Saturday, May 30, 2020

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



ABOUT JOHN CHUCKMAN


ME, ROUGHLY: THE DECLINE IS SO RAPID NOW





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

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

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

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

SOME INTERNET SITES FROM JOHN CHUCKMAN:


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

CHUCKMAN'S PHOTOS ON WORDPRESS: CHICAGO NOSTALGIA AND MEMORABILIA

CHUCKMAN'S PHOTOS ON WORDPRESS: TORONTO NOSTALGIA

CHUCKMAN’S MONTREAL

CHUCKMAN'S PHOTOS ON WORD PRESS

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

CHUCKMAN'S PORT STANLEY

CHUCKMAN'S BAYFIELD

CHUCKMAN'S GODERICH

CHUCKMAN'S ILES DE LA MADELEINE (MAGDALEN ISLANDS)

CHUCKMAN'S ART

CHUCKMAN'S ROBOTS

CHUCKMAN'S GALLERY OF GROTESQUES

CHUCKMAN'S CARTOON COMMENTS

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

CHUCKMAN'S WORDS ON WORDPRESS: POLITICAL ESSAYS

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

CHUCKMAN'S MISCELLANEA OF WORDS

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


JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: SOME REALLY NOTABLE THINGS ABOUT AMERICA REVEALED THROUGH TRUMP

John Chuckman


COMMENT - SOME REALLY NOTABLE THINGS ABOUT AMERICA REVEALED THROUGH TRUMP


Trump has lost support according to several recent polls. The remarkable thing is that he commands any support.

We’ve had more than three years of incompetence at the highest level, blunder after blunder, erratic policy turns, laughing about theft, insulting people, displays of callousness, giving away other people’s property, serving America’s One-Percent slavishly while ignoring everyone else except in empty slogans at political rallies, and a long series of stone-stupid statements on any number of topics, from the coronavirus to the riots in Minneapolis.

Not a single solid achievement and not a campaign promise kept. How can there be anyone who supports him, much less something around forty-two to -five percent approving of him in polls?

It was one thing to support Trump when he first ran, when you may have thought that, despite his many grotesqueries, he might be able to achieve a few worthwhile things, as outsiders or mavericks occasionally do. But this man has achieved nothing, except piling up bodies both at home and abroad and shaming civil society.

This does say something disturbing about Americans, a good many of them anyway. I don’t know whether it has something to do with poor education and ignorance or just lowdown meanness. I suspect a bit of both.

There is a lot of meanness and brutality in America - as perhaps few people abroad realize, still under illusions created by glossy magazines, attractive television series, and Hollywood movies - as we can see by what happened in Minneapolis, the kind of gruesome display that has happened many times.

And there was the President, virtually applauding official murder, done in the most sadistic fashion as by a death-camp guard, and threatening deeply upset protesters.

Of course, accomplishing all that killing and horror abroad as America does, none of it having anything remotely to do with defense, requires a good supply of cold-blooded killers. And there are the countless corrupt and vicious police, the country’s suburban sprawl creating a weird expanding universe of jurisdictions, each requiring its own inadequate, poorly-trained and -disciplined police force.

There’s the small army of prison guards in a penal system with an international reputation for brutality. Where else do you find the Nazi-like concept of super-max prisons and the widespread, common use of the torture of solitary confinement? A small army of prison guards, indeed, because America has the highest incarceration rate on the planet, as well as some of the most unforgiving laws, including the common one of three relatively minor convictions automatically imposing a life-sentence on someone.

The country’s galaxy of seventeen huge, intrusive security agencies, respecters of no rights, certainly is not staffed by choirboys.

America is often a violent, Ill-informed, and nasty place – a few steps from tyranny - and Trump is the true champion for those constituencies, bringing out their best, as it were.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: ACCUSATIONS OF CRIMINAL BEHAVIOR COMING FROM THE WORLD’S BIGGEST CRIMINAL ORGANIZATION, THE GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED STATES

John Chuckman


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY JASON PROCTOR IN CBC NEWS


Meng Wanzhou [executive of China’s Huawei corporation, arrested in Canada by American request] is a fugitive only from the United States' irrational fear and hatred of China and its success.

The only criminal involved in this case is the United States’ government, the same government practicing gunboat diplomacy in half a dozen countries.

The same government hurting millions of sick and poor people with its illegal sanctions, American laws applied to people who are not Americans and with no authority from anyone else.

The same government which pressures every ally to buy only its products and not those of China or Russia.

The same government that just quit the World Health Organization in the midst of a pandemic. That quit UNESCO. That threatened the ICC. That has quit almost every existing international treaty for nuclear peace - withdrawing from the Iran Nuclear Accord, the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, the Open Skies Treaty, threatening the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, and talking about conducting a new nuclear test.

And Canada, shamefully, is doing part of its dirty work in the Meng case, as well as in its positions on matters as diverse as Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Iran.

I just saw in another news source, that the same dear old United States is now considering laying some kind of criminal charges against the wife of President Maduro of Venezuela.

Of course, only recently, they put a 15-million-dollar bounty on the (twice-elected) Venezuelan President's head.

Great country these days, the United States.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: AMERICA BRINGS A NEW PHENOMENON TO WORLD AFFAIRS - THE OBVIOUS SELFISHNESS OF ITS ESTABLISHMENT'S ACTS IS STRIKING - IT HAS LAUNCHED A RELENTLESS AND GIGANTIC CRUSADE AGAINST CHINA JUST BECAUSE AMERICA FEARS THE COUNTRY'S COMPETITIVENESS - AUSTRALIA AND CANADA AS EXAMPLES OF HOW ALLIES ARE NOW SHABBILY USED - AND IT EMPLOYS METHODS FROM THE OLD SOVIET UNION IN INTERNATIONAL RELATIONSHIPS WITH THREATS AND MASSIVE FORCE - A NEW IRON CURTAIN HAS DESCENDED, AN AMERICAN ONE - AND ALL THE DESTRUCTIVENESS AND THREATS COME AT A TIME OF GREAT FRAGILITY FOR THE WORLD'S ECONOMY

John Chuckman


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY TONY KEVIN IN CONSORTIUM NEWS


“Australia & the Working of the American Imperial Hand

“The paradox of Australia: a wealthy country whose complacent, U.S.-indoctrinated political elites are betraying its promise in so many important ways”


https://consortiumnews.com/2020/05/28/australia-the-working-of-the-american-imperial-hand/


A truly excellent piece. Well written and concisely informative.

The United States is working hard all over the globe to shore up support for its hostile policies towards China. It is a frightening phenomenon. Attacking its technology. Attacking its companies. Attacking its laws. Attacking its science. Accusing it of every dark thing they can think of. All done under the principle that if you throw enough crap at a wall, some of it will stick. A very enlightened guiding principle to bring world affairs. Pure maliciousness.

The American establishment deeply resents China's success and very much fears its competitiveness.

So, it is working hard on every level to hurt the country. That’s quite a new phenomenon I think in the modern world - instead of focusing on any genuine enemies, you focus intense hostility on a peaceful economic competitor. All while ignoring your own important business. America is a land heavily littered with rust and decay and despair and inadequate facilities. Repair and replacement would create jobs while increasing the country’s own competitiveness, but it is all ignored in this vicious crusade against “the yellow peril.’

Of course, there are no genuine enemies of any importance for the United States. Its gigantic, resource-consuming military and security service complex serves mainly to manage and expand imperial control and get rid of any nuisance, such as a government which thinks for itself. It just finished waves of that in the Middle East, leaving behind a landscape of death, destruction, and the despair of refugees.

It's an ugly set of behaviors to bring to a world suffering from the fragilities both of disease and economics.

I recognize the situation the author speaks of because Canada, too, has been acting in foreign affairs in a way entirely different than its historical role, say, under the father of the current Prime Minister, Pierre Trudeau, a fiercely independent mind who opposed America’s holocaust in Vietnam, threw open the doors to young Americans avoiding the war, and established a strong relationship with Cuba despite America’s resentment.

His son, Justin, has supported virtually every aspect of America's vicious new foreign policy - towards Venezuela, towards Iran, towards China, towards others, and he sells armored cars to the bloody tyrant running Saudi Arabia, without losing a night’s sleep.

A very distressing situation for anyone who admired the world view of Canada under Pierre Trudeau, Lester Pearson, and Paul Martin. Then, Canada enjoyed a strong reputation in the world, a reputation for principles like the rule of law, supporting international organizations, and just doing many things right.

Canada perhaps has had less room to maneuver than Australia since it has long been an economic dependent of the US. Whereas, the author says, China has been Australia’s economic partner.

Hard to see where all this is going, but it is dangerous and threatening, and it is all about America, serving no one else’s real interests. America’s interests defined in the narrowest and most selfish terms.

The American establishment’s activities do bring to light how little it and its servants – the State Department, the military, the security services - care about anyone else, including its own people. It’s “me first” for “the one percent,” the people whom empire serves.

In the long term, these activities cannot possibly make America a better place, and they certainly cannot make the world one. They only bring us all a period of darkness and uncertainty, as though a new kind of iron curtain had fallen, an American one.

Real economic forces, broadly-defined self-interests, and the resentment of diktats from one selfish country will prevail ultimately. But that could be a long time and a lot of harm done. We all know what happened to the Soviet Union, and in almost all of its external relationships, the United States resembles the Soviets more closely with each passing month.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: AN ARTICLE SPEAKS OF THE DANGER OF A NEW COLD WAR - I'M MORE CONCERNED ABOUT A HOT WAR - A LIST OF THE GREAT RANGE OF HOSTILITIES SET LOOSE BY WASHINGTON

John Chuckman


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN PRESS T V


"US withdrawal from international treaties suggests new Cold War resumption"


"New Cold War resumption?"

Given the remarkably hostile words and acts coming from Washington, I'm more concerned about a hot war.

Withdrawing from treaties is certainly threatening, and the US has done a lot of that recently, but it has done so much more, too.

The words and acts go beyond anything I recall during the Cold War.

Openly assassinating another country's national hero? Almost bragging about it?

Placing a bounty on the head of a twice-elected national leader?

Declaring the threatening phrase, "full-spectrum dominance," as a national purpose in the world?

Trying to impose American law on everyone who is not American through a vast network of illegal sanctions?

Displaying contempt for many important international institutions and organizations? Quitting some of them? Threatening some? Demanding others serve its own purposes? UN. WHO. ICC. WTO. UNESCO. OPCW. UNRWA.

Ignoring the rule of law openly throughout the Middle East, on the high seas, and in Latin America?

Displaying no spirit of international cooperation, even during a medical emergency. At least in the days of the Cold War, the US always tried to appear cooperative about disasters and about international organizations. It was often the first to offer some assistance. Now, it does not bother.

Relentlessly attacking the world’s other great power, China, with genuine slander and lies. Doing so daily with no pretense to science or legality.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: THE CHINESE PEOPLE'S IMMENSE PRIDE IN THEIR ACHIEVEMENTS - STUPIDLY AND DANGEROUSLY BELITTLED BY TRUMP AND POMPEO - HOW I EXPECT CHINA AND THE UNITED STATES EACH TO COME OUT OF THE DOUBLE CRISIS OF ECONOMICS AND DISEASE - CHINA WILL BE STRENGTHENED WHILE THE UNITED STATES WILL BE WEAKENED - THEN THE DANGER OF EVEN WORSE ATTACKS ON CHINA NO MATTER WHO IS ELECTED - ABSOLUTELY NO LEADERSHIP IN AMERICA - WE ONLY HAVE DEMANDS THAT AMERICA MUST BE FIRST - THE AMERICAN POWER ESTABLISHMENT FEARS CHINA AND ITS COMPETITIVENESS - A WORD ON THE AWFUL HONG KONG PROTESTERS

John Chuckman


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY PATRICK LAWRENCE IN CONSORTIUM NEWS


"US, China & Hong Kong’s Betrayal"


I have some familiarity with the Chinese, having served as a "homestay" for a fine young student from China for two and a half years and having got to know all his friends. I also taught a fair number of university students from China.

They were lovely, bright kids, and I remember their smiles and laughter.

I saw no hostility towards the US in them then.

But their pride in China and its accomplishments and history were immense. Quite palpable.

Only an idiot would act to belittle that pride, but the US very much has two noisy idiots at the head of its government. And touching on any matter of Chinese sovereignty, such as Hong Kong, borders on insanity. Chinese pride will not allow it.

Although they are truly obnoxious, it is not just Trump & Co. at fault. The whole Washington establishment resents China, its remarkable rise, and they fear its competitiveness. They have not opposed Trump’s viciousness. And many have parroted his most hateful themes.

It is becoming dangerous. And it is beyond foolish at a time of great fragility in the world’s economy to be attacking the other great engine of growth.

My own belief is that China will emerge from the current crises strengthened, able to compete in new areas such as health. It will have won new admirers and partners in the world. And it is ready to do business with everyone. Its people will work smoothly together to make things right. And they have superb leadership.

America will come out of the dual crisis of disease and economy considerably weakened. It has lost the respect even of some old allies with its display of selfish concern and incompetence. It has terrible leadership. And it is dedicated to purposes that make no sense – i.e., “full-spectrum dominance everywhere,” a one-way trip to nowhere, except possibly to war.

There isn’t a hint of real leadership in Washington. Just arrogant people who believe they should be number-one in everything. Even if Biden wins the election, he is a man of no promise. And I am something of a believer in Carlyle’s maxim, “History is biography.”

Corruption and war from a bellowing, unstable man or corruption and war from an old party hack does seem to summarize the grim election choice ahead.

My fear is that Washington will push with even more desperate tactics in either case, especially if my view of how the two countries emerge from the dual crisis holds.

__________________

Response to a comment saying “This author gives way too much credence to the Hong Kong protesters”

Agreed, Well-said.

The protesters were obnoxious, not heroic, not idealistic, and they used a great many home-made firebombs, and they were shooting bows-and-arrows in the streets.

The Hong Kong police did a difficult job well. The author doesn’t adequately credit them.

Just compare with what was going on in Paris and Gaza at the time – public mass killing and maiming of unarmed demonstrators. Just savagery.

And there was almost certainly State Department and CIA collusion behind the scenes in Hong Kong to stir things up.

Monday, May 25, 2020

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: GERMAN FOREIGN POLICY AND ITS LACK OF INDEPENDENCE FROM AMERICA - AN ODDITY FOR A STATE OF SUCH HISTORIC IMPORTANCE AND ONE PROVIDING TODAY THE EU'S MAIN DRIVING ENGINE - SOME OF CHANCELLOR MERKEL'S LIMITED INDEPENDENT ACTS - GERMANY'S POSITION IN POSTWAR EUROPE - LIKE BRITAIN OR FRANCE ITS POLITICS AND PRESS ARE THOROUGHLY PENETRATED BY AMERICAN INTERESTS AND IT IS OBLIGED TO SUPPORT AMERICA'S OFTEN DESTRUCTIVE POLICIES ABROAD

John Chuckman


EXPANSION OF A COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY AIDEN O’BRIEN IN RUSSIA INSIDER

"German Foreign Policy Is a CIA Front, It Has Been Since WWII"


Just a brief survey of Germany's postwar activity in the world, right up to the present, shows no real independence in word or act.

It is an odd situation for a state which has been so powerful in the past and remains the central engine of the EU.

I've read that Germany after WWII agreed to certain secret American protocols and limits on its future freedom of action.

I don't know, but it is quite plausible.

Much of the German press is as captive to American interests, too, as the British press is. Quite servile. Der Spiegel, for example, runs a lot of stuff that seems almost CIA-approved. One former German journalist, Udo Ulfkoette, wrote a controversial book about the way German journalists were paid and told what to write by the CIA and others.

Our entire understanding of the modern “Western World” is pretty much an elaborate illusion, having little to do with what really takes place. It is certainly no different inside the United States with regard to its major press and politicians.

Ms. Merkel’s great political blunder of a few years back, briefly opening the country’s doors to large numbers of refugees, was I believe an independent act, one which almost certainly had its origin in her humanity and regret over having supported America’s godawful Neocon Wars which killed millions in the Middle East and generated many millions of hopeless refugees, refugees America just ignored and often regarded with contempt.

Germany has not been quite as deeply entangled in those bloody, pointless wars as Britain and France who gleefully bombed in several countries, but it has been involved and it has given its public support to America’s Mideast “killing fields.” Ms. Merkel would have had little choice but to publicly support a major American policy.

But she saw what she thought was an opportunity to do some good with the refugees American bombing had created, and she took it. America didn’t care, but the politics of her own country and the EU exploded in her face over so much sudden ethnic and linguistic and religious change. That act and her standing up for Russian gas pipelines needed for the future of German industry, pipelines America has actively opposed for decades, are the only kind of independent policies she has attempted.

It was reported how dismayed she was about five years ago to learn that America’s NSA tapped even her personal telephone, a phone she uses a great deal, but she made no public show or demands.

I am sure she gets quite sick of America’s pushiness and blundering, especially now with the grotesque Trump fronting for the empire’s establishment. Just listening to him and watching him can be pretty stomach-churning for anyone with some intelligence and culture.

She is a highly intelligent woman – one reason she and Putin get on well - so I don’t think much gets by her. But her latitude to act is small, and she is not a boisterous, pushy type.

Besides, German society has always been pretty conservative in nature. Conservative in the context of Europe after WWII meant supporting America’s occupation and direction of affairs.

Sunday, May 24, 2020

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: RETIRED U.S. INTELLIGENCE OFFICER GROUP PUBLISHES OPEN LETTER AGAINST AMERICAN INTERFERENCE WITH IRANIAN TANKERS HEADED TO VENEZUELA - BUT EVEN IN ATTEMPTING SOMETHING SENSIBLE WE SEE AN UNPLEASANT AMERICAN IMPERIAL QUALITY IN THE WORDS, WORDS WHICH STRIKE ME AS IRRELEVANT - VENEZUELA IS SIMPLY NONE OF AMERICA'S BUSINESS - AMERICA CANNOT EVEN GOVERN ITSELF - REPEAT OF A LIST OF AMERICA'S SHABBY ACTS OF TERROR AGAINST VENEZUELA

John Chuckman


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN CONSORTIUM NEWS


VIPS MEMO: To the President—Avoid Hostilities Over Iranian Fuel Shipment to Venezuela

The Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) urges Donald Trump to avoid the slippery slope toward armed conflict as an Iranian oil tanker nears Venezuela on Sunday.

https://consortiumnews.com/2020/05/22/vips-memo-to-the-president-avoid-hostilities-over-iranian-fuel-shipment-to-venezuela/



This is an attempt to lay out a reasoned set of arguments.

But the situation America has created, from beginning to end, is without reason.

Venezuela has done absolutely nothing wrong, yet it has been dragged to the ground and heavily kicked and abused by the representatives of a distant self-declared authority. A distant Mafia Don having his thugs work over uncooperative peasants in territory he is trying to expand into.

America’s behavior towards Venezuela has been savage.

And even these arguments advising caution about the Iranian tankers, have a revoltingly American tone to them.

They do not reflect the thinking of people concerned with principles of justice, democracy, and the rule of law.

They reflect the concerns of power.

The way Venezuelans govern themselves is simply none of America’s business, even if it were true Venezuelans are being governed badly. But it is not true, and looking at most aspects of America society today, an open-minded person would have to say it is America that is poorly governed.

From its slums and poor public schools to its crumbling infrastructure and complete lack of a proper national medical system, we see bad government. Then throw in the world’s most incompetent response to the pandemic, and it is fair to say America has nothing to say to anyone about government.

Of course, the arguments are made by Americans who spent their careers in the service of imperial agencies which function to manage and expand America’s global dominance.

In a word, the arguments are almost irrelevant.

Here's just a portion of recent American activity against Venezuela and its twice-elected government...

Shutting down the country's electrical grid, several times, spoiling all the food in millions of poor people's fridges, as well as endangering those dependent on life-saving machines.

Imposing severe sanctions against the health and welfare of millions. Sanctions always disproportionately hurt the poor and vulnerable, and it is important to stress that the way the US uses them, they are simply illegal. They are American laws being applied to people who are not Americans and without the authority of any international organization such as the UN.

Imposing a naval blockade against the same poor people, something which is considered an act of war.

Stealing some of Venezuela’s national assets and turning them over to an unelected man who pretends he is president.

Interfering in the country's trade and commerce abroad in every way it can think of.

Sending a flotilla of gunboats, destroyers, into the area to intimidate.

Sending a group of private American mercenaries to kidnap or kill the President.

Putting a large bounty on the head of an elected government.

An earlier attempt to kill the President used a drone with explosives.

If that list doesn’t represent authentic terror, then I don't know what would.



ADDITIONAL NOTE:

From Sputnik Sunday morning:


“The first of five Iranian fuel tankers, the 'Fortune', entered the Venezuelan exclusive economic zone (EEZ) on late Saturday, according to data from Refiniv Eikon.”

“Later, Iranian embassy in the country announced that the tanker has successfully reached the coast of the country.”

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: CHINA'S FOREIGN MINISTER WANG YI RIGHTLY REJECTS THE VALIDITY OF AMERICAN LAWSUITS NOW BEING FILED AGAINST CHINA OVER CORONAVIRUS - MOST OF THE WORLD RECOGNIZES WHAT CHINA ACHIEVED IN THE PANDEMIC - BUT NOT TRUMP'S BIZARRE AMERICA - TRUMP'S MAIN ACHIEVEMENT HAS BEEN PILES OF BODIES AT HOME AND ABROAD - OPPORTUNITIES AHEAD FOR CHINA TO OFFER THE WORLD SOME GENUINE LEADERSHIP

John Chuckman


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN GLOBAL TIMES


Blackmailing China over COVID-19 ‘daydreaming’: Chinese FM

Abusive litigation [lawsuits] against China over the COVID-19 outbreak is groundless, has no factual basis and no international precedent. Attempts to blackmail China over the epidemic are daydreams and won't work, Chinese State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi


The US is only reducing the respect and influence it receives from a great many countries and international organizations.

Many people understand what is going on, and it is something shameful.

Most of the world recognizes what China has achieved with the coronavirus, and it is the exact opposite of Trump's ugly charges.

Trump's efforts in this, as in other parts of foreign policy, only work towards the day of reduced global domination. That day is coming anyway, but Trump's work speeds it up.

What kind of future relationships can anyone build with a nation displaying America's current attitudes?

Lying about so important a part of the world’s economy as China at a time of world economic fragility?

Ignoring its own responsibility for many obvious errors in the pandemic? A study just published by Columbia University in New York says 54,000 more Americans will die than would have been the case had Trump acted earlier on sound advice he received and ignored.

Tearing up treaties? Lying about other important nations? Threatening people in a dozen places, as Iran, Venezuela, Cuba, etc? Showing absolutely no leadership in the world during the pandemic?

Trump's main achievement, at home and abroad, is the creation of piles of bodies and making the United States look worse than it has ever in memory looked.

You can’t build good relationships on that basis, and the world is going to need the best possible relationships and leadership coming out of a double crisis, one economic and one disease.

Seems like an immense opportunity ahead for China, despite Trump’s hateful rhetoric, designed only to appeal to American prejudices and cover-up his own poor leadership for the upcoming election.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: AMERICA RELINQUISHING WORLD LEADERSHIP UNDER TRUMP WITH ITS DESTRUCTION OF TREATIES AND LACK OF COOPERATION

John Chuckman


COMMENT POSTED TO AN INTERVIEW WITH MAX PARRY IN PRESS T V


“President Donald Trump is isolating the United States by ripping up international treaties"


That is very true.

Even some of America's most traditional allies are experiencing serious doubts about America's intentions and the value of its word in international affairs.

In the end, I do think much of Trump's chaotic efforts abroad will only serve to hasten the decline of America's hold on international affairs.

He thinks he's reinforcing American global dominance, but the opposite will almost certainly prove to be the case ultimately.

This is reinforced by such clear mismanagement and confusion as America displayed during the pandemic.

It literally relinquished world leadership in a matter vital to everyone, and it demonstrated its unwillingness to cooperate and respect expert opinion.

Those are not qualities anyone sensible wants to build a future on.

Saturday, May 23, 2020

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: A LOOK AT FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT AND DONALD TRUMP - WHERE AMERICA HAS GONE IN 75 YEARS OF EMPIRE

John Chuckman


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY THOMAS DOHERTY IN CONSORTIUM NEWS


“FDR’s Polio Crusade & Leadership Amid Crisis”

A reminder of the [now] lesser-known battle that FDR waged, in public and in private


FDR was a great president, America’s greatest, likely, only Lincoln offering serious competition.

His inspiring voice, his attention to many important details not concerning just the great affairs of state, his often brilliant appointments, plus our awareness that all of his efforts were those of a severely disabled man, something not known to his contemporaries - all argue for him to be considered as the country's greatest leader in a crisis.

Two crises, actually - a great economic depression, with America’s agricultural Dustbowl thrown in, and a vast world war.

And that war wasn’t against enemies generated by fevered ideology and resentment, it was against some of the most frightful monsters in history.

What a contrast to Trump, a man literally obsessed with himself, a man incapable of an inspiring thought or act, a man of no generosity of spirit, a man whose workaday language is from the gutter, and a man many of whose appointments are among the nastiest and most contemptible in memory.

The two, side by side, almost perfectly summarize what has happened to the heart and soul of the country over the era of the American empire, from the end of WWII when it arose from the ashes of war, generating myths about its remarkable efforts, until now, a time when many astute observers see it as corrupt and arrogant and in unavoidable relative decline with its leaders desperately flailing in all directions.

From a time when much of the world actually welcomed America’s leadership with smiles until now when much of the world’s people would like America to go home, stop terrorizing people, and mind its own business – those kinds of things being said by both competitors and allies.

The view of FDR as a great figure over the years since his death has only grown with even many Republicans – who, at the time, despised him – embracing it. Otherwise, there would be no Roosevelt Memorial in Washington. The view of Donald Trump has gone in just a couple of years from a few modest hopes for change from a man never regarded as admirable to widespread acceptance of his incompetence and corruption.

In that period of empire, we’ve gone from a genuine sense of a moral and ethical purpose about America to an overwhelming sense of its selfishness and arrogance and corruption. It is a very long journey completed in only about eighty years.

From "The Four Freedoms” and inspiring “Fireside Chats,” to “America First” and “full spectrum dominance” with television performances worthy of some boisterous crowd waiting in a car at a McDonald’s Drive-through. From “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself” to not a word of empathy, stealing other people’s medical supplies, and an unprecedented campaign of hate-speech against another great country and its people.

FDR literally embodied hopes and dreams for a great many people in the world. The dreams represented by Trump are the ugly ones, anxiety dreams and nightmares. He represents hate and envy and suspicion, not hopes or principles, and he has worked tirelessly to increase the world’s stock of human misery and oppression.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: THE HAZY IDEA OF "RETURNING TO NORMAL" IN AMERICA WITH JOE BIDEN - AMERICANS WANT A SUGARY WALT DISNEY CARTOON WHILE THE KILLING AND DESTRUCTION ARE CARRIED RIGHT ON ABROAD

John Chuckman


EXPANSION OF A COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY CAITLAND JOHNSTONE IN CONSORTIUM NEWS


“Biden Can’t Return US to Normal, Because Trump is a Normal President

“Wanting America to go back to how it was before Trump is like rewinding the same horror movie”


“'Trump is a very normal U.S. president"

Despite the seeming contradiction in those words, I completely agree with your meaning, Ms. Johnstone.

When it comes to real substance, America has been killing and torturing people, destroying homes and whole countries, ignoring the rule of law, for many decades.

Trump really hasn't added much to that “normal behavior” except his crude style of presentation. And his insistence on inflicting his absolutely talentless family on the world, the Beverly Hillbillies of Fifth Avenue.

But many Americans seem to believe otherwise. Or perhaps, it’s just that they wish very much to believe otherwise?

Many are ashamed of Trump as the chief representative of the country, and of course with good reason. He is shabby and ignorant and often ridiculous, but they mostly have not been ashamed of the country’s destructive activities abroad for three-quarters of a century. I think it might be fair to characterize the perspective as somewhat superficial.

Just bury the Trump voodoo doll and everything will be fine, except that it won’t. But Americans look for no truth nor demand any from their government, so long as they feel vaguely at ease, as when wearing comfy old slippers. You could look at Joe Biden as a pair of comfy old slippers.

It really is going to be a dumb game show, the coming election. Even dumber than usual. The choice, after billions of dollars spent on marketing and advertising and trips, comes down to what one writer aptly called “Trump and not-Trump.”

If you know Biden's record, you find the role of knight on a white charger to be serious miscasting.

This is a loyal party hack. He supported all the killing and destruction abroad, even though he now lies about his early support for the carnage of a million deaths inflicted on Iraq.

He supported all the internal dishonesty of his party, as revealed in the massive DNC and Hillary Clinton material published by Wikileaks.

He scoops up bags of campaign cash from American plutocrats behind closed doors, making them promises we know nothing about.

He pushed for Obama’s hellish extrajudicial killing system, complete with “kill lists” in the Oval Office’s in-box for approval. He never objected to any of the very harsh treatment of whistle blowers, including Assange and Manning, a category of people against whom Obama was relentless.

Biden stood by, watching as Libya and Syria and other countries were torn apart, governments guilty of nothing but independent thinking about American policy. He kept wearing his big smile as Israel bombed and shot the hell out of Palestinians locked by high fences in a big refugee camp, killing several thousand adults and about a thousand kids, some streets running red with blood in photos.

I never heard him once complain about Saudi Arabia’s grisly tyrant or about the blood-spattered Generalissimo running Egypt.

Biden happily served as imperial proconsul for America's paid coup in Ukraine, a coup against an elected government. He smiled, shaking hands with such Nazi types as the commander of the Azov Battalion. And did all the dirty business he was bidden to do with the corrupt and smarmy President Poroshenko.

He scooped up all the bribes he could for his family. Imagine a big firm in Ukraine suddenly wanting to pay his son, Hunter, fifty thousand dollars per month (yes, that is, “per month”) for years of doing nothing? Yet somehow that wasn’t a grotesque bribe?

A disgusting politician for sure, but he doesn't bellow like Trump or display laughable facial grimaces. He’s not embarrassing, except when he introduces his wife as his sister or forgets where he is during a speech, but I guess that kind of embarrassing can be endearing.

Americans do not want to see the truth about their country, and the country’s press happily accommodates their wishes.  It is the world’s bully, and it is engaged full-time in state terror. There is simply no other word to describe many of its acts abroad. And it never stops lying about all of it.

No, Americans don’t really mean “to go back to normal.” Normal has never gone away. They mean the normal of their undisturbed ability to pretend the country is something other than what it is.

Americans want a pleasant fantasy, sort of a sugary Walt Disney cartoon – “Uncle Remus’s Tales of Ben Franklin and Betsy Ross” - and that's just what they'll get from Joe Biden.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: THAT GROTESQUE REFRAIN IN AMERICAN POLITICS: "THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A PALESTINIAN" USED TO EXCUSE ETHNIC CLEANSING AND GARNER POLITICAL CAMPAIGN FUNDS - AMERICA'S EXTREMELY FLEXIBLE IDEAS OF DEMOCRATIC AND HUMAN RIGHTS

John Chuckman


EXPANSION OF A COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN PRESS T V (AND REMOVED BY EDITOR)


“US must prevent 'slow motion genocide' of Palestinians”


I don’t agree with the word “genocide,” but the ugly term “ethnic cleansing” certainly applies.

I think we must never forget the terrible words of Israeli Premier Golda Meir, former American school teacher, "There is no such thing as a Palestinian."

That grotesque refrain was picked up and repeated by many others.

Not many years ago, the regrettable American politician, Newt Gingrich, trying to win the Republican nomination for President, was repeating it in speeches on the campaign trail.

That was after his receiving nearly 20 million dollars in campaign donations from American oligarch, Sheldon Adelson, a man who embraces the same ideology.

Other American politicians, too, have repeated the 1984-like claim.

Former House Majority (Republican) Leader, Dick Armey, said some years ago it would be just fine if Israel drove all the Palestinians out of their homes.

So much for American concepts of fairness and rights.

They apply only at home, as we see in operations of its brutal empire, and often not even at home as its history of intense racism and the privileges of money demonstrates.

America's ideas of democratic and human rights are extremely flexible, to say the very least. They may be made to fit many different circumstances, something demonstrated by Guantanamo and the CIA’s Black Site Torture Gulag abroad. Also highlighted by America’s now-standard practice of industrial-scale extrajudicial killing by drones in many parts of the world.

Ideas flexible even down to the humble right to the peaceful enjoyment of your own home, something Palestinians are deemed not qualified to enjoy, but something taken so seriously inside the United States that a house intruder can legally be shot and killed by an armed owner.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: THE TRUE NATURE OF THE MIDEAST "PEACE PROCESS" - DECADES OF DECEPTION - DECEPTION AS AUTHENTIC AS AMERICAN JUSTICE OR DEMOCRACY - WHY THIS IS SO - ISRAEL'S ACTUAL ROLE

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY PHILIP WEISS IN MONDOWEISS


"Cook [Steven Cook of the Council on Foreign Relations] says the U.S.’s “core interest” in the Middle East was always Israel’s “security,” so the peace process needed to spin its wheels forever."


There can be no doubt of that claim. I don't find it even mildly surprising.

Otherwise how did the US allow Israel to engage in the 1967 War in the first place, clearly a war of conquest?

Even to accepting Israel’s savage attack at the time on an American intelligence ship, the USS Liberty, without the least adverse consequences?

How did it allow those conquered lands and millions of people to remain under harsh Israeli control for half a century?

How did it undermine all fair-minded initiatives from international organizations such as the UN?

This idea takes us back to a concept I've frequently touched on, the concept of Israel being an American imperial, privileged colony in the Middle East, more so than its being a genuinely independent country. And that I believe is the real basis of America’s concern for the “security” of Israel.

Independent countries aren't floated on tidal waves of public and private foreign subsidies as Israel is, just immense amounts when all accounted for. Plus, ready access to powerful American figures and technology plus goodies like free trade, intelligence information, and many huge, lucrative American government contracts. It represents a bonanza unlike anything experienced even by America’s oldest and most important allies, as in Europe.

The notion of an independent nation with ancient roots in the region - that's ancient roots for Israel's mainly Ashkenazi people whose ethnic roots are in fact in central and eastern Europe for centuries, although they share the religion of the ancient Hebrews - gave powerful impetus for millions of intensely-motivated colonists after the horrors of WWII.

You simply cannot obtain better security for your imperial properties than such motivation provides. It’s a little like the way imperial Britain employed groups like the fierce Gurkhas to help hold its interests.

America's power establishment is not sentimental about such matters as ancient Israel or a people’s suffering in Europe, not in the least, as it is easy to demonstrate from history. Indeed, the American establishment long was among the most openly anti-Semitic groups in the country. The power establishment cares about empire and control in the world, and the existence of Israel as an imperial colony was a tool towards those ends for much of the Middle East.

It is in many ways no more a sentimental story than the Mexican War or the Spanish-American War, at least not for the real powers at work in the Pentagon, the CIA, the State Department, and the Oval Office.

And almost every step along the way, such as the “peace process,” represents the same kind of disinformation and misdirection efforts we see all over the empire, from NATO to OAS.

The “peace process” has been as authentic as American democracy or justice, which is to say, not at all.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: THE HONESTY OF AMERICAN ELECTIONS - A BIT OF BACKGROUND - AND WHY I DO NOT THINK IT IS POSSIBLE TO FIX

John Chuckman


EXPANSION OF A COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY LEE CAMP IN CONSORTIUM NEWS


“Trump Will Win Re-election Unless We Do One Thing

“Donald Trump will likely prove victorious because nearly 17 million Americans have been purged from the voter rolls over the past four years and your corporate media doesn’t have the balls to effectively report on it”


Contrary to one view in the article, I think mail-in ballots, given the right set of controls, are a good idea.

They avoid a lot of costs.

They open voting to those with difficulties, such as the old and infirm and those lacking transportation.

They are an effective measure against disease, and it is almost certain America will see a second wave of the pandemic ahead, in the fall or winter.

The trouble with them is the same as for every other form of voting in America, lack of adequate security and controls and, most importantly, a large underlying culture embracing shady methods.

Cheating is part of the way things have been done in American elections since I was a boy, and that's a long time ago. Purging voter rolls is just one of many methods used over the years. People get deliberately misdirected to polls in some locations. Polls close early in some locations.

In the days of paper ballots, dishonest officials used to have a bit of lead from a lead pencil under a fingernail in order to invalidate some ballots with a second mark. We all remember the horror of counting “hanging chads” with the weird ballots used by Florida during the 2000 election.

There are countless ways to cheat if the will is there, and it certainly often is.

Just having fifty different states administer voting for a national election has always been a poor concept. Uniformity in how things are done, in the nature of ballots and how they are counted and how voter registration is done, is important. But we will likely never see that in America.

And let’s not forget that other “hidden” method of cheating, gerrymandering the shapes of electoral districts. Changing boundaries goes on regularly with shifts in population driving it, but it is often done with the intention of giving a party an election advantage.

I'm sorry to say it, but the ugly values Trump openly espouses in his talks and tweets, are pretty common in the country. He wouldn’t say the things he says if that weren’t the case. To me, it is an inescapable and sad truth.

Those values are the values Mike Pompeo joked about a while back in a talk at Texas A & M University. “Lying, cheating, and stealing” brought a big smile to his face. Or how about Trump bragging about stealing oil? Giving away or taking other people’s national assets, whether gold from Venezuela or homes and land in Palestine? Putting a bounty on an elected leader’s head? Assassinating a country’s national hero?

Just look at what America is doing across the world – in Venezuela, China, Iran, Bolivia, Cuba, Palestine, Nicaragua, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Brazil, Ukraine, Somalia, and still other places.

Why does anyone not expect the same values to be applied at home?

And they are, of course they are. So, I see little prospect for better, fairer American elections.

Both parties engage in the various frauds as circumstances permit.

The will to change things really is not there for a great many. And there certainly is no leadership.


ADDITIONAL NOTES:

George Bush’s victory in 2000 reflected vote fraud in Florida, where his brother was Governor. Even with that, Bush was a minority President, as is Trump, owing to the workings of the antiquated Electoral College.

Hillary Clinton used numerous kinds of vote fraud in various state primaries to deprive Bernie Sanders of the 2016 Democratic nomination.

John Kennedy, who in a number of ways proved to be a great President, was in fact elected with vote fraud. Mayor Daley’s Chicago political machine assured him victory in Illinois while Lyndon Johnson’s bunch did the same in Texas.

Lyndon Johnson himself won his first election to Congress through vote fraud, as documented by great biographer, Robert Caro.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: TRUMP AGAIN ATTACKS THE WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION AND MAKES THREATS - TYING IT IN WITH HIS SAVAGE ATTACKS ON CHINA - WE HAVE A MADMAN RUNNING THE AFFAIRS OF THE WORLD'S MOST POWERFUL COUNTRY - I DON'T RECALL ANYTHING QUITE LIKE HIS WORDS AND ACTIONS EVEN DURING THE COLD WAR - AGAIN, ALL REAL EVIDENCE POINTS TO EVERYTHING HE KEEPS YELLING ABOUT CHINA BEING ENTIRELY WRONG - HE ALSO ANNOUNCED HE IS NOW SELF-ADMINISTERING A DANGEROUS ANTI-MALARIA DRUG AS HIS IDEA OF VIRUS-PREVENTION, EFFECTIVELY ENDORSING SOMETHING DANGEROUS TO MILLIONS OF VIEWERS

John Chuckman


EXPANSION OF A COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN PRESS T V


"Trump threatens to quit WHO, calling health body 'puppet of China"


It would be nice to hear prominent Americans - politicians, writers, academics, scientists - speak out about this man and his ravings.

Some do, but remarkably few, I think, considering how serious the situation is.

We have a madman exercising power in the world's most powerful country. He makes new absurd claims almost daily.

And the truth is, he achieves nothing except to make millions of people in the world miserable, as people in Iran, Palestine, Venezuela, Cuba, Bolivia, and many other places.

As if there weren't already enough misery.

And he attacks such an important part of the world's economy as China at a time of great economic fragility.

His behavior around all aspects of the coronavirus literally is criminal. His delays and blunders have cost many lives in his own country, but he'll blame it all on China with no evidence at all.

What can one say of a leader who actually attacks the WHO at such a time? A leader who attacks instead of cooperating?

I don't recall anything quite like it, even in the Cold War.

It is impossible to cite a single worthy accomplishment by Trump, but there is a long list of failures and threats and destructive behaviors. Is that really America's idea of a leader?

By the way, he has just told the world that he is self-administering the anti-malaria drug, hydroxychloroquine, as a preventive measure.

All experts warn against doing that - the drug has dangerous side-effects and should only be used in a hospital setting, if at all - but here's the President telling millions that he does, thus effectively endorsing it for them. It is a very good measure of his sense of responsibility.

Just as is the fact that he never puts a mask on. I’ve seen a number of world leaders photographed with face masks on, including the President of China, but far be it from Trump to offer a responsible example to his people.


AFTERNOTE:

As I’ve already written, new evidence (dated X-rays) suggests strongly that the coronavirus appeared in France in November, 2019.

That re-inforces previous technical evidence about the origin of the virus having had nothing to do with a bio-lab or even the city of Wuhan.

At some point, it jumped from animals to humans, as viruses often do. All the evidence we have contradicts what Trump keeps yelling about China and its responsibility.

But what are facts to a man spewing hatred?

Sunday, May 17, 2020

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: IMPORTANT NEW EVIDENCE SUGGESTS THE CORONAVIRUS STRUCK EUROPE IN NOVEMBER 2019, HAVING NOTHING TO DO WITH CHINA - BUT I DOUBT SCIENCE WILL GET IN THE WAY OF DONALD TRUMP’S WITCH-HUNT RE-ELECTION CAMPAIGN – HE HAS ACHIEVED NOTHING AS PRESIDENT, EXCEPT A GOOD DEAL OF HUMAN MISERY – SO HE HAS TURNED TO THE METHODS OF THE INFAMOUS SENATOR JOSEPH MCCARTHY, ANOTHER POLITICAL FAILURE WHO FIRED UP HIS CAREER FOR A WHILE WITH HATRED

John Chuckman


COMMENT – IMPORTANT NEW EVIDENCE CONCERNING DATES OF CORONAVIRUS STRIKING EUROPE


We have important new evidence about when the coronavirus struck France.

Apparently, there were cases in November, 2019, having nothing to do with China.

If further investigation confirms the existing evidence of dated patient X-rays, all of Trump's ignorant attacks will be shown for just what they most certainly are, ignorant attacks.

Although I can’t imagine that will stop him, he and his loyalists not being the kind of people who are overly fastidious about proof. In the absence of any achievement in office, Trump’s re-election strategy is set on a bellowing witch hunt about China.

I find that interesting. The original American Cold War witch hunts were the work of Senator Joseph McCarthy, a drunk looking for something to rekindle a declining political career. Trump is a teetotaler, but his short political career has been an unmitigated disaster.

Science before politics, especially the ugly politics of name-calling and witch hunts.

https://www.fort-russ.com/2020/05/breaking-french-doctors-believe-they-may-have-treated-coronavirus-patients-in-november/

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: AMERICA PAUSES A MOMENT FROM ITS HARD WORK OF TERRORIZING VENEZUELA TO ACCUSE VENEZUELA OF "PROMOTING TERROR" - I SUPPOSE A TWISTED PERSON COULD INTERPRET VENEZUELA'S MERE EXISTENCE AS PROMOTING TERROR BECAUSE IT GETS AMERICA’S BLOOD UP, BUT IT WOULD BE A LOGICAL STRETCH – HERE’S A LIST OF TRUMP’S PROUD EFFORTS AGAINST A DEMOCRATIC GOVERNMENT, PAID FOR BY AMERICAN TAXPAYERS TO PRODUCE NOTHING BUT HUMAN MISERY

John Chuckman


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY JESUS SILVA IN PRESS T V


"Washington targets Venezuela as promoter of terrorism"

“The US government has announced that Venezuela and Cuba along with some other countries have been included in a particular list of nations which Washington believes collaborate with terrorism”


My God, what an upside-down world it is.

Venezuela has been the target of a long series of terror attacks, many of them conducted openly by the United States, but here are US officials accusing Venezuela of promoting terror.

Here's just a portion of recent American activity against Venezuela and its twice-elected government...

Shutting down the country's electrical grid, several times, spoiling all the food in millions of poor people's fridges, as well as endangering those dependent on life-saving machines.

Imposing severe sanctions against the health and welfare of millions. Sanctions always disproportionately hurt the poor and vulnerable, and it is important to stress that the way the US uses them, they are simply illegal. They are American laws being applied to people who are not Americans and without the authority of any international organization such as the UN.

Imposing a naval blockade against the same poor people, something which is considered an act of war.

Stealing some of Venezuela’s national assets and turning them over to an unelected man who pretends he is president.

Interfering in the country's trade and commerce abroad in every way it can think of.

Sending a flotilla of gunboats, destroyers, into the area to intimidate.

Sending a group of private American mercenaries to kidnap or kill the President.

Putting a large bounty on the head of an elected government.

An earlier attempt to kill the President used a drone with explosives.

If that list doesn’t represent authentic terror, then I don't know what would.

Venezuela has done absolutely nothing a thinking person would regard as terror. No, Venezuela's "crime" is just peacefully conducting its own affairs with democratic elections and without American approval and supervision.

And just look at the set of unholy messes America's incompetent government has put itself into. It cannot conduct its own affairs, yet it insists on telling others how to conduct theirs.

Saturday, May 16, 2020

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: FURTHER THOUGHTS ON TRUMP - STRIPPING AWAY THE HOLLYWOOD ILLUSIONS ABOUT AMERICA AND REVEALING SOME RAW, DISTURBING REALITIES

John Chuckman


COMMENT – SOME FURTHER THOUGHTS ON TRUMP


This is a man who thrives on conflict and hostility. It is almost an appetite which needs feeding.

We see this characteristic in his every effort, from working relationships with staff and experts of various kinds to his threats and name-calling against other countries. His belittling epithets for foreign and domestic politicians. His relationship with the press is the same.

The only people who seem not subjected to his belligerence are extremely “safe” or “tame” individuals such as his doted-upon daughter, someone completely unchallenging, a cotton-candy personality, an Eloi-like creature, almost having the impact of a stuffed toy or dolly.

On top of the anger and hostility, there is his demonstrated lack of competence in almost everything he undertakes. If anyone, as a reporter just doing his or her job, is ungracious enough to touch a shortcoming or failing, as Trump’s lamentable handling of the pandemic, they immediately receive a hot blast of ferocious anger.

He insists on everyone seeing him as extraordinary, but extraordinary at what?

I’m not sure he could even answer the question himself. He just wants to be seen as extraordinary.

He has no perceptible talent. He is not even a good public speaker. His words are loud, bellowing, and demanding, demanding that his listeners understand how extraordinary he is.

His words offer no inspiration. He himself is the inspiration for listeners who ask very little.

As long as they hear some of the right sounds, words saying little but working almost like struck tuning forks with sympathetic vibrations – refugees, migrants, Muslims, America, Mexicans, foreign, troops, enemies, Democrats.

He has no body of knowledge about anything – from history and culture to science. Many of the assumptions contained in his words are ordinary, plodding, petty, banal. That is part of his appeal for his political base. He is “one of them.” His distance from them in wealth and position almost is not perceived.

He is “one of them” especially blessed by God in His wisdom and thereby worthy of admiration and loyalty. It is all on a gut or instinctive level. There are no ideas. There are no heroic words.

He is not at all a clever thinker, but he does possess a fierce animal cunning. It helps him in his savaging of people. He can almost smell weaknesses the way a predator smells fear.

In the end, I think the phenomenon of Trump says a great deal about America. It strips away sentimental Hollywood illusions and reveals raw, disturbing realities.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: JOE BIDEN AND TARA READE – READE IS CREDIBLE AND HAS OFFERED A FAIR-MINDED WAY TO END A SERIOUS CONFLICT OF CLAIMS – BIDEN IGNORES HER OFFER WHILE TALKING MEANINGLESSLY ABOUT HER BEING LISTENED TO – I FEAR AN ELECTION CATASTROPHE – THE WORLD CANNOT TAKE ANOTHER FOUR YEARS OF TRUMP’S VICIOUS LUNACY – BIDEN, ALREADY A WEAK CANDIDATE, MAY WELL HAND TRUMP THE ELECTION WITH THIS SCANDAL – IF THERE IS ANYTHING TRUMP KNOWS HOW TO EXPLOIT, IT’S DIRT – BIDEN SHOULD TAKE A POLYGRAPH ALONG WITH READE OR QUIT THE RACE

John Chuckman


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN HIDE OUT NOW


Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said this week that those who believe the accusation of sexual assault against him by former aide Tara Reade “probably shouldn’t vote for me.”

http://www.hideoutnow.com/2020/05/biden-tells-large-group-of-people-they.html


That's quite a set of statements from Biden.

“She [Tara Reade] should be listened to.”

“But I'm telling you this never happened.”

“Truth is on our side.”

I find Tara Reade quite credible, and she has the support of someone she had spoken to about the matter.

She has made a fair offer which would put this all behind. She will take a polygraph test if Joe Biden also does.

That appears to be part of her words Biden does not want to listen to, nor do the powers-that-be in the Democratic Party.

She also gains credibility through comparison with Biden’s well-known, long-term sleazy behavior around women. From pawing their necks and shoulders to pushing his face into their hair, sometimes startling them, and we have the recent revelation that he always swam in the nude in front of female Secret Service agents who did not want to be assigned to his protection.

I see the election as potentially a national catastrophe.

Trump is a dangerous incompetent. He literally generates crises. He made a crisis out of mishandling a disease. He has manufactured a crisis with China. He has given the world a whole set of terrible situations – Iran, Venezuela, Israel/Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Cuba, Bolivia, and more.

There is a very good chance that if Biden runs for the Democrats, Trump will win. That would be catastrophic for the world, not just the United States.

Biden is not a strong candidate in the first place, a lifetime party hack with no distinguished achievements and now displaying fading cognitive abilities.

But this matter of Tara Reade makes him extremely vulnerable – and remember what a ruthless opportunist Trump is, ready to exploit any bit of dirt – and Biden seems not prepared to do what is required to make it go away, that is, accept Ms. Reade’s offer of polygraph tests.

He should either take the test or decline to run.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: A WRITER SAYS “OBAMAGATE” WILL NOT RESULT IN ANY SIGNIFICANT OUTCOME – THE DARK STATE PROTECTS ITS OWN – AND I THINK SHE HAS IT JUST ABOUT RIGHT – I JUST WISH SHE WOULD AVOID USING THAT TIRED POLITICAL SALES-PITCH WORD “SWAMP”

John Chuckman


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY CAITLIN JOHNSTONE IN CONSORTIUM NEWS


"Why ‘Obamagate’ Will Never Lead to Anything of Significance"

"You will never see Obama or his administration officials brought down by ‘Obamagate’ for the same reason Trump wasn’t brought down by the Mueller investigation, the swamp protects its own"


I think the author has it just about right.

There is no more justice in America than there is democracy, and for sure there is none of that.

Power is all that counts. The rest is stage play.

Most Americans simply cannot admit that truth.

As for change? Only under the influence of cataclysmic events would it be possible, events we are not likely to see.

Just a note, I wish the author avoided that tired political sales-pitch word “swamp.”

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: AN IRANIAN OBSERVER SAYS THAT THE TRUMP-POMPEO-HOOK GANG HAS GIVEN AMERICA’S RULING CLASS AN IMAGE OF BEING AN UNRELIABLE ALLY AND A THREAT TO COMPETITORS – AND HE IS RIGHT – BUT BECAUSE OF THE NATURE OF EMPIRE IT ALMOST DOESN’T MATTER – EMPIRES ARE AUTHORITARIAN BY DEFINITION – THEY DEPEND ON FORCE AND NOT GOODWILL – HE ALSO SAYS AMERICANS SEE THESE LEADERS AS INCOMPETENT – BUT THE VIEWS OF ORDINARY AMERICANS HAVE NEVER COUNTED FOR ANYTHING IN FOREIGN AFFAIRS

John Chuckman


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN PRESS T V


"Trump, Pompeo, Hook represent US’ dangerous ruling class"

“The Trump-Pompeo-Hook triangle has created an image of the American ruling class which is considered unreliable by its allies, a threat by its rivals and incompetent by its citizens,”


That is all true.

But in a sense, it does not matter. The American Empire in the end depends on force, not what people think of it.

Empires are not democratic. They are authoritarian, by definition.

And American citizens - apart from the country’s establishment elites - have absolutely no voice in foreign affairs, no matter how mow much they may talk about them.

Foreign affairs and the empire are matters set by the country's Deep State.

The Deep State is a very real part of contemporary America, just as real as the three branches of government established in the Constitution.

Appealing to principle is as pointless as appealing to principle in a thunderstorm.

Friday, May 15, 2020

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: THE LUNATIC WORLD IN WHICH WE LIVE - DONALD TRUMP AND BEING CONDEMNED TO GO BACKWARDS

John Chuckman


COMMENT - THE LUNATIC WORLD IN WHICH WE LIVE – ON GOING BACKWARDS


“US weighs returning Cuba to list of 'state sponsors of terrorism'”


Trump tries hard to return to the past in so many of his efforts.

Of course, most people understand it is never possible to return to the past, but it is certainly important when a leader believes he can.

Unfortunately, we are all dragged along by his efforts on behalf of just over four percent of the world’s people.

He has earnestly been trying to return the United States to what it was economically in the world of 1959, as if that were at all possible.

He is trying hard to re-ignite America’s ugly passion of the 1940s about the “yellow peril” concerning China.

He is trying very hard to return to a time of settling disagreements without courts or binding rules or treaties, using just threats and brute force.

He is trying to ignore some of the advances of modern technology simply because they favor someone other than the United States.

We see him trying to return to a time when Granny’s advice on sickness substituted for that of a doctor.

Now, we have a tip of the hat to relations with Cuba in 1960.

What can you say about anyone focused on going backward, especially the leader of the world’s most powerful nation?

If he were alone, it might not be so alarming, but he has the support of nearly half of America.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: WHY THERE WILL BE NO USE OF THE 25TH AMENDMENT TO REMOVE TRUMP FROM OFFICE EVEN THOUGH IT HAS BECOME ABUNDANTLY CLEAR THAT HE DOES SUFFER FROM SOME FORM OF MENTAL ILLNESS

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE GLOBAL TIMES
________________

Response to a reader comment:

Removal of a president for illness is covered under the 25th Amendment.

It requires the vice president and eight Cabinet officers to declare in writing that the president is unfit. The vice president then becomes the “acting” president immediately.

The deposed president can then appeal to the Congress where a two-thirds majority of both houses is required to keep the vice president in charge.

It is easy to see why this amendment is unlikely ever to be of any use, even when it is so clear that the president is unbalanced. Virtually the entire American government would have to formally agree.

Thursday, May 14, 2020

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: WRITER SPEAKS OF MANY ERRORS MADE BY IRAN'S PRESIDENT ROUHANI AND FOREIGN MINISTER ZARIF IN NEGOTIATING WITH THE UNITED STATES - I DON'T AGREE - WHO CAN FORECAST BEING STRUCK BY A BOLT OF LIGHTNING, WHICH IS EXACTLY WHAT TRUMP REPRESENTS?

John Chuckman


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN CONSORTIUM NEWS BY AS’AD ABUKHALIL


“Iran’s Strategic Standstill”

“Whether in Iraq, Syria or Lebanon, Iran and its allies are acquiescing to the ascendancy of their enemies”


I just do not agree with the author’s analysis

“But the Rouhani-Zarif team erred on many fronts”

How could anyone on earth have predicted something like Donald Trump?

He took the entire world by surprise. A shocking, destructive surprise.

His ignorance, rudeness, and belligerence have already become infamous, and those characteristics cover every area of his efforts in the world.

Infamous too has been his willingness to sell American foreign policy in the Middle East and to completely turn his back on the rule of law.

His destructiveness is exactly comparable to being hit by a bolt of lightning.

It has nothing to do with Iranian statesmen.

Rouhani and Zarif are men of exceptional talent and grace.

But there is no defense or preparation against being struck by lightning.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: BIDEN CALLED THE WORST DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE IN RECENT HISTORY - PERHAPS, BUT SOMETHING WORSE STARES US IN THE FACE: THE WORST PRESIDENT OF ALL TIME

John Chuckman


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN INVESTMENT WATCH


"Biden Is the Worst Democratic Candidate In Recent History!"


There is some truth in that.

But we have a still greater and more frightening truth staring us in the face.

Trump is the worst President of all time - incompetent, rude, belligerent, and unbelievably arrogant.

He has succeeded at nothing but making the world a more dangerous and unpleasant place.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: AN ARTICLE SPEAKS OF THE DEMOCRATS "FOLDING" IN THE FACE OF ISRAEL'S THREATENED ANNEXATION OF THE WEST BANK - A REMARKABLE MISCONCEPTION OF WHAT THE DEMOCRATS REPRESENT IN AMERICAN POLITICS - A NOTE ON THE REAL "FACTS ON THE GROUND" IN PALESTINE, ITS PEOPLE

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY MICHAEL ARRIA IN MONDOWEISS


“Democrats are already folding on [Israel’s proposed] annexation [of the West Bank]

“Senate Democrats move away from call to condition aid to Israel, even though it is popular with the party base”


Democrats?

Why would anyone expect anything else from the Democrats? It is an American illusion that they represent the American Left. There is no American Left when it comes to empire.

There effectively is only one American political party, the War and Empire Party.

It has two wings, and they only differ in quibbling over social programs which in fact can never be legislated because war and empire consume all the resources.

Both wings of the party are financed by big money, the only ones who can supply campaign funds (and other influential helps) in sufficient quantity.

American oligarchs and lobby groups play a big role, and America's pathetic campaign-finance laws make it possible as well as the country's poor laws around lobbying - self-inflicted wounds.

Everyone in the game benefits by it, so there is no reason to expect change.

The Democrat wing has never opposed a war or coup or incursion. Never.

Indeed, it has supplied the country a number of blood-soaked administrations - Truman, Johnson, Clinton, and Obama.

Please note that Israel is, de facto, an integral part of the American empire, a kind of super-privileged imperial colony in the Middle East. A Crusader Fortress. An American pied-a-terre in the Middle East.

That is its current reality far more accurately than describing it as an independent state with ancient roots.

It is not at all genuinely independent. It is floated on a sea of American public and private subsidies, and it has many unique privileges (as free trade, special access to leaders, technology, many desirable American contracts, etc.), and it has been able to position the US into fighting a number of wars largely for its benefit - as in Iraq, Syria, and Libya.

But no matter how unfair and abusive America and Israel continue to be towards the Palestinians, they are not going away.

The Palestinians are the true “facts on the ground.”

Millions of them.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: THE REMARKABLE DUMBING-DOWN OBSERVED IN WASHINGTON DURING THE HANDLING OF THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN GLOBAL TIMES


“Dumbing-down of US shocks world

“Washington politicians make life difficult for medical experts”


"Dumbing-down" exactly describes what is going on in Washington.

Trump has seriously attacked, in one way or another, every expert to whom he has been exposed.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Dr. Rick Bright, Director of the Department of Health and Human Services’ Biomedical Advanced Research. Tedros Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization. Robert Redfield, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And still others.

Under the guise of having a different political point of view, Trump has given birth to a government using its powers to promote ignorance and superstition.

It is frightening.

At least we know China and Russia are in the hands of exemplary and gifted leaders who understand what is going on and can hopefully steer clear of threatened disasters.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: WHY VENEZUELA DOESN'T PUT JUAN GUAIDO ON TRIAL FOR TREASON AFTER HIS CONTRACT WITH A PRIVATE AMERICAN MERCENARY COMPANY TO TARGET PRESIDENT MADURO IS MADE PUBLIC - AMERICA'S PROUD RECORD AGAINST A PEOPLE WHILE PRETENDING TO PRINCIPLE

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY ALAN MACLEOD IN CONSORTIUM NEWS


“Guaidó’s Contract on Venezuela’s President Mirrors Trump Administration Bounty

“The self-declared interim president’s leaked contract with mercenary firm Silvercorp USA targets in common with a DEA hit list”


Yes, and what a proud set of activities America has engaged itself in.

Blockading poor people, severely sanctioning poor people, threatening, stealing the country's national assets, handing assets over to unelected Guaidó, and even turning off the fridges of millions of people several times with attacks on the electricity grid.

And supporting a man like Guaidó who represents everything democratic government should not be.

But Guaidó is so ineffective and such a lowlife that the elected government of the country can actually benefit by leaving him free, as opposed to charging him with treason, something he is plainly guilty of.

Monday, May 11, 2020

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: THE CHILDISH IDEA THAT GLOBALIZATION CAUSED THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC AND THAT THE PANDEMIC WILL PUT AN END TO GLOBALIZATION – THE EXAMPLE OF THE NEW WORLD BEING OPENED IN THE 15TH AND 16TH CENTURIES WITH THE CONSTANT PRESENCE OF DISEASE - AMERICA OFFERS AN EXAMPLE OF HOW TO GOVERN TO NO ONE – AMERICA’S PARODY OF LEADERSHIP – THE OUTSTANDING EXAMPLES OF OTHER SOCIETIES – THE KNOW-NOTHINGS’ ROLE IN AMERICA – IMPORTANT DISTINCTION BETWEEN GLOBALISM AND “NEO-LIBERAL" OR "NEW WORLD ORDER" GLOBALISM

John Chuckman


COMMENT - THE CHILDISH IDEA THAT GLOBALIZATION CAUSED THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC AND THAT THE PANDEMIC WILL PUT AN END TO GLOBALIZATION


My title is a favorite conceit right now of America’s extreme Right, its super-Patriots, its Nativists, its Know-Nothings. I am sure it is something with which Trump is at least a little comfortable because it supports his poorly-conceived ambitions for America.

But it is ridiculous, both portions of the idea.

Think back to the early days of exploration and discovery, the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries. What made all the vast efforts possible was new technology in the form of sailing ships capable of going thousands of miles over the seas accompanied by the learning and experience of hearty seaman-adventurers. It marked a new epoch in human history, and there was no going back. It is always that way with the great changes technology brings, there is no going back.

Almost as soon as explorers arrived in North and South America, they began transferring diseases in both directions, to the Indigenous people and back to Europe. And with the relatively fragile things early sea-going ships were, there were countless disasters in storms or on unknown shoals with ships going to the bottom and no coast guard to save their crews.

None of that ever truly threatened the new exploration and settlement and trade. No, in just a couple of centuries, we had sprawling colonies of Europeans all over the New World with communities and plantations and governments and institutions. And they made still more discoveries over time – such as new foods and products that Europe hadn’t known, chocolate, maize, potatoes, squashes, certain nuts and berries, tomatoes, tobacco and precious metals and gems. They established new regular trade routes with Europe and new enterprises grew just out of the transportation needs and arrangements. Malaria, Yellow Fever, Smallpox, and a host of other threats, despite creating setbacks, did not halt the progress.

Pandemics are awful things, but I do think we’ve had some extreme and entirely unwarranted speech and writing around this one. People saying things, with no perspective at all, such as doubting whether there will be much international trade and business again.

At another extreme, we have American Nativist types saying, “Hell, I’ll do what I please. I was born free, not to serve government’s grab for more power.” People showing no concern for how their own actions can hurt others and no understanding of the role constraints have often played in their own society. As though there never was in the past such common practices as quarantines, or the extreme practice of demanding part of millions of young men’s lives through the military draft, or experiencing martial law in an emergency.

The fact that there are so many Americans who object to simple and effective measures, such as wearing masks and “social distancing,” tells you something not very pleasant about large portions of the country. Trump and his immediate retinue play to those sentiments by refusing to wear masks. Imagine the Vice President touring a hospital, meeting patients, as he just did, and ignoring the hospital’s rule for wearing a mask? Imagine how many lives Trump might have saved just by setting the example of wearing a mask during his television appearances? His is leadership only to the Wagon Train crowd. And they are not the people who will inherit the earth.

We will get through this. We’ve already seen examples, like China’s immense effort and the far-sighted leadership here and there – I think of Singapore or New Zealand or South Korea. Our news is full of noise from the world’s worst example, the leaderless and willfully stubborn United States, a nation which has a tendency to believe it is the model for all to emulate in any matter.

The virus itself keeps mutating and could well become a more harmless thing to humans. And of course, a vaccine or a new drug treatment, if a vaccine is not possible, will likely be created. Whatever, we will learn to live with it just as we do with so many things, from Malaria to AIDS.

It never has been true that America provides a good model for others to follow, as in the way government is organized. The people who have followed it have generally been under the easy-to-understand illusion that such a wealthy country must be doing things right. The reasons for America’s wealth have little to do with the way its government and institutions are organized, and most of them cannot be duplicated by others. Circumstances of resource endowments, unique historical opportunities, the nature of migrants attracted over the years, and more go into the mix.

If the idea of America being a suitable model for others is not accurate, and it is not, it is even less accurate for the pandemic with all its accompanying side-effects. The President of the United States has frequently resembled a slapstick comedian, like one of the Marx Brothers, but with a super-grimacing face intended to be taken seriously in communicating his self-assumed sheer weightiness. He and his appointees have failed on a scale not seen in many places.

And the failure of so many institutions and organizations inside The United States – from the healthcare system itself to the distribution of vital supplies and the open squabbling among various levels and parts of government – has been monumental, anything but reassuring for the world. Even the country’s military handled the challenge badly, a senior Trump appointee in the Navy, Thomas Modly, traveled half way around the world, spending a quarter of a million dollars, to dismiss a warship’s commander and berate him in front of his crew, a crew, like many in the world, who considered the commander a hero.

The country – its leader and many of its institutions - foolishly ignored a detailed example containing hard-won knowledge from China. Just immense carelessness, ignorance, and arrogance. That has been followed by an organized campaign to accuse and vilify the very people from whom they should have learned, the Chinese.

I do believe that poisonous mix of carelessness and ignorance and arrogance is not unique to Trump. It is part of America’s mainline political culture, its establishment, for example, literally is unable to grasp and accept China’s miraculous rise and accomplishments. Washington, on all sides, is blinded by its own fantasies about itself.

We have a “turn the first victims into villains” campaign the like of whose viciousness I don’t recall even in the Cold War. Inhumanity and callousness in the service of getting a political leg-up with America’s darkest and least educated minds.

I do not see how it is possible to provide a more brain-crushing example of how to do things than cutting the funding to the World Health Organization (WHO) in the midst of a pandemic. That action was intended to raise Trump’s political stature with America’s Know-Nothings - always a fairly sizable group which has over the years provided the human material for everything from private militias and the Klu Klux Klan to Aryan churches and the American Nazi Party - and taking it only emphasized his complete lack of concern with helping anyone except himself.

Trump’s record of decisions shows him literally toying with the health and security of both his own people and the world’s people. Somewhat in the fashion of a sick little boy who enjoys pulling the wings off butterflies to watch them struggle. Who on earth looks to someone like that for leadership? Only the Know-Nothings. The kind of people who confuse brutality with strength.

The re-openings being nudged along by Trump and some state governments are not planned to follow the best medical practices. It is likely they will, in short order, result in a new wave of infections and deaths.

The clear success of other societies in dealing with the crisis and working to share what they have learned greatly enhances their stature in the post-pandemic world. America looks a whole lot smaller, smaller in ability and in morality. Trump and Pompeo are the very worst, but we see so few prominent Americans doing anything to oppose them or to help others.

There should have been near-universal condemnation inside the American political establishment for Trump’s destructive action against WHO, as there should have been for his entire string of ignorant and uncaring statements during the early months of the disease, and for his appalling attack on China – an approach taken both by him and his Secretary of State worthy in every detail of Joseph Goebbels.

That’s not in the least an exaggeration. A lot of filthy, vicious words have been uttered by both men. A crisis for humanity has been reduced to a personal grab for political advantage. A bit like stopping to steal some stuff from a sick or dying man on the street.

Last, I think we must distinguish, many not doing so, between a globalized world, something I argue is inevitable and beneficial, and a globalized world led by America – sometimes called the new World Order or Neo-liberal World Order – something which is not inevitable, not all desirable, and I believe is on its way out.

I am always troubled by that use of “neo-liberal” because I consider myself a classical liberal holding to strong Enlightenment values. The “neo-liberals” really are contemporary global imperialists covered by a dissimulating name. Who could be more harmful and destructive than such American political luminaries as Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama or George Bush or John McCain? Lovers of empire and death, each of them.

America’s extreme Right insists on “throwing out the baby out with the bathwater” by echoing a welcome to the end of globalization. They are wrong, of course, but it is just part of the utter confusion that is contemporary America.

Saturday, May 09, 2020

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: GOOD LEADERSHIP ESSENTIAL TO EVEN MAINTAINING YOUR PLACE IN THE WORLD LET ALONE ADVANCING IT - THE UNITED STATES SIMPLY DOES NOT HAVE ANY - POLITICAL BANKRUPTCY TO GO ALONG WITH ALL THE OTHER BANKRUPTCIES HEADING ITS WAY - EXAMPLE OF TRUMP AND SAUDI ARABIA - SAUDI OPTIONS - POTENTIAL FOR CHINA

John Chuckman


COMMENT ON AN ARTICLE BY DANIEL LAZARE IN STRATEGIC CULTURE


“From Overstretch to Collapse”

“So the collapse intensified, which is why America is now such a helpless giant. A crazy man is at the helm, yet the best Democrats can do is put up a candidate suffering from the early stages of senile dementia, who may be a rapist to boot. No one knows how things will play out from this point on. But two things are clear. One is that the process did not start under Trump, while the other is that it will undoubtedly continue regardless of who wins in November. Once collapse sets in, it’s impossible to stop.”


That is the closing paragraph of an article by Daniel Lazare, and I find it quite powerful in the way it brings things together. There is much in the same article with which I disagree, especially his interpretation of the Wars in the Mideast and of the coup in Ukraine. I regard him flatly wrong on those.

But while every writer has his/her agenda, an agenda I may not agree with it, that doesn’t preclude some truths being said along the way. And here is a perfect example.

Incidentally, that observation about agendas is why you cannot flatly condemn anyone for reading a certain writer or publication you know to have a bias or prejudice, maybe even an unacceptable one. Truth is most often found in little nuggets, and that holds for mainstream and alternative publications.

The collapse referred to is America’s imperial collapse, and I do believe that, with each passing day’s events now, the collapse is coming much more rapidly than anyone could have anticipated, and I agree strongly with the observation: “Once collapse sets in, it’s impossible to stop.”

Trump’s total mismanagement of the pandemic only piles on top of his mismanagement of relations with China and with Europe and in the Middle East. It is just one disaster after another, all leaving behind anger and resentment and lack of trust.

I agree it isn’t just Trump. America’s establishment had been headed on this destructive course for some years - under both Obama and Bush Jr - and then Trump jumped onto the stage with his blustering, offensive, and just incompetent ways, and things have started moving considerably faster.

Please note how most of America’s governing elites have made almost no serious effort to restrain or oppose him. The impeachment was about a far less consequential matter than almost every aspect of his foreign policies. He has definitely launched an assault on the foundations of what we know in the world, the set of international trade, diplomatic, and military relationships, almost without opposition.

He’s even at war with Saudi Arabia, the foundation of the American dollar’s special place in the world, a foundation without which much of America’s military and imperial activities would not be possible. The huge global demand to hold American dollars, owing to everyone’s needing some to buy oil, gives the US the exclusive privilege of printing far more dollars than the productive activity of its own economy would warrant and doing so without creating inflation. It has other advantages, such as giving America the ability to pay for many goods and services anywhere in the world with its own currency.

The Saudi situation is a very illustrative one. The Saudis want to increase their market share in the world.  Costly, uncompetitive American shale oil has filled some markets, but that was only possible because OPEC and Russia had held up prices earlier. American shale oil had a free ride. Well, the Saudis really aren’t willing to go on that way. The US shale industry can be largely collapsed in fairly short order with low prices, and both Saudi Arabia and Russia would be happy to see it.

Trump was not even willing to add a meaningful American contribution to the production decreases he was demanding of everyone else so that prices could rise. No, this stable genius wanted the higher prices and he wanted the flourishing American shale industry, wanted them both without any American sacrifice, just by force of his will, but that is not a sustainable outcome, not at all. Even if you cobble together a deal, as they did, it cannot hold because it works against the interests of major players.

Trump’s fixation on high American crude production (consisting heavily of shale oil) is much like his MAGA mantra. He literally believes that through force of will, he can make it be 1959 again for America, a time when America’s conventional crude production was high, just as its production of many manufactured goods it sold all over the world was high. His beliefs around the strength of his will - reflected I believe in the grim and grotesque grimaces we see in so many photos of him - actually somewhat echo those of Germany’s leader of the 1930s who frequently used the expression, “my unshakable will,” and we all know how that story ended.

To get better cooperation from Saudi Arabia, Trump is reported to have quietly threatened to remove America’s military umbrella for the Saudis. Only the other day, some Patriot missile batteries were reported to be leaving the country, likely a tangible demonstration to make the military threat credible.

But making Saudi Arabia vulnerable is not a wise thing to do. Nor is making its temperamental Crown Prince angry. And since we have rumors of a recent coup attempt in the country, Trump is playing with fire.

The de facto leader of Saudi Arabia, the Crown Prince, is not a terribly flexible guy either, as his butchery of Jamal Khashoggi and the hefty increase in national beheadings amply demonstrate.

Actually, if that rumored coup attempt involved the US, as some reports suggest, Trump has already played with fire, and the Crown Prince has even more incentive to make changes in the Kingdom’s policies.

Saudi Arabia could reorient its policies and hurt the US. The atomic bomb of such measures would be changing the currency demanded for Saudi oil.

But there are many other measures that might serve Saudi Arabia’s interests and work against what the US regards as its interests, from ending the war in Yemen or ending support for the terrorists in Syria to altering its posture towards Iran, incidentally a country which stopped pricing its crude in dollars a while ago. After all, it is Yemen and Iran cited as the threats to Saudi facilities. That threat could readily be reduced or ended.

Any improved relationship with Iran would contribute to the forces beginning to nudge the US out of the region.

And there is China with its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) initiative which could contribute mightily to the Crown Prince’s ambitious development plans for Saudi Arabia. China is ready to partner with anyone, and coming out of the pandemic, it is prepared to make every effort to get its economy humming again. China is an important oil customer too.

Good leadership is indispensable to even keep your place in the world, let alone improve it, and the US simply does not have it. Trump’s incompetence with the only political alternative being pathetic Joe Biden is itself living, breathing evidence of accelerating decline. Political bankruptcy, if you will, to go along with all the other bankruptcies headed its way.

Friday, May 08, 2020

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: OBAMA'S RECORD OF VIOLENCE AND DISHONESTY AND HARSH DEMANDS FOR SECRECY - HILLARY CLINTON AND JOE BIDEN AS AUXILIARIES IN TERROR - AMERICA'S PATHETIC POLITICAL LEFT - ROLE OF MODERN PRESIDENTS IN DETERMINING MILITARY AND IMPERIAL AFFAIRS - THE NEEDS OF EMPIRE - THE DEEP STATE IS AS REAL A DIVISION OF AMERICAN GOVERNMENT TODAY AS THOSE SET BY THE CONSTITUTION

John Chuckman


EXPANSION OF A COMMENT POSTED TO A (REPRINTED) ARTICLE BY JOE LAURIA IN
CONSORTIUM NEWS


“25 YEARS OF CN: ‘Obama’s Self-Deceit’—Sept. 29, 2015”


https://consortiumnews.com/2020/05/08/25-years-of-cn-obamas-self-deceit-sept-29-2015/?unapproved=400210&moderation-hash=c04fb841d8867b4abfc930dd211bdd31#comment-400210



Yes, a good piece, vividly recalling what a dishonest man Obama was.

It's remarkable to me that so many remember him with nostalgia.

In part it was his appealing boyish smile and baritone voice. In part it was a kind of credibility he had gained by becoming the first black President. In part it was the relief everyone had felt seeing the end of George Bush, an embarrassingly ignorant, awkward, and vicious man.

I was taken in by Obama during his first campaign. A guy who sometimes wore sandals and briefly eschewed a dorky American flag pin on his lapel sure caught my attention.

I even started a small Internet tribute site with some extraordinary photos of him I discovered here or there.

But it wasn’t long before I took the site down. Perhaps that experience is why I react strongly against efforts to portray him as an admirable leader.

He bombed people every day of his eight years as President.

Obama overthrew the Qaddafi government in Libya, leaving behind chaos which remains to this day. Qaddafi's was a government that actually took care of its people with free education and good water and healthcare. He also kept Libya out of wars.

His "sin,” for which he paid with his life and the destruction of his country, was in not adequately toeing the line of American imperial policy for the region.

Obama approved the ugly coup in Ukraine which still causes all kinds of unnecessary grief in the world, and that coup was against a democratically elected President. Indeed, it was under Obama that the whole Russo-phobia business was ignited. He’s the one who started running tanks up to Russia’s borders and creating unnecessary hostilities that fed off of the old Cold War fears, drummed into people’s heads for decades, fears which remain festering to this day.

I have no doubt he was secretly at the center of efforts to undo Trump’s election. Officials like the heads of the FBI and CIA do not speak out, as they did, without the President’s approval. It just does not happen.

Of course, Hillary was a close ally in the effort, keen on anything that explained away her embarrassing election loss. It is easy to say that Trump is such a horrible, incompetent man – and he is horrible and incompetent - that he deserved being unseated with secret plots, but that really is not the way to run a government with at least pretenses to democratic values and rule of law.

Obama supported the ugly, secret war against Syria, a pretend civil war using fake-jihadi mercenaries recruited from many places, a war that has killed almost three-quarters of a million people and destroyed much of one of our most beautiful and historic places. He even had Hillary Clinton running weapons and mercenaries from the smoldering ruins of Libya in a secret effort to introduce them into Syria, generally through Turkey.

Indeed, at one point, Obama talked about his “red line,” the use of chemical weapons by Syria. What he really was doing with those self-righteous words was setting the stage for a faked attack so he would have an excuse to declare a no-fly zone in Syria and bomb the crap out of it, the very approach he had used in Libya. Only Putin’s exceptional statesmanship saved the day for Syria.

By the way, a serious error of Obama’s was underestimating Putin. Obama treated Putin almost with disdain at times, speaking of Russia as producing nothing anyone wanted to buy but oil and gas. Judging from some photos, the two did not get along all that well in private.

The infamous incident at Benghazi, Libya, where an American ambassador was mysteriously killed by thugs – something never explained to Americans – happened as a part of the ambassador’s work on Hillary’s secret project to smuggle weapons and cutthroats into Syria. That is why it could not be explained.

We even know from one of our finest living investigative reporters, Seymour Hersh, that she also had a small amount of Libya’s stock of poison nerve agent shipped for ultimate use in Syria. It was to provide Obama with his “red line.” Qaddafi, just as several Arab leaders had done, kept such stocks as a counter to Israel’s secret nuclear threat.

The same charming Hillary who laughed when Qaddafi died an agonizing death – being bayoneted in the rectum while lying on the ground - “We came, we saw, he died! Ha, ha, ha!” The words were recorded. It is not a myth that she said that. Just as it is not a myth that she once said of Julian Assange, “Can’t we just drone him or something?” She’s a very enlightened and humane politician, much like Obama but more outspoken.

Obama made minimal progress in repairing the horrors America had inflicted upon Iraq. Years after the “Shock and Awe” [Hitler’s Blitzkrieg concept re branded] delivered by George Bush and Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney, millions of Iraqis still had no electricity and no decent water and no jobs. What had been the most advanced Arab country was a shambles.

Obama maintained America’s unwarranted hostilities against Iran. Later, he distinguished himself once with the nuclear weapons agreement (JCPOA), but that came only after Iran’s new President, Hassan Rouhani, made an approach to talk, Iran suffering under heavy sanctions levied against a nuclear weapons program which in fact never existed.

Obama supported many other bloody adventures, as in Somalia.

He never did anything of consequence to help the Palestinians see even a modicum of justice or relief from brutal abuse.

After all the horrors in the Middle East, Obama spoke, much like an arrogant general, about “now making the pivot to Asia,” which was code for intense new hostilities against China and its interests.

Once he lightly "joked" in a meeting, "Hey, I'm pretty good at this killing stuff!" A rather bizarre sense of humor, to say the least.

Obama 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.

Joe Biden was a big advocate for it at the time, perhaps just one of the reasons Obama awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, along with tasks such as having served as Presidential proconsul in Ukraine to make sure America’s objectives in having staged a coup there against an elected government were adhered to. Biden is just another charmer from America’s supposed party of the Left.

It is notable that Obama never did one meaningful thing to help raise his own people back home, despite having campaigned to them on a “Yes, we can!” theme and often making speeches in the rhythms of traditional black preachers. He created that ugly, costly bureaucratic compromise with the corporate health industry, Obamacare, and that’s as close as he came to helping.

In addition to the immense amount of violence Obama oversaw as President, he had a compulsive need for 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 tight embrace of secrecy is also seen in the plots against Trump’s election.

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

I don’t think he did one thing to earn his Nobel Peace Prize. It was awarded in the hope it would encourage and fortify him to go a different direction than George Bush, but it proved a sad, empty hope.

He campaigned on closing down Guantanamo, just one portion of America’s international torture gulag where people were “rendered” by the CIA - that is, kidnaped, flown far away to a “dark site,” and tortured - Gina Haspel, the present head of CIA, having headed one of the sites. Then after Obama was elected, he changed his mind.

A man absolutely as inhumane and brutal as Bush or Trump, judged by his actual deeds, although he never bellowed and used foul language and openly threatened others as Trump does and he never sounded like the moron George Bush is. He carried a somewhat graceful and dignified appearance in public, but appearances can be so deceiving.

And, as you can plainly see in some of his photos and hear from some of his words, he is an extremely arrogant man. The boyish smile was missing more times than not.

Of course, what the details of Obama’s dark work tell us – just as is the case with Trump, from the other end of the American political spectrum, who has flip-flopped numerous times in foreign policy and has kept no campaign promise about the military and wars to speak of – is that American Presidents really do not control foreign policy, do not control the dark work of American empire.

They can perhaps tweak it here or there, they can give it a pleasant or unpleasant public face, but they do not determine it. That is the work of the so-called Deep State, which is just a living reality of the American “republic” with its supposed Constitutional divisions of power.

So, while American Presidents hold, under the Constitution, the title of Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces, they are simply not free to command them. And while they head the Cabinet, they are not free to command such Deep State forces as the State Department and CIA, organizations which work intimately together in every American embassy in the world, CIA having its own side of the house in all of them and working under State Department cover with phony diplomatic passports.

Those are just part of the results in a country whose power establishment serves the wealthy, using the tools of the military and security services to run a global empire benefiting the wealthy.

In terms of ethical and moral responsibility, the fact that American Presidents do not determine foreign policy doesn’t remove their responsibility for crimes. Obama voluntarily joined the vast imperial machine and served it faithfully, being rewarded at the end of his political career with a fortune worth many tens of millions of dollars, not the kind of money a President earns -  which is precisely four hundred thousand per year plus fifty thousand in expenses - and certainly not what an nontenured young university lecturer in law makes.

All American Presidents of the modern era leave office wealthy. The fact can help assuage a conscience. But I suspect there generally is not much in the way of conscience because it is extreme narcissists and moderate psychopaths who are attracted to run for an office like the contemporary American Presidency, and lack of conscience is a defining characteristic of those psychological conditions.

It’s an immensely long journey from some men in frock coats pledging their sacred honors, but it is the American reality, and we should never confuse American brute power today with charming tales of the Founders.