Saturday, December 08, 2018

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: WHAT AMERICA'S NEOCONS REPRESENT FOR ARMS-CONTROL AGREEMENTS SUCH AS THE INF WITH RUSSIA - AND HERE'S THE DEADLY WEAKNESS IN TRUMP'S PSYCHOLOGY THAT HAS ALLOWED NEOCONS TO VIRTUALLY TAKE-OVER HIS GOVERNMENT

John Chuckman


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY F. MICHAEL MALOOF IN RUSSIA INSIDER



“Trump’s Neocons Have Always Hated Arms Control Agreements, INF Is No Different

“Pompeo trying to put the upcoming death of INF on Russia when it's transparent this has been on the neocon agenda for a long time”



It is true that the Neocons have always disliked arms agreements.

After all, and people tend to forget or overlook this fact, one of the basic tenets of the Neocons has been that the United States should use its military muscle to get what it wants in the world.

That openly brutal concept violated traditional, official American attitudes about its military, which the country has long pretended is about defense, hence the name Department of Defense.

Of course, given all the wars and interventions since WWII, that official view has always been pretty much empty words. There is absolutely nothing defensive about any of what America’s military has done for about seven decades.

And when it wasn’t done with the military, it was done with the CIA. Eisenhower - an avuncular, much-beloved figure - gave the CIA, which had just been created shortly before his term, pretty much free rein under the Dulles brothers, that Cold War team of Secretary of State and CIA Director. “Ike” was able to be the friendly face of America while they conducted the dirty work of empire without burdening him with too many details. That’s how the CIA grew into the arrogant and formidable organization Kennedy confronted after 1960.

But still, the pretence has been maintained. Now, the Neocons have been effectively saying for some years, forget the pretence. And Washington’s power establishment has listened closely since dropping the pretence appears to serve an urgent need to re-enforce its position and will upon the globe.

Washington’s power establishment recognizes that America’s relative place in the world has been slipping for decades as postwar competitors arose and succeeded, and that, if it didn’t do something about it, it would lose the immensely privileged position it has occupied since WWII.

After all, it’s mighty nice having well-rewarded and prestigious jobs in Washington, complete with a sense of people tripping over themselves to get your attention or seek some favor. These are jobs that basically involve telling other people what to do – from openly directing small states you regard as plantation properties serving American corporations to throwing your weight around in international organizations, making sure that the ninety-five percent of humanity who are not Americans do not get the idea that they somehow are entitled to influence, as through the UN.

"But like any Trump tactic to get attention, an initial bombastic approach such as the shocking announcement of treaty withdrawal is designed to control events and seek leverage in getting the changes he seeks."

That is an accurate assessment by the author.

When results don't quickly fall out of his initial explosion, he is left perplexed about what to do because he is not knowledgeable and not even particularly intelligent, nor is he patient or methodical. He has a very limited repertoire, we might say.

The Neocon gang fills the void, always ready to suggest what’s next. They are ideologues with clear, if rather malevolent, ideas of what they want, and they are unified with a fairly well-ordered supporting establishment.

That pattern of Trump's psychology likely at least in part explain how the Neocons have gained so much influence in his administration in so short a time.

Other more individualistic advisors and appointees during meetings would tend to put an unwelcome burden back onto a perplexed Trump to make a decision from their various advice and observations. We see hints at this when he tweets, as he has a number of times, that this or that former advisor or cabinet member is stupid, the bright and able Rex Tillerson being only the most recent recipient of such an accolade.

Of course, there are also the political financial arrangements with Sheldon Adelson and other very wealthy individuals, arrangements with which he hopes to support his 2020 run for re-election. Adelson and some others to whom Trump looks are quite focused on Israel.

And, not to be dismissed, is some influence from his (much doted upon, for reasons unknown since her talents remain rather elusive) daughter and her husband, whose family is well-connected in Israel.

Much of what the United States has been through in the so-called “War on Terror”- more accurately called the Neocon Wars - represents little more than a kind of intense Israelization of American foreign policy. After all, Israel has spent seventy years enforcing its presence and belligerently expanding it at the expense of neighbors. It is what they know how to do.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: COURT HEARING OVER AMERICAN EXTRADITION REQUEST WHICH CAUSED CANADA TO ARREST CHINESE HUAWEI EXECUTIVE MENG WANZHOU - AMERICAN GOBBLEDYGOOK SANCTION LAWS SHOULD BE ENFORCEABLE ONLY IN AMERICA

John Chuckman


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE INDEPENDENT



“Meng Wanzhou: Detained Huawei executive accused of sanction-breaking dealings with Iran, Canadian court told

“The US is seeking the executive's extradition”



Sanction-breaking dealings with Iran?

Not exactly my idea of a crime.

Nor, I suspect, anyone else’s, at least of those living outside the hermetically-sealed environment of Washington, which is the only jurisdiction where this gobbledygook should be enforceable.

The only real crime in all this is the United States ripping up a perfectly good international agreement, one supported by the rest of the world, and using the mafia-like tactics of sanctions to make other countries follow its arbitrary laws.

Friday, December 07, 2018

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: A HIGH-LEVEL MYSTERY IS EMERGING IN WASHINGTON - THE ACTIVITIES OF THE CIA AND OF A GROUP OF SENATORS CONCERNING SAUDI ARABIA'S BUTCHER CROWN PRINCE - WHAT ARE THEY TRYING TO ACHIEVE?

John Chuckman


COMMENT ON DEVELOPMENTS IN WASHINGTON CONCERNING SAUDI ARABIA’S CROWN PRINCE



Just what is going on in Washington with regard to the Crown Prince’s responsibility for the Khashoggi murder?

We have a genuine mystery.

Some top Senators from both parties, after a CIA briefing, have stated they believe Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince is responsible for the murder, something which is certainly true, but truth and American Senators rarely cross paths.

They are also introducing a Senate Resolution blaming him.

Notably, the Senators include one of Washington’s most demonstrative supporters of Israel, Senator Lindsey Graham, a man who jumps to his feet at any mention of the word “Israel” on the Senate floor, and, if it involves money for Israel, immediately demands the amount be increased.

Of course, that is sarcasm, but it honestly is not too far from simple truth.

And there are the CIA’s leaks to the press about their analysis and additional secret recordings and their conclusion that the Crown Prince was responsible.

CIA, too, is long a co-worker with, and booster of, Israel.

I mention Israel only because the government of Israel views Saudi Arabia’s bloody Crown Prince as a remarkably important man, almost as a kind of Arabic Messiah bringing good news. They already have formed a close secret partnership, working on many bloody projects together.

Netanyahu has gone out of his way to quietly defend him on the telephone to leaders. Trump clearly paid close attention since he has consistently mumbled vague and even contradictory phrases on the matter, but other establishment elements – the CIA and the Senate – have not.

So, are they hoping to bring the Crown Prince down, his position already having been weakened by the revelations from Turkey’s Erdogan?

Or are they just trying to weaken him to make him amenable to future demands?

Or, perhaps, recognizing that the evidence is strong and that the public does not believe Saudi Arabia’s confusing claims in the matter, are they just trying to cover their backsides ahead of any future developments?

It goes without saying, for these groups, that it has nothing to do with ethics or morals or law.

Well, I have no idea, but it is a genuine, high-level mystery.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: THE ATLANTIC COUNCIL IS OFTEN CITED IN THESE DAYS OF RUSSOPHOBIA AS AN AUTHORITY - BUT IT IS ONLY JUST LIKE ALL THE OTHER AMERICAN AND AMERICAN-INSPIRED THINK-TANKS

John Chuckman


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY PAUL ROBINSON IN RUSSIA INSIDER



"...the Atlantic Council latest report, The Kremlin’s Trojan Horses 3, which is the third in a series purporting to expose high-profile Europeans who are subverting democracy from within as witting or unwitting agents of the Russian government"



"It really is amazingly silly."



It would be hard to come up with a better summary than that sentence.

But of course, the Atlantic Council, putting out this stuff, is just one more of dozens of American or American-inspired "think- tanks."

All of them are little more than glorified propaganda mills, generally posing as quasi-academic institutions complete with "Fellows," "Senior This-or-Thats," and comfy booked-lined offices with leather chairs.

It is all intended to bespeak expert authority.

They are all funded by extremely wealthy Americans or, surreptitiously, by the Pentagon and CIA.

But their underlying purpose, getting some notions "out there," is one for propagandists or security service specialists in disinformation, not academic institutions or expert specialist organizations.

There is nothing disinterested or purely investigatory or scientific in their output, except for the elaborate window dressing for appearances.

So, they start with a fundamentally flawed premise, elaborate on it, and produce high-class garbage.

I've always regarded the spokespeople or lecturers from these outfits in the same light as you regard an actor in a television commercial who wears a white lab coat to suggest his credentials as a doctor or scientist and is advising you which over-the-counter remedy to buy.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: THE AMERICAN CONSTITUTION HAS NOT IN FACT STOOD THE TEST OF TIME WELL - ITS POSITION TODAY MUCH RESEMBLES THAT OF A DUSTY OLD PARCHMENT ON DISPLAY IN A MUSEUM CABINET

John Chuckman


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY MARY DEJEVSKY IN THE INDEPENDENT



“Unlike the mess Brexit has left the UK in, Americans should be glad that their constitution actually works – especially in the age of Trump

“The level of uncertainty facing the UK would be unlikely in most constitutional democracies. And much of this stems from the introduction of a referendum into a system that can only tolerate such a mechanism if it reaffirms the status quo”



"And much of this stems from the introduction of a referendum into a system that can only tolerate such a mechanism if it reaffirms the status quo"



Quite an astute observation I think.

However, when Ms Dejevsky says, "In fact, it seems to me, the US constitution has stood up pretty well to the challenges of this aberrant president," I think she reveals that she has missed the fundamental truths of contemporary America.

Yes, Trump is aberrant.

But he is not the great and overwhelming threat in America. Not by any measure.

And with the truly great threats, America's Constitution has not done well at all. Indeed, it has so utterly failed that in some ways it is now a dusty piece of parchment sitting on a shelf, a museum display.

There is no place in the Constitution for assassinations by an agency of government such as the CIA.

There is no place in the Constitution for an industrial-scale system of extrajudicial killing, but that is exactly what operates around the clock today.

There’s no place in the Constitution for “kill lists” with Presidents signing off on them, as Obama did.

Equally, there’s no place giving a President authority to tell an agency like CIA that it should just decide whom to kill, that it knows best who should be killed, which is exactly what Trump has done.

And there’s no place in the Constitution for undeclared wars, the only kind of wars the Pentagon has now waged for many decades. The Constitution is very explicit about how war is declared, but it is simply ignored.

Indeed, there’s no place in the Constitution for a massive agency, the size of some nations, such as the Pentagon.

There’s also no place in the Constitution for the overwhelming role of private money funding national elections that we see today.

There are other matters which aren’t in the Constitution but which nevertheless are established American practices today, a big one being the massively important role of private lobbies in shaping national policy and legislation. This, of course, is closely related to the matter of private money in elections.

There are yet still other realities in conflict with both the letter and spirit of the American Constitution today - not just small matters, but huge and pervasive ones, such as the NSA literally recording everyone’s private communications – so that I think a discussion around a phenomenon like Trump and the Constitution is a bit like Jesus’s words about the noting the mote in someone’s eye while ignoring the beam in your own.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: CANADA ARRESTS CHINESE EXECUTIVE OVER EXTRADITION REQUEST RELATED TO AMERICA'S HIGH-HANDED TRADE SANCTIONS AGAINST IRAN - IN FOREIGN AFFAIRS TODAY CANADA STANDS PRETTY MUCH FOR NOTHING

John Chuckman


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN CBC NEWS



“CFO of Chinese tech giant Huawei arrested in Vancouver, sought by U.S. for extradition

“Wanzhou Meng arrested on suspicion of violating trade sanctions against Iran: report

CBC News”



Well, two can play these kinds of games. The Chinese are very good at subtle pay-back measures.

Just a foolish waste of effort.

My God, can you imagine the army of bureaucrats Trump is building at the center of American government?

People who research, suggest, track, investigate, and enforce countless new sanctions against a host of governments?

This is about as unproductive an activity as you can name.

And it sure ain't in keeping the small-c conservative values about the legitimate activities of government.

And it ain't in keeping with non-interference in the affairs of other states.

These US efforts are going to build a powerful backlash with unintended consequences.

And, just to start with, they make the world's most powerful country look just plain dumb.

________________

And I meant to add, how disappointing to see Canada's government doing this kind of work for Trump.

Trump’s fight over trade with China is not our fight, but even less so is anything having to do with enforcement of all the sanctions America high-handedly declares against Iran and others. Avoiding or violating an American sanction is a violation of law only to the fanatics in Washington.

I seriously disliked Harper's government, but I'm starting to feel much the same about Trudeau and Freeland when it comes to foreign affairs. They stand for pretty much nothing of substance.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: THE RECENT CANONIZATION OF GEORGE H W BUSH - A MAN NEITHER THE PRESS NOR THE PUBLIC ESPECIALLY LIKED WHEN HE WAS IN OFFICE - AN UNGRACIOUS MAN TOO AND ONE WITH SOME DARK BACKGROUND

John Chuckman


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN BREITBART



“Rush Limbaugh: Media Respect For George H.W. Bush Is ‘Phony’ — Never Treated Him Like This When He Was Alive”



There's little with which I can agree with Rush Limbaugh, but on this, he is right, and it likely does have something to do with trying to create an implicit comparison unfavorable to Trump.

When he was President, H W Bush was not treated well in the press. But beyond that, Bush was not even particularly liked by the general public. And other politicians took real exception to some of his acts and words.

And he was, quite simply, often an ungracious man. I can't forget, during one of his presidential debates with Clinton, Bush made quite a point of scrutinizing his wristwatch while his opponent spoke.

His instant canonization following death makes the living man unrecognizable, much as was the case with the treatment of that truly nasty piece-of-work, John McCain, following his recent death. It seemed, they were ready to sculpt a fifth head onto Mount Rushmore for a man with an incredibly ugly career.

Of course, Bush’s actual career included many murky activities, and readers might enjoy this different take on the man now being feted as the last Cold War statesman:

https://chuckmanwordsincomments.wordpress.com/2018/12/03/john-chuckman-comment-the-death-of-george-h-w-bush-what-his-presidency-really-told-us-about-america-in-the-late-20th-century-and-a-link-to-an-intriguing-video-concerning-the-kennedy-assassinatio/

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: MORE ON THE STRANGE PHENOMENON OF TRUMP AND AMERICA'S NEOCONS - A MAN WHO IMAGINES HIMSELF A GREAT LEADER LEADING NOTHING AND HE STILL HAS PATHETIC FOLLOWERS WHO THINK HE'S FIGHTING A GREAT BATTLE FOR THEM

John Chuckman


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY TOM LUONGO IN RUSSIA INSIDER



“Trump Folds at G-20 on Everything

“To the neocons. "Welcome to the end of Trump’s presidency...He has become Bush the Lesser with arguably better hair."



I agree with the thrust of this piece by Tom Luongo.

I have been saying much the same thing, with some different emphasis.

It almost makes me smile when I see pieces on the Internet still displaying the naive belief that Trump is “out there” fighting the good fight against the forces of evil in Washington, pieces written by people who have adopted Trump’s vision of himself as revelation.

What can you say when people so deceive themselves?

But there is, and always has been, a great deal of self-deception in the world.

It's what makes cults and fads and great scams and meaningless political movements possible, and are those very things not major landmarks on the American social and political landscape?

Trump is a kind of gigantic bad joke in fact. He is bereft of any real knowledge of history, itself a common trait in America, or of much else outside the field of fleecing people out of their money, which very much represents his life's work. Vision from this man? To embrace him as a source of vision is a kind of sad public confession.

And he has this inner conviction, much resembling an intense, cultish religious conviction, or perhaps the delusion of a crazed person, that he represents “the great man” able to lift America out of its sleepwalking and lethargy.

As that old Neocon and worker for American empire, Madeleine Albright, conferred a title on the cause for which she so mightily laboured, the "indispensable country," so Trump sees himself as a kind of indispensable man working for the same cause.

And a good many naive people believe him, just as many people, many in perhaps more influential positions in Washington, accept Madeleine Albright's view of America.

It is all self-delusion, bred of the immense, corrupting influences of great wealth and power. The wealthy actually almost always regard themselves as somehow exceptional apart from the mere fact of their wealth. It is perhaps an extension of the old Puritan doctrine that material success and prosperity only display God’s special acknowledgement of an individual’s worthiness. And just so, America's power establishment. That provides the nourishing environment for American Exceptionalism, a very real and palpable faith.

At the level of Trump’s supporters, many a bit lower on the social-economic totem pole, the sense of exceptionalism came out of a postwar period when American workers sometimes reached the level of a genuinely privileged working class. You know, it’s very easy to fool yourself with the idea that such success represents your own special merits. American politicians and elites have traditionally been only too happy to foster the belief.

But the situation resulted not from any special merit of American workers. Nor from any special magic of American society endowing its people with special properties. It represented a temporary set of circumstances resulting from the collapse of much of the world in a great war and America’s unique position, relatively unscathed by the war, of being able to supply a great part of the world’s demands, thus producing jobs and incomes for American workers that were indeed exceptional by world standards.

Thus, the appeal of Trump’s empty slogan about making America great again. What he is really saying is about bringing back the glories of the 1950s, the time of the birth of another slogan, the American Dream. It is obviously an impossible expectation and an impossible task, but what did I say above about there’s always a lot of self-deception in society?

And slogans, when they are timed right, much like advertising jingles, find a new batch of willing believers, at least for a while. Another of America’s great Trump-like promoter types, P. T. Barnum, famously said there was “a new sucker born every minute.”

Anyway, this hopeful illusion plus lots of rhetoric about keeping America free of others who aren’t entitled to share the Dream – migrants, refugees, foreigners in general – is how Trump keeps his pretty much hopeless political base fired up. Of course, he cannot succeed, but the self-deception is enough to get him by in office. Broken election promises are an accepted reality in American politics, and Trump’s are no different for being based in fantasy.

It cannot be 1950 again. No matter how hard he tries, and he cannot make it so. He perhaps believes, having sold so many condo units in the past based in part on illusions that he is capable of carrying it off on an immensely grander scale. But that is no more possible than commanding the winds and waves to halt.

He likes to think he is brave and tough with an iron will and, yes, that he is indispensable. But he is not, and his even holding and keeping office has been under assault by the people who really run America, its power establishment, from the beginning.

Of course, virtually the opposite is true of his personal qualities. In his drive to be seen as a figure worthy of a place on Mount Rushmore, he has surrendered virtually everything of the precious little he once seemed to understand and embrace to America’s power establishment, featuring today, as it does, a major role for the Neocon cult.

He works strenuously for their interests now and does so, not necessarily out of any native conviction, but out of cowardice, a quality he has quietly displayed his whole life despite all the bombast and bluster. He wants to stay in office and is ready to do just about anything to be allowed.

And that's what makes him an exceptionally dangerous figure. The power establishment already had been on its own new tear for a while, a tear to re-establish its once almost unquestioned authority in the world despite America’s relative economic decline for decades. Obama served them well with wars and threats and coups and defense and intelligence budgets, despite his public image of seeming progressive and peaceful.

The relative decline which preoccupies American elites concerned with their continued influence in the world is reflected for Trump’s base in the virtual disappearance of America’s almost-elite working class and the gradual melting away of real incomes for much of the lower middle class over decades as America’s unique postwar economic position gradually eroded away.

So, they cheer him on to “make America great again,” but he has become preoccupied, apart from the sheer impossibility of his original goal, with just hanging onto office and maybe having a bit of luck here or there so that he can say, “See, I did that!”

And, boy, have we all learned how he loves to be able to say those words when it comes to just about anything, “See, I did that!” It is pathetic and childish and dangerous.

And surely at some point he has realized that his general assumptions about making the world into 1950 again are hopeless, but there is a way still to affect “America’s greatness,” and that is through the program of the power establishment and its Neocon inner cult. He has signed on with full enthusiasm to show them what he can do.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: LITTLE-KNOWN GEORGE SOROS-FUNDED CENTRAL EUROPEAN UNIVERSITY PUSHED OUT OF BUDAPEST BY HUNGARY'S PRIME MINISTER VIKTOR ORBAN - MICHAEL IGNATIEFF'S ASSOCIATION

John Chuckman


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN CBC NEWS



“Michael Ignatieff-led university (Central European University in Budapest) 'forced out' of Hungary

“U.S. billionaire George Soros has been in disagreement with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban”



I think it is likely more than just an issue of left versus Right.

Soros has been associated with some pretty questionable efforts abroad, NGOs that are something other than what they seem to be.

As far as Ignatieff goes, well, how the mighty are fallen, and it looks good on him.

And what an odd way he puts things, don't you think, “forced out of a NATO country”? What's that have to do with higher education?

Ignatieff was always kind of a crypto-Neocon back at Harvard, an often arrogant and ungracious man with pro-American empire thinking.

He should never have been asked to lead the Liberal Party in Canada, but as it did demonstrate his political and personal ineffectiveness to the world, it worked out okay.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: THE GUARDIAN NEWSPAPER'S CHEAP ASSAULT ON JULIAN ASSANGE WAS NOTHING OUT OF THE ORDINARY - TODAY IT WORKS AS A HATE SHEET FOR OPPONENTS OF AMERICAN EMPIRE - A CLOSET-NEOCON PUBLICATION

John Chuckman


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY JONATHAN COOK IN CONSORTIUM NEWS



“The Guardian’s Vilification of Julian Assange

“The Guardian did not make a mistake in vilifying Assange without a shred of evidence. It did what it is designed to do”



Yes, indeed, this is what the contemporary Guardian does.

It is a hate sheet posing as a newspaper. And its hate is always focussed on opponents of the American empire. It is a closet neocon publication, trying to keep its old liberal, labor-oriented appearance with truckloads of flouncy, feel-good stuff of absolutely no depth about minorities and the gay community and women.

This stuff is like a daily whitewash of walls literally seeping raw sewerage.

Look at its witch hunt against Jeremy Corbyn, and in this case the term “witch hunt” is no exaggeration. There was iteration after iteration, month after month after month, often featuring nothing more than “So-and-So said such-and-such.”

It was ghastly, often right on the level with drunken old Senator McCarthy’s waving clenched sheets of paper supposedly containing the names of Communists in the State Department or some other place. Here’s just some of their massive output I’ve treated:

https://chuckmanwordsincomments.wordpress.com/?s=guardian+corbyn

Or look at its rabid, mad-dog campaign against Russia. They literally cannot say enough that is belittling or pejorative. Some of what they publish about Russia is so poorly contrived and so obvious and spiteful that it should embarrass any journalist working for the paper, but perhaps there are none left.

Here I have treated my favorite dumb effort by them, but there have been many:

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

Monday, December 03, 2018

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: THE DEATH OF GEORGE H W BUSH - WHAT HIS PRESIDENCY REALLY TOLD US ABOUT AMERICA IN THE LATE 20TH CENTURY - AND A LINK TO AN INTRIGUING VIDEO CONCERNING THE KENNEDY ASSASSINATION

John Chuckman


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY JAMES GOLDGEIER IN THE INDEPENDENT



“George HW Bush’s death marks the end of an era in American politics

“It’s fitting that George HW Bush, Second World War military hero and Cold War veteran, was the last American president to oversee a major military victory fought on behalf of the entire world against a dictator”



Here is an interesting different take on the late George HW Bush (link below).

It is intriguing, whether you accept it or not.

As someone with a long-time amateur interest in the Kennedy assassination, I can assure readers that this does have basic facts correct. It is not to be dismissed out-of-hand.

I've just never seen them assembled in this fashion.

Whether this elaborate speculation is accurate or not, Bush was, unquestionably, CIA, the first "made man" in the White House.

There are many things supporting that idea. Several of his major acts as President - attacking Iraq with a classic diplomatic false signal and going after Noriega, a man whom CIA loathed for several reasons - came right from the top of CIA's to-do list. There was also his involvement in the Iran-Contra Affair when he served as Reagan’s Vice-President.

And they don't name the headquarters at Langley after you, as they did for Bush, just because you spent a brief two years as an appointed director. We do have a couple of actual documents (they are discussed in the video below) which came to light after the Kennedy assassination referencing a George Bush of the CIA.

He was a lifetime CIA man, for sure, and that fact alone tells us something very important about America since the postwar period.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-NlJQJUUqR4

Sunday, December 02, 2018

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: FACTS FROM AMERICA'S VIOLENT CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM - AND IT IS JUST NOT POSSIBLE TO BE THE MURDEROUS MR. HYDE ABROAD AND THE GOODLY DR. JEKYLL AT HOME - AMERICA IS A VIOLENT SOCIETY CONSISTENTLY

John Chuckman


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN RUSSIA INSIDER



“After 67 Days in Solitary Confinement Maria Butina Now Suffers From Claustrophobia Attacks

“She is being softened up in order to accept a deal with US authorities the Russians believe”

__________________________

Response to a comment saying, “It has the world's largest prison population (2.3 million) and its police routinely kill unarmed citizens… America has one of the planet's poorest human rights records”:

Yes, America has the world's largest prison population, by far.

And yes, American police kill civilians regularly. Recent studies say that more than 1,100 Americans per year are killed by their own police.

That’s about three-a-day, more than any terrorist could dream of achieving.

And yes, the reputation of American police, and prison guards, for brutality is well known. I remember some years ago when Amnesty International made a serious issue of it.

One should also understand that because of the high American incarceration rates, there are literally millions of men who aren't in jail but are burdened with criminal records.

Having such a record in America has serious consequences.

It often prevents you from even getting a job.

And in many states of the United States, felons are deprived of the right to vote in elections. So, even though you pay for your crime in prison, America also suspends your citizenship rights.

This all reflects a very dark side of American society which is not fully appreciated abroad.

People abroad are conditioned by Hollywood’s extremely view-distorting films – the ones done about the military and war all done with Pentagon “technical assistance” and “cooperation” – and by the major American news corporations which behave literally as public relations operations for American war and violence.

I think the violence within America reflects gut instincts of a society that carries on abroad with almost constant wars, interventions, coups, and threats.

And, you know, with such massive military operations always underway, there are few, if any, resources left for improvements on the home front.

In colonial wars abroad since WWII, the last time America fought a war that anyone could argue was about self-defence, America is estimated to have killed anywhere from 8 to 20 million abroad in its various wars – that’s from the horrors of Korea and Vietnam to the horrors of Iraq and Libya and Syria.

It is most assuredly not a peaceful society. If it were, it wouldn’t be spending the best part of a trillion dollars a year on the Pentagon, plus another huge and secret amount on a number of national security agencies, and be supporting over 800 military bases abroad. It wouldn’t willfully tear up working peace treaties, as it does, and treat many international organizations, such as the UN, with such open contempt.

I think in any society, there are all kinds of feed-back mechanisms between its conduct abroad and its conduct at home. It isn’t possible to be the murderous Mr. Hyde abroad and the goodly Dr Jekyll at home. It just doesn’t work that way.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: THE PSYCHOLOGY OF CLIMATE CHANGE - AN ARTICLE'S TITLE WHICH SHOULD IMMEDIATELY SIGNAL CAUTION WARNINGS

John Chuckman


EXPANSION OF A COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY NICOLE MORTILLARO IN CBC NEWS



“The psychology of climate change: Why people deny the evidence

“'This is not a time to be passive and allow this calamity to happen to us,' says one psychologist”



I am always troubled when anyone quotes a psychologist, as is done here, or a psychiatrist, on matters of policy which should deal only with hard-nosed science. Unavoidably, whether intended or not, there is a suggestion of the old Soviet method of discrediting critics by having them committed to mental hospitals.

It is a perfectly reasonable position to accept that climate change is occurring while not accepting that human activity is driving it or, even if you do become convinced humans are responsible, while not believing we yet have the ability to correct the situation.

The change is observable, and it is being observed now intensively.

But the same is not true of the presumed human causation.

We do know humans cause a lot of negative things, again observable things - like plastics in the seas and war, and I don't know why it is but practically all articles from people concerned about climate change never mention war, war with all its manufactured poisons and destructive capacity, war that is going on in a dozen places causing countless miseries.

War and its production facilities pump immense amounts of poisons into our environment, from depleted uranium dust and Agent Orange to dumps of material from nuclear-weapons manufacturing. It also wastes immense amounts of money that could be doing other, good things.

As far as climate goes, the truth is that it has always undergone change, much the same as the earth’s crust has always shifted and changed, as we see happening with earthquakes and volcanoes, events which over time vary from minute to gigantic. There is nothing static about our planet despite our illusion that there is.

We’ve seen everything from desertification to ice ages and the passing of whole civilizations, but we are not in possession of complete understanding about why and how these things happen. Certainly, for most such events, only known to us from examining historical materials and archeology, humans had no involvement.

Given this lack in our understanding and given our reckless behavior as societies, as in war, is it at all realistic to think we are in a position to halt or ameliorate climate change? I really do not think so. We should always be ready to clean-up our own messes – as with plastics or deadly chemicals – but I think proposed extreme programs of change concerning things we do not completely understand are themselves reckless.

I always reflect back on the old Soviet Union and its gigantic programs for changing the landscape. Soviet leaders thought they were being very scientific and working towards the benefit of people with projects for vast river diversions and putting huge swathes of land under new purposes, but experience has proved they were often wrong.

Is our understanding today so much better? Do we really know the full consequences of massive changes in the production of power, for instance? Recent scientific work has raised serious questions about, for example, wind farms and heavy batteries for transportation, but we just keep assuming everything will be fine. The assumption is okay on moderate-sized efforts that can be viewed as controlled experiments, but it is not okay on a massive world scale.

Also, I simply cannot believe that we are even capable of turning around huge natural events like desertification or the passing of species whose environmental niche has disappeared.

The largest and most certain contribution we can make towards the future is cleaning up our known messes and getting human population under control. There’s no guessing in these. Reduce the numbers of people and you automatically reduce the growth of everything from demands for noxious products to the amount of every kind of waste.

And does anyone really believe humanity is capable of undertaking such a certain, helpful measure? Or I might ask the same for stopping wars. Then why do people believe we are capable of vast schemes like those advocated by some environmentalists, schemes which, even if implemented, may not serve the purpose?



JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: CNN FIRES AN ACADEMIC COMMENTATOR FOR HIS MAKING SOME COMPLETELY ACCURATE STATEMENTS ABOUT ISRAEL AND PALESTINE AT ANOTHER VENUE - THIS FROM A NETWORK ALWAYS GOING ON ABOUT TRUTH AND FAKE NEWS AND CENSORSHIP

John Chuckman


COMMENT SENT TO ALJAZEERA ABOUT AN ARTICLE BY MARIAM BARGHOUTI



“CNN: Facts first, just not on Israel”



https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/cnn-facts-israel-181202144659493.html



Thank you, Mariam Barghouti's piece about CNN and Israel and Palestine is simply outstanding.

A clear ordering of facts, and not just opinions.

And, of course, when facts can be ignored - as they were in this case - we know we are in a dangerous place where consequential decisions are made without them.

And that is especially poignant when we are talking about a major news organization, and one that goes on in its publicity about “facts” and “fake news” almost like slogans in a religious revival campaign.

But much like some fundamentalist tent preacher conducting a revival campaign who in fact in private is doing scandalous things, just so CNN with facts about Israel and the Palestinians.

Friday, November 30, 2018

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: ACCEPTING MYTH AS FACT - EVEN IN OUR SCIENTIFIC AGE IT IS DONE OFTEN AND WITHOUT BEING QUESTIONED DESPITE ITS DANGER - PERHAPS THE MOST PUBLICIZED EXAMPLE IS THE NOTION OF MODERN JEWISH PEOPLE HAVING RETURNED TO AN ANCESTRAL HOME IN ISRAEL

John Chuckman


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



“Israel’s Overlooked Strategic Losses in Wars Against Arabs

“After conventional Arab armies failed to deter Israeli invasions, Lebanese and Palestinian volunteers have changed the strategic balance in the Middle East”

___________________

Response to a comment saying, “The barrage of anti-Israel rhetoric lost all credibility some time ago. While it remains fashionable among our bourgeoisie, it has defied all logic. Bottom line: Jews are indigenous to that bit of land, restored as the Jewish nation in 1948. Israel is roughly 1% of the Mideast, with the remaining 99% owned by the Arab states, all of which are armed to the teeth by China, Russia, and the US. Although portrayed as a military behemoth trampling over the impoverished oil states, it takes everything Israel has got, just to survive”:

Sorry, but you just repeat lines from pamphlets.

The Ashkenazi - the people running Israel and the main early Zionist writers - are indeed Jews, but that ignores the fact that they are not Hebrews. There is a huge difference.

The Ashkenazi are Europeans. The word, Ashkenazi, means "German."

Deli food is not Middle Eastern - it reflects German and central European food.

The Yiddish language is not Middle Eastern - it is derived from German.

The dress of the ultra-Orthodox is not Middle Eastern - it is from 18th or 19th century Eastern Europe.

Yes, most Jews learn some Hebrew in their temples’ Hebrew Schools, but that is no different than the practice of millions of devout Muslims learning Arabic in madrassa schools so that they can read the Koran in the original. It provides no basis for Indonesia laying claim to Saudi Arabia.

Sharing religious beliefs with someone who ages ago owned some real estate buys you nothing in the real world.

All the best evidence we have suggests the Palestinians are the actual remaining descendants of the Hebrews.

The Romans never tossed out whole peoples from conquered lands. There is no record of their ever doing so.

The notion of wandering Jews looking for a home again for two thousand years appears to be just a sentimental myth used by people like the Ashkenazi to feel more connected to the ancient Hebrews whose religion they share.

There are many examples of such myths and beliefs – e.g., a number of American Blacks regard themselves as descendants of the ancient Egyptians – but myths provide no foundation for building new arrangements in the real world.

Besides, time and again, DNA tests of Ashkenazi people tell us plainly they go back about one thousand years or less. Two origins are suggested, and both of them are located in Europe.

Citing ancient texts, and especially religious or superstitious ones, as any kind of basis for the geo-politics of the modern world makes little sense and is actually quite dangerous.

Otherwise, Greece, who won the Trojan War three thousand years ago, would have a claim on Turkey, the site of ancient Troy.

And many other groups besides the ancient Hebrews possessed what we call Israel before the Hebrews, including the Egyptians. By what logic do you stop at just a certain era in any territory’s long history to call it the definitive origin? There’s no such thing.

And there are scores of such examples as the Greeks and Trojans which prove nothing and would only generate confusion and war if taken seriously.

And that is pretty much the case for re-created Israel. Confusion and war.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: MR TRUMP AND MR COHEN AND THE G-20 - TRUMP HAS BECOME SO ABSURD HE DOESN'T EVEN KNOW IT WHEN HE QUESTIONS HIS OWN JUDGMENT IN PUBLIC

John Chuckman


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE INDEPENDENT



'The president responded to news of Mr. Cohen’s plea deal by saying he was a “weak person and not a very smart person.”'



Then why, Mr. Trump, did you hire and use Mr. Cohen a number of times in your various dealings?

Seems to me, if your assessment of him can be accepted as accurate, it is more a reflection on you and your judgment than on Mr. Cohen.

Meanwhile, we have a world bursting with problems, many of them caused by America, and the G-20 won't be able to address them because "the leader of the Free World" is preoccupied with his personal problems.

What a noisy, absurd figure Trump has become.





JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: HOW A GENUINE FACT USED IN ISOLATION CAN BE PROPAGANDA JUST AS SURELY AS A COMPLETELY MADE-UP TALE - A BIT MORE ON RUSSIA AND UKRAINE IN THE KERCH STRAIT

John Chuckman


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE INDEPENDENT



"Crimea: Video shows alleged Russian ship ram Ukrainian tugboat in Black Sea as tensions rise"



The video in isolation only shows how carefully selected facts can become propaganda just as surely as outright fabrications.

The Russians have never tried to hide the fact of the ramming. So, what is your point?

And why did they ram? Because the Ukrainians refused to respond to the directions of Russian Border Services, and their presence was illegal.

This is no small thing because some Ukrainian politicians have publicly called for the bridge to be blown up.

I suppose Russia could have responded to the threat the way Israel does week after week, just shooting people in cold blood who have never even set foot on Israeli territory.

I actually think the Russians handled this well. No one was killed or seriously hurt.

As it turned out, there was a supply of serious weapons aboard the ships and there were several members of the Ukrainian security service aboard.

Not exactly an innocent little mistake, for sure.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: UNAVOIDABLE FLAWS IN OUR PRESS - GOVERNMENT-PRESS RELATIONSHIP IN THE WEST - AMERICA'S BASIC STRUCTURAL PROBLEM IS PLUTOCRACY AND ITS EMPIRE AND NOT "GLOBALISM" - MYTH OF TRUMP BATTLING INSIDERS

John Chuckman


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN RUSSIA INSIDER



“Canada's Main TV Channel, CBC, Is a Great Big Globalist Bullhorn for War”



Yes, CBC is not greatly different than many corporate news services. A little, but not greatly.

This should come as no surprise because a state network must depend upon the good will of government for its future.

If you want to see public services that are even worse than CBC, look no further than NPR and BBC - both appalling in their subservience to establishment policy.

All people concerned with news and events should know that you cannot depend on any one news source.

Only by reading or watching a variety of sources and making an effort to interpret, reading between the lines, can you hope to come to anything resembling truth in international affairs.

All Western governments dominate their news establishments, both private and public. All of them.

And, in turn, all Western governments are dominated by American imperial policies, often to an embarrassing extent. All of them.

So, we see American policy consistently supported and never truly attacked for the destructive thing that it is by politicians and news sources in “the West.”

But I'm sorry to say that this has nothing to do with "globalists" or even "war advocacy," although the latter is an implicit part of world empire. Empires don’t just happen, they are created by force. America’s decades of wars since WWII are all about expanding or protecting empire and little else. All the stuff about principles or defense of America is just that, stuff - meaningless, jingoistic stuff.

The “globalism” theme is a myth of the Right to which many cling much as they cling to the myth that Trump is in any way opposed to basic American establishment interests. It is na├»ve to say so because he is busy fervently serving those interests both in international affairs and in world trade.

He wants the establishment’s support and works to earn it. He wants to be re-elected. Everything points to him working towards that end, as with his appointment of many Neocons to important posts.

America’s basic structural problem is that it has become a plutocracy, and the main power establishment in Washington is dedicated to serving the plutocracy. After all, money runs elections in America, plus a whole lot else.

The stuff about “globalism,” always used as an epithet and left poorly defined, is virtually a distraction from the real problem.

So long as the nation functions as a plutocracy with a power establishment serving its interests, which very much includes a costly world empire, nothing important will change.

Trump is such a great example of the realities. He works overtime trying to give them what they want in return for them tolerating him in office.

You know, in the end, throughout the world, those with great fortunes dominate despite all the political rhetoric about democracy and the struggles for freedom over the last few centuries. The rich rule, still, but it is not always with the complete transparency we see in the United States.

Both major parties are completely dependent upon large money donors. Nothing serious in arrangements or international affairs ever changes with the election of either of them. And America’s Supreme Court has even ruled that “money is free speech.”

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: SOME RUSSIANS DO SOUND A BIT LIKE 1980s REPUBLICANS WITH TALK ABOUT "FAMILY VALUES" - AND DISPARAGING TALK ABOUT "GLOBALISM" RESEMBLES AMERICA'S CONTEMPORARY ALT-RIGHT

John Chuckman


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN RUSSIA INSIDER



"Russian Conservatism Today Stands for Family Values and Resistance to Globalism"



I certainly have nothing against families, but I seriously dislike the term, "family values."

Russians may not be aware of the fact, but for some years in the 1980s the term was used, quite hypocritically, by the Republican Party in the United States.

It served as a kind of advertising slogan for a party that was bereft of ideas and had no worthy policies or goals to pursue.

It was especially loudly-mouthed by creepy politicians like Newt Gingrich - a guy who, among other disgusting behaviors, told his wife who was dying of cancer that he was divorcing her for someone new.

The phrase is not a happy one for many forward-looking North Americans, the very people who try to understand Russia and sympathize with its abuse by the American power establishment.

The use of “globalism" also is very loaded. The extreme American Right loves using the term as an epithet, almost an obscenity, against any kind of international organization. This attitude really represents the last dregs of traditional American isolationism and Fortress America and America “can go it alone.”

But global relationships, global trade, global cooperation, and sound global institutions are not to be despised by anyone with good intentions.

These are good things. Russia needs to sell many of its products abroad. Russia wants all the trade it can secure. Russia wants a framework protecting trade and diplomacy from the kind of idiocy we see recently from the United States. Russia wants peace and good order.

You know, the "vision" of American Neocons is the opposite to that in reality. Their view is that America can unilaterally decide things, that America is the "indispensable nation," that America should not answer to organizations like the UN, the WTO, the OPCW, or the ICC.

In a very real sense, they are the genuine anti-globalists. They actually favor a form of chaos and the principle of might makes right. I don't understand why anyone, especially in Russia, would want to support their contempt for international fairness and order, and that is precisely what is communicated by numerous contemptuous references to "globalism."

Perhaps those using the term with contempt mean something else, but they do not explain what they mean, they are not specific, and pour dislike on a perfectly good term.





JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: SOME FUNDAMENTALS ABOUT THE AMERICAN EMPIRE AND THE NEW FERVENT SERVANT IT HAS IN TRUMP - A WORD ON TRUMP'S GAME WITH HIS SUPPORTERS

John Chuckman



COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY HUNTER DERENSIS IN ZEROHEDGE



“The Coming Bankruptcy Of The American Empire

“Better to bring the troops home on our terms than wait for a debt crisis to do it for us...”



Good statement of some elementary truths.

However, politics is not about truths or facts or laws or science.

And it is even less the case with the kind of greedy forces who drive America’s world empire.

The situation is ruinous, but then how many times in history have nations looked at potentially ruinous circumstances and ignored them? More times than not, I think.

Empire has always ultimately been a losing proposition, as many brilliant observers have noted, including Adam Smith and David Hume.

And the people who run and support and profit by empire have a different set of interests than the population in general has.

There is very much a fundamental dichotomy in America between the power establishment and the bulk of the nation’s population.

I think many ordinary Americans understand this truth but in some vague and undefined way. That is why they voted for Trump.

But it was a big mistake.

Trump is working extremely hard to ingratiate himself with the establishment, trying within the serious limits of his abilities, to deliver what they want and more, in return for his ability to run again and be heavily supported with campaign funds in 2020. We see this everywhere from conflict with Russia and China to what he does in the Mideast and his treatment of international organizations.

And I think the establishment is willing to go along with him so long as they get what they want.

In a very real sense, because of his fears of their attacking him, he has become an outsized cartoon version of their interests, the very opposite to what his followers believe. It is a very strange and unstable situation.

He keeps his followers happy now largely through rhetoric about migrants, refugees, and "invasions," but that too represents something unstable. It is talk which goes nowhere, except to some very dark places as we saw in the 1930s.

Readers may enjoy:

https://chuckmanwordsincomments.wordpress.com/2018/07/31/john-chuckman-comment-empire-corrupts-all-the-principles-of-economics-as-well-as-principles-of-ethics-and-good-government-there-is-nothing-good-to-say-about-empire-and-the-american-one-is-no-excep/





JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: MORE NONSENSE ABOUT RUSSIA AND UKRAINE IN THE KERCH STRAIT - IF YOU LOOK AT THE BASIC FACTS RUSSIA BEHAVED WELL

John Chuckman


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE INDEPENDENT



“‘Russia can do anything it wants’: Relatives of captured Ukrainian sailors say they feel abandoned

Family members lament lack of response and support”



Why do you promote such uninformed stuff as this?

Please, every time a Russian ship passes Britain in the English Channel, clearly in international waters, you guys chirp about the Royal Navy going out to accompany it. Same for Russian planes flying in international airspace anywhere near Britain.

Here we have genuine outlaw behavior by Ukraine. Three ships broke known rules. They ignored Russian Border Control. They proved to have some substantial weapons on board. And they had members of Ukraine’s secret service aboard. And the Kerch Bridge has been openly threatened on more than one occasion by Ukrainian politicians speaking like terrorists.

There are no issues here at all in Russia’s behavior. No one was killed, unlike the weekly killings in Gaza of unarmed civilians who never set foot in Israel, something I do not see decried by the press, as it very well should be.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: CIA DIRECTOR BLOCKED FROM SENATE BRIEFING ABOUT SAUDI ARABIA - THE LONG-ESTABLISHED CIA PRACTICE ON TESTIFYING

John Chuckman


COMMENT TO AN ARTICLE IN MIDDLE EAST EYE



“White House blocks CIA chief from Senate briefing on Saudi Arabia: Report

“Gina Haspel prevented from briefing US senators on Saudi Arabia's involvement in Jamal Khashoggi's murder, the Guardian reports”



There really was no need for this.

The convention is well established, and never challenged, that the CIA may lie, even under oath.

This doctrine was first presented publicly by the CIA's Richard Helms in the wake of the Kennedy assassination.

And, remember, this dear lady, Gina Haspel, was a vital part of the CIA's kidnapping and torture scheme under the program called Extraordinary Rendition.

She ran a black site for the CIA Torture Gulag where victims were "rendered."

I think it very unlikely this creature would reveal anything that wasn't acceptable to reveal.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: THE RUSSIAN-UKRAINIAN COMMOTION NEAR CRIMEA - IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH "RUSSIAN AGGRESSION" - IT IS ABOUT SOMETHING FAR HUMBLER AND DOWNRIGHT EMBARRASSING - THE UTTER INCOMPETENCE OF THE CURRENT GOVERNMENT OF UKRAINE

John Chuckman


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE INDEPENDENT



“Russia-Ukraine crisis - live: Kiev declares martial law as world powers call emergency meetings after Putin's forces seize ships near Crimea”



Poroshenko is pathetic. Declaring martial law is a very serious matter in any society, and doing so just because a neighboring country stopped a group of ships off-course in a sensitive region makes no sense at all.

This declaration is really about the coming election in Ukraine and the likelihood, from polls, that Poroshenko is going to lose it badly. He is very unpopular, as we might expect with the basket-case his government has made of Ukraine since the coup.

Nothing like a good dose of fear to make people less likely to vote for change.

This was clearly a created incident.

The Ukrainian ships went where they knew they were not supposed to go.

They did not follow instructions of Russian Border Services.

Now, what kind of reaction will that earn you anywhere, most certainly including Britain?

__________________

Response to a reader who said “The West, by supporting this scumbag either out of natural stupidity or prejudice, plays right into his hands”:

Well, "the West" has behaved stupidly from the start.

First, by even going along with the American-induced coup against an elected government in Ukraine.

We know from ugly big-mouth, Victoria Nuland, American Neocon figure and former State Department official, that the US spent $5 billion on the project to destabilize Ukraine.

And "the West" completely tolerates the open displays of fascism in Ukraine by a number of ugly outfits - things like torch-light parades with Nazi-like symbols and some terrible words.

This whole American project was for the purpose of threatening Russia on a major border, a simply downright stupid act against a nuclear super-power.

This Ukrainian government has sent its own country into a tailspin, too. There have been major out-migrations of Ukrainians to other countries willing to accept them. The Ukrainian economy is in decline. Its trade is in decline. Civil War was needlessly started over language and cultural rights, resulting in the separation of regions. Everyone inside and outside the country is aware of large-scale corruption. There has been complete government paralysis in moving even an inch forward with the internationally-agreed Minsk Accords for peace in the country. I don’t think it would be possible to create a worse government.

_________________

For some perspective on this incident in the Kerch Strait, let’s remember what unarmed people - even women and children - receive just approaching the Israeli fence around Gaza.

A bullet in the head. A shattered leg. A blown-off foot.

More than 200 have been killed by Israel’s cowardly snipers, and many thousands wounded.

None of them armed. None of them ever setting foot on Israeli territory.

By contrast, here near Crimea, there were actually minimal problems despite the facts that the Ukrainian ships were well-armed and were definitely in the wrong location.

________________

Additional notes.

At least one Ukrainian official has claimed Russia used a missile from a fighter plane on one of the ships.

Well, first, we have quite a number of photos of the incident, and no missile damage is to be seen.

And there is no evidence of large numbers of crew members being hurt or killed, as there very much would be from a modern anti-ship missile. Instead, we have reports of just a few Ukrainians sustaining injuries in resisting Russian Border Services and receiving medical treatment.

Of course, the ships were brought to port by the Russians, something that wouldn’t be possible after a missile attack.

I think the bizarre nature of such a claim, despite much contrary evidence, tells us a good deal about the chaotic nature of Ukraine’s current politics and internal affairs.

Russia also reports that at least one Ukrainian intelligence service member was on board one of the ships. Just what you’d expect to find on a ship innocently straying off-course, is it not?

Readers should keep in mind that the Russians are very much on-guard for the Kerch Strait Bridge. Some idiotic Ukrainian politicians have actually openly advocated attacking it with explosives.

And it is a magnificent piece of engineering which provides daily testimony to Russia’s determination and creativity in a difficult situation.

Since Ukraine – whether individuals or the state, we don’t know - employed many deliberate obstacles and instances of sabotage against people on the Crimean Peninsula after their votes to leave Ukraine and join Russia, the bridge has become far more than just a symbol too.

________________

I see in this morning’s CBC News the headline: “Canada condemns Russian aggression in clash with Ukraine.” Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland condemned Russia's seizing three Ukrainian naval vessels near Crimea. The article offers no opportunity to comment.

Freeland has been an embarrassment as Foreign Minister on a number of files, and she has always been ready to jump with both feet into Russian affairs she likely doesn’t even fully understand.

She’s proven a genuine Russophobe which I suppose is understandable given her growing up in a Ukrainian-Canadian family, the kind of families I know from experience often display narrow hostility towards Russia.

Well, that’s a shame, Russia being an increasingly important country and one trying as it never did in the days of the Soviet Union to be open and ready to do business with everyone, but it’s her own business so long as she’s not Canada’s Foreign Minister.

But she is Foreign Minister, and she has no business making statements like this, whose only purpose is to serve the Russophobia insanity gripping the United States. She makes Canada look petty and small and not well-informed.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: THE BEST "COMIC BOOK" MOVIE EVER MADE TURNS THIRTY

John Chuckman


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY ED POWER IN THE INDEPENDENT



“Die Hard at 30: How the every-dude action movie defied expectations and turned Bruce Willis into a star

“Despite gambling on a cast of relative unknowns, Die Hard used wit, style and dangerous stunts to become”



Die Hard is what I like to call a comic book movie, but it is likely the best comic book movie ever made.

I think the key to its success is the casting. Every character is well cast.

Significant portions of the film are completely unbelievable, as when Bruce Willis proves to have a gun taped to his back in a big encounter.

It seems unlikely that you could tape a heavy gun to a sweaty body. And why would Willis have prepared this surprise anyway?

Well, it just doesn’t matter. We are caught up in the action, and the characters are enjoyable to watch.

We also enjoy some poking at American officialdom, not typical of this kind of movie. The FBI, usually treated as able to walk on water in Hollywood, is made good fun of.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: A NEW ART INSTALLATION IN CHICAGO COMMEMORATES AMERICAN LOSSES IN VIETNAM - A READER ASKS WHAT ABOUT VIETNAMESE LOSSES? - INDEED AND THAT TSUNAMI OF GRISLY DEATHS REDUCES AMERICAN LOSSES TO A MERE FOOTNOTE - AMERICA'S GENUINE HOLOCAUST IN SOUTHEAST ASIA

John Chuckman


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN SCOOPY WEB



“A new art installation at the Harold Washington Library in Chicago, called “Above and Beyond,” features over 58,000 replica dog tags — one for each American soldier killed in the Vietnam War.”

_____________

Response to another reader who asked where are the million dog tags for the Vietnamese killed:



Indeed, and the number is actually greater.

Total estimated losses for Vietnam are 3 million.

After all, America tried every new filthy idea it could come up with there, from massive carpet bombing to early versions of cluster bombs, to say nothing of napalm.

In the CIA's Operation Phoenix, somewhere between 20 thousand and 40 thousand alone had their throats cut in the middle of the night by belly-crawling American special forces. These victims were civilians, typically people such as village mayors and other officials. It was an effort to destroy leadership and dispirit the people.

Add to that the horrors of landmines and a sea of Agent Orange left behind to kill and mangle and cause birth defects for decades more.

Of course, another million died in Cambodia's Killing Fields.

And who was responsible for toppling the neutralist government of Cambodia, a government which remained peaceful despite American pressure, allowing the Khmer Rouge guerillas to take over the country?

You're right if you guessed the United States with its long series of illegal, secret bombings and mini-invasions ("incursions").

And after the bloody Khmer Rouge took over and started its slaughter, the United States did absolutely nothing to stop them. Finally, the Vietnamese, despite their own years of immense war suffering, attacked them.

It's a glorious record for America, to be sure.

One to be proud of. A genuine holocaust begun just 20 years after the Nazi Holocaust.

Certainly, something to commemorate.

It is why I thought the Vietnam War Memorial was remarkably, surprisingly appropriate when it first appeared, a plain dark wall of names sunk into the ground almost as though to commemorate shame. Washington has since managed to spoil the effect with various groups of heroic bronze statues.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: RE-CREATED ISRAEL HAS NEVER MADE A GREAT DEAL OF SENSE - BUT WE CAN LIVE WITH IT IF IT JUST ACCEPTS THE RULE OF LAW AND THE SAME RULES GOVERNING ALL NATIONS - DANGERS IN THE TERM "JEWISH STATE" AND IN ADVOCATING NEW LAWS VIOLATING WESTERN RIGHTS AND TRADITIONS

John Chuckman


EXPANSION OF A COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY PHILLIP WEISS IN MONDOWEISS



‘Jewish ethno-nationalism is a poison’



My view is that re-created Israel has never made a great deal of sense, no matter which perspective you use - ethnicity, religion, history, etc. Jews live better, much better, in many other places, and they do so without harming others.

I think it fair to say that 1948 was a mistake, born, of course, out of horrendous realities and fears and painful emotions, but still a mistake, one today, with Israel carrying on just as it has been, which serves little good purpose and indeed creates almost endless conflict.

Conflict generated as Israel tries desperately to make sense of itself, pushing others to accept terms and definitions which often are meaningless or, worse, sometimes are contrary to the entire Western history of human and democratic rights. This last we see in the many ongoing efforts by Israel to promote laws in Western countries which go against free speech and peaceful protest, laws making criticism of Israel illegal and laws making advocacy of peaceful boycott illegal.

As for meaningless terms and definitions, we have the ongoing pressure for others to accept Israel as "the Jewish state." Sounds simple enough for a few seconds, but with any reflection, you will understand the many ways in which those words make no sense, starting with the simple fact that, overwhelmingly, most Jews do not even live in Israel and likely never will.

And what of the millions of non-Jews now living under the control of Israel? What is to be their fate in a legally-defined (by international treaty rather than just a self-conferred epithet) “Jewish state?”

And how do you enter negotiations with anyone when you have a non-negotiable demand up-front, expecting those with whom you negotiate to accept it, much as though, say, in the 1950s, the Soviets in some negotiation with the United States were told up-front, they must first recognize America as “the land of the free with liberty and justice for all.”

How far would such a negotiation go? I think we all know. So, it is not clear just what Israel intends by its incessant and unreasonable demand. Does it just want to keep what it has and effectively end all efforts at negotiation without explicitly saying so? Or is it really that unreasoning that it cannot understand what it is demanding? Ideology does make people blind to truth.

So, too, do excessive privilege and freedom from rules of the kind Israel has enjoyed under American patronage since its founding. Stories about spoiled brats in rich families are part of our everyday cultural awareness. It is no different with countries. We are still dealing with human behavior.

Still, I think we can all accept Israel, even if we regard its re-creation as having been a mistake, if only it can live as a nation which follows the rule of law.

Israel simply does not do so, and in dozens of different ways. That is unacceptable, as is its constant violent bullying. It simply ignores laws and rules and practices everyone else on the planet is expected to honor.

You cannot continue indefinitely claiming special privilege and exemption from the rule of law owing to events your forebears experienced three-quarters of a century ago on another continent. This is especially true when your present activities themselves bring misery to millions of others who, in fact, had nothing to do with the dark history in Europe.

I have thought about this matter a good deal over the years and written some analysis readers may find interesting:

https://chuckmanwords.wordpress.com/2009/06/05/the-paradoxes-of-israel/

https://chuckmanwords.wordpress.com/2013/10/28/cutting-the-middle-easts-gordian-knot-why-israel-cannot-survive-in-its-present-form/

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: MOOSE-BRAIN RECEIVES A DEADLY SHOT RIGHT BETWEEN THE EYES FROM AMERICAN POLITICIAN TULSI GABBARD

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN GOVT SLAVES



Tulsi Gabbard To Trump: ‘Being Saudi Arabia’s Bitch Is Not America First’



‘Being Saudi Arabia’s Bitch Is Not America First’

No matter what you may think of Tulsi Gabbard in general, here she fires a shot that strikes moose-brain right between the eyes.

He'll be remembered for a long time in these terms.

As he very much deserves to be.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: PATRIOTISM AND NATIONALISM - MUCH LIKE RELIGION IN BLINDLY PRAISING THE INSUPPORTABLE - NATIONS LIKE PEOPLE COME IN ALL TYPES AND MANY HARDLY DESERVE PRAISE - PATRIOTISM IS A TOOL USED BY THOSE SEEKING POWER - AND YOU JUST CANNOT EXCLUDE FASCISM FROM THIS SUBJECT - WHAT HISTORIES OF AMERICA AND ISRAEL VIVIDLY TELL US

John Chuckman


EXPANSION OF A COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY JOHN DERBYSHIRE IN RUSSIA INSIDER



“Let's Cherish Our Nations. Let's Be Nationalists!

“Nationalism and patriotism mean exactly the same and, despite what globalists elites would like you to think, there is nothing wrong with either -- as Israelis will be the first to attest to”



I'm not against anyone expressing affection for his or her country, but all displays of heavy-duty patriotism and nationalism I regard as looking backward to the 19th century, at best, and as dangerous mumbo-jumbo, at worst.

Wars and the darkest-possible crimes have been fired-up by patriotic enthusiasms. The first thing that governments with bad intentions trot out is something touching on patriotism, as when the United States used the sinking of the USS Maine - almost certainly the result of faulty boilers and not an attack by anyone - to help launch the Spanish-American War in the hope of grabbing at least Cuba.

How right was Doctor Johnson when he said, "Patriotism is the last refuge of scoundrels." He was referring to the American revolutionary "Patriots," those freedom-loving, unapologetic owners of gangs of human flesh, and to Thomas Jefferson in particular, a genuine scoundrel if ever there was one.

I like H. G. Wells' words, "Our true nationality is mankind." That is a profound truth with which human political arrangements still have not caught up.

Citing Israel on the merits of nationalism, as this author does, speaks for itself.

Modern Israel is a place built on dishonesty, theft, hatreds, and a great deal of killing, and there is just nothing to admire about it.

And it has done nothing but generate wars and tensions and arbitrary demands in its region for its entire brief history. It has had an effect on its region much as embers from a carelessly-tended campfire have on nearby dry grassland or forest.

Not even its boundaries are set, and the population over which it rules contains millions of unwelcome people and people who themselves do not want to be part of it.

So, to just what is it one is supposed to show patriotic ardor? Seems to me, in the end, it can only come down to some combination of biblical fantasies and the worship of raw power, that last being one of the essential ingredients of fascism.

Of course, the fascists also used myths and legends and ancient history to stir up their people to a sense of superiority, from Nordic myths to ancient Roman history.

You know, generalizing about nation states in the way this author does is just as foolish and inaccurate as generalizing about individual people.

We have people who are worthy of admiration, and we, equally, have ones who are anything but. We also have many cases of ambiguity and conflict, cases where whether you admire a figure depends completely on the admirer’s predisposition, not on the admired figure’s inherent merit because we find others who believe exactly the opposite about the figure.

Moreover, with nation states, we not only see the foibles of individual people magnified – as with crimes and irrational behavior – but we also see that physical endowments, the resource bases of states, are extremely unequal and often reflect mere accidents of history having nothing to do with the intrinsic merits of the society.

This last extends from mineral wealth and other natural resources to the extent of arable land and potable water. Is America to be admired because it conquered many weak neighbors and took their lands?

You could easily argue that the greatest “merit” in American history contributing to the colossus we see today was simply the luck of having neighbors who couldn’t defend themselves, from native peoples to the Spanish Empire. If Germany, whether in WWI or WWII, had had the same situation, it would reign supreme in today’s world.

On the subject of patriotism and nationalism, readers may enjoy:

https://chuckmanwordsincomments.wordpress.com/2018/07/25/john-chuckman-comment-the-dangerous-irrationality-of-nationalism-especially-the-extreme-fundamentalist-religious-forms-of-it-we-find-in-the-patriotism-of-america-and-israel/

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: PRESS ECHOES THE MOST EGREGIOUS WASHINGTON PROPAGANDA ABOUT AMERICA LOSING THE NEXT BIG WAR - EVEN IF IT WERE TRUE THE OBVIOUS CONCLUSIONS ARE IGNORED - RUSSOPHOBIA RESEMBLES A NEW FORM OF BRAIN CANCER


John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY MURRAY BREWSTER IN CBC NEWS



“Why the U.S. could lose the next big war - and what that means for Canada

“If the U.S. faces a security crisis, so do we, says one defence expert

“A special commission report, presented to the U.S. Congress this week, delivered one of the most stark — even startling — assessments in the last two decades of the limits of American military power.”



Well, the first sensible conclusion to draw from such information - assuming it's correct, about which I very much have doubts - is that the United States should avoid starting new wars then.

Sounds simple, but please look around our world, and you'll find American-started or American-inspired wars in a dozen places.

The country has become the most senselessly aggressive on earth. It is literally drunk on its own sense of entitlement to run the planet.

Russia spends about one-tenth of what the US spends on its military. Russia is involved in no wars, except for its having been invited by an ally, Syria, to help defend against an army of mercenaries tearing the country apart. Guess who is behind those mercenaries, too?

I have grave doubts here, too. Washington endlessly hypes nonsense about Russia in an effort to hike military budgets and strike anxiety into Americans and allies. It is well known that in the Cold War CIA never even came close to the realities of (lower) Russian capability in their annual estimates exactly so that budgets could grow like mushrooms after a drizzly night.

Study some maps, and it will become clear who threatens whom in the world. American ships, planes, and tanks inch closer every year to the gate posts of Russia. Spy planes now constantly and dangerously, flying with transponders turned off, buzz Russia’s border. The coup in Ukraine was an American project on which we know it spent $5 billion to threaten a long border, much as though Russia had promoted a coup in Mexico.

America, on its own, tears up working treaties like INF and the anti-missile treaty and the Iran Nuclear agreement. America busies itself with telling all its allies what they should be doing, how much they should spend, and what they should buy from the US.

America keeps expanding NATO with militarily useless countries like Estonia or Macedonia just for the purpose of creeping up on Russia's border. It also uses these places as a way of loading the dice at NATO. These militarily insignificant countries get a vote in NATO affairs, and they vote in light of having been asked out on a big date by a hunk.

Sick, all of it. Russophobia resembles some new form of brain cancer.





JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: AMERICA'S DESTRUCTIVE HOLD ON EUROPE

John Chuckman


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN RUSSIA INSIDER



“Like Jackson-Vanik, EU's Russia Sanctions Are Here to Stay Forever

“It will take a major world shake up and realignment for these sanctions to ever be dropped -- as long as the world remains in roughly its present configuration the EU anti-Russian sanctions are a permanent feature”

_________________

Response to another reader’s comment:

Accessories indeed.

It is a terrible shame, but Europe today has little independence of action. It is effectively territory occupied by the United States. European leaders have allowed that to happen over some decades.

My favorite example of the ugly stuff now forced on Europe by American policies is the recent terrible refugee problem.

The United States is responsible for creating all these refugees with its bombing and support for various mercenary terror groups, as in Syria. But it accepts absolutely no responsibility. Indeed, a politician like Trump sits back and blubbers about Europe and speaks hatefully about refugees.

But Europe went along with unjust and destructive American policies from the beginning, the so-called Neocon Wars. That’s when it should have “put its foot down” but it didn’t.

I believe Mrs. Merkel came privately to regret that support of wars which proved terribly destructive.

She tried to compensate by opening the gates to masses of refugees, refugees running from American-induced terrors.

Although she was extremely well-intentioned, this caused a strong political backlash with too many new and strange, strange in German eyes, kinds of people coming all at once.

She has now paid the political price. And America goes right on with its bombing and destruction and support for terror.

And Trump goes on about his hate for refugees and migrants and making threats.

Apart from all the other ugly acts and demands of the United States – tearing up good treaties, demanding more money for NATO, insisting everyone buy American equipment, ordering countries not to buy cheaper, plentiful Russian gas, demanding everyone show patience for that basket-case called Ukraine which itself takes no steps towards peace – this experience with Neocon Wars and refugees has contributed to the growing sense of alienation in major European countries from the United States.

It is hard to see how it could be otherwise when America keeps insisting on the dangerous and irrational and self-serving, showing no understanding of the views or understanding of its traditional allies.

If Europe genuinely does turn towards more independence of action, it will be the one good thing to come out of an extremely destructive set of American policies.

 “Whom the gods would destroy…”



Friday, November 16, 2018

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: WHY AMERICA CAN'T WIN ANY WARS DESPITE SPENDING MORE ON ITS MILITARY THAN THE REST OF THE PLANET - THE RAW TRUTH ABOUT THE NATURE OF AMERICAN WARS SINCE WWII - NEW YORK TIMES ANECDOTE

John Chuckman


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN RUSSIA INSIDER



“Why the Most Expensive Military Still Can't Win a War

“Spending money has become its primary purpose”



The Pentagon used to prepare fresh, hot pizzas in Vietnam and helicopter them out to troops in the field.

I think that says something important about America and war.

But we have to keep in mind that America's wars aren't like other people's wars to start with.

Since WWII, every single war had absolutely nothing to do with defense.

They were all colonial wars fought, not for the protection of the American people, but for the interests of America's power establishment.

None of them inspired the troops involved.

All of them were viewed as dirty little jobs.

Except by the psychopaths, a type always attracted to the military, for whom they were playtime with real human beings, free of all constraints and laws.

Morale, bravery, heroism, and purpose - all the stuff of epoch war stories of the past - pretty much have been missing from three-quarters of a century of American colonial wars and interventions. There are no Jimmy Stewart types with tears on the cheeks to bring a lump to your throat.

I noted with interest that back in the time of the illegal American invasion of Iraq, the New York Times – always an imperial drum-beater despite its reputation inside the United States as “liberal” – made an effort for a while to revive the old American WWII expression “GIs.”

“GIs” [Government Issues, for those unfamiliar] was an affectionate term for citizen-soldiers fighting aggressors in faraway places seventy-five years ago. The term was used in films and in newspaper reports and cartoons.

When I saw the New York Times trying to label well-paid, well-equipped modern American mercenaries who were illegally invading a country as “Aw shucks, Ma” GIs, it brought bitter laughter.

These guys actually lived in air-conditioned tents, generating immense electric bills on the desert.

I believe The New York Times abandoned the effort, but I’m not certain since I stopped reading the paper. Again, that pathetic effort tells us something about America’s modern wars.

Perhaps it helps explain why so many of America’s wars are so unsuccessful, despite the huge amounts of money spent on them and all the public relations hype from Washington and the pitiless destruction of other people with practices like carpet-bombing.

There can be no success when you attempt meaningless tasks. It’s often not even clear what success would be, say for example, in a war like that in Afghanistan. The only certainty is lots of death and destruction.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: PLAYING THE ESTABLISHMENT'S GAME BY DEMONSTRATING THIS OR THAT PAST DISHONESTY AS WITH INTELLIGENCE AND THE IRAQ INVASION - WHERE EMPIRE IS CONCERNED POLITICIANS AND AGENCIES AND PRESS ARE ALL COMPLICIT AND UTTERLY DISHONEST - MANUFACTURING TRUTH IN AMERICA

John Chuckman


EXPANSION OF COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY RAY MCGOVERN IN CONSORTIUM NEWS



“Clapper Admits Gross Intelligence Failure

on Iraq WMDs But Still Escapes Justice”



I am always glad to see confirmation in such matters, however, for people who work to inform themselves, there are no real surprises to be discovered about the invasion of Iraq. It was a dirty imperial project from the start, and the fact was knowable at the time.

It could clearly be seen as a fraud because there were a number of experts, experts not working for the American government, and people in other governments who, in effect, told us then that it was a fraud.

What the whole experience with Iraq reveals is a couple of profound truths about imperial America, truths that are quite unpleasant and yet seem to remain lost to the general public.

One, lying and manipulation are virtually work-a-day activities in Washington. They go on at all levels of the government, from the President through all of the various experts and agency heads who in theory hold their jobs to inform the President and others of the truth in making decisions.

Indeed, these experts and agency heads actually work more like party members from George Orwell’s Oceania in 1984, party members whose job it was to constantly rewrite history, making adjustments in the words and pictures of old periodicals and books to conform with Big Brother’s latest pronouncements and turns in policy.

America has an entire industry devoted to manufacturing truth, something the rather feeble term “fake news” tries to capture, although its accusations are often not accurately focused. Still, its use reflects the widespread and true impression of being lied to and often.

The public’s reaction to officials and agencies in Washington ought to be quite different than it generally is. Under the American imperial system with its elite power establishment, it should be a presumption that officials and agencies are not telling us the truth, that they usually have ulterior motives, and that they are tailoring a story to fit a policy.

It sounds extreme to say so, but it truly is not in view of recent history. There is almost not an important event in American foreign policy in recent decades where this assumption would not yield something closer to truth than its opposite. That is the dark nature of empire with its powerful and large, and largely unaccountable, agencies, and with its utter corruption for the benefit of a privileged few.

We are all watching actors in a costly play used to support already-determined destructive policies.

Two, the press lies, and it lies almost constantly in support of government’s decided policies. You simply cannot trust the American press on such matters, and the biggest names in the press – the New York Times or Washington Post or CBS or NBC – are the biggest liars because they put the weight of their general prestige into the balance to tip it.

Their fortunes and interests are far too closely bound to government to be in the least trusted for objective journalism. Journalism just does not exist in America on the big stuff.

This support by the press is not done just on special occasions, such as the run-up to the illegal invasion of Iraq, but consistently in the major affairs of state. We see it today in everything from “Russia-gate” to the Western-induced horrors of Syria.

Russia-gate is almost laughable, although few Americans laugh, immersed as they are in a stream of non-stop propaganda. But a matter like Syria, with more than half a million dead and terrible privations, isn’t laughable, yet no effort is made to explain the truth and bring this monstrous project – the work equally of Republicans and Democrats - to an end.

Three, while virtually all informed people understand that Israel’s influence in Washington is inordinate and inappropriate, many still do not realize that the horror of Iraq, just like the horror today of Syria, reflects the interests of Israel.

When Ariel Sharon was lobbying George Bush to attack other Middle Eastern countries following the Iraq invasion, Bush made a rarely-noticed remark to associates along the lines of, “Geez, what does the guy want? I invaded Iraq for him, didn’t I?”

Well, today, pretty much all of the countries that Sharon thought should be attacked have indeed been attacked by the United States and its associates in one fashion or another – covertly, as in Syria, or overtly, as in Libya. And we are all witnessing the ground being prepared for Iran.

It has been a genuinely terrifying period, the last decade and a half or so. War after war with huge numbers of innocents killed, vast damages inflicted, and armies of unfortunate refugees created. All of it completely unnecessary. All of it devoid of ethics or principles beyond the principle of “might makes right.”

It simply cannot be distinguished, except by order of magnitude, from the grisly work of Europe’s fascist governments of the 1930s and ‘40s.

All the discussions we read or see from America about truth in journalism, about truth in government, and about founding principles are pretty much distraction and noise, meaningless noise. The realities of what America is doing in the world make it so.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: A FREE PRESS - USELESSNESS OF POLITICAL SERMONS ON THE SUBJECT - THE HYPOCRISY SO OFTEN DISPLAYED BY THE PRESS ITSELF - THE CASE OF CBC - NOTHING LIKE THE GROTESQUERIES OF THE GUARDIAN BUT HYPOCRISY JUST THE SAME

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE ON CBC NEWS



“Journalists barred from Morneau speech in Beijing a day after Trudeau praises free press

“Business council says media excluded due to 'misunderstanding'; minister's office says it wasn't consulted”



First, it goes almost without saying, people who love a free society embrace a free and healthy press.

But I don't think preaching about it, as Trudeau did, is very helpful, just as preaching about almost anything is not very helpful. Its main usefulness is for a political impression back home.

And I actually thought some of Trudeau's words missed the mark even for us in Canada.

They certainly missed the mark in China, a proud, ancient society which very much resents preaching from the outside.

I wish we could just respect our differences, and the differences are real and will not fade away because of sermonettes.

As they say about writing, it is always more powerful to show than to tell. Our best effort should be in showing a good and peaceful and decent Canadian society. Something I have to say we do not always succeed at, making it even less appropriate to preach.

Actually, I thought Trudeau was mainly addressing, without saying so directly, the situation in Washington.

But what a waste of breath there. In the world's self-declared "indispensable nation," the true believers in American exceptionalism who run the place and try running the planet are not even tuned to the right channel to hear the sermon.

___________________

Response to another reader’s comment:

Yes, a fair number of comments do get censored, and I don't mean comments using vulgarity.

The CBC, while it does a good job overall in these forums, can't help but reflect political pressures with regard to certain topics and how they are treated in the articles and certainly how they are commented upon.

For people who do a lot of reading in the world press, this is fairly obvious.

My own view on a free press is included in the fabulous old quote about freedom of the press being possible only for those who own one.

Our Western journalism is full of a lot of high, airy notions which in fact, day to day, are ignored, just as we see, say, in our politics.

It is a complex issue, and that reality gives us even less cause to be preaching.

Readers may enjoy aspects of:   https://chuckmanwordsincomments.wordpress.com/2018/09/25/john-chuckman-comment-on-the-hatred-of-russia-its-background-and-the-purposes-it-serves-on-the-dishonesty-of-our-press-in-serving-that-purpose-and-the-importance-of-foreign-and-independent-news-s/

__________________________

Further response to the same reader:

They've already disabled my previous response to you, a response containing no vulgarity or name-calling.

Gee, there is sure a lot of hypocrisy around notions like a "free press.”