Saturday, February 06, 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 COMMENT: ANOTHER ATTACK ON TRUMP IN THE GUARDIAN - THIS ONE AT LEAST LIGHT-HEARTED - SOME FACTS ABOUT OTHER KEY CANDIDATES NOT WIDELY KNOWN



EXPANSION OF COMMENTS POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE GUARDIAN


This is silly, but then everything written about Trump at The Guardian is silly, when it isn't full of hate.

Your list, “Five more terrifying would-be presidents,” is almost beyond comprehension.

Please, just look at some of the current candidates. You simply could not find a more questionable group of people. It is a regular Madame Tussaud Chamber of Horrors.

Cruz is a scary right-wing religious wacko. There is a video of him on-line sitting at breakfast holding hands with his perfect little suburban family praying over the Sugar Pops. And if you are religious, isn’t prayer for your closet, not your campaign publicity? Staff working for Cruz include neo-cons and CIA-types, and his wife is associated with Goldman Sachs.  He is intellectually gifted, but many of his old associates say he is an extremely unpleasant man with which to work, extremely arrogant, and one not to be trusted, being given to treacherous turns. This man, who would have the nuclear code box at his disposal, is a believer in the Second Coming, and that is hardly reassuring. And, as he showed in Iowa, he is quite capable of truly underhanded behavior.

Then we have Carson, a narcissistic megalomaniac, and that's apart from his genuinely bizarre beliefs about things like the Pyramids of Egypt. It is actually difficult to listen to him, his words are so strange at times. His house apparently is heavily decorated with pictures of himself. Again, a believer in the Second Coming. Also a man demonstrated as given to self-embellishing falsehoods.

Jeb Bush is insipid in appearance, and extremely dishonest in behavior. He was, after all, Governor of Florida when the 2000 election involving his brother was thrown into the Supreme Court over very questionable treatment of ballots. That election was essentially stolen, but Al Gore, who received the most votes by a good measure, didn’t have the heart to fight it. Jeb also made a lot of money out of companies doing business with Florida, very much in the fashion of your typical third-world leader. His campaign has recently been paying (yes, paying!) people off the street to attend his speaking events with their thin attendance. He even recently was caught moaning to his paid crowd that they could at least applaud.

Hillary Clinton has been caught in so many lies, you can’t keep track. Everything from the Benghazi fiasco to her former campaign fairy tale about coming under sniper fire in Bosnia where actual news film showed her being greeted warmly by a lovely little girl with flowers, proof which caused her to say she “misspoke.” Misspoke about being under sniper fire? Ridiculous. And ridiculous, too, is her long list of confrontations with former lovers of her husband, some saying they were threatened or some bribed with job offers to shut up. She has, however, no history of confrontation with billionaire and convicted pedophile, Jeffrey Epstein, who lives on a private island where he keeps underage girls at his disposal and at the disposal of guests. Bill has visited the island many times, and Mr. Epstein has contributed handsomely to the Clinton Foundation. The hundreds of millions in that Foundation come from many questionable sources, from foreign powers looking to do business with the U.S. when she was Secretary of State to rich scoundrels looking for a Presidential pardon. The Foundation, not noted for any real charitable work, has served as a slush fund for political efforts and as a place for her daughter to work as an executive at an extravagant salary. Hillary’s whole record of behavior easily qualifies her as a contemporary American Borgia.  

Perhaps most depressing of all, she always votes for war. Of course she supported her husband’s nasty little war in Serbia. And she had a front-row seat for destroying Libya. I just love her sick, psychopathic comment made with laughter at the time of Gadhafi’s assassination: "We came, we saw, he died." Clinton is one of Israel’s favored candidates precisely because she is a relentless war-monger. Israel never wants America looking towards peace or decreased involvement in the world.

And that’s just part of the ugly crew running. Only Bernie Sanders stands out for integrity and traditional progressive beliefs, but he has the proverbial “snowball’s chance in hell” of winning. Imagine a brutal, world imperial power like America, engaged in almost non-stop warfare and interference in the affairs of others, electing a self-declared socialist? It is literally impossible.

Trump definitely has some unpleasant characteristics and views, but there is a part of him that is solid with something to offer. His views on America’s wars and stupid involvements in places like Syria are sound. Maybe in a place like America, you have to take some bad stuff to gain some good in at least one crucial area. He is very a successful businessman and an independent thinker, and those are both things Americans like.

I think compared to some of the alternatives, he is nothing quite like the hateful figure The Guardian keeps saying he is, and I suspect undeclared special interests in The Guardian’s treatment of him, likely having to do with its ongoing bias towards Israel, whose government we know dislikes Trump’s independent views.





JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: RUSSIA AND THE SITUATION AROUND ALEPPO - THREATS OF A TURKISH, AND PERHAPS SAUDI, INVASION


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN SPUTNIK


Sounds as though you are prepared against some possibly coming events, perhaps a Syrian invasion by Turkey and even Saudi Arabia?

The latest Su-35 aircraft and air defence systems including the S-400 should discourage any foolishness. Iran’s involvement too is a serious discouragement to the Saudis.

Things appear to be coming to a head in the area north of Aleppo, and it is going to be very hard for the instigators of all this past terror to see the Syrian army and its allies finally turning the critical balance.

That border will be closed, ending the source of so many horrors, but Turkey is going to be very unhappy about it. It loses its stolen oil, loses its goal of destroying Assad, and sees some of its other plans for expansion of influence stopped.

Against all the nay-saying and misrepresentations of Washington, Russia’s effort appears to be succeeding handsomely. America is bound to be unhappy, too, because it failed in public where Russia succeeded and because it will not achieve the aim of all its past efforts, toppling the government of Syria.

One just hopes the United States does not stick its clumsy hand in still more.



Thursday, February 04, 2016

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: PERHAPS THE ULTIMATE DEGRADATION OF ACADEMIC STANDARDS: A GOOFY FORMULA FOR ASSESSING CONSPIRACY THEORIES IS PUBLISHED - MORE ON WHY WE IN FACT DO HAVE CONSPIRACIES AND PERHAPS MORE OF THEM THAN EVER


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE INDEPENDENT


That must be some journal to publish such a feeble idea and some academic to come up with it.

It is simply ridiculous work to be called science or research or even an idea.

The standards in academia have fallen almost everywhere and thus the rise in pseudo-journals for second-raters trying to get published.

Our world can be divided into things which are simply facts and all the rest, including fears and lies and nonsense.

One certifiable fact of today's world is that governments have invested increasingly in elaborate lies and misrepresentations to their people. This reflects both increased prosperity with so much more at risk than ever before and the world-scale of so many events and activities.

In Britain, the examples of Tony Blair's stream of lies or the mysterious death of Doctor Kelly surely resonate with many ordinary souls who could never be called "conspiracy theorists."

In the United States, the list is huge, as you might expect in a country whose establishment focuses on controlling events everywhere and telling others how to live their lives.

Another fact is that the very term, "conspiracy theorist," was coined by the CIA decades ago to be used to disparage honest people who just want to know the truth about some important events such as the Kennedy assassination.

That term was picked up by the press and is still used to this day. It's a rather sad reflection of the state of our press and its relationship to the government and the establishment.

Propaganda articles like this one - The Independent regularly does them to keep the term "conspiracy theorist" alive and flourishing - always dredge up the skeptics about moon landing, clearly in the eyes of most people a paranoid fringe group. We hardly need a professor’s formula to determine the validity of what is complete nonsense.

But such articles never deal with the really hard cases. The lies of Tony Blair. The murder of doctor Kelly , a man who knew too much about WMD. The downing of Flight MH 17 and the unacceptable investigation of it. The American-induced coup in Ukraine. The murderous efforts of Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Israel to topple Assad and turn Syria into the kind of broken mini-states we see in Iraq. The infinite lies that made a million deaths in Iraq possible. Israel's explanations for the horrors of Gaza. And the list goes on and on.

Great powers playing dirty games lie and hide what they do every day, and calling someone a "conspiracy theorist" who says so is just derogatory, not informative.

It actually resembles, albeit in a lighter vein, calling someone who questions Israel's brutal treatment of millions an "anti-Semite." You might not think such a nonsense dirty tactic would work, but it is repeated day after day.

It was Hitler - one of history's great liars and therefore an authority on the subject - who explained the concept of "the big lie." Say even something outrageous often enough, and people will believe it, at least enough of them to matter.

Indeed that is a founding, unspoken principle of almost all advertising and of almost all our news sources today. And that is no "conspiracy theory," just a hard fact.




JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: BRITAIN'S SILLIEST, MOST PUFFED-UP PRIME MINISTER IN DECADES DECLARES HE WOULD JOIN THE EU UNDER THE TUSK PLAN - A STREAM OF WORDS SIGNIFYING NOTHING


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE GUARDIAN


"I would join EU under terms in Tusk plan" says Britain's blow-hard, stuffed-shirt of a prime minister.

Britain already joined the EU, David, decades ago, or hadn't you noticed?

I think university courses in future will study Cameron's magnificent achievement, but not for its cleverness or cunning.

This is a pile of trivia hammered out by the parties to put something "out there" so David doesn't look the quite the fool that he most certainly is.

None of this was necessary.

David, it is your inept and unstatesmanlike efforts which are responsible.

If you really want to do something useful, David, you'll now call a vote on Trident and maybe even NATO.

They are truly useless things worth spending some effort to get rid of.

But we know you'll never do anything meaningful, David.

You are just a stream of words, signifying nothing.



JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: EARLY THOUGHTS ON THE IOWA CAUCUS RESULTS


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE GUARDIAN


Whoa, there, boys. Don't get so excited.

The Iowa Caucus, historically, is an extremely unimportant event in American presidential politics, only getting attention because it comes first.

First, it's not a true simple ballot like New Hampshire or other primaries. It is a time consuming operation which deters many and this gives it a built-in bias.

Second, most of the winners in Iowa's caucus history went on to win nothing, often not even their own party nomination.

Third, there could well have been skulduggery by Hillary's camp. Microsoft, a Hillary-friendly corporation, was involved in getting the tally.

Microsoft also, as many know from the on-going Windows 10 Assault upon their personal computers, is not the world's most scrupulous company in any event.

Sanders is requesting the actual votes. After all, polls immediately before the caucus showed him in the lead.

On the Republican side, first, Cruz very possibly is Constitutionally excluded. His case is different in details from Obama's.

It will require a Supreme Court challenge at some point to decide whether a parent outside the U.S. registering a child with the State Department under a law of not many years ago, created for the benefit of corporate and military personnel abroad, is equivalent the Constitution's demand for "natural born."

That can't be decided outside the highest court.

Two, Cruz's people definitely used an underhanded tactic in Iowa. They were reprimanded by a state official just yesterday for sending out postcards with phony claims about official voting records, an effort to influence who voted.

At any rate, now the serious stuff begins.



JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: AN ARTICLE ABOUT WASHINGTON'S LACK OF WILL OR WISDOM TO SOLVE THE MIDDLE EAST MESS - HOW THE IMMENSE ROLE OF MONEY IN AMERICAN POLITICS MAKES THIS SO


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE ON SPUTNIK


What many readers in Russia undoubtedly do not understand is Washington's election campaign finance rules and their relationship to special interest groups like the Israel lobby and the never-ending turmoil of Israel-Palestine.

There are basically - despite a complex web of rules - no limits on money given to candidates for election to office.

The Supreme Court, under the influence of decades of conservative appointments, has ruled that money is free speech.

Well, you could not come up with a more corrosive rule for democracy if you tried.

The best organized and financed special interest in the United States - the Israel lobby - is able essentially to buy the loyalty of most congressmen and senators and presidential candidates.

That sounds like exaggeration, but it absolutely is not.

Money is so important in Washington elections because you must travel extensively, buy television air-time, have professional commercials produced, commission endless polls and studies, and purchase the services of costly experts. It all precisely resembles the marketing and selling of a product by a great multi-national company rather than an exercise in democracy.

This is especially true of American presidential elections, which effectively stretch out over a year including primaries and caucuses.

A year of spending like a drunken sailor!

Imagine the vast costs?

That is the American presidential campaign system in a nut shell.

This system achieves several things. One, an entrenched, well-financed special interest can stay entrenched indefinitely. Two, all the serious candidates - those with hundreds of millions in their pockets from donors and the promise of more (the Hillary Clintons or Jeb Bushes) - are effectively vetted by their existing establishment donors. They are safe bets on key matters. Nothing can really change, including major policies. The system is built to achieve that result.

Then along comes an ambitious character like Donald Trump who can finance his own campaign, there being very few people who have or are willing to spend a billion dollars of their own on a campaign.

This is part of what makes the Israel lobby in the U.S. extremely suspicious of him. Then add the fact that he is very independent-minded and says America should get along with Russia and China and that it shouldn’t be in places like Syria, and a form of panic ensues.

I dislike most of Trumps’ views, but on the Middle East and some foreign policy he could represent important and overdue change. The Israel lobby understands that and already on many fronts is getting ready for one ugly fight. We see former New York Mayor, and billionaire, Bloomberg talk of running as an independent, The Weekly Standard, voice of Neo-cons and the Israel lobby is screaming about Trump, and some newspapers have already engaged in underhanded stuff like reporting that a distant relative of Anne Frank’s says “Trump sounds like Hitler.”

If Trump gets the nomination, there’s going to be a really dirty fight with the Middle East at its center, but Trump’s opponents will not openly make the Middle East the issue as it is much safer with the general public and easier to talk about Trump’s sometimes wild words and more extreme ideas. But the intensity of the fight will be about the Middle East.

It will be an interesting political year.




JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: BRITAIN'S REDUCTION OF CHERISHED LEGAL TRADITIONS TO SERVE AS CHEAP PROPAGANDA - THE LITVINENKO VERDICT RESEMBLES A JUDGE DECLARING SOMEONE A WITCH


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN RUSSIA INSIDER


Truth be told, there's nothing to reject.

All thinking people with any respect for due process are insulted by a finding of “probably guilty."

The term is an insult to western traditions of jurisprudence. It’s more than a little like a judge declaring someone a witch.

You are either guilty, or you are innocent. Always and everywhere. And you can only be found guilty in a proper judicial setting with legitimate evidence whose chain of possession is proved, cross examinations by two sides, and a jury of your peers.

That is supposed to be our most cherished tradition in law.

Yet here are high officials with somber faces in Britain pretending they are pronouncing meaningful words in an inquiry lacking every single one of these requirements.

It is shameful people would so compromise themselves and their values just to make a brief propaganda point.



JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMMENT: PENTAGON SAYS RUSSIAN FIGHTER FLIES DANGEROUSLY CLOSE TO ITS SPY PLANE - HOW BEST TO TREAT ALL PENTAGON STATEMENTS


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE POSTED IN THE INDEPENDENT


One of my basic rules in sorting through the induced chaos of our world is: I believe absolutely nothing the Pentagon says, ever.

The Pentagon's trail of lies and propaganda is so long and twisted, it's not worth bothering to sort out any of its new statements. You will always stand a better chance of being informed just by following the simple rule of ignoring them.

But, even were the Pentagon right in this instance, there's a simple response.

Stay in your own part of the world and quit trying to intimidate and threaten others in half a dozen places.



JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: THE ATTACKS CONTINUE - CORBYN IS NOW A DREAMY-EYED STUDENT - POLITICIANS AND THE CHANCE OF DOING SOME GOOD


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE GUARDIAN


“Students seem to be convinced that if they talk long enough, they can save the world for justice”

Even if your observation were correct, Clive James, that is preferable to the likes of David Cameron or Tony Blair who have no motivation to save anything but their own political and monetary fortunes.

Actually, the opportunity to do some genuine good - at home or abroad - comes fairly rarely to most politicians, and that is just a fact of harsh realities.

But when it does, a man like Corbyn will act upon it.

David Cameron will not. Tony Blair did not. They worked for special interests only.

And do you seriously think the world is a better place for either one of them?

Your argument is fatuous.



JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: ON-LINE READER COMMENTS AT MAJOR NEWS SITES - THE AGENDAS OF NEWS SOURCES - JOURNALISM NAIVETE - WHAT WE HEAR ABOUT AND WHAT WE DON'T


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE GUARDIAN


Comments, excluding those which are just name-calling, are a valuable tool of good journalism.

This article deals with Internet sites which are not daily newspapers, and comments on such sites are a somewhat different thing compared to those of a newspaper.

The truth is that comments have been tried and dropped by a number of major newspapers because they can be so embarrassing concerning the paper's own wishes and intentions. Others severely limit comments’ size and number, a practice otherwise known as censorship.

Let's be honest, good journalism is hard to find, even in our 'better" papers like The Guardian.

The publishers of any newspaper do have a set of agendas that have little or nothing to do with reporting news objectively, including everything from puff pieces on favored politicians and put-down pieces on politicians not so favored to favorable pieces on government and its policies, etc, etc.

Also, important these days of so much international involvement and conflict, is the support of the government's official line in foreign affairs where so often there is no pretence to objectivity or balance.

These purposes of daily newspapers go entirely against the naïve schoolboy stuff of journalism schools and tales such as “All the President’s Men,” one of whose journalistic “heroes” later proved himself anything but a hero, yet they are the everyday reality of journalism.

When was the last time we read an article about Yemen from a reporter inside the country? The same for Gaza, East Ukraine, Crimea, or even continental Russia? Who has good correspondents inside China? Yet there is no shortage of words published on these topics, just a shortage of facts.

We know, even in the best newspapers, that there is no objective reporting whatsoever on such matters. Indeed, every goofy accusation coming out of the Pentagon or CIA, who have full-time staff working on the task – such as Putin is corrupt, Putin murdered someone, Iraq has WMD, Syria kills its own people, Russia bombs civilians, Russia conquered Crimea, Russian missiles landed in Iran, etc. - gets dutifully reported as though true, which virtually none of them are. The names of such exotic places would likely not even be named in our press were it not for reporting Washington-generated press releases.

So a good commenting system provides some incentive to think again before you write, and that's not a bad thing at all.

Good comments point this out and make a newspaper a better overall source of information, and not just attitude. But, of course, regrettably, many newspapers are not the least truly interested in providing better information.

Good comments also engage reader loyalties which are increasing important in the digital age when readers may switch to newspapers from anywhere and get many alternate news sources.

And there is always Voltaire's wonderful line about show me the people you are afraid to criticize and you will know who governs you.



JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: OSAMA BIN LADEN AND 9/11 - WE KNOW JUST ONE THING: THE OFFICIAL STORY IS UNTRUE - AND HERE I THOUGHT THE INDEPENDENT DISLIKED CONSPIRACY THEORIES


COMMENTS POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE INDEPENDENT


I'm sorry, but to this moment, we do not know bin Laden plotted anything.

There's never been a shred of proof.

The U.S. has always begged the question. When the Taleban government refused to extradite bin Laden, it was over completely correct procedure. The U.S. supplied not a jot of evidence with their demand, as is required for legal extraditions.

I thought you were in the news business, Independent, and disliked "conspiracy theories"?

And diesel fuel - jet fuel being a form of it - simply cannot burn hot enough to melt structural steel.

Moreover the designers of the twin towers over-built the buildings: they were designed to be able to take being hit by an airliner.

These are facts.

I'm not saying, and I don't know, where they lead us, but I'll always stick with facts as a foundation for thought.

The only certainty here is that the official story cannot be true.




JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: THE GUARDIAN PUFFING UP HILLARY BENN AGAIN - WHAT BENN'S RECORD SUGGESTS AS HIS MOTIVATION


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE GUARDIAN


Why does The Guardian keep publicizing Benn?

It's obvious bias.

A good man?

Benn?

A record of supporting destruction throughout the Middle East?

Displaying a public lack of loyalty to his leader?

In fact, I suspect Benn is a rather big supporter of Israel, and that that motivates his votes to destroy in the Middle East and to demonstrate public disloyalty to his leader.

Corbyn is disliked by Israel and the Israel lobby for being too independent-minded.

Just as is Trump in the U.S.

Left, right - makes absolutely no difference, except in the superficial talking points.

The crucial point for Israel and its big supporters always is what someone can do to further Israel's interests.

Independence in foreign affairs as treated as political poison.


Thursday, January 28, 2016

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: A DISTANT RELATIVE OF ANNE FRANK SAYS "TRUMP IS ACTING LIKE HITLER" - THIS IS PLAINLY WRONG AND COMPLETELY UNINFORMED - SO WHY IS SHE PUBLISHED IN A MAJOR NEWSPAPER? - NEO-CON IMPERIALISM IS STARTING TO PULL OUT ALL STOPS TO HALT TRUMP


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARICLE IN THE INDEPENDENT


This is foolish.

First, being related to Anne Frank qualifies someone with absolutely no expertise or even knowledge of this or any other political matter.

She's entitled to her view, of course, but it means not a jot more than the views of 7 billion other humans who will not receive publicity in The Guardian.

Second, for any informed person her assertion is close to ridiculous.

I reject most of Trump's views, but I would never compare them to Hitler's.

I don't even understand how anyone who knows anything can say this. Just read one of the better biographies of Hitler - Allan Bullock or Joachim Fest, for example - and you will quickly understand why I say this.

Confusing unpleasantness and unacceptable views with monomania and nihilism shows pretty poor judgement.

In fact, in a few areas, Trump is exactly Hitler's opposite. He tends to be anti-imperial wars, and he voices a sensible view about Russia and China.

These are the areas where Trump does bring something new to American national politics. Our political systems, unfortunately, are such that any national candidate comes with a bundle of views and issues. If you buy into one part of the bundle, you must take, willy-nilly, the rest. No one comes with a platform completely satisfying to most voters.

Trump comes with some very heavy baggage, yet he does have the potential to bring some welcome change to international affairs, an end to decades of pointless war in which the U.S. has been engaged.

I utterly reject ideas like his wall with Mexico, and further I don’t believe it would prove doable. But it does seem to me that criticism of him is highly selective. How is his wall proposal any different than Israel’s walls? It isn’t, and indeed Israel is building still more walls, but they don’t receive the publicity that Trump’s proposal does.

Again, I utterly oppose selecting a kind of immigrant who is unacceptable, especially Muslims who are in my personal experience excellent people.

Yet Trump has not proposed a ban or an end, he has proposed a pause, and that is a very different thing. There can be no question that massive Muslim – or any other specific, culturally different – migration over a short time can cause huge social adjustment problems, as it very much is doing today in Europe.

However, please think about the absolute root cause of this sudden massive migration: it is America’s violent tear through the Middle East, upsetting old societies, killing tens of thousands, destroying countless homes and institutions. Libya, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, and others. That American savagery is source of all our headlines today, and this consideration takes us back to the importance of changing American foreign policy.

I think it worth noting, too, that Israel has a permanent ban on many, many kinds of immigrants. For some recent poor black refugees it did not want to accept, given embarrassing public outrages over black migrants, it actually bribed some African states to take them, where I’m sure their future, given the circumstances of their arrival, will be bleak.

Israel truly grants full citizenship to only one kind of people, its million or so Arab citizens being both an accident of 1948 history and a people who live under constant shadows and threats of expulsion as well as a set of laws which do not treat them equally in almost any matter.

Of course, then there are the five million or so Palestinians – some of whom are Christian and some Muslim – who live under illegal occupation with daily abuse, no rights, no votes, no hopes, and not even secure ownership of homes or farms. I haven’t heard Trump advocating anything resembling that ghastly reality which has endured in Israel for half a century.

So, if you are of a mind to criticize Trump’s more extreme ideas, then you should be in the forefront of doing the same for, not just a dismal prospect, but a dismal reality in Israel.  

“We haven't really learnt anything—I’m depressed by the current situation.” I can at least say amen to Eva Schloss on that, but I’m sure we are not talking about the same situation.




JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: THE TERRIBLE PROSPECT WHICH ISRAEL'S BEHAVIOR OPENS FOR ALL OF HUMANITY


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE INDEPENDENT


Response to another comment:

No one hates Israel per se, but millions are repulsed by Israel's behavior, and quite rightly so.

Now, in any ethical or moral system, isn't that how we are supposed to judge others, by their behavior, not by what they are?

No terrorist organization which exists has a record to match Israel's, and that's just a regrettable and unpleasant fact.

500 kids killed in Gaza?

1,700 others?

The people of Gaza can't even import cement to repair homes, schools, and sanitation?

Israel sprays a huge swath of Gaza with toxic herbicide, likely to cause birth defects for generations?

And that's only a partial list of recent Israel behavior.

If Israel wants to be regarded as a state like any other state, then it must act like one.

It does not.

And the great underlying, but generally ignored, truth of so much Muslim anger is that it is a direct result of Israel’s behavior, which never seems to be disapproved of in the West while Muslim violence is ceaselessly condemned.

The prospect which Israel's behavior opens for the future is a terrifying one.

If it is acceptable to behave as Israel does, then there are no bounds, no rules, no laws in international affairs, and every group or country may do just as it feels it is compelled to do.

Israel's behavior is a kind of experiment with chaos in human affairs, and it must therefore be of concern to everyone.



Monday, January 25, 2016

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: MICHAEL BLOOMBERG SAYS HE MAY RUN AS AN INDEPENDENT - PART OF WHAT IT MEANS IN LIGHT OF TRUMP'S SUCCESS AND CLINTON'S POSSIBLE COLLAPSE


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE INDEPENDENT


There is some truth in the idea that the Republican establishment is shaken by the possibility of a Trump candidacy.

But the folks who are really shaken by Trump, without question, are the Neo-cons and the Israel lobby, already extremely influential groups in America.

They do not trust Trump's independence of mind with regard to Israel and the American foreign policy which keeps that failed venture afloat. This is the one leaning of Trump’s which many people, doubtful or disliking most of his views, would welcome as a relief and a fresh start from the sick status quo of endless wars, many of them catering to Israel.

Of course, Trump's more extreme statements on other matters give the Israel lobby plenty of ammunition to make it seem as though they are concerned with issues of interest to a wider audience of Americans. But when you consider the people vociferously engaged against Trump, you know that is not the case. They simply are not people with any record of great concerns over human rights, genuine democratic values, and imperial aggression.

Michael Bloomberg, former Mayor of New York who is exploring running as an independent candidate, is well connected with Israel lobby crowd.

As is the publication, Weekly Standard, which has been making very loud noises about Trump. Founded and run by William Kristol, the publication functions as a major mouthpiece for Neo-cons and the Israel lobby.

It would appear possible now that not only does Israel determine a good deal of American foreign policy, it may as well play a key role in the next election.

That’s a pretty bizarre situation when you think about it: a nation of about 7 million weighing so heavily in the most intimate affairs of a nation of about 320 million. Not only do Israel’s narrow self-interests constitute a supremely influential special interest in the internal affairs of the United States, but Israel’s long-term interests are often directly at odds with America’s long-term interests. America’s own election-finance system is responsible for the situation, but that is something unlikely to be sorted out within the lifetime of any reader.

The relationship between Israel and the United States resembles one of those marriages we read about now and then in the news that is so dysfunctional one of the spouses kills the other.  

Readers may enjoy this analysis of a while ago:


https://chuckmanwords.wordpress.com/2015/12/15/john-chuckman-essay-donald-trump-is-electable-as-president-but/



JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: THE RISE AND FALL OF SARAH PALIN - WITH A FEW REFLECTIONS ON CONTEMPORARY AMERICA


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE GUARDIAN


I don't know about Sarah Palin’s "soul," whatever that is, and I very much doubt anyone else does either.

But I do know she is a perfect example of a person almost exploding with ambition and having almost no talents beyond a pretty smile.

Her entire career is an example of someone completely ignoring the wise and ancient words, “Know thyself.”

First, she is genuinely stupid. It took her 6 years at 5 different institutions to finally get a BA in a vacuous subject like "communications."

This says a lot because anyone who knows American post-secondary education knows there are thousands of marginal colleges which award BAs pretty much just for attending and paying your fees.

She lacks the most basic qualities of application and perseverance, having resigned half way into what is certainly the simplest executive government job in America, the governorship of thinly-populated Alaska.

She was also involved in minor corruption in Alaska.

She did some incredibly stupid and embarrassing things as John McCain's running mate.

Most notably, the Republicans gave her a generous line of credit to keep her wardrobe up for the campaign. This woman grossly overcharged the account, buying clothes not only for herself but for her entire family. It was a scandal, but it was kept fairly quiet.

Later, she was advised to "make hay while the sun shines" with speaking engagements, which have become something of an American institution for anyone enjoying their 15 minutes of fame. She went around giving speeches with zero content at $100,000 a pop, making millions from suckers who seek celebrities, even silly ones. This is, after all, the Age of Oprah Winfrey who has become a billionaire giving America such little circus acts accompanied by moral bromides.

Sarah even got her pathetic daughter into the act at $30,000 a pop, this a woman with literally nothing to talk about, not even "family values."

These are pathetic people who should never have been involved in politics, but the example of George Bush was prominent and had set a precedent.

Bush was almost certainly the most ignorant and unintelligent person ever to serve as president. In some ways he proved America does not even need a president. Of course, the real power in those years was Dick Cheney, an intelligent, ruthless, and malevolent man, assisted by Donald Rumsfeld.

Some thought the trick could be repeated but with a pretty face, and Sarah had so little sense of herself she went along gleefully for the ride.

It is hard to have any sympathy for a person of her demonstrated lack of good sense, thinking she could be so much more than she almost certainly had to know she was.

At any rate, she is a success, of sorts. She’s worth millions, doesn’t have to do anything she doesn’t want to do, and still has a following in trailer parks across America.



JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: COLUMNIST WRITES THAT JEREMY CORBYN'S LEADERSHIP ISN'T WORKING OUT - JUST A FEW MONTHS AFTER CORBYN WON IT - HOW DESPERATE ARE THE ATTACKS BY THE PRESS - IS THERE ROOM ANYMORE FOR A DECENT MAN IN POLITICS?


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY AMOL RAJAN IN THE INDEPENDENT


I just want to know why Amol Rajan bothers to write when he has nothing to say?

Seems like the ultimate expression of vanity to me.

Corbyn has only held the job of leader a short time.

And during that short time, he has been under constant attack about every petty detail down to what he wears on his feet.

This is an intelligent, thoughtful, and decent man.

Is there then no longer a place in British politics for such a man?

If that is the case, then I think Britain has a lot more to worry about than whether Corbyn wears the right shoes.

The Independent seems to work night and day to tear a good man down.


I guess it isn't just the Rupert Murdochs of this world with whom we need be concerned over the very future of democracy.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: EUROPE NEEDS AMERICA TO SAVE IT AGAIN? NATALIE NOUGAYREDE WITH THE SMUGNESS OF A CAMERON AND THE INSOUCIANCE OF A WOULD-BE SALON HOSTESS - IN FACT, EUROPE NEEDS SAVING FROM AMERICA


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY NATALIE NOUGAYREDE IN THE GUARDIAN


I have rarely seen such an unperceptive and truly meaningless piece of writing. It is a very good example of words used just to hear yourself.

"Once more, America will have to step in to save us..."

What an incredibly patronizing statement, loaded with unwarranted assumptions, the smugness of a David Cameron, and the insouciance of a would-be Paris salon hostess.

How can a country which cannot run its own affairs help anyone? America is in bad shape on almost every front, yet it insists on a new monomaniacal drive to re-make the face of the earth.

And how is that drive financed in a country which cannot balance its books, its trade balances, or any other measure of self-regulation you care to cite? By abusing its fortunate position as world reserve currency, pumping out endless dollars for all the world’s suckers to hold.

In fact, America is the source of many of Europe's greatest problems.

It was America's irresponsible, greed-based financial crisis in 2008 that tipped the world into dangerous economic territory from which it has not recovered.

It is American aggressive policies which are pushing Europe into untenable positions vis-a-vis Russia, a natural partner for Europe in everything from energy supplies to a market for consumer goods and farm products.

Aggressive American policies have pushed Europeans towards greater military spending at a time when realistically it is completely unnecessary.

NATO itself is today nothing but a mechanism to keep America at the center of European affairs, a very costly mechanism both in terms of military spending and in terms of divisiveness with Europe’s natural partners.

It is American aggressive policies concerning the Mideast which have caused all the misery of Syria and Libya and Iraq, resulting in all the terrible migration of refugees.

It is American influence, especially through its unceasing facilitator, Ms. Merkel, that has transported these woes into Europe.

Look at the madman, Erdogan, an unbalanced and genuinely dangerous man, and the risky games Europe is driven to play with him.

Europe, left to itself, might end many of its relations with him, but it is American insistence on the geo-political importance of Turkey that keeps Europe from responding as it should.

Good God, what could be more insane than a member of NATO shooting down a Russian plane and then running behind NATO’s skirts? It reflects the same insanity which drives Erdogan to slaughter Kurds, imprison journalists, and assassinate opponents.

The sum total of American policies is effectively crushing Europe almost like a glacier rolling over the continent, and here is this silly salon-voice saying you need more.
_____________________________
Response to another reader’s comment:

American policy has generated the refugee crisis which is the cause of most xenophobic reactions in Europe.

Any country would be hard pressed to accommodate what is happening today.

Every population has its share of nasty people who will react badly to such huge new stresses.

Every population has a natural distribution of everything from plug-uglies to mental cases. You can't make that fact go away. Wise governments don't create situations which stress them and bring them to the fore.

But Europe under American influence has done just that.

I cannot imagine a more bankrupt policy than paying a violent lunatic like Erdogan - a key player in creating the horror - to help, but that is what Europe is doing.




Friday, January 22, 2016

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: A BRITISH OFFICIAL'S EMBARRASSINGLY STUPID FINDING IN AN OLD MURDER CASE - LITVINENKO AND PUTIN VERDICT - KENNEDY AND THE WARREN COMMISSION - A WORD ON LORD JANNER



COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE GUARDIAN


An utterly shabby proceeding, but then that is the kind of thing we've come to expect from David Cameron.

Please, when is it appropriate for a judge to pronounce on someone's “probable” guilt?

Never.

And our day-in, day-out practices support that view.

As I recall, we had only recently the case of the late Lord Greville Janner being tried as a pedophile, and apparently there was evidence or he wouldn't have gone to court.

Yet old Janner died, and the case is closed, we have no judge pronouncing on Janner.

This 'probable" call by what is supposed to be a responsible official in a decade-old matter which has not gone to court, and which is riddled with doubts and contradictions is about as convincing as the idiotic Warren Commission's finding in the death of President Kennedy. The parallels are striking.

In case you don't know, that finding was that a single loner with no known motive, one with a record of poor marksmanship, and without a weapon worthy of the name, killed the president. Chains of evidence around every significant artifact – shell casings, the rifle, a paper bag, and many others - have been shown to have been utterly corrupt. And the judgement was reached with absolutely no normal courtroom rules of evidence. The dead accused was not even permitted cross-examination of witnesses by a lawyer representing his interests.

And more witnesses were ignored than used. There was a clear pattern of selectivity in the use of witnesses then. And important leads, like the work of Oswald as a paid informant for the FBI, were buried.

Moreover the Commission itself did no investigation. It relied entirely on an FBI whose head had come to the conclusion of guilt almost immediately after the crime, a head official by the way who detested Kennedy and whose agency had a long record of selective investigations and corrupt practices.

Perhaps the single most important witness was ignored. Jack Ruby asked Justice Warren to take him to Washington where he could feel free to talk, but Warren refused, lamely saying he couldn’t do that.

But Oswald was "probably" guilty. And great secrecy was maintained over many details of the case, and even today the most important parts of the secrecy remain intact.

As the great Bertrand Russell asked at the time, if as we are asked to believe, the assassination was the act of one man, where is the matter of national security?

His question has never been answered, because it cannot be answered.

Any person who is not biased by a government or political connection and who has studied the case in detail - as I have - knows we were not told the truth.

The Warren Commission was a cover-up for an event far more terrifying and complicated than a supposed "lone nut" shooting a president.

And just so this feeble and irresponsible pronouncement. We know Litvinenko was working for a British security agency. What was he doing? We know also he had contact with some very doubtful Russian emerges living in Britain. What was that about?

Moreover, David Cameron’s government does everything that it can to discredit Russia because Russia on numerous occasions has embarrassed him, demonstrating the true nature of some ugly and contrived American acts and revealing Cameron’s words on subjects like Syria or Ukraine as so much re-written American propaganda. Or perhaps that should be re-written Rupert Murdoch propaganda?



JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: ISRAEL'S DEFENSE MINISTER SAYS HE PREFERS ISIS TO IRAN - THE REASONS BEHIND THIS SEEMINGLY REMARKABLE STATEMENT - OBAMA, IRAN, AND ISRAEL


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN RUSSIA TODAY


Of course the Israeli Defense Minister prefers ISIS to Iran. Big surprise.

Israel has been a major secret collaborator in creating and supporting ISIS.

It is a tiresome game that has been going on.

Saudi Arabia and Turkey - both low-key allies of Israel now for some years - are not doing work of which Israel disapproves.

Ever notice how ISIS never attacks Israel or Israeli interests, just makes the odd vague threat to maintain its credibility as a radical outfit? Of course, it is the same for Saudi Arabia and its interests, the Saudis being a paymaster who is never threatened.

Israel has become a kind of genuine nightmare in the Middle East, contributing to instability and destruction and death in every direction.

It is opposed to Iran only because Iran is potentially the Middle East's big player, the role it covets for itself.

All Israel’s rubbish about Iran’s existential threat is just that, rubbish.

Iran has never threatened Israel, but Israel has busied itself with threatening Iran regularly and even assassinating Iranians.

Indeed, modern Iran has never started a war with anyone, while Israel has attacked every neighbor that it has, some many times.

Israel is able to play this ugly game only from behind American protection, a rather cowardly position like the proverbial calling someone names from behind your mother’s skirts.

By the way, Obama has for the most part catered to Israel's unending and tiresome demands on many fronts, as has been the case for so many senior American politicians, Israel’s well-financed and coordinated lobby holding their public declarations of loyalty to ransom.

But in the one matter of not allowing war with Iran to be started, he has made himself the most hated American president in Israel's brief history, while doing one of the only genuinely worthwhile things of his presidency.



JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: ASPECTS OF THE OLD BRITISH EMPIRE AND ISIS - THE RISE OF AMERICA'S EMPIRE AND THE HORRORS ASSOCIATED WITH IT


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE INDEPENDENT


British people forget how many terrible things were done in the name of the empire, or, as in the case of Americans, they perhaps simply never knew.

Virtually nothing ISIS has done was not done in one form or another on behalf of the British Empire.

Machine-gunning of crowds, aerial bombardment of civilians, use of poison gas, assassinations, and many other horrors.

Just as individuals have a built-in tendency to forget horrors as a protection of mental health, so too do nations.

It is also wise to remember that Britain has secretly supported ISIS.

David Cameron well knows that ISIS is the child of Israel, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and America.

Have you ever heard him complain about the horrors those countries have caused?

No, of course not, you've only heard him call ISIS names while going right ahead with stuff like large weapons sales to Saudi Arabia.
_____________________________
Response to a reader comment:

The point of looking at old horrors is to remind people that people are still people.

Ancient Hebrews and ISIS? Virtually same thing, if the Old Testament is to be believed.

British Empire and ISIS? Often the same thing.

Now America is a very special case. It has murdered at least 6 million people since the end of WWII in its quest to dominate the globe.

And of course just before that it used atomic weapons, twice, and on civilians.

It was prepared to use them 12 times on 12 non-military urban targets if it didn't receive "unconditional" surrender, the Japanese having already signalled their desire to surrender.

The American record is a true horror, not all that different to Germany's efforts at dominance.

And the Americans are still at it, on all fronts.

Why anyone thinks of America as a decent place, as a repository of human values, is beyond me.
__________________
Response to a comment about use of the atomic bomb:

The Japanese had already signalled their readiness to surrender.

They only wanted to keep the emperor.

But the American view was "absolute and unconditional" surrender.

Now in the end, as we all know, America did leave the emperor in place, but that was after two atomic bombs on civilians and Japan's literally grovelling.

Your silly stuff about American lives being saved is well-known American propaganda since there was no need for an invasion of a country already willing to surrender.

It stands as a shameful set of events, and simply marks, like a shot over the bow, America's declaration of world domination.



JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: A BRAVE TURKISH EDITOR ASKS ABOUT THE EU'S RELATIONSHIP WITH ERDOGAN AS HE PROCEEDS WITH NEW SUPPRESSION OF DISSENT


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE GUARDIAN


Can Dundar is a good and brave man.

Erdogan is a terrifying phenomenon, and the EU should have nothing to do with him.

But of course the reason the EU behaves the way it does with Turkey is entirely owing to America’s now-unhealthy influence.

America has reduced Europe almost to a colony which must follow the "mother county's" guidance in all things, even when something is against Europe's own interests.

Things like supporting - both implicitly and explicitly - the horrors of Syria, horrors induced entirely as part of American policy in combination with Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey.

The Syrian horror has not just killed a lot of innocent people, it has helped create a refugee crisis which seriously threatens the stability of Europe.

Things like enforcing senseless measures against Russia simply for its opposing ugly American policy in Ukraine.

Europe is hurting its own economy in order to support anti-democratic policies associated with a coup government so incompetent that it fights its own people.

Europe's independent voice is not heard any more on these and other serious matters.

Erdogan, the sick monster now running Turkey is always supported by the U.S. because Turkey is regarded as such an important geo-political asset against Russia. This is a situation which serves no one's legitimate interests, unless you count America's idea that it must be in control.



JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: A WRITER ASKS HOW HOLLYWOOD CAN FIX ITS RACE PROBLEM - WHAT RACE PROBLEM? AND A FEW NOTES ON THE MEANING OF THE ACADEMY AWARDS


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE GUARDIAN


This is silly.

There is no apparent race problem in Hollywood.

There is, very much, a problem with quality and artistic integrity.

Hollywood produces reels and reels of crap.

And the Oscars have never had anything, except peripherally, to do with quality and merit.

They are completely a marketing tool. Good pictures have been ignored. Bad pictures have won.

One of the worst films ever to win anything was Butterfield Eight, a literally unwatchable piece of crap awarded because Elizabeth Taylor, a big money-maker for the studios, was seriously ill.

Oscar awards are regularly influenced by mindless fads too, as the huge number going to a pretty mediocre film like Dances with Wolves.

It is not the creative people involved with the machinery of the Oscars, it is a group of cigar-chomping money guys who look only to promote their own pictures for additional profits.

These are not the kind of people who think about balance or equality any more than they think of artistic merit or subtlety.



JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: ON KILLING THE PLANET - GREEN SECULAR RELIGION AND EXTREMISM


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE GUARDIAN


"Killing the planet'?

Language just doesn't come more absurd than that.

Our planet is just a huge mass of stone and metal hurtling through space.

Water from passing comets over the eons has given it oceans and lakes.

It is likely that of the almost certainly millions of such planets in the universe, some, by one means or another, reach a point of no longer supporting life.

But even that may be a stretch.

The life-force is just so powerful. It was noticed about two or three weeks after the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima that weeds began to poke up in the cracks in the pavement.

And earth has had a number of extinctions, but it is still teeming with life.

The green extremists are just a new form of religion, and anyone who refers to "killing the planet" is a green extremist.


Please, it has never been nice or even civil to toss garbage around, but that has nothing to do with planetary survival, whatever that is.



JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: TRUMP AND PALIN - AMERICAN POLITICS' NEW ODD COUPLE - THE PART OF PALIN'S MAKE-UP NEVER DISCUSSED BY THE PRESS


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE GUARDIAN


There is a very big difference between Trump and Palin, one not noted in the article.

Trump, despite some awful views, is essentially an intelligent person. Sometimes smart people embrace bad views.

Palin, however, and I don't know why few ever say it in the press, is simply stupid. She says things which are just plain stupid many times, and not just things which are controversial.

Palin didn’t have the ability to even finish her one term as governor of one of smallest-population and least complicated states in the union.

Palin also took 6 years at 5 different colleges to earn a BA in a "bird" subject like "communications."

Now, for those who understand American education, that says a very great deal.

There are so many marginal to nearly worthless academic institutions in America run as for-profit businesses, where you can sail through virtually buying a degree, that her educational Odyssey is bizarre and telling.

But she still has, remarkably enough, a bit of a fan club out there, and Trump’s shrewd enough to exploit it.



Wednesday, January 13, 2016

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: RESPONSE TO SOME VERY CONFUSED WORDS ABOUT THE RE-PUBLISHING OF MEIN KAMPF AND A WORLD AWASH WITH HATE - THE GENUINE THREATS AND PROBLEMS THIS KIND OF WRITING EITHER IGNORES OR TRIES TO COVER UP


COMMENT POSTED TO A COLUMN IN THE GUARDIAN BY PAUL MASON


Paul, if you are aware of even one week in human history when the world was not awash with hatred, please let me know.

We are nothing but chimpanzees with larger brains, and, as we know, modern studies of those cute and appealing creatures have demonstrated them as being quite vicious and murderous.

I don't know what Mein Kampf returning to Germany has to do with anything serious or dangerous, but just bringing it up and associating it with some other larger events demonstrates bias.

This is a tedious, antiquated book which would not even be understood by many today. There is no magical mumbo-jumbo in this book to capture people’s minds.

It is a threat to no one except in some imaginations.

But ignorance very much is a threat to all of us.

The book is of interest to scholars and historians, so why shouldn't it be available?

Indeed, in Hitler's day, the book became a kind of social token, much like the Bible, with nice editions being presented as gifts on marriages or birthdays.

Virtually no one ever read it then, just as few read the Bible today.

And, if you want a written record of bloodshed, injustice and hatred, you would have a mighty hard time doing better than the Old Testament.

It was Hitler's strange brooding personality and gift for fiery live speech that gave him any appeal, but we should always remember he never got more than 37% of the vote in free elections.

He was appointed Chancellor by the ancient President von Hindenburg trying to save his county from chaos in the streets.

After that, Hitler seized power through a series of dark operations, such as the Reichstag Fire, which together amounted to a coup.

Why had the streets of Germany become such a mess that Hindenburg, an old school German officer, appointed someone he genuinely didn't like?

Because the fine, liberal-spirited government, known as the Weimar Republic, which arose in Germany after WWI was allowed to fall to pieces by Western interests. It wasn't helped in its many serious problems.

We see such patterns today, but not in the places you may think. We see it in Syria where a tolerant and reasonably fair government is under savage attack by foreigner-subsidized lunatics.

We see it in Libya where America and others decided to destroy a man who once ran his state reasonably well.

We see it in Egypt where absolute government has returned.

We see it in Iraq, a once prosperous country with a growing middle class which undoubtedly would have become democratic eventually, left to its own devices.

None of these events were normal and a result of internal forces.

They all involve external interference and manipulation, the chief players being the United States and its associates in the region.

Now, there’s the real concern for thoughtful people who want peace and justice.



JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: THE LIBERAL LEFT NATURE OF CHARLIE HEBDO? IN YOUR DREAMS - HEBDO IS JUST A NASTY PUBLICATION WITH AN AGENDA OF PREJUDICE


COMMENT POSTED TO A COLUMN IN THE GUARDIAN


“Liberal left”?

Charlie Hebdo?

This is a fantasy idea.

Hebdo is a nasty little publication which attacks a select group of targets, largely Muslims and Catholics, with cheap, obscene cartoons.

They are self-satisfied, gleeful attacks on the solemn views of others, much resembling a gang of arrogant teenagers giving “the finger” to some passing old folks.

Ugly attitude is accompanied by an immense sense of self-importance, much like some graffiti scribbler who fancies himself the reincarnation of Voltaire.

Hebdo has a phony kind of free-spirit image, yet it very much functions as an organ of hate and propaganda.

I am not questioning its right to do what it does. Rather I am putting into perspective what it actually does. You would never recognize Hebdo from the high-sounding clap-trap regularly published about it in France or Britain, much of it seeming to confuse a nasty squib with Emile Zola’s J’ accuse.

Readers who would appreciate a longer, serious exploration of the matter should see:


https://chuckmanwords.wordpress.com/2015/01/13/je-ne-suis-pas-charlie-the-extremely-dark-and-unexamined-underside-of-the-charlie-hebdo-affair/



JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: THE FAILURE OF FOREIGN AID TO AFRICA - THE TRUE NATURE OF MOST FOREIGN AID - MOSTLY GUARANTEED TO FAIL


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE GUARDIAN


Foreign aid by governments, in general, has little to do with helping people, although speeches on the subject always contain the empty words.

Most of foreign-aid payments are effectively bribes used to influence the behavior of states, especially in the donor county’s receiving votes of support in international institutions and forums. Being a sizable donor gives a government the power - and it is used often, but always on a confidential basis - to threaten to stop or reduce payments.

It is not unlike the "pensions" that one state - say, France or Spain - awarded individuals in other states - say, an important high official in Britain - in the sixteenth century. The “pensions” were about influence.

Corrupt politician-recipients, who generally use the money for their own security, are tolerated by donor countries so long as they do what is expected at key times.  


This basic way of operating foreign aid is a major reason for its often being such a visible failure, but I do not see how it can be any different, people being what they are, and I mean by that politicians, both the David Camerons doing the giving and the third-world leaders socking it away in Swiss Bank accounts.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: BRITAIN'S RIDICULOUS WASTE OF TIME AND EFFORT ON THE EU REFERENDUM BROUGHT TO YOU BY BRITAIN'S RIDULOUS EXCUSE OF A LEADER, DAVID CAMERON



COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE GUARDIAN



David Cameron, Absolute Non-leader.

This whole ridiculous mess of a referendum on EU membership was simply not necessary.

A real leader would not have allowed it to happen.

There must be dozens of genuine problems in British society requiring the attention of a serious government.

But, no, Britain is saddled with the complete and consuming foolishness of whether to exit the EU.

British Ministers squabble over whether they should be allowed to campaign for exit.

I'm waiting to hear that members of the government are painting the roses red.

David desperately attempts to find a justification for his silliness by extracting some token concessions from the EU. In doing this, he is also saying the same rules should not apply to all, but is that not one of his most cherished political beliefs guiding his work as prime minister?

Now, good old David of the democratic spirit promises that even if defeated on so major an issue, he will remain as PM. As though any but a tight minority even cared.

Real leaders simply do not behave this way.


It's rather like having Daffy Duck – or maybe I should say, Porky Pig? - as prime minister, isn’t it?



JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: AMERICAN PROPAGANDA ABOUT INACCURATE RUSSIAN BOMBING IN SYRIA - DAVID CAMERON LOOKING SILLIER THAN EVER


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE GUARDIAN


You should be ashamed of yourself publishing such American propaganda.

The Russians are doing as careful a job as it is possible to do, and they are, unlike the United States, shooting at the true villains.

Russian intelligent missiles and bombs have proved highly effective, and Russia's scrupulous effort to double-check targets has been well done.

These claims of civilian deaths you have published are just part of a stream of nonsense we’ve seen flowing from the Pentagon, reflecting their suppressed fury over Putin's success.

Russia's effectiveness speaks for itself. The Syrian Army has the upper hand again. Turkey - a major terrorist - is licking its wounds and America’s rear-end more than ever.

Recent success in Iraq by the Iraqis fighting ISIS also owes a considerable debt to the Russian effort, even though American and American-oriented news sources never say so.

Russia's record for scrupulous effort shines compared to that of the United States in its many blitzes against not terrorism but governments which behave with any independence, often bombing things like hospitals and schools, often using carpet bombing, cluster bombs, and incendiary materials like white phosphorus.

And look at the horrors of Yemen brought to you by David Cameron's good friend, the insane King of Saudi Arabia.

Or how about the deliberate bombing by Israel, another David Cameron friend, in Gaza, slaughtering 2,200 people? The Guardian never dwells on that. Never publishes a photo. And there's plenty to photograph since Israel won't even allow Gaza to import cement to repair homes, schools, and public sanitation.

By the way, after all the pompous posing and name-calling by David Cameron in the bombing debate, it has been noticed that new Russian air defences have pretty well turned off the British effort quietly.


David looks sillier than ever.