARJANOVIC IN CHECKPOINT ASIA



“Syrian Army Enters US/Kurdish-Held Northern Syria to Block Turko-Jihadi Offensive

To do what the Americans won't”

_____________________________

Response to a comment saying, “Erdogan is about to lose a critical ally (Russia) if this operation persists. I believe a US-led coup against Erdogan is being developed. Russia has caught wind of it and I sense unless Syrian events change, Moscow won't lift a finger to assist Erdogan.”

It's impossible at this point to accurately understand the set of real relationships and forces at work here behind the scenes.

First, we have a genuine lunatic in the Oval Office., and one who has failed at almost everything he has tried.

And the (supposedly limited) invasion of northeastern Syria by Turkey, accommodated by American troops stepping aside almost as though by agreement, has now generated dramatic new changes. All American troops are now leaving the area, as are the limited number of other foreign troops, such as the French, Trump had managed previously to dragoon into support. The Syrian army has entered the region to protect the Kurds and oppose Turkey’s invasion. That last important step is the result of an agreement brokered by Putin.

Erdogan, while cunning and gifted in some matters and ruthless, is himself half-mad. Who else builds a thousand-room palace and shoots down a Russian fighter but a madman?

Putin is always thinking. And he uses the weaknesses as well as the strengths of his competitors and associates.

I wouldn't doubt it at all if more coup plans were being brewed up in Washington, although it's a little tough with Erdogan having put a good portion of Turkey’s generals and officials in prison, certainly any even suspected of the wrong kind of relationship with Americans, and having taken special measures at key American-Turkish contact points such as the big airbase, following the 2016 coup attempt.

If Putin can get something useful out of Erdogan still, and I think he can, he will protect him from American plots again. After all, that's what Russia’s S-400 air-defense sale was about, with neither Washington nor Europe being able to turn the air-defense system off (during a coup) as they very much can do with the ones they sell abroad. And besides, Putin is one of the world’s great pragmatists, not anything like Trump who goes around waving his flag in people’s faces and telling everyone publicly just what he thinks of them.

Some have speculated that this whole event represents a clever scheme by Putin and Erdogan to boot the United States out of Syria.

I don't embrace that, but it certainly isn't impossible. Upcoming developments will tell us the truth. Putin wants Syrian territorial integrity for a number of reasons. He is restoring the Middle East’s confidence in Russia’s ability to help and to get jobs done, and he’s doing it during a period of people’s losing confidence in America’s dependability. There is also the matter of the future of Russia's important naval and air bases in Syria being assured.

What Erdogan really hates in Syria is the idea of a Kurd-run entity. He is allergic to Kurds.

Well, you can either fight the entity or its sponsor, which, in this case, is the United States (at least in part on behalf of Israel, someone else Erdogan hates).

With the United States gone, visions of a Kurdish rump state are gone.

This does represent a significant regional defeat for Israel. It regarded the Kurdish rump state as getting at least something out of the larger Syrian proxy war it wanted and assisted, a war which has been lost.

I’m sure Putin is working very hard behind the scenes to have Erdogan halt his invasion. Syria and Russia could placate Erdogan with some special arrangements inside northeastern Syria, removing his concerns about Kurd proximity.

Of course, Erdogan’s concerns may well be, at least in part, excuses for the physical expansion of Turkey. We'll have to see how hard Erdogan keeps pushing.

He has to recognize the potential for running up against Russian fighter planes and the world’s best anti-aircraft missiles if he puts the Syrians into serious jeopardy or in any way embarrasses Putin. Of course, Russia also has some its remarkable Spetsnaz special forces in Syria. They have been used for gathering a lot of intelligence needed for effective bombing campaigns, ones run a little more conscientiously than some of America’s really destructive efforts in Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

Still others have speculated that the matter reflects a secret agreement between Turkey and the United States, a speculation fed by the timing of Turkey’s entry and America’s withdrawal. It certainly looks suspicious.

Turkey gets to do what it wants, within limits, to the Kurds, and America gets out from Syria altogether under the cover of not wanting to fight with a NATO ally, instead of having to make some big controversial policy announcement about leaving Syria that would anger Israel and its supporters.

I don’t embrace this notion, either, but it certainly is possible.

The idea would appear to be a little short-sighted by not considering Syria’s response and, of course, Russia’s, but being short-sighted is something both Trump and Erdogan have earned sound reputations for.

Russia has brokered the agreement between Syria and the Syrian Kurds, once again raising Russia’s status in the region. Now, if Russia can manage to stop Turkey’s advance by some combination of efforts not including direct conflict with Turkey, its status in the Middle East will be raised still higher, to begin overshadowing that of the United States, the United States having made blunder after blunder in its frantic and destructive Neocon Wars, as recognized by many.

I noted in a comment recently about Russian engineers having built a military-style bridge across the Euphrates River, the boundary for the region with rest of Syria, a bridge capable of supporting armored vehicles. They did so, apparently, in record time. So, it looks as though Putin was putting things together for the return of the Syrian army to the northeast region.

The United States has just announced that it is sending 3,000 troops plus some new missile systems to protect Saudi Arabia. I do think the added American troops and weapons are at least as likely about the Saudi Throne wobbling as any "threat" from Iran. All clear-thinking people know that there is no threat from Iran, unless you insist on regarding Iran’s mere continued existence as a threat.

The Saudi Crown Prince is starting to look as though he's in real trouble on several fronts.

There's still that recent, unexplained mystery of the old King's trusted, loyal, chief bodyguard being murdered in Jeddah. At the same time, there was a huge fire at the new high-speed train station in Jeddah. We’ve not heard another word about that important matter.

Saudi Arabia is for American affairs a key element in the region, and not just for its oil and its support of the petrodollar. It has become an element in America’s brutal efforts to create a new Middle East, one where Israel is comfortably accommodated in its demands and excesses.

That last idea, accommodating Israel, is something that still would not sit well with most Saudis and perhaps some other members of the Royal Family, so the Crown Prince’s very close ties with Israel, something the United States greatly values him for, are not a public bragging point. He has done many things to earn that status with Israel, including his foolish war in Yemen, continuing the years-long Saudi interference in Syria, and generating serious antagonism towards Iran.

The Crown Prince’s special relationship with Israel is what permitted him to buy tens of billions of dollars worth of the latest American weapons, an unprecedented act by an Arab state. But he has used them badly, and he has burned through a lot of money.

He is, in a word, a bungler, an ambitious and ruthless man of no great talent and one with a lot of serious character flaws. Apart from an infamous brutal murder he undoubtedly commissioned, we see a record new rate of executions in Saudi Arabia, his arrogant and wastrel ways, and the Crown Prince is said to have been a regular at Jeffrey Epstein’s sex playground, which almost certainly was an Israeli-supported hi-tech honey-trap for producing lots of compromising photos of influential people.

The Crown Prince’s losing his place, one way or another, would threaten much of what America has ruthlessly worked towards in the region. Of course, from the view of even some inside Saudi Arabia, the Crown Prince is regarded as a failure who has spent an awful lot of money achieving nothing but the shame of being successfully counterattacked twice by Yemen’s poor Houthi. The brutal Khashoggi murder, while deliberately overlooked by Trump and others who want to keep their Saudi relationship intact, brought waves of international condemnation.

The Royal Family has lots of Princes, and the current Crown Prince was not first in line. He made a lot of enemies with his clumsy early exploit of locking up a large number of wealthy Princes and making them pay him huge ransoms. Ransoms in the billions. The Crown Prince did effectively seize power, while his father, very old and said to be partly senile, formally remains King, but the usurper has not wielded the power well. He has enemies, and now they have every reason to say he is a failure.

Putin, by the way, is, as I write this, visiting Saudi Arabia and had a meeting with the old King to discuss various kinds of future proposed cooperation. He stays right on top of things.

It is also clear from statements coming out of Iran that that country has found a new sense of self-confidence in its brave efforts to face down America’s reckless assault – Trump’s tearing up an important working treaty, his launching almost a total economic war, and his intimidating Iran militarily with fleets and air power.

Iran’s new weapons have proved extremely effective, causing Saudi Arabia to regard it with new respect and to express a desire to avoid war, something it had seemed earlier rather cavalier about. And Iran is managing to export crude oil by various arrangements and subterfuges.

Trump’s failure in the Middle East has been close to total. His only real success might be said to be relations with Israel, but they only represent his airily giving away things that were not his legally to give, as recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and of the legitimacy of Israel’s self-proclaimed annexation of Syria’s Golan Heights.

Other matters we’ve discussed – American troops leaving northeastern Syria, the success and stability of the Saudi Throne, Iran’s new resolve and military pride, America’s declining influence, Russia’s increasing influence – are considered important in Israel, and they represent nothing but failure, viewed in America’s own terms, not in any larger terms of justice and human rights and decency, all of which have absolutely no place in American foreign policy.

Trump, in yet one more of his many clownish flip-flops, has declared suddenly a number of serious punitive measures against Turkey, including a range of sanctions, big new tariffs, and a stop to important trade negotiations, demanding Turkey stop its invasion. If Turkey pays heed, Trump will have done Putin’s task for him.

Indeed, Trump spoke about being prepared to “destroy the Turkish economy,” the kind of violent language of which he is so fond. These measures reflect I think no principles on Trump’s part, but the heavy criticism he has received from fellow Republicans about what he has done in Syria. As I said, Israel cannot be happy, and I’m sure all of their contacts in Congress are hearing about it.

Even people not under the same influences as Republican politicians, people in the region who wanted to see America leave Syria, such as Iran, are not happy about the way Trump managed to do it, causing considerable misery and death (See my last comment, “A STRIKING REMINDER OF THE GLORIOUS REALITIES OF AMERICA'S FIGHT FOR FREEDOM IN THE MIDDLE EAST”)

But there is no talk of American forces opposing Turkey. Indeed, the withdrawal of troops goes right ahead. I think Trump views at least one small achievement in “getting out of the Middle East” as essential for his re-election.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: A STRIKING REMINDER OF THE GLORIOUS REALITIES OF AMERICA'S FIGHT FOR FREEDOM IN THE MIDDLE EAST

John Chuckman


COMMENT ON A STRIKING REMINDER OF THE GLORIOUS REALITIES OF AMERICA’S FIGHT FOR FREEDOM IN THE MIDDLE EAST


Information reported from northeastern Syria starkly displays the utter cynicism and cruelty of America’s position there.

The commander of [American partner] Syrian Kurdish forces in the area has apparently angrily told the United States, “You are not willing to protect [my] people, but you do not want another force to come and protect us. You have sold us. This is immoral.”

“I need to know if you are capable of protecting my people, of stopping these [Turkish] bombs falling on us or not. I need to know, because if you’re not, I need to make a deal with Russia and [Syria] now and invite their planes to protect this region.”

The Turkish invasion has already killed many hundreds of Syrian Kurds. The Kurds are fighting the invading Turks, but the Kurds are comparatively lightly armed, and Turkey is coming on with fighter planes, tanks, and heavy artillery.

Several vicious incidents are reported of Turkish irregular groups shooting unarmed Kurds, prisoners and a well-known woman politician.

American forces sit back watching while the very people they have been working with, the Syrian Kurds, are bombed and shot by an American ally, Turkey, in an effort to make Turkey happy.

Turkey is being allowed to do just enough killing of Syrian Kurds to reassure itself about its own border security, because, after all, Turkey is a key ally in NATO and one with whom there have been some recent unpleasant disagreements, but don't let the Syrian Kurds turn to the government of Syria and its Russian ally to fight against invasion from Turkey.

After all, America’s plan for hiving off this chunk of someone else’s country - to weaken Syria for Israel’s benefit, the main purpose of the long ugly proxy war killing half a million in Syria - are being changed only to the extent that a big slice of northeastern Syria will become effectively part of Turkey.

The various public threats the United States has been making against Turkey and sanctions it is calling for are intended only to limit the depth of Turkey’s invasion, not to stop it. They serve also as a public relations exercise so as to not seem to be doing what you are in fact doing.

Trump gets to make noise for the hometown election crowd about withdrawing some American forces while in fact doing virtually nothing, moving a few troops around in order to let Turkey come in and do some killing.

The Syrian Kurds, with whom the United States has been working illegally inside Syria, and whom it refers to as an “ally,” are left to absorb a Turkish invasion of their homes while being told not to seek help elsewhere.

Although it is hard to have too much sympathy for the Syrian Kurds because they have in fact betrayed what was their own country, Syria, by working with America to help break it up.

Such are the glorious realities of America’s fight for freedom in the Middle East.



NOTE:

I tend to doubt Trump will have much political success here because his belly-over-the-belt political base, the ones who wear red MAGA hats on shopping trips to Walmart, the border-wall crowd, are not the same people who supported him to get out of the Middle East wars.

He still has done nothing real about America’s vicious, cynical wars.



LATE DEVELOPMENT:

Later, the same day I wrote this piece, we have from Aljazeera:

"Syrian government troops will deploy along the border with Turkey to help Kurdish fighters fend off Ankara's military offensive in northern Syria, the Kurdish-led administration in the region has announced."

"The move, announced on Sunday, represents a major shift in alliance for Syria's Kurds and came hours after the United States said it was withdrawing its troops from the area to avoid getting caught in the middle of the fast-escalating conflict."


Saturday, October 12, 2019

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: CONSTITUTIONAL CRISIS LOOMING IN AMERICA - WEAKNESSES IN THE AMERICAN CONSTITUTION - WEAKNESS OF POLITICAL INSTITUTIONS AND WRITTEN CONSTITUTIONS IN GENERAL AGAINST MEN WITH TEMPERAMENTS AND IMPULSES TOWARDS TYRANNY

John Chuckman


EXPANSION OF COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN CBC NEWS



“Is the U.S. in a constitutional crisis? Depends who you ask

“The current standoff is a stress test for American democracy, scholars say, unlike anything in history”



We have something similar in Britain, a country without a written Constitution, its “constitution” said to be the body of traditional practices and laws and court decisions.

There is a battle between Boris Johnson and Parliament over the required steps and procedures for BREXIT. He has even been accused of lying to the Queen in order to get Parliament adjourned temporarily.

Johnson resembles Trump in many personal characteristics and is perfectly ready to ignore traditions and rules and to skirt laws. I’ve called him Trump with an Eton accent.

Both situations, Britain and the US, mainly result from the fact of extremely driven, rude and narcissistic men having taken office. Men convinced they are right and ready to defy anyone saying they are not. Johnson, of course, hasn't even been elected by anyone beyond his own Conservative Party’s convention, a rather odd aspect of Britain’s “democratic” political system that a man in that position can drive the nation hard on a very contentious and consequential issue.

What I think we see is the weakness of organized institutions in the face of such men. Institutions like legislative bodies or a founding document like the American Constitution. Look at Trump's international record. He's torn up important working international treaties, ignored the UN and ICC, arbitrarily hits nations with sanctions - which are, strictly speaking, American laws for Americans, having no legitimate application to other nations - and tariffs. He's created chaos in half a dozen places.

Trump is the very kind of man that written constitutions are expected to be able to limit or stop, but I think the expectation is wrong. He will only be controlled by the country’s civil law in avoiding the clearest criminal acts such as killing and extortion.

As far as his personal history goes, he has always skirted rules and laws in his business and private life, but that’s part of what makes him so attractive to his base supporters. America is, and always has been, a nation with a great many scofflaws. Some of the wealthy signers of the Declaration of Independence were little more than smugglers, some were in the business of stealing native lands, and many were slaveholders, which was at the time not against the law strictly but was nevertheless regarded by the world’s thinkers and writers as against the spirit of the law.

Of course, in the sense most people think about elections, Trump, just like Boris Johnson, wasn’t even elected. He is one of a number of minority American Presidents owing to the Constitution’s Electoral College provision.

In a sense, I think Trump is going to demonstrate how inadequate the American Constitution really is, and we know already that it has many inadequacies and weak points, including the Electoral College. Then there’s the immense difficulty of changing the Constitution even slightly. There are many long-simmering arguments about the Constitution and taxes and conscription and gun ownership and going to war.

And, of course, slavery as an institution was, in an indirect fashion, written right into the American Constitution, a fact which I think should give anyone pause who regards that document and its authors as extraordinary. The very fact that slavery was included in a covert fashion is perhaps evidence that the Founders recognized already that it was a shameful institution.

My statement about the Electoral College, of course, is based on the assumption that all elections should be decided by democratic majorities, something which most people today take for granted as a basic principle. But that was not the view of America’s Founding Fathers, many of whom regarded the word “democracy” much the way “communism” was regarded in 20th century America. That’s why the hybrid thing they created is called The Republic, and loyal Trump supporters are the very people who want it to stay that way.

Americans have long fooled themselves about the Constitution being so perfect, but it's not, not at all. And I think in the end, no document or tradition or institution can effectively control the kind of man with a true tyrant's temperament and impulses, once he has managed to creep through the cracks into a position of power. Hitler destroyed the in-many-ways admirable Weimar Republic. Stalin ignored the Soviet Constitution, many of whose provisions were quite advanced and generous-sounding.

_____________________

Response to a comment saying, “One day the only thing people will remember about Trump was he was a most repulsive man”

True for many, but his loyalists will always say otherwise. I'm afraid that kind of division of opinion is just part of the human condition.

Remember, there were Russians, millions of them, who genuinely shed tears when Stalin's death was announced.

_____________________

Response to a comment:

The United States never has been a democracy, although ordinary people and popular media do use the term. For the most part, at an official level, it doesn't even claim to be one.

It's always been formally called a republic, a rather nebulous term covering a huge variety of past societies, none of them very democratic and some not at all, like ancient Rome.

America's Founders, many of them, did not trust the idea of democracy, fearing it had the potential through majority voting to siphon off the wealth of the kind of men who wrote the Constitution.

The contemporary global-empire version of America has only become worse in that regard.

Money totally dominates both national elections and the workings of foreign policy.

The wealthy give the money for the elections - the United States spending literally billions every national election - and they get a return on investment through policies and government activities. Their huge sums of campaign money also effectively form a barrier to entry against candidates not coming from the two official parties. If you don’t have a very fat wallet, you haven’t a chance of being elected.

I've explained how it all works here:

https://chuckmanwordsincomments.wordpress.com/2018/07/22/john-chuckman-comment-how-american-politics-really-work-why-there-are-terrible-candidates-and-constant-wars-and-peoples-problems-are-ignored-why-heroes-like-julian-assange-are-persecuted-and-r/

Friday, October 11, 2019

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: MORE ON TURKEY AND THE KURDS AND SYRIA AND THE UNITED STATES - SERVED UP WITH A BIG SIDE ORDER OF HYPOCRISY

John Chuckman


EXPANSION OF COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN CBC NEWS



“Turkey's pledge to 'take custody' of ISIS prisoner camps called precarious by experts

“About 30 Canadian men, women and children are thought to be held in these camps”



This is just one more bit of peripheral noise about what's going on in northeast Syria. No one, on any side, gives a damn about the mercenaries of ISIS.

What really concerns Washington is the failure of its plan to support the hiving off of the area as a Kurdish rump state, which is what the American troops there have been doing, training and supplying Syrian Kurds to fight against Syria's government. The effort represented Israel’s consolation prize for the loss of the American-run proxy war intended to topple Syria.

Fighting ISIS has been the consistent cover story for this operation which involves American troops illegally in Syria doing things like building bases and supplying Syrian Kurds with weapons.

Not only was the effort a very nasty piece of business to be doing in someone else’s country, but a rather foolish one, considering the well-known attitude of Turkey's Erdogan about having any Kurdish-run entities on Turkey's border.

It represents just one more embarrassing mishap in the running of the American empire, whose affairs often are handled with the aplomb and dignity of the Keystone Cops.



AFTER WORD:

The real interests at work in northeastern Syria project are easily understood from various comments following Trump’s initial moving of some American troops, effectively allowing Turkey’s Erdogan to invade the region.

We had the Congress’s most vigilant defender of all the interests of Israel, Senator Lindsey Graham, blowing huge clouds of steam almost immediately, but of course speaking in disguised terms about concerns for “allied” Kurds.

Other members of Congress quickly chimed in, also with concerns for the Kurds and various suggested punitive measures to be brought against Turkey.

Trump did one of his typical clownish flip-flops by starting to talk about the need for maybe something stronger than sanctions against Turkey.

And this morning, Netanyahu, who of course should have nothing to say about what happens in northeastern Syria, made threats about Israel maybe assisting the “valiant Kurds.” Oh, sure, Israel as defender of valiant Kurds.

Then, we have stories like the one above, from CBC, suggesting concern for the Kurds’ ISIS prisoners coming under Turkey’s charge. About thirty are thought to be Canadians. The irony is almost overwhelming since Canada has only recently spoken against repatriating Canadian members of ISIS.

Something from Russia brings things together nicely.

There are two notorious Russian pranksters, Alexey Stolyarov and Vladimir Kuznetsov, very clever fellows who have a number of times pulled off the stunt of calling someone famous while pretending to be someone else famous and getting the person they call to answer sensitive and embarrassing questions, recording the answers.

I suspect they are with Russian security services, given all the special knowledge required to place such calls, and their efforts often provide real insight along with some laughs.

They called Lindsey Graham twice, pretending to be the Turkish Defense Minister, and they recorded him saying: “I told President Trump that Obama made a huge mistake in relying on the YPG Kurds. Everything I worried about has come true, and now we have to make sure Turkey is protected from this threat in Syria. I’m sympathetic to the YPG problem, and so is the president, quite frankly.”

Talk about hypocrisy, the man says the very opposite in confidence to his public words.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: A BIT MORE ON IMPEACHMENT - NOTHING GOOD TO SAY ABOUT EITHER SIDE - MY SUGGESTION FOR ENHANCING ITS THEATRICAL APPEAL IF THEY DO GO AHEAD WITH IT

John Chuckman


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY ANDREW BACEVICH IN CONSORTIUM NEWS



“Trump, Impeachment & Forgetting What Brought Him to the White House”



https://consortiumnews.com/2019/10/09/trump-impeachment-forgetting-what-brought-him-to-the-white-house/?unapproved=384106&moderation-hash=5ab61b3bd265c7e6d42f8cadd49643cc#comment-384106



There is almost nothing good to say about either side in this matter.

A rude, corrupt, dishonest, loud-mouthed, belligerent President or a scheming, corrupt, dishonest, mercenary, war-mongering Congress.

It is the American condition that virtually none of these people, none of America's leaders, is worthy of praise.

The entire impeachment business is one more piece of dumb-show theater in Washington, theater which distracts from, and obscures, the ugly real workings of imperial government.

We should remember that the trail of events leading to the threat of impeachment goes back to an American-induced and paid-for coup against an elected government in Ukraine, a coup approved by that smiling Peace Prize winner, Obama, the same man who brought hell on earth to Libya and Syria, and there were no objections to speak of from Congress.

If they actually get around to a trial, which I tend to doubt will happen, the participants should perhaps wear frock coats and wigs and offer solemn scripted speeches about "pledging scared honor."

It would considerably enhance the theatrics of the occasion, while off to the side, they starve people in a half dozen lands, bomb the crap out of people in another half dozen lands, run a massive hi-tech international extrajudicial killing operation, and support incredibly bloody tyrants like the Saudi Crown Prince, the Generalissimo of Egypt, and the thug Prime Minister of Israel.

These considerations on aspects of the impeachment, stressing its political nature, may be interesting to readers:

https://chuckmanwordsincomments.wordpress.com/2019/10/10/john-chuckman-comment-a-few-thoughts-on-the-house-intelligence-committees-impeachment-inquiry/

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: ON A NOBEL PRIZE FOR LITERATURE GOING TO A WRITER NAMED PETER HANDKE - JUST NOT WHAT YOU WOULD EXPECT FROM THE POLITICALLY-CORRECT PEOPLE WHO ADMINISTER THE NOBEL PRIZES

John Chuckman


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN CHECKPOINT ASIA



“Bombing of Serbia Disgusts Me”: Once Hounded Because of Serbs and Justice, Now the Nobel Winner

Nobel literature prize winner for 2019 is a man hounded for decades for his outspoken opposition to Empire's 1990s onslaught in ex-Yugoslavia



https://www.checkpointasia.net/bombing-of-serbia-disgusts-me-once-hounded-because-of-serbs-and-justice-now-the-nobel-winner/



I know very little about Peter Handke, but, if the summary offered here is accurate, I am surprised that the Nobel Committee showed any courage or principles in awarding him a prize.

The Nobels - and not just the now shameful Peace Prize - have demonstrated a remarkable lack of courage and independent thought for many years.

Political correctness and American imperial values have held a great deal of sway in an organization which should have completely different values.

After all, when we talk about our best artists and creative forces, we are always necessarily talking about people who make people like those trying to rule the planet from Washington uncomfortable.

I note the announcement too of the Peace Prize this morning to a perfectly decent but somewhat obscure figure when we have so many more known and influential candidates.

Heroic figures for the human condition like Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning, people who have literally put their lives on the line for human freedom and decency.

On the same topic, this might be of interest:

https://www.rt.com/op-ed/470662-peter-handke-nobel-controversy/

Thursday, October 10, 2019

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: THE ORWELLIAN NATURE OF "HATE CRIME" - A CONCEPT WITH ROOTS IN 1984'S "THOUGHT CRIMES" - AN UNHELPFUL CONCEPT TO SAY THE LEAST - WE TRY PEOPLE FOR ACTS NOT THOUGHTS - THE VAST EXTENT AND COMPLEXITY OF HUMAN HATRED - IT IS EVERYWHERE AND CANNOT BE CODIFIED

John Chuckman


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY SAMANTHA CRAGGS IN CBC NEWS



“How much hate crime does Canada have? Without a standard definition, no one knows for sure

“Police services across the country have different ideas about what a hate crime is”



I much dislike the expression "hate crime," even though it has gained a place in society.  It has definite Orwellian overtones.

There is nothing gained in understanding or indeed justice by labelling certain instances of breaking a law as "hate crimes" and others merely as "crimes."

It really is playing games with language and law in an effort to make a political statement.

And it is necessarily arbitrary.

If you think about the notion for a moment, you'll realize that it is impossible to determine someone's hate unless they either confess it to you or you can read minds.

But even if someone does hate, unless we've started accepting the 1984 concept of "thought crime," it should not be punishable in and of itself.

Otherwise, we’d have to lock up most of the country’s population. The truth is that there are just so many hatreds among our poor species that they would be impossible even to codify. And most hatreds remain hidden, mercifully.

You cannot stop people from having hatreds, but you can punish any acts they generate, and we have an entire body of law assigning punishments for every possible criminal act.

_______________________

Response to a comment saying “we should stop importing anti-Semitism”

"Importing anti-Semitism"?

Sorry, but that does sound like serious hidden prejudice right there.



ADDED NOTE: Here was a comment demonstrating the extent and complexity of human hatreds. The writer actually demonstrates his own hate while attempting to speak against what he regards as the hatred of others.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: A FEW OBSERVATIONS ON THE PROSPECTS FOR SOLAR AND WIND POWER

John Chuckman


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY IRINA SLAV IN CHECKPOINT ASIA



“Even China Isn’t Able to Make Solar & Wind Work

“Expensive, land-hungry, inconstant, and still more polluting than either gas or atomic”

____________________

Response to a comment saying, “Nuclear has always been the answer. When all these wind turbines and solar panels wear out in 25 years, they will not be replaced. By then, the advantages of nuclear will be obvious”

Definitely. And important advances are being made in nuclear power generation.

There are so many shortcomings with these alternates, starting with the fact that wind turbines cannot create "baseload power,” the power that assures you that no matter what time of the day you flip a switch, the lights will go on.

They must always be backed up by something else, such as gas-fired power.

The turbines have also demonstrated significant weaknesses in some environments. And they are expensive.

And they kill a hell of a lot of migrating birds.

Solar is great for limited special applications, but it just won't do for a base supply under most circumstances.

Maybe a new, more efficient technology will come along, but it remains only a hope, like new technologies for storage batteries,

Obviously if we had efficient, easily installed, durable roof systems for each building and we had a super-duper storage battery in the basement, we'd have a revolution in energy supply, making many central generating plants (nuclear or otherwise) and many transmission lines unnecessary.

Maybe that will come, but it's not here.



Wednesday, October 09, 2019

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: A FEW THOUGHTS ON THE HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE'S IMPEACHMENT INQUIRY

John Chuckman


COMMENT ON IMPEACHMENT DEVELOPMENTS



I tend to doubt Trump will face actual impeachment.

The reason for saying that is because impeachment is a political measure, not strictly a legal one. Each Senator voting in a trial really only has to answer to his or her own political constituents about the vote, whether it is more widely regarded as warranted or not.

The trial is conducted in the Senate where the Republicans command a majority. It is a slim majority, but conviction requires a super-majority of two-thirds of members.

Despite Trump’s countless blunders and stupidities, I doubt, as things stand, that a case can be made that would command a super-majority vote.

However, that could change. Politics does resemble Heraclitus’s metaphor for history, the impossibility of being able to step into the same river twice since the waters were always flowing.

The House Committee investigation works to associate Trump’s name with something unpleasant day after day in the press. They will, of course, constantly monitor for shifts in public opinion. And, in the course of going through evidence, they could always come up with a surprise.

At the same time, we have other developments and possibilities. Like some real dirt coming out on Joe Biden in connection with Ukraine. And the same even for Obama and his key people. The coup in Ukraine was a dirty operation, so again there could be surprises in store. The same may be said of Russia-gate efforts. That was a dirty operation with authority undoubtedly coming from the highest level, and it is always possible, but I think not very likely, that we could see some big-name politicians unpleasantly surprised.

Trump himself can change the dynamic. His announcement that he just won’t cooperate with legal demands for documents is not a really terrific way to proceed, but then this is a bull-headed man represented by a bull-headed lawyer. Something of a Constitutional crisis could develop along the way.

Trump is working to change the political calculation, too. I think that’s at least in part what his move in Syria represents. There is a significant number of 2016 supporters who have been alienated by his complete failure to deliver on promises about getting out of the Middle East and establishing better relations with Russia.

What he has done in Syria is a small step, and it may not be enough to recapture the alienated.

But even that small step has aroused anger from other quarters, including some Republican politicians. That’s because his decision touches Israeli interests, literally the third rail of American national politics. Trump likely thought he’d bought enough good will with all his giveaways to Israel to get away with a decision he must surely have known would not be viewed favorably.

If so, he figured wrong. Netanyahu and other prominent politicians in Israel are used to getting just about everything they want now from the United States. And they wanted American forces in northwestern Syria helping Syrian Kurds fight the Syrian government, creating a big ongoing problem for that government.

Now, instead, they see a situation whose outcome is uncertain. One that could even possibly see the government of Syria re-establish its authority in the northeastern region by working with the Kurds while Putin whispers helpful things in Erdogan’s ear about not going too far with his invasion, and they don’t like it. The Israelis have big clout with traditional Republicans.

So, again, in terms of the political calculus of impeachment, it is not clear whether the initiative in Syria made his situation even worse.


AFTERNOTE:

Not long after writing this, I find in a major news source: “Trump Agrees on Need for Sanctions Against Turkey, Wants Something 'Tougher Than Sanctions'” And this comes only just after the Turks have got rolling.

See what I mean about the third rail?

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM BLOWS A GASKET IN WASHINGTON OVER TRUMP'S MOVE IN NORTHEASTERN SYRIA - BUT DESPITE ALL HIS SPLUTTERING AND THREATS MADE AGAINST TURKEY, GRAHAM DOES NOT REALLY SAY WHAT IT IS THAT SO ANGERS HIM - HERE'S HIS REASON - AGAIN SYRIA'S WAR SEEN FOR WHAT IT IS: MANUFACTURED FROM OUTSIDE

John Chuckman


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY MARKO MARJANOVIC IN CHECKPOINT ASIA



“Senator Graham Threatens Turkey With Sanctions He Failed to Enact on MBS

“When have we heard Lindsey Graham thunder like this before?”



https://www.checkpointasia.net/having-failed-to-enact-promised-sanctions-on-mbs-senator-graham-issues-more-sanctions-threat-vs-turkey/



Lindsey Graham is likely the most absurd man in the US Senate, although there is ferocious competition for that title.

Extremely dishonest, too, because he doesn't talk about what really motivates him, bringing to the boil all that sputtering righteous indignation.

I think he must have received a call from Netanyahu advising him that it was time to perform. Graham is Israel’s official junkyard dog in the Senate, always creating a stir when the interests of that state are being mentioned.

It is Israel who wants some kind of rump Kurdish state created in northeastern Syria as a way to weaken the Syria emerging from an unsuccessful proxy war that was intended to topple it.

The concept had multiple attractions for Israel: depriving Syria of its crude oil deposits, offering rule on the far end of Syria by a group who might prove very friendly to Israeli interests, giving a further sense of legitimacy to Israel’s own stolen piece of Syria, Golan, and annoying the hell out of Turkey’s Erdogan, a man truly hated in Tel Aviv.

But it has never seemed realistic, given especially Erdogan’s acute allergy to Kurds and Turkey’s keystone position in NATO at a time of so many disagreements between Turkey and the US.

As to Graham’s propensity to explode over the concerns of Israel, I think there are several contributing factors. First, he is simply one of the most kneejerk imperialists in the Senate, always ready immediately to send in the “boyz” and do bombing runs for dear old America and the cause of freedom.

Second, he may be reflecting the interests of some of his Southern Baptist constituency, fundamentalists with their own special “Second Coming” attitudes towards Israel.

And, third, I’ve long suspected that he was once the target of an Israeli honey-trap and that he knows some very compromising photos exist, photos that would deeply trouble Southern Baptists since Lindsey is gay.

Actually, contrary to the opening lines, we have heard Lindsey Graham like this before. But of course, not about anything like the Saudi Crown Prince’s many bloody crimes. After all, the Crown Prince is a Netanyahu favorite, a genuine “blood brother.”

Tuesday, October 08, 2019

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: THE INEVITABLE DELETERIOUS EFFECTS OF EMPIRE - NOT JUST ABROAD, BUT VERY MUCH AT HOME - AMERICA IS STARTING TO EXPERIENCE THEM IN QUITE BRUTAL FASHION NOW - BUT THE SLIDE DOWNWARD SEEMS UNSTOPPABLE BECAUSE AMERICA'S PRIVILEGED REACT NO DIFFERENTLY THAN DID THE PRIVILEGED OF VICTORIAN BRITAIN OR OTHER GREAT EMPIRES

John Chuckman


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY WILL COLLINS IN CHECKPOINT ASIA



“Washington Imagines Itself the Master of the Globe but Its Military Is a Tiny Colonial Police Force

“As with Britain in the 1920s America's global hegemony is resting on feet of glass”



https://www.checkpointasia.net/washington-imagines-itself-the-master-of-the-globe-but-its-military-is-a-tiny-colonial-police-force/



There are interesting points here, but I find the piece unsatisfying and a bit disturbing overall.

The author focuses on America’s establishment having made some poor choices recently in its governance of empire – as, indeed, it very much has - rather than, what I think far more consequential, questioning the entire imperial enterprise itself.

I think a good argument can be made that such bad decisions in imperial governance always follow from the very nature of empire and the privileged class who run it largely for their own benefit.

And so many of America's terrible problems at home are pretty direct fall-out from its imperial system, and the broad American public seems to have remarkably little grasp of the fact.

The money - borrowed, all of it, so that the spending is constantly building a terrifying future burden which everyone except the privileged who spend it will be responsible for, one way or another - squandered on the military and state security plus all the attention and focus and political will of the establishment leave the United States equipped to fix virtually nothing at home.

You have an almost unfixable decaying infrastructure of bad roads and bridges and urban sewer and water systems and transportation systems and schools.

You have one of the world's strangest and most grossly unfair medical service industries with elites automatically getting the very finest and advanced care and so many others literally driven into bankruptcy, medical bills remaining as America’s single largest cause of personal bankruptcy.

You have a terribly violent social fabric with police killing an average of three citizens per day and generally not even being held accountable. You have the world's highest rate of incarceration, and in some of the world's more violent and ruthlessly-managed prisons, prisons in which many hundreds mysteriously die every year.

You have open squalor, indistinguishable from a Third World place, to be seen over vast stretches of the country’s cities and rural locations. Armies of homeless camping out on streets and in parks of great cities, reduced to defecating on the pavement, just as you might see in rural India.

You certainly have the complete end of all personal privacy in the country with a massive security apparatus that rivals anything the old East German Stasi. Everything from the made-legal intrusions of the FBI and NSA and Homeland Security to the backdoors built into various digital devices and to the unregulated gathering and distribution and use of sinful amounts of personal data by gigantic, unchallenged Internet monopoly firms.

It is interesting that a country which in its popular culture has long put such great emphasis on the individual has begun effectively to destroy many foundations of individuality, but of course the people running empires have little regard for individuality, beyond their own. It kind of “comes with the territory,” as they used to say.

You have the building of an elite class so separated from the mass of ordinary people by wealth and privilege that they really do represent a society within a society, a kind of Inner Party, one that pays almost no taxes to support the imperial edifice from which it benefits. It commands all the key political and social levers, effectively reducing the country to a plutocracy, with only a window-dressing of democracy and justice.

Well, there are many parallels, at home and abroad, not just to imperial Victorian Britain but to late 18th century France and even to Rome after the Empire ended the Republic.

Empire is intrinsically about privilege and extreme inequality and abuse of people, always and everywhere. Its effects are never just felt abroad. They always erode the very foundations of the society upon which the empire was built.

However much Americans may embrace the secular religious notion of their exceptionalism in the world, almost a contemporary parody of the Old Testament’s God’s Chosen People, America is demonstrably not free of the enduring stresses and forces and dangers of empire.

Monday, October 07, 2019

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: TRUMP'S DECISION ON AMERICAN TROOPS IN SYRIA - WHY SOME IN WASHINGTON VEHEMENTLY OPPOSE IT - WHERE EVENTS MIGHT GO - BACKGROUND ON AMERICA'S MIDEAST WARS AND PARTICULARLY THE ONE IN SYRIA - WHAT ARE THEY REALLY ABOUT? - WHO BENEFITS? - THE USE OF PROXY AND HYBRID FIGHTING

John Chuckman


EXPANSION OF A COMMENT TO AN ARTICLE IN CBC NEWS



“Trump defends decision to pull U.S. troops back from Syrian-Turkish border

“Democratic and Republican lawmakers condemn decision, fear a Turkish offensive”



The only people who ever seriously fought the Jihadists in Syria are the Syrian Army, their Iranian allies, and their Russian allies.

America has many times used the excuse of Jihadists to stay somewhere in Syria where it doesn't belong. It is not an ally of Syria and has never been given permission even to be there, let alone create military bases, train rebellious people, distribute weapons and supplies to them, and generally to encourage mayhem.

What it has really been doing in the Northeast is to assist the Syrian Kurds in opposing Syria’s government and encouraging the notion of a Syrian Kurd rump state. Anything to weaken Syria.

The amount of misinformation on the topic of Syria and its nasty war, a war deliberately created by outside interventions, is monumental, and with good reason since those responsible don't want the world really to understand what has been going on. That is the way hybrid and proxy wars work.

The Syrian War was always about toppling a legitimate government by using proxy fighters. The proxies get plenty of publicity as "Jihadists" but they really are for the most part plain old recruited mercenaries playing theater parts. And of course, as with any army, the ordinary soldiers receive very little information about what it is all about. All of their pay and supplies has come from the informal coalition of Saudi Arabia and America and Israel and Britain and France and a Gulf State or two.

Every time an arms cache has been discovered by advancing Syrian forces, it contains weapons made in America or Israel or Bulgaria, a country from which the CIA often buys volume-discount weapons to send to interventions and coups.

The people in Washington who are upset by Trump's move are using terms like "betrayal of allies."

It's ridiculous language if you know any history of the region, but most of the people using the words are themselves being dishonest, not telling people why they really want to assist the Kurds.

First, the Kurds are not allies. They do not even represent an organized state, although they always dream of creating one. They are scattered as a minority in many places of the region, almost like a large population of gypsies. Their fierce hope for a state makes it easy for someone like the United States to exploit them for undeclared purposes, as it has been doing now and has done previously.

Some people tried warning the Syrian Kurds about depending on the United States for help, but they wouldn't listen. The region borders on Turkey, which has its own substantial and rebellious Kurdish population, and is simply never going to tolerate a Kurdish-run rump state on its border. It regards the idea as a serious security threat, given the aspirations of its own Kurds. So American notions have been at direct odds with Turkey’s interests from the start.

The United States has toyed with this notion about the Kurds in northeastern Syria as a kind of consolation prize for having lost the main war in Syria, the war using proxy forces to destroy the Syrian government. Hiving off an important segment of Syria, a place with crude oil reserves, would clearly hurt the country. Trying to reclaim it, even if eventually successful, would keep poor Syria in turmoil for years to come. Israel, unhappy about the main proxy war having been lost, was keen on the concept.

You do have to put the Syrian War into its proper context. It is part of the long series of Neocon Wars in the Middle East designed, more or less, to pave over everything anywhere near Israel. That’s what the meaningless term, “War on Terror,” going back to George Bush really was about. You cannot have a war on a method, clearly, but the term just managed to jumble things up enough for the public and to feature that witch-like incantation term, “terror,” so that America’s government would never have to account for what it was actually doing.

America had done a full-fledged traditional invasion of Iraq, complete with one pathetic ally to share the shame. It was a terribly bloody and destructive enterprise, and so for the other names on its list of countries in the Middle East to be paved over, it settled for proxy and hybrid efforts.

The invasion of Iraq was not only extremely costly, it produced waves of bad publicity and condemnation, something to be avoided when your public relations efforts focus on words like “democracy” and “freedom.” Proxy and hybrid hostilities allow you to put up smokescreens so that no one quite knows what you are doing. You can even blame other people.

Out of the immense destruction American bombing in half a dozen lands caused in a “War on Terror,” we did see, here and there, some few people seek reprisal and revenge against the very powerful who were abusing their power. Those few instances of “International Terror” served, almost like public relations stunts, to reinforce the government’s explanation of what all the killing was about.

The United States has betrayed the region's Kurds before, going back to the days of Saddam Hussein in Iraq. American plotting got Iraq's Kurds to rebel against Saddam, and they ended in a mass slaughter. Suggestions of American support vaporized.

Well, here we go again. Unless new steps are taken to avert it, Turkey is going to do the Syrian Kurds serious damage. This United States move serves also as an important gesture to Turkey about America respecting its interests. After all, America and Turkey have had a number of noisy, public disagreements recently.

No matter how difficult the United States sometimes finds accommodating Turkey’s Erdogan, in the end, it very much wants Turkey to remain in NATO. Its geographical location makes it almost a kind of capstone in NATO’s edifice.

It's not clear how this will all turn out, but Israel, so immensely influential in Washington, is not happy with anything that could end in any degree of Syrian reunification.

The apocalyptic tone about Trump’s move used by Senator Lindsey Graham - one of the most tireless defenders in Washington of Israel’s narrow interests, so much so he frequently makes himself ridiculous – tells us all we need to know about Israel’s view. Israel does like, whenever possible, not to be heard commenting directly on American military decisions, so it uses proxies like Sen. Graham.

The Kurds, armed by America to fight against Syria, may be able to approach the Syrian government and invite them to take back the region, protecting them against the Turks. It is notable that Russian engineers just completed in record time a new military-style bridge crossing the Euphrates into NE Syria, one capable of supporting armored vehicles.





JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: TRUMP AND THE WHISTLEBLOWERS - A PATHETIC PRESIDENT - SHAMEFUL HISTORY IN UKRAINE FOR ALL CONCERNED - WHISTLEBLOWERS OR PLANTS IN THE WHITE HOUSE? UKRAINE COUP EFFORTS BEING REPEATED ON THE BANKS OF THE POTOMAC?

John Chuckman



COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN CBC NEWS (AND REMOVED BY EDITOR)


“2nd whistleblower in Trump-Ukraine scandal comes forward, lawyer says”



Once you get past all the bellowing noise and rudeness, Trump really is a rather pathetic figure.

He has literally handed his opponents the ammunition they need to shoot him down.

He just can’t help himself, I guess. When he thinks he’s right, whether it’s a personal matter or a matter of state, he just shoves ahead with no regard for niceties or even laws. It’s exactly his approach in Venezuela or Iran or Yemen.

And of course, he is right about Joe Biden. He was involved in highly questionable activity in Ukraine and his son managed to be given a $50,000 a month spot on a corporate board while having no qualifications to recommend him. That rate of pay is about fifteen times what board members, ones with qualifications, for large companies usually get.

But it was not Trump’s job to call the President of Ukraine and pressure him to investigate a man who is Trump’s American political opponent.

The entire matter just reeks, every bit of it – Trump, Biden, Obama, and the American-assisted coup in Ukraine that was at the base of it all and put in place a president, Poroshenko, with such a serious public reputation for corruption that a television comedian was able to easily defeat him in the recent election.

There is a serious question about just what these whistleblowers represent too. Were they plants by CIA? If so, that’s even more dangerous stuff than Trump was up to. More along the lines of the coup in Ukraine, but the CIA is forbidden by law from carrying on with its activities inside the United States.

Well, it is an empire, after all, and empires aren’t noted for scrupulous behavior.

Some are saying the Democrats' real motivation is to put a stop to Trump's Attorney General, William Barr, who is conducting a tough investigation into some of the stuff that went on for 2016.

I don't know, but it is a plausible idea. There were some very dirty doings by the Obama White House around the election, and many big names were involved.

After all, the then-CIA Director spoke out about Trump, and since when do CIA Directors do that on their own? And there was the costly dirty dossier compiled by an ex-MI6 agent with dark connections in Washington.

The empire's politics are extremely labyrinthian and do not in the least resemble what you read in the text for a high school civics course.

Saturday, October 05, 2019

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: CANADA'S EARNEST EFFORTS TO RUN THE STUPIDEST ELECTION EVER RECORDED - MONTY PYTHON AT THE BALLOT BOX - OH MY, THE GLORIES OF "WESTERN DEMOCRACY" CLOSE-UP

John Chuckman


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY AARON WHERRY IN CBC NEWS



“Andrew Scheer's mid-campaign identity crisis

“From citizenship to same-sex marriage to pre-politics resumés, Scheer is struggling to define his own image”



Canada now has a genuine Monty Python skit instead of a national election.

For the two major parties, the only ones with a serious chance of doing anything, we have...

A man with a widely unacknowledged second citizenship and a man who is even susceptible to American conscription if Trump manages to ignite one of the wars he works so hard at [revelations that Conservative Party leader, Andrew Scheer, is a dual American-Canadian citizen by virtue of his father’s American citizenship, an artifact second citizenship common for thousands of Canadians, but also that Scheer has complied, as an adult, with American law to register for conscription].

Talk about embarrassing and demeaning.

And this man even harshly criticized the appointment of a dual citizen as Governor-General some years go, Michaëlle Jean [Ms. Jean later gave up her French citizenship]. So, add a huge, huge serving of hypocrisy to the mix.

Why the hell didn't the Conservative Party get that all sorted a long time ago? Could it be incompetence?

Our other choice from a major party, Canada's Liberals, is a man, Justin Trudeau, who has failed at almost every major task he has undertaken for four years - from election reform to relations with China. It's almost insulting that he is asking to be returned to office.

A man who has embarrassed us with childish behavior abroad.

And now a man we know has had an irresistible compulsion to dress up in blackface for a major portion of his life. We have three occasions documented, and on the last one he was nearly thirty years old.

Oh, but he tells us that he knows in his own heart that he is not prejudiced, even though making fun of a group's looks has been a significant theme in his life! Simply unbelievable.

Given the weakest NDP candidate in living memory, a decent man but ineffective, and good old Elizabeth May's Green Party plans to turn Canada into a theme park dedicated to Greta Thunberg, I think I'll sit this one out. My first time ever doing so.



Thursday, October 03, 2019

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: THE REGRETTABLE GRETA THUNBERG PHENOMENON - A JEHOVAH'S WITNESS AT YOUR FRONT DOOR ON STEROIDS - ECHOES OF DONALD TRUMP'S SUBTLE APPROACH TO COMMUNICATION AND UNDERSTANDING - THE TOPIC OF CLIMATE CHANGE APPEARS TO SUMMON EXTREME VOICES AND IDEAS

John Chuckman


EXPANSION OF COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY JONATHAN COOK IN CONSORTIUM NEWS



“Greta Thunberg & the Consolation of Doubt

“Jonathan Cook catalogs the three types of criticism that a section of the progressive left is aiming at a Swedish child who is finally saying what they have been thinking”



"... a Swedish child who is finally saying what they have been thinking." 



I'm not so sure about that.

The vehemence - and that's the right word, vehemence - of her words does sound more like a child heavily indoctrinated by some adults, perhaps parents. The child of some intense cult members.

While normally I would be charmed by a young person trying to explain something to adults, I confess that I find Greta downright unpleasant. Unbounded earnestness and about something she cannot possibly understand because science does not yet understand it.

I am happy to see any child take an interest in serious matters, even if they haven’t got it exactly right, but her tone and extreme choice of words makes this religious-cult speech, not just trying to explain something she believes she has come to understand.

I resent being harshly preached at that way. She’s a Jehovah’s Witness on steroids at your front door.

Her ill-chosen words and facial expressions remind me of no one so much as Donald Trump. Yes, there are lots of people, millions of Americans, who admire Donald Trump and treat his name-calling, rude speech, and threats, accompanied by contemptuous and sneering faces, reverently, but I’m not one of them.

And the fact is that she doesn't understand what she is talking about any more than Trump does, likely the most uninformed and unbalanced president in American history.

Yes, there is climate change, but we don't yet know why, and we certainly do not know whether we’d be able to alter it even if human activity proves to be driving it. We might just have to adapt, which is what the animals and people who survived the Ice Age did, adapt.

Imagine trying to have a plan to stop ice sheets advancing that were two or more kilometers thick? And interestingly, the Ice Age ended by giving us some very nice things. The Great Lakes were created by the gouging and melting of retreating ice sheets. There will be benefits, too, from global warming, or global cooling, as some now say is going to be the case, a fact which provides a pretty strong measure of our uncertainty.

I’m not a big fan of the kind of massive projects in which the good old USSR used to engage, changing the course of large river systems and the like. The Aral Sea in Russia, for example, has virtually disappeared because of Soviet tinkering with the waters feeding it from the mountains. They were diverted to cultivate vast new croplands.

Green Extremists sound very much like enthusiastic Soviet planners in, say, 1953. Quite bizarre global experiments are sometimes proposed as though they were discussing a science fiction film rather than our home.

We even have kooks suggesting we’ll all eventually have to go to Mars. Oh, yes, Mars has real potential with temperatures colder than the North Pole, no oxygen, next to no water, intense radiation, a universally bleak rocky landscape, and a surface now said perhaps to be poisonous from certain chemicals. I think that’s an excellent measure of just how extreme the talk becomes, reaching insane levels.

People often think because we live in the 21st century, we pretty much understand everything and that there’s an answer for almost any problem.  But that just isn’t so. We do not understand a great many common phenomena. We certainly do not understand the human mind. And we do not understand the causes of many serious illnesses, including mental ones.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: HANDGUN CONTROL - JUSTIN TRUDEAU'S INSIPID PROPOSAL FOR CANADIAN CITIES - WHY IT CANNOT WORK - ECHOES HERE OF TRUDEAU'S WEASEL FOREIGN POLICY IN WHICH HE TRIES TO APPEAR OPPOSED TO TRUMP WHILE EFFECTIVELY SUPPORTING HIM

John Chuckman


COMMENTS POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY LUCAS POWERS IN CBC NEWS



“Trudeau's municipal handgun ban promise leaves key questions unanswered [proposal to permit each city to legislate as it wishes]

“Liberal proposal would create a patchwork of handgun prohibitions”



Absolutely.

His is a worthless proposal. Perhaps worse than worthless because it makes some people think something is being done, when it is not.

As I've noted before, the city of Chicago has very strict gun laws, but they are totally ineffective because the city is like an island in a sea of guns. There are other American cities which are examples of the same thing.

No effective control can exist, and in hot summer months, Chicago has had many weekends with sixty or more people shot.

You need controls at a national level, the level which controls national entry and exit, the level which controls postal inspection and shipping, the level with good intelligence sources, plus the level with the needed information systems.

I'm sorry, but Trudeau's proposal is a weasel effort, but then that's true of so many things he does and has done.

We might just as well vote for someone we know will do nothing as for someone who pretends he's doing something with a big smile.

His proposal reminds me a good deal of the tone and content of his foreign policy, which effectively supports Trump while pretending to do something else.

_________________

Response to a comment about” controls sure worked for drugs”

There's quite a difference between the two commodities, drugs and guns. Size. Weight. Shape. Identifiability (guns have serial numbers). Properties (as in setting off metal detectors).

In fact, guns are quite controllable. There are very, very few guns in England. The police only rarely deal with them in the hands of criminals.

Drugs are not controllable. They can be hidden or disguised countless ways. And the profits are so high that there's lots of money to corrupt authorities and police, which is just what happens.

___________________________

Response to a comment about the pathetic nature of Trudeau’s interview on the subject:

All of his interviews are pathetic, or close to it.

This not a leader, and he never has been one.

He’s more of a national male cheerleader figure, and cheerleaders are not renowned for thinking.

Tuesday, October 01, 2019

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: THE DANGEROUS DYNAMICS OF SAUDI ARABIA AND THE UNITED STATES AND ISRAEL WITH YEMEN AND IRAN - A POOR SET OF RELATIONSHIPS DELIBERATELY-SET BY THE UNITED STATES THREATENS TO EXPLODE INTO GOD KNOWS WHAT - WHY THE MURDEROUS SAUDI CROWN PRINCE IS SO CATERED TO BY TRUMP - THE COMPLETE INCOMPETENCE OF SAUDI ARABIA - THE SECRET ASSASSINATION OF THE OLD SAUDI KING'S LOYAL BODYGUARD - NEW STRENGTHS SHOWN BY YEMEN AND IRAN - AMERICA MAY INDEED GET "A NEW MIDDLE EAST" BUT NOT THE ONE IT HAS DONE SO MUCH KILLING TO TRY CREATING

John Chuckman


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY ROBERT FISK IN THE INDEPENDENT



“A year on from Jamal Khashoggi’s murder, and Saudi Arabia is lurching towards hysterical chaos

“This whole wretched saga is beginning to look less like ‘War in the Middle East’ and more like ‘Carry On Up the Gulf’”



https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/saudi-arabia-iran-jamal-khashoggi-donald-trump-middle-east-a9126601.html



A good piece, and deadly accurate.

The truth is, I'm sure, that America's government has no great affection for the Crown Prince or for Saudi Arabia.

He is a useful tool for Israeli and American imperial intentions.

A key new part of America’s great bloody effort to remake the face of the Middle East, “the birth of a new Middle East” as Condoleezza Rice charmingly put it when the bombs and screams started to be heard.

All the Neocon Wars - which have killed a couple of million people, created immense floods of refugees, and destroyed several well-functioning states - are part of that plan.

The effort resembles something like trying to pave over everything within hundreds of miles of Israel, America’s de facto colony in the region.

The new Crown Prince was a blessed discovery in the cause, someone suddenly appearing, unbelievably ambitious and willing to kill and kill, and someone who covertly gets along just fine with pals in Israel.

The Crown Prince knows very well that the key to excellent relations with Washington’s power establishment is demonstrating excellent relations with Israel, something Saudi Arabia never did, say, twenty years ago.

It's only because of the Crown Prince’s attitudes and inclinations that Israel permitted the United States to sell him tens of billions in new armaments, something that wouldn't have been tolerated not that many years ago.

So, the Prince gets to play powerful ruler of a kind of regional power, something, along with killing, he clearly enjoys.

Only trouble is, there’s that basic reality of traditional Saudi corruption and incompetence showing through, perhaps ultimately threatening the whole house of cards.

Saudi corruption and incompetence flow directly from the fact that the country’s rulers are a gang of immensely rich and spoiled people who want to soil their hands with nothing ordinary or menial. What could you expect in a fairly closed and authoritarian society where hundreds of billions of dollars change hands regularly and in secret? The Saudis try buying everything.

Well, the death the other day of the old King’s faithful bodyguard at Jeddah, Major General Abdul-Aziz Al-Faghm, someone who knew a lot of secrets and an event assigned a highly implausible explanation, accompanied by a huge fire at the new high-speed Jeddah rail station may well signal a new chapter in the Kingdom’s ongoing bloody melodrama.

Saudi Arabia’s disastrous recent failures involving Yemen and Iran’s heroic resistance to America’s undeclared and unwarranted war, “maximum pressure,” against it may indeed signal the coming of a new Middle East, one the United States may not like.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: ON THE UNFORTUNATE NORTHERN FRONT OF TRUMP'S VICIOUS HYBRID WAR AGAINST CHINA - MENG WANZHOU, HUAWEI EXECUTIVE, FIGHTS EXTRADITION FROM CANADA TO THE UNITED STATES - THE RESULT OF CANADA'S BOY WONDER PRIME MINISTER, JUSTIN TRUDEAU, TRYING TO PLEASE TRUMP IN EVERY WAY HE CAN

John Chuckman


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN CBC NEWS



“Astonishing stuff': Crown lawyer mocks Meng Wanzhou [Huawei senior executive arrested by Canada at American request and fighting her extradition to the United States] conspiracy theory

“No evidence agencies colluded against Huawei executive, lawyer for attorney general says”



https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/meng-wanzhou-crown-disclosure-1.5303295



Gee, thanks Justin Trudeau, thanks Chrystia Freeland, for this shabby, completely unnecessary show, certain to help further fray our poor relations with China.

Why in God's name is this woman being put through this? A senior executive of a major international company? Look at that big awkward thing strapped to her leg [a location device]. And she is mocked by the Crown. And she has to spend huge amounts to defend herself.

Can you imagine America's violent reaction if China were treating someone like Bill Gates this way?

This only happened because the United States has just short of declared economic war on China, trying in every way that it can think of, to hurt and disadvantage the country, while trying to gain advantages for itself.

It's called Mercantilism and the discredited economic philosophy goes back centuries. Although, the United States isn't just engaging in 17th century Mercantilism, it is very much engaging in a form of hybrid warfare against a rival. The assault on Huawei is part of that.

The only thing shabbier than Trump's destructive policies towards China is a Canadian Liberal government's support for them. It's appalling.

It did not have to be. It was avoidable completely. We would not have seen this ugliness under Pierre Trudeau or Lester Pearson or Jean Chretien or Paul Martin.

Why are we seeing it now?

_____________________

Response to a comment saying, “Why do Canada and other nations continue to condone the United States illegal unilateral sanctions on other nations”

Absolutely. The million-dollar question.

The United States today effectively is running an international extortion operation. And almost everyone in “the West" is afraid to call them on it. They are hurting many other nations, not for any genuine principle, but for their own gain.

American laws, sanctions, should apply only to Americans.

America is able to make them apply to others only through threats and abusing the powers of banking and finance. It's literally a mafia protection racket on a grand scale.

And sadly, Canada is one of America’s most obedient helpers right now.

______________________

Response to a comment saying, “Huawei is a state-owned spy machine, we can make our own equipment, support our own workers, buy Canadian, American, European....”

Completely uninformed. Huawei has even offered to sell their entire system to Westerners. They've opened themselves to inspections.

The head of Huawei has offered to sell its core technology and share its 5G base stations around the world with others.

Ever seen that kind of offer from an American hi-tech company? Apple won't even let you open your Apple devices without "bricking" them.

And, please, no country on earth does more spying, and constantly, than the United States. And that includes spying on all its friends. I guarantee that NSA hears every call that Trudeau and his cabinet make.

The NSA records your every stroke on a keyboard. Virtually all American hi-tech devices have "backdoors" built-in at that government’s insistence for surveillance convenience.

All the online American commercial giants - Google, Facebook, Amazon, etc - collect unholy amounts of personal information on you and on everyone else.

And all of it is freely accessed by the spooks at CIA and NSA.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: A BLUNDERING BLUSTERING TRUMP, DESPITE A LITTLE SCHEME MACRON LIKELY THOUGHT CLEVER, DOES NOT GET TO SPEAK WITH ROUHANI IN NEW YORK AND IS LEFT WAITING ON THE PHONE

John Chuckman


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN CHECKPOINT ASIA



“Donald “Maximum Pressure” Trump Left Hanging as France-Brokered Call With Rouhani Fell Apart

“Trump was sitting there holding a phone waiting for Macron to get Rouhani on the call” [This was in a New York hotel during the General Assembly gathering]



Macron is ineffective in almost everything he does, although he clearly believes the reality is otherwise.

He's a kind of a highly-polished French dilettante of a politician.

He frequently shows poor judgment, as when he thought he could become Trump’s close pal with lots of slaps on the back and hand-holding or when he had Paris police seriously injuring and even killing demonstrators in the streets.

His effort to put Trump and Rouhani in communication in New York demonstrates that same poor judgment. Perhaps, it's just an arrogant belief that a cute little scheme contrived by him [in this case, the installation ahead of secure phone lines and the attempt to start a three-way call, which went unanswered by Rouhani] should be able to overcome powerful real forces operating on others. It’s actually both naïve and arrogant.

Rouhani has made his reasonable conditions for talks public a number of times.

"Take off the sanctions and holster your guns. You are the ones who tore up a working treaty."

Trump's immense and empty ego, of course, cannot deal with that.

It would literally mean everything he has done on this file is useless, which of course is exactly the case.

Much like the whole, now-embarrassing effort of having encouraged Saudi Arabia to attack Yemen.  Now, there was a gigantic blunder.