Tuesday, May 24, 2016

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



ABOUT JOHN CHUCKMAN

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

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

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

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

SOME INTERNET SITES FROM JOHN CHUCKMAN:


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


ME, ROUGHLY: THE DECLINE IS RAPID NOW

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: ZOE WILLIAMS ASKS IF ROBOTS ARE TO DO ALL THE WORK WHERE DO HUMANS FIT IN? - EVOLUTION AND THE ROLE OF ROBOTS


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY ZOE WILLIAMS IN THE GUARDIAN


They don't, at least in the long term.

The coming of robots is effectively the next stage of evolution.

I suspect, on any of the many worlds out there in the cosmos with life, that the ones capable of reaching or communicating with us are likely robotic. They have no interest in us.

The entire great saga of evolution seems to me to be about the emergence of intelligence, of the universe becoming self-aware.

Humans are just one long step in the great effort, and they have no more long-term future purpose than would dinosaurs.

That's hard for us to swallow, given our huge egos.

The real difficulties will be in an interim period of maybe a century in which robots do take virtually all the work and begin reproducing and improving themselves.

Will they be hostile to us the way we were to, say, Neanderthals?

Or will they tolerate us the way we do chimpanzees?

In any event, there definitely will not be room for seven billion or so of us with all our pollution and demands and murderous stupidities.

Readers may enjoy:




JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: EXPERT SAYS BRITAIN HAS ONLY BECOME MORE SEGREGATED OVER LAST 15 YEARS - SUGGESTED REASONS - AMERICAN EXPERIENCE WITH VOLUNTARY SEGREGATION AFTER THE END OF FORMAL SEGREGATION


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE GUARDIAN


Well if true - and that's a big "if" because measuring such things accurately is not easy - it would not surprise me.

In much of America this is very true despite the end of all formal segregation many years ago. It has been replaced by informal or voluntary segregation.

There are many reasons for this, and people should avoid jumping immediately to saying "racism."

First, blacks tend to be, on average, less economically successful for whatever reasons, so there are differences in worth or wealth. More well off people always live in different places than less well off.

Second, it is an easily observed fact that people of one type or another tend to show a preference for having people of their own kind as neighbors. This is just as true of blacks as it is for whites. And, of course, it explains phenomena like China Town or Korea Town or Spanish Harlem or many other such concentrations.

Three, all the stats from places as diverse as the United States, South Africa, Jamaica, and other places say that places with large concentrations of black people tend to suffer more crime. That's not an opinion, it's just what the stats say, millions of them.

In America, for example, cities or states or regions with high black population concentrations - Detroit, Washington, Atlanta, New Orleans, and increasingly, Chicago - there is a much higher incidence of crime, especially violent crime.

In a state like Maine with few blacks, crime rates are comparable to those in Canada. That is a major reason why whites often flee to new locations as the population in an area changes noticeably. It's called "white flight."

White flight also happens out of parents' concern for children in changing schools, concern both over violence and a sense of declining achievement in the schools.

These are very hard facts, but they are facts and society cannot pretend to deal with a situation unless it starts with facts.


Prejudice owing just to skin color is much less common than many people imagine. We see this in the United States, which, despite its history and despite its voluntary segregation, has twice elected a black man as president.


JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: WRITER SAYS MICROSOFT RUINED HER DAY AND MAYBE HER LIFE WHEN IT DUMPED ITS NEW SYSTEM INTO HER COMPUTER UNASKED - THE WINDOWS 10 TALE OF UGLY CORPORATE BEHAVIOR CONTINUES - SOME REFLECTIONS


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY MICHELE HANSON IN THE GUARDIAN


Microsoft has spent its corporate lifetime ruining people’s days.

It consistently sells incomplete or faulty products, repairs them in a half-assed way as you use them, and then comes out with another faulty product.

And that's apart from its long record of unfair competition and squeezing the little business guys.

Now, they’ve hit upon the notion of Windows as a service you keep renting – like anti-malwares – rather than a set of bits you pay for once. To really get the new money-machine rolling they decided to make the first install free and to basically dump it into people’s computers willy-nilly. There are reports on the Internet of all kinds of problems with incompatibilities and lost files.

It's actually a pretty ugly outfit, and I always get a laugh out of Bill Gates, a man who made his money as a pretty ruthless corporate predator, putting on his Dalai Lama air while protecting control of his fortune from taxes by ladling out charity here and there, all the while keeping himself center stage, for that is precisely what American foundations were designed to do.

Seriously, you can prevent this corporate burglary in your computer by downloading something called GWX Control. A software engineer built it, and it's free, and it really works.

You can always change your mind later, but it has given me peace of mind for many months. Windows 7, while far from perfect, is probably the best operating system they ever built. All the sharp guys tell me Windows 10 is not as stable and that it has some undesirable features, to say nothing of having been installed against your will.


This highly aggressive behavior is only intensifying in the next few months.


JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: EGYPTIANS DISCOVER THAT THERE WAS AN EXPLOSION INVOLVED WITH EGYPTAIR 804 - SOME FURTHER EARLY OBSERVATIONS


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE INDEPENDENT


There are three suggestive facts around this crash.

1) The plane flew right through the area of a joint naval exercise called Phoenix Express 2016.

2) The plane was detected by the Greek Defence Forces taking unusual evasive action like nothing involved in normal flight. Although the Egyptians already are saying this isn't so.

3) A Greek recorded some video of a "fireball" across the sky at the time. At least to my eye it resembles a rocket trail.

The shooting down of civilian airliners by the American military has happened about half a dozen times. These events are always either completely lied about (TWA Flight 800 off the US East Coast) or presented as something other than what they were (The downing of an Iranian airliner during the Iran-Iraq War).

It should come as no surprise if this proves to be the case here. America's ships and jets are in many locations and carry many deadly missiles. We also live in a time of extremely elevated tensions thanks to the US, so such weapons are all the more prone to being fired in error.

Of course, Egypt will never tell us the truth just as the US lied about TWA 800 and as it lies about Ukraine's role in downing MH-17.

Already Egypt's government is contradicting the experts at the morgue who said the bodies proved an explosion.




Monday, May 23, 2016

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: THE GUARDIAN PRINTS AN ARTICLE ABOUT REFUGEES BY TURKEY'S MURDEROUS PRESIDENT RECEP ERDOGAN - SYRIA AND ASSAD - AMERICAN BRUTAL POLICY OF MIGHT MAKES RIGHT


COMMENT POSTED (AND SOON REMOVED BY EDITOR) TO AN ARTICLE BY RECEP ERDOGAN IN THE GUARDIAN


Why do you print anything with this man's name on it?

He may have the title President but he is a mass killer, a killer of Kurds and Syrians.

He suppresses freedom of the press throughout his own country, and he makes lunatic demands of other countries such as insisting Germany prosecute a television comedian for making fun of him.

Never mind he has refugee camps, it is mainly his fault that there are streams of Syrian refugees in the first place.

And now he is blackmailing the EU around the future of the refugees.

He has sent wave after wave of cut throats and maniacs, gathered from all over, covertly there to destroy the country.

He has sent weapons, including Sarin nerve gas taken by America from Gadhafi’s stores, and he arranged an entire system for stealing Syrian oil and selling it on the black-market to help finance all his dirty operations.

Indeed Turkish journalists who uncovered his filthy shipments are now spending five years in Turkish prison.

President or not, he is simply a bloody thug, one of the world's worst.

The Guardian should know that, yet you give him space.

I guess it can only mean you support his goal of getting rid of Assad, a leader who in fact is far more tolerant and intelligent than Erdogan.

But the United States wants Assad gone - in part because Israel hates him and in part because he doesn't do some things America has demanded which he views as not good for his country – so you fall into line with David Cameron in effectively telling a country’s people who their leader should be. There is no other way to interpret any support for Turkey or Saudi Arabia on this matter.

In supporting this and giving a killer space in the paper, The Guardian effectively embraces a world where only might makes right, hardly the position of a truly liberal or progressive publication.






Tuesday, May 17, 2016

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: THE PENTAGON AS A BIG DUMB AND DESTRUCTIVE BUREAUCRACY - RUSSIA HUSBANDS ITS RESOURCES AND DOES NOT MAKE TROUBLE FOR ITSELF PUSHING PEOPLE AROUND ALL OVER THE PLANET


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN RINF


The US military is simply the world's biggest dumb bureaucracy, much resembling a school board with a trillion-dollar budget.

Most of what it does is reckless and even counter-productive, typical of big dumb bureaucracies.

Russia works with far more limited means and it skillfully husbands them.

Russia is also gifted with the most extraordinary leader of our generation, and he does not busy himself with crazed efforts to control all outside events, something America's rather poor leadership has specialized in since WWII.

America displays pretty much the behavior of huge unthinking schoolyard bully, and often creates its own problems as it keeps pushing countless people around.



JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: HILLARY CLINTON CONVINCING PEOPLE


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY JILL ABRAMSON IN THE GUARDIAN


Hillary Clinton can only convince the extremely naive or those already singing in her choir - that is, the kind of special interests who've created the nefarious Clinton Foundation's wealth.

Anyway, I doubt Bloody Hillary is even going to make it through the contest.

John Boehner, former Speaker of the House, has now said more than once he sees her withdrawing in light of the ever growing scandal around her State Department e-mails.

The FBI is seriously into investigating. The Russians are rumored to hold 20,000 of her e-mails from hacking her insecure computer and to be debating between agencies whether to release some of them.

And a Rumanian hacker has said he saw the trails of ten hackers when he broke into her server.

We also see many comments on what a tired and lacklustre campaign she is running.

Bernie Sanders is only trailing because of considerable vote fraud by her insider contacts.



JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: SCREEN ACTORS IN THE PRESS MAKING POLITICAL COMMENTS - EXPLANATION AS TO WHY THIS NONSENSE GOES ON


COMMENT


I don't understand why anyone looks to screen actors such as George Clooney for political advice.

They are, in general, not a very bright bunch, as the late Truman Capote famously observed.

John Voight and his daughter, Angelina Jolie, have made some astoundingly dumb political comments.

Jolie, especially, keeps making them and the press keeps dutifully giving her publicity even though what she says borders on the absurd.

I guess it is all a reflection of the magic of the big screen which converts some rather unimpressive people into demi-gods by virtue of their photogenic faces and resonant voices, all larger than life.

This is the same psychological effect we see with advertising on television.

People effectively have suggestions planted in their heads which have very little to do with reality.



JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: COLUMNIST SAYS TRUMP SUPPORTERS ARE NOT THE MINDLESS BIGOTS THEY ARE OFTEN DEMONIZED AS - AN IMPORTANT CONCEPT OF HOW WE ELECT GOVERNMENTS - THE VARIOUS CAMPS OF TRUMP SUPPORTERS AND WHAT MOTIVATES THEM


COMMENT POSTED AT AN ARTICLE BY JOHN HARRIS IN THE GUARDIAN


You are right, John Harris.

The fact is that in our Western politics with political parties, choices are almost never simple, black or white, good or evil – although some people never stop pretending that they are so.

Voters are faced always with a choice between two or more highly complex bundles of goods.

No single leader's positions on every issue that can satisfy all individual voters.

We all make (sometimes regrettable) choices in favor of this or that leading issue.

For working class Americans, this choice is going to be about a long period of decline in their opportunities.

For others, concerned about America's having put itself into a perpetual state of war and descended into many horrors such as drone-murders, it is foreign affairs which matter.

Both of these matters, as well as a few others such as the financial crisis we have been in since 2008 leave a great cynicism and distrust of the ruling American establishment, who themselves do very well under all these conditions.

What Americans have been experiencing for decades now is a long, slow come-down from being the world's only great manufacturer left standing after WWII to the birth of a multi-polar world where other countries can do many things as well or better than America.

Much of the world no longer buys America’s goods, choosing the products instead of other countries. America’s own great manufacturers have responded by themselves becoming firms which do much of their work abroad.

That is a set of realities that a single nation on its own cannot greatly alter, and I do not think Trump can do much about the working class situation although he sincerely believes he can, much like, say, Democrats of the 1960-70s.

But in foreign affairs, Trump offers a bit of genuine hope. He has made a number of encouraging statements which head in the direction of ending the long, bloody, pointless reign of the neo-cons. He doesn’t see why America should be in conflict with Russia and China. He doesn’t see why America busies itself in Syria, with Russia being quite capable of sorting the terrorists. He believes Israel should pay for its own defense, a stunning truth almost never heard in American politics.

The neo-cons in America have had a terrible war-inducing influence. Much of the Middle East is in flames thanks to them, and likely a million souls have been killed. The hordes of refugees in Europe are virtually completely the doing of neo-con policies. The needless, artificial hostilities deliberately re-kindled in Europe towards Russia are not only senselessly dangerous, they are costing everyone money and jobs.

Obama has proved a complete tool of the worst people guiding American policy. He is a disappointment from his hopeful start beyond describing, a smiling, baritone-voiced killer and devotee of American exceptionalism.

Here, Trump can really help, or at least stands a good chance of helping. In military and foreign affairs, Presidents have some real power.

And what is the alternative? Blood-drenched Hillary who oversaw the mess at Benghazi, approved shipments of arms (including Sarin poison gas stocks) from there to Turkey for insertion into the horrors of Syria, who never saw a war she did not support, and who has a long record of being caught lying and participating in screamingly blatant corruption.

Yes, in at least a few areas, Trump seems to have something to offer.

Readers may enjoy:




JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: A THOUGHTLESS ARTICLE BY MICHAEL WHITE ABOUT "INTERVENTIONS" IN IRAQ AND SYRIA - THE TRUTH ABOUT THE WORD "INTERVENTION" - A WORLD WITHOUT VALUES EXCEPT FOR THE VALUE OF MIGHT MAKES RIGHT


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY MICHAEL WHITE IN THE GUARDIAN


"...but not intervening carries a price too"

Pure, thoughtless crap, Mr. White.

These weren't "interventions," they were aggressive wars by proxy and otherwise.

A million or so people destroyed.

Many portions of beautiful lands destroyed.

People's jobs destroyed for a generation.

Refugees by the millions created.

Only people with no feeling for humanity or the servants of special interests can speak this way.

It's pure Hillary-speak with no sense of moral or ethical values.

George Orwell would have been appalled by the word "intervention" as used here and by the neo-cons.

If it's okay to "intervene” in this fashion, then pretty much all everyone from Tojo to the Argentine Junta did is just fine, and we live in a world without values, except for the value of might makes right.




JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: SADIQ KHAN, LONDON'S NEW MAYOR, IS RAPIDLY PROVING A VERY DISAPPOINTING POLITICIAN


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE INDEPENDENT


Sadiq Khan doesn't like Jeremy Corbyn, that's clear because he is allowing himself to be used in the anti-Semitism witch hunt.

I don't know why he doesn't like Corbyn, but I am sure it has nothing to do with anti-Semitism.

Maybe he's already making Boris noises about succession?

Maybe he is bending over backward to be acceptable to the establishment?

But I am disappointed that this man who seemed decent and was himself a victim of Conservative name-calling, has turned out the way he has.

Is there nothing better for the Mayor of London to do than have armchair chats attacking members of his party?

Very disappointing man, Sadiq Khan.



JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: RUSSIA'S VICTORY DAY CELEBRATIONS - SOME IMPORTANT FACTS ABOUT WORLD WAR II AND RUSSIA'S ROLE IN IT


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE GUARDIAN


They have every right to celebrate.

The WWII victory was without parallel.

Just as individual parts of the titanic struggle were.

Stalingrad was the greatest battle in all of human history.

Kursk was the greatest tank battle ever fought.

The Soviet losses were an unimaginable 27 million killed.

In Russia World War II is not called that. It is called The Great Fatherland War, and rightly so.

Three out of four Germans killed were killed by the Soviets.

The West's efforts seem almost paltry when compared.

For example, the United States lost about 300 thousand men on all fronts in the entire war.

It is shameful that today America goads Germany to again put troops on Russia's border.

It is also shameful that, under American pressure, European leaders aren't all making an appearance in Moscow.
_______________________________
Insane comment.

The ones who saw the Russians as "expendable components" were the West.

They wanted Russia bled white before making a serious effort themselves.




Monday, May 09, 2016

JOHN CHUCKMAN ESSAY: AN AMERICAN ORIGINAL: JOHN KERRY - FROM HIS REMARKABLE RECENT COMMENCEMENT ADDRESS AT NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY TO THE REMARKABLE CAREER THAT MADE IT POSSIBLE


AN AMERICAN ORIGINAL:  JOHN KERRY - FROM HIS REMARKABLE RECENT COMMENCEMENT ADDRESS AT NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY TO THE REMARKABLE CAREER THAT MADE IT POSSIBLE

John Chuckman


John Kerry is, besides many other unpleasant things, a rather ridiculous man, and he has managed to prove that proposition time and time again.

He used his recent commencement address at Northwestern University to attack Donald Trump. It is difficult to understand why young graduates at one of America’s better universities would want to hear political boiler plate from a key member of a failed and dying administration, rather than the usual vaguely inspiring stuff about the future, but that is what the graduating class got for their student fees.

I suppose, as so often is the case in America, the empty prestige of having someone with a big job speak, even when they have nothing to say, mattered. After all, Hillary Clinton has collected countless millions doing exactly the same thing for audiences at investment banker and defense contractor banquets in recent years.

Well, the part of Trump on which Kerry focused was his proposal for a wall with Mexico.

I don't like walls myself, and it is my belief that even if elected Trump, for many reasons, will not succeed in emulating the Emperor Hadrian. Still, you might expect from the point of view of a Secretary of State, supposedly gazing upon the world’s countries with an impartial, god-like eye, that if it is okay for Israel to keep building walls, and it has several new ones underway right now, all built on other people's property, why can't others? The reasoning in both cases, and in all other cases such as those in Kerry’s contemporary Europe where new walls of various forms are frantically being built, is the same: we need to stop unwanted people crossing the border.

Can anyone even imagine Kerry - this man who, once not long ago, reminisced over Champagne toasts about some distant relative or another of his who was allegedly part-Jewish (truly, has grovelling by a Secretary of State reached such levels before? I would have expected his entire audience either to choke or throw up) - ever saying a single word to Israel about its walls, walls which go far beyond serving Israel’s border fears to literally chopping up and destroying the land which supports millions of other people? It would be as though Trump were demanding a series of walls inside Mexico to balkanize the entire country and then set about building them himself with America’s armed forces. Now that would be utterly ridiculous, not to say criminal, but Israel’s doing just that is never called ridiculous or criminal, and it is certainly is never questioned by Kerry.

And then, as though in an effort to reclaim the stature of his address from just political campaign boiler plate, Kerry’s rhetoric drifted off to the subject of a future borderless world.

Now that is an old idea that appeals greatly to me, but I know very well that Kerry is being dishonest here. The world in fact, not all that long ago, pretty much was borderless. It was precisely the rise of the modern nation state in the 19th century which killed off that amiable concept requiring no passports or visa or permissions for moving about. Of course, we are talking about precisely the kind of modern nation state which Kerry has lovingly served in expanding its power and influence over others for his entire adult life.

Kerry’s dishonesty extends into what he even means by a “borderless world.” Now, I have always believed the Apostle Paul in emphasizing deeds rather than words, so If we are to judge by Kerry’s actual acts and those of predecessor Secretaries of State such as Hillary Clinton or Madeleine Albright or Henry Kissinger, and not by the State Department’s regularly-broadcast, doubtful advertising claims, John Kerry’s concept of a “borderless world’ is one in which the United States runs everyone's affairs, rendering the borders of individual countries meaningless.

Now, that is a concept which very much does not appeal to me, nor does it appeal, I suspect, to a great many of the world’s seven billion people and their governments.

Just recently, this dishonest and generally unpleasant man has put an ultimatum to the government of Syria, making threats that if he doesn't see what he wants by the beginning of August, there will be serious consequences. That certainly sounds to me like a Mafia Don speaking, demanding payment of protection money from some business, or else.

John Kerry has no business telling the government of Syria to do anything, much less to dissolve itself. It is, and has been, a reasonably popular government, one which receives the support of a majority of Syrians in polls and elections. Among other reasons for its popularity is President Assad’s defence of religious minorities. Syria’s citizens form an elaborate quilt of various religions, and they know their rights to worship as they please are protected in a region of the world where that is not common. Some of Mr. Kerry’s closest working associates in the region cannot say the same thing, and indeed they include associates who are quite violent towards people of differing faiths.

The proxy forces which Kerry and his predecessor, Hillary Clinton, have supported for five years in tearing Syria apart consist literally of various gangs of intolerant extremists and cut-throats. Boy, when it comes to double-speak, John Kerry is your man.

By what right does he do this? None, except that might makes right. America has supported terror in Syria, supplying weapons, platoons of cut-throats, and training while supporting the thugs of Turkey and Saudi Arabia in their logistics of destruction, all while pretending in State Department advertisement after advertisement that it opposes terror. And we’ve only just learned that Hillary Clinton supported the transfer of supplies of deadly Sarin nerve gas from Gadhafi’s stockpiles in wrecked Libya (another stunning State Department achievement) through a secret pipeline (read: Turkey) to the cut-throats in Syria where it was promptly used to kill civilians in the hope of blaming Assad and creating a casus belli for the United States (or, as Obama put it in his elliptical language, responding to Assad crossing a red line).

But John Kerry still hasn't got what he wants in Syria, so now we have a new threat. Why is Kerry so determined to topple the government of Syria? Because Assad is an independent-minded leader, one who does not immediately say “yes, sir,” to every whim of Washington’s, and if there is anything which recent history teaches us, it is that the outfit Kerry serves has no tolerance for the independent-minded. So as to emphasize the point, Washington has left behind a trail of death and destruction in the region – perhaps a million dead and millions made refugees - all of it aimed at getting rid of inconvenient independent leaders.

This intolerance by Washington of independent-mindedness is strongly supported - supported is actually much too feeble a word, demanded being more apt, and demanded regularly over heated phone lines – by the government of America’s colony in the region, the same government to whom Kerry fears even saying so much as a word about its many walls criss-crossing other people’s land.    

Quite a disgusting business I think which somehow manages to be converted by our press into “foreign policy,” just as one of its authors, John Kerry, manages to be converted into a “diplomat.’

Kerry was a rich boy who, after graduating university, started his political ascent by spending four months in Vietnam, busying himself with shooting peasants in the back from an armored speedboat racing up and down rivers. He wanted to gain some war “creds” for an anticipated political career. Apart from his killings in Vietnam, he made such a muck of things, leaving behind colleagues who had only contempt for his false heroics and self-promotion. Then our man Kerry, having returned home and seeing how badly the Vietnam War was regarded by people, decided to add some new “creds” to his resume, anti-war ones. So, no matter how the political winds turned in the future, John-boy was covered. He appeared with some anti-war demonstrators, once throwing his filthily-earned medals into a bin, from which they were later quietly retrieved for him.

As to Kerry’s actual attitude towards America’s dirty colonial wars, we have the testimony of his whole career in the Senate, as a Presidential candidate, and finally as Secretary of State, faithfully serving and supporting them.

Kerry’s campaign, in running for President in 2004, was so unbelievably dreary and empty of all meaning, that the American people actually re-elected the most disliked president in the country’s history, George Bush. That feat stands as a remarkable testimonial to John Kerry’s talents.

The only big thing Kerry seems ever to have done that was genuinely successful was marrying the woman who inherited the Heinz Ketchup and Pickle Fortune. That made him wealthy beyond his dreams, perhaps planting in his brain fanciful thoughts of an ambitious young George Washington marrying the widow, Martha Custis, said to have been the wealthiest woman in the American colonies.

When John Kerry says anything on any topic, his listeners would be wise to consider the source, for even though he walks around in the appointed robes of America’s Secretary of State, he is pretty much a life-long, ambitious, and dishonest failure.   






Sunday, May 08, 2016

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: NO END TO THE WITCH HUNT IN BRITAIN - YET ANOTHER PIECE ON ANTI-SEMITISM IN THE GUARDIAN - EVA WISEMAN TAKES THE "SEE, LOOK WHAT HAPPENED TO ME" APPROACH RATHER THAN A DIRECT NAME-CALLING ATTACK - BUT THE MAIN PURPOSE AT THIS TIME CAN ONLY BE A NEEDLESS STOKING OF THE FLAMES


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY EVA WISEMAN IN THE GUARDIAN


Please, we all, most of us, have suffered bullying or prejudice in our lives, and it is tiring to keep seeing tales of it like this rather self-indulgent piece.

The piece is not without a sense of insincerity too, coming as it does after weeks of what I can only describe as an around-the-clock McCarthyite witch hunt, a witch hunt, not for communists lurking in the halls of government, but for "anti-Semites" lurking in the Labour Party.

I do not need to explain to open-minded readers why that is a completely unfair thing to do.

The origins of this prejudice - for that is what it is, a prejudice, or you may fairly call it a reverse-prejudice - are in the views and attitudes of the government of Israel. It has always condemned "liberals" as hating Israel and its members frequently uses the term “anti-Semites” to belittle and silence criticism.

But the entire history of genuine liberalism has to do with trying to right inequalities and injustices, so how can it be otherwise? Recent history’s publically-labelled “anti-Semites” include men as honorable as Jimmy Carter, Desmond Tutu, and Nelson Mandela, just to name a few.

It can never be fairly called “anti-Semitic” to criticize Israel, any more than it was Russian-hating to condemn the Soviet Union.

If Israel is to be a state like any other state, then it must abide by the norms expected of other states, but it plainly does not do so, and instead, people appalled by its behavior are heaped with name-calling.





Friday, May 06, 2016

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: A VERY PROVOCATIVE IDEA: WAS MODERN ISRAEL'S FOUNDING A MISTAKE? - IT WAS NOT ANTI-SEMITIC FOR KEN LIVINGSTON TO SAY THIS IN AN INTERVIEW - JUST A REFLECTION OF ALL THE MISERY AND TURMOIL ISRAEL HAS GENERATED SINCE 1948


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE INDEPENDENT


'The creation of the state of Israel was fundamentally wrong'

I know The Independent is trying to be quite provocative here, but the truth is, there is nothing wrong with Livingstone's statement. It is not hateful, it is painfully accurate.

Many, many thoughtful people have said more or less the same thing.

It has absolutely nothing to do with anti-Semitism.

It is simply a reflection of all the misery and turmoil Israel, as a state, has generated since 1948.

Albert Einstein himself - often called a Zionist - had a highly qualified view of Israel. He liked the idea of displaced Jews finding homes in the Holy Land, but wrote very forcefully against the kind of state we have seen emerge, one governed only for the benefit of Jews and with a powerful army. He was strongly against that happening.

One of the leading early Zionists, Ze'ev Jabotinsky, established a terrible principle called "the iron wall" which was completely adopted by re-created Israel. The principle is that Jews should show only an iron wall to their neighbors in the Middle East.

How can anything good come of that? Well, it cannot, and it hasn't.

Had Israel been founded along lines Einstein advocated, the whole story might well have been different, but it did not. It adopted “the iron wall” and has treated its neighbors pretty much with contempt, and nearly endless aggression, since 1948.

The Six Day War, we know from various historical sources including blunt observations from de Gaulle, was deliberately created by Israel. It had calculated and knew that it could win handily against divided and poorly-led Arab states enticed into war. There were a whole series of provocations laid out, and Israel got just what it wanted in terms of land, and the Arabs were left looking like failed aggressors against poor little David. It was a military and propaganda triumph.

The results are what we see today: millions living as prisoners with no rights or future, slow-motion depopulation of the captured territories in favor of new owners, the outright theft of people’s homes and farms week-in and week-out, the disruption of ancient life patterns through walls (built on other people’s land) and countless barriers, the theft of many other resources such as oil from Syria’s Golan Heights or gas from a seabed which should belong to Gaza, theft of precious water supplies through many diversions and projects, and a very great deal more.

How can that kind of state behavior ever produce peace or anything else good? Of course it cannot. It is not meant to do so.

The truth is Israel is not even a very good place for many Jews in which to live. It is an awfully inefficient economy, always heavily subsidized. Prices are terribly high. It is difficult to afford a home. Good jobs are not plentiful. You must see your children in the army, and enforcing the ugliness of the occupation. And you must accept all the noise and ugly violence that goes on. The wealthy class in Israel, many or most of whom are dual-citizens, do very well and are safe in the idea they can easily migrate if required or desired.

Israel has attacked every neighbor that it has, some numerous times. It is always making threats, as against Iran, and the threats are unwarranted because Iran has attacked no one in its modern history and does not threaten Israel. Various modern leaders have demanded American attack every place from Iraq to Iran, and they very much got their way in Iraq, Libya, and Syria. Likely a million have died, and for what?

Well, in the end, re-created Israel is a fact, even if a mistake, and the world can accept it if only it can play by the rules, return to the Green Line, and live in peace with its neighbors. This is the view of people like Uri Avnery whom I support. But voices like his are extremely rare in Israel. So what hope is there ever to see peace and progress with dark figures like Netanyahu or Sharon? None.

Israel will only respond to pressure from Western states, and that is why it is completely right to criticize and try to alter the political environment which allows Israel’s bloody excesses to flourish. It is not anti-Semitism, it is human decency, and I am sure most Jewish people really understand that but feel fearful of saying so.



JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: ACCUSATION ABOUT TED CRUZ'S FATHER BEING INVOLVED IN KENNEDY ASSASINATION CANNOT BE LIGHTLY DISMISSED - SOME BASIC FACTS AROUND THAT EVENT


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE GUARDIAN


Well, there are photos showing a man who appears to be Cruz Senior handing out pro-Cuba leaflets with Oswald in New Orleans.

Those who've studied the assassination in some depth know that Oswald was put up to this provocative work by still unknown parties.

The best guess is that this was just one of many gimmicks to collect names of Castro sympathizers - those who would write in response to the phony pamphlet.

The people who put Oswald on this task and some others are almost certainly the ones who assassinated Kennedy.

Now, it so happens, that Cruz Senior was a Cuban refugee, and it has been said he had some rather unpleasant connections in the refugee community. There are also accusations of shady family doings. All in all, the kind of stuff that makes you a good possible tool for people with really bad intentions.

I don't know. His name never came up in the past regarding the assassination, but the photo is pretty startling and not just something to dismiss.

My own view has long been the CIA-trained and -supplied and -paid Cuban fighter refugees were the ones who killed Kennedy, almost certainly with the cooperation of their immediate CIA handlers.

They literally hated Kennedy after the Bay of Pigs and the settlement of the Cuban Missile Crisis. They had motive, opportunity, and means which Oswald most certainly did not.

Oswald was just what he said he was, a patsy. He likely crossed paths quite innocently with the killers when he worked as an FBI informant, something we know he did, and we even have his FBI informant number. The Kennedy brothers put some pressure on the FBI to keep informed about continuing anti-Castro activities, even conducting some raids, following the Cuban Missile Crisis and Kennedy’s promise not to again invade Cuba.



JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: EDWARD SNOWDEN SAYS GOVERNMENT CAN REDUCE OUR DIGNITY TO THAT OF TAGGED ANIMALS - YES BUT MORE THAN THAT - A DARK FUTURE GEORGE ORWELL COULD NOT HAVE IMAGINED


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY EDWARD SNOWDEN IN THE GUARDIAN


‘Governments can reduce our dignity to that of tagged animals’

Yes, indeed, Edward Snowden, but I fear recent developments mean a great deal more.

The United States is building a national security state. This will serve the establishment by means of America’s vast network of security organizations and military, reducing the rest of us to stats on a screen or page.

Much like an arms race, this kind of thing has no limits as to how vast or comprehensive it becomes. There is no genuine accountability, and the people have no tribunes.

Already the United States – where I was born and grew up – runs programs to kill people in half a dozen countries. Names are taken off computer screens and given to buzz-cut thugs who work somewhere in the basements of CIA also at computer screens, playing computer games with real lives. It is appalling.

There is no significant difference between this and the way the old Argentine military junta used to make what they regarded as undesirable people disappear in the night, activity which of course America’s security services knew about and had no trouble with. Obama signs off from “kill lists” which are now rumored to go beyond just suspected terrorists, including drugs people.

These killings have no legality, and there is no accounting for them. The victims are completely innocent under law, and all the others often killed along with them are not even suspects.

It’s all as though the Enlightenment and all that followed had never happened. It doesn’t take long for all sense of human rights simply to dissolve away.

Obama - who by the way is often rumored to be CIA, as was George Bush senior, and who is in any case an almost psychotic man, one who dislikes openness and explaining himself, possessing a charming smile and a keen willingness to kill in secret - and the intelligences services are building a future dark society George Orwell could not have imagined.

A final word of gratitude for the blow you struck for human freedom, but I do fear things are going to run completely beyond control, there being, I am sure, programs and weapons and secret organizations of which you are not even aware. And the rapid approach of artificial intelligence and capable robots – all in the control of the same folks – does not signify a bright future for humanity. 





JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: FATAL FLAWS IN THE EU - AMERICAN ABUSE OF THE EU FOR ITS OWN GEO-POLITICAL GOALS - AND A COMPLETE LACK OF REAL LEADERSHIP - MRS. MERKEL'S TERRIBLE AND DESTRUCTIVE ERRORS - HISTORY WILL NOT VIEW HER KINDLY


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN RUSSIA TODAY


There are at least two fatal flaws in the EU today.

There is a complete lack of effective leadership. They are all midgets. There is not anyone even close to the stature of a de Gaulle.

And they stand ready to allow themselves consistently to be used by the US for its own geo-political ends. The real needs and interests of 500 million people are completely secondary to the geo-political goals of Washington’s imperial establishment.

Mrs. Merkel has been disgracefully so inclined and, as de facto leader of Europe, she has been a kind of blundering anti-de Gaulle. Much of the blame for any possible break-up in Europe must rest with her.

Her position on the refugees is just an outcome, albeit with humanitarian motives, of having accepted for years the horrors being induced in Syria by America’s proxies and then seeing first-hand the bitter results in the people fleeing.

Her dirty dealings with Turkey’s Erdogan, in paying massive blackmail for the control of refugee flows, refugees which his dirty work in Syria helped create in the first place, are really hard to accept, but Turkey remains a key US anti-Russian state. She can't criticize without the immediate disapproval of Washington, something she seems to have no capacity to risk. On this matter alone, history will not be kind to her leadership.

Her supplying Israel with sophisticated diesel-powered submarines, made capable of carrying mid-range nuclear missiles, is completely irresponsible, but again it is guilt-induced with not enough hard-headed thought about long-term consequences.



JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: AFTER YET ANOTHER OVER-THE-TOP ATTACK ON LABOUR PARTY ANTI-SEMITISM - THIS ONE BY BRITAIN'S CHIEF RABBI - JEWISH ACADEMIC AND WRITER NORMAN FINKELSTEIN REVEALS THAT IT WAS HIS NOTION THAT WAS BORROWED BY NAZ SHAH TO POST - THIS REALLY REDUCES THE WHOLE BRITISH ANTI-SEMITISM WITCH HUNT TO AN EPISODE OF THE KEYSTONE KOPS - A MISUSED WORD WHOSE MEANING IS DYING


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN RINF


Norman Finkelstein is a thoughtful and decent person, and the revelation that it was his sarcastic notion that was deliberately misinterpreted into vicious charges anti-Semitism contains elements of the Keystone Cops.

Papers like The Guardian and The Independent have run the most provocative and truly mindless pieces of propaganda during this huge McCarthyite hate-fest.

Even the leader of Israel's Labour Party has joined in for his share of expressions of horror and disbelief that such anti-Semitism can exist, and that from a man who lives in a country where 5 million people are prisoners with zero rights, guilty of no crime.

It is all really about killing off Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, a man Israel dislikes as too independent-minded.

No one seems to recognize how utterly inappropriate it is for another country, or even talk of another country, to be guiding political events in Britain.

This vicious outbreak in Britain actually makes the American system of political payments to cooperative politicians from the Israel Lobby seem rather temperate.

Much more of this kind of absurd circus is literally going to consign the word anti-Semitism to the dust bin of history. Then, just maybe, we can all begin the first honest discussion of Israel’s hideous behavior towards a whole people which is the only way to create pressure for change.



JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: WRITER SAYS ANTI-SEMITISM ROW IN BRITISH POLITICS IS A DRAMA BUT NOT A CRISIS - WELL YES BUT A DIRTY SHAME IS WHAT IT TRULY IS


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY STEVE RICHARDS IN THE GUARDIAN


“Labour’s antisemitism row may be drama, but it’s no crisis”

Indeed, but it is a dirty shame.

We are dealing with national affairs, and a major party has been crippled by ugly and unwarranted name-calling.

Thank you, David Cameron, always a low-life politician, and thank you to the UK's press for supporting him in the work.

The one advantage is that it all makes Trump's big mouth look not quite so bad after all.
_____________________________
Response to another comment:

And those two shameful columns by Jonathan Freedland and Nick Cohen not only ran for days but permitted no replies.

Those columns were the absolute essence of unfair propaganda.
________________________________

It's all too wrong for words.

When people criticized the Soviet Union, it did not make them, ipso facto, Russian-haters.

And, indeed, for the worst regime of the last century, National Socialist Germany, criticizing it did not make you a German-hater.

Israel has done many terrible things to the Palestinians, and it makes no effort at all to reach a fair settlement with them.

If that isn't appropriate for criticism, what is?

Are we to give up all ethics and principles, never saying a word against abuse and new horrors, because something terrible was done to Jewish people three-quarters of a century ago by another party on another continent?

But that criticism does not make you someone who hates Jewish people.

That is absurd logic, and I am pretty sure it is deliberately used by some to cloud matters of real importance.

That is precisely the issue here, yet it is buried by writers like Jonathan Freedland and Nick Cohen and by politicians like David Cameron and the leader of Israel's Labour Party who even managed to get into the fray.

It's been an appalling set of orchestrated events, and when the public is treated in this fashion, it only raises suspicions about the intent and purposes and sincerity of all involved.

I would infinitely prefer my politics to deal with all the terrible problems we face and not stoop to this shameful level.



JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: CANADA'S JUSTIN TRUDEAU IS NO ORDINARY POLITICIAN SAYS A WRITER - BUT HOW COULD IT BE OTHERWISE?


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE GUARDIAN


How could he be an ordinary politician?

His father was Pierre Trudeau, a rather extraordinary man, and Justin has explained how carefully his father taught him important lessons over the years. Pierre's sometimes overly-tough Jesuitical personality was softened by Justin's mother, producing a blend the world today is busy admiring.

When Justin - people in Britain may not be aware of this, well before the election - went into the boxing ring with a Conservative known for his physical toughness and some pretty thuggish behavior and won, he was using skills and a mental attitude given by his father.

Justin defeated Stephen Harper - a truly ugly politician, much resembling David Cameron, only even somewhat more thuggish - and that feat makes him our white knight for some time to come.

He'll make mistakes, but if he doesn't make too many and he doesn't completely bow to the special interests that Harper worshipped, we will be a happy people in our politics.



JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: TRUMP'S INDIANA VICTORY AND CRUZ WITHDRAWAL FROM CONTEST - THE BASIC ANSWER AS TO WHY CRUZ FAILED


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE GUARDIAN


We expected Trump's achievement, and he didn't disappoint.

Ted Cruz, if you read up on him, qualifies as one of the ugliest human beings ever to run in either party, a nasty piece of work altogether.

What was remarkable in Indiana was Bernie handing Hillary yet another sound defeat.

Simply amazing.

Her name is as well-known as Microsoft, and he is a figure few in the Midwest would even have been aware of. He comes originally from New York, something which in the American Midwest is virtually a liability - maybe comparable to a Londoner in Yorkshire.

And, believe me a self-declared "democratic socialist" does not go down well in the Heartland, but it is clear Bloody Hillary goes down even less well.

If it wasn't for her party insiders - with her years in national politics plus her husband's, she has many and they have used voter suppression tactics to rig some of the races - Arizona, New York, Iowa - he may well have been the candidate presumptive.

Well, California looms large. Who knows?

There never has been a more gripping year of American politics.



Sunday, May 01, 2016

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: LABOUR MP DIANNE ABBOTT SPEAKS OUT ABOUT THE SHAM ANTI-SEMITISM ATTACKS AGAINST LABOUR - DAVID CAMERON'S CHARACTER - PURE MCCARTHYISM - I'M SORRY THAT CORBYN HAS BUCKLED: HE WAS ALWAYS THE TARGET - NOTE ON A PAST EXTREME STATEMENT OF ABBOTT


COMMENT POSTED TO A COLUMN IN THE INDEPENDENT


Thank you, Diane Abbott.

You only say what's understood by all clear-thinking people.

This anti-Semitism witch hunt has been lowest form of political attack in modern history.

Indeed, it demonstrates vividly a really low-life aspect of David Cameron's character.

The people doing this dirty work smile with self-satisfaction while they do the very thing they accuse others of, unacceptable name-calling.

God, they even roped in the leader of Israel's Labour Party to add his twisted words.

McCarthyism, pure and simple.

Pure hate.

I have admired Jeremy Corbyn on many matters, but I much regret that this otherwise honorable man has buckled to this ugly pressure. I am disappointed.

So the political low-lives have at least in part succeeded.

He was always the target.
_____________________
Response to another comment pointing out that Dianne Abbott made disparaging remarks in the past about not needing another white man running for mayor:

You have a point, but in the real world, sometimes people who are otherwise wrong can be right.

Trump is a good example. Wrong on lots of issues. Dead right on a few very important ones.

The great writer, Graham Greene, said:
“…the writer should always be ready to change sides at the drop of a hat. He stands for the victims, and the victims change.”




JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: ARTICLE CLAIMS THE POSSIBILITY OF TRUMP RAISES FEAR IN THE MIDDLE EAST - THE TRUTH IS HE RAISES FEAR IN ONLY ONE PLACE - AND THAT FEAR IS WHAT GENERATES ALL THESE ATTACKS


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE INDEPENDENT


"Prospect of Republican hopeful becoming US President sparks fear in the Middle East"

True only so far as this: he sparks fear in Israel.

Israel is afraid that its cozy, protected, heavily subsidized world, a world almost without demands upon it, might change.

That's what all the attacks on Trump are about, just like the humbug anti-Semitism now going on in Britain because Israel does not like Corbyn.

Israel does not like any independent-minded leader.

That's what has generated the whole horror of Syria.


Saturday, April 30, 2016

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: ISRAEL'S LABOUR PARTY LEADER JOINS THE WITCH HUNT IN BRITAIN - SIMPLY UNBELIEVABLE FROM SOMEONE LIVING IN A COUNTRY WHERE FIVE MILLION ARE HELD AGAINST THEIR WILL, DENIED ANY RIGHTS AND ABUSED WITH ENDLESS CHECK-POINTS, DEMOLITIONS, WALLS, LAND SEIZURES, BLOCKADE, IMPRISONMENT, ASSASSINATIONS, AND TORTURE


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE INDEPENDENT


"Israeli Labor leader slams Livingstone's 'horrific, unthinkable' views"

Well, here is an example of either ignorance or genuine hate, hate posing as the moral high-ground.

Livingston expressed nothing "unthinkable," he expressed a historical fact, undoubtedly unpleasant for some.

Livingston would have better avoided mentioning it, but it remains a fact, not an expression of hate.

If you want a genuine example of "unthinkable" behavior, and on a massive scale, there is Israel's holding about five million people completely against their will, giving them absolutely no rights or status, abusing them endlessly with walls, demolitions, imprisonment, checkpoints, limits on their fishing, blockading them, bombing them, seizing homes and farms, assassinating them, and,  yes, documented torture. 

Good God, we are all expected to ignore these horrors just because a politician mentioned an inconvenient truth?

The letter by Isaac Herzog is utterly self-serving and represents the cheapest political opportunism.

Again:





JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: MORE ON THE BRITISH WITCH HUNT STARTED BY DAVID CAMERON - KEN LIVINGSTON'S EXPLANATION - MS. NAZ SHAH'S WORDS - AND HOW TO ABUSE THE "APOLOGY" OF SOMEONE UNDER VICIOUS ATTACK


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE IDEPENDENT


Absolutely right, Mr. Livingstone, this is a deliberately created fury to hurt Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party.

David Cameron has shown himself an unpleasant mediocrity in nearly everything he has undertaken.

But he has truly surpassed himself with this new McCarthyite campaign against Corbyn’s Labour.

It should make all people sick over the complete lack of respect for democratic values.
_____________________________

Response to another reader’s comment quoting Naz Shah’s apology in Parliament:

No one should be quoted in the fashion you have quoted Naz Shah as proof of her anti-Semitism. It is inherently unfair.

All thinking people know she would have been speaking under intense pressure, both from outside and inside of her party.

Quoting her in this fashion is a bit like quoting some of America's Guantanamo torture victims on their guilt for crimes they never did and for which they received no legal trial.

We can all judge statements of genuine hate, including hate of a people just for what they are - which describes all forms of genuine prejudice including anti-Semitism.

And we are all perfectly capable of judging an outburst of anger and disapproval and frustration at the shameful behaviors of a state like Israel.

They are not the same thing, no matter how many times you or anyone else repeat that they are.

And Naz Shah’s original words were exactly of this nature, reflecting frustration and anger over the behaviors of a state, not hatred of a people.

Criticizing Israel is exactly the parallel of criticizing the old Soviet Union. Doing either of these cannot be regarded as an expression of hatred, either of Jewish people or of Russians.

For God's sake, the greatest terrible state in modern history was Germany 1933-45 and run by Germans. Was criticizing the Reich hatred of all Germans?

Of course not, and it is not a whit different in the case of Israel, a state which in fact has violated every international law and convention concerning human rights that we have.

I actually believe many of Israel's defenders understand this, but they are taking unfair advantage at this moment to kick up a lot of dust, effectively defending what cannot be defended, Israel's behavior, and crippling a party leader, Jeremy Corbyn, Israel does not like.



JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: SILLY ARTICLE BY REBECCA SHAPIRO ABOUT CANADA'S "RESERVING JUDGMENT" ON JUSTIN TRUDEAU - HOW COULD YOU GET IT MORE WRONG?


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY REBECCA SHAPIRO IN THE GUARDIAN


"In Canada, we're still reserving judgment.”

I have no idea where Rebecca Shapiro got a basis for saying that, but her statement is simply inaccurate.

Every indicator worth talking about shows Canadians are happy with Trudeau, although all seasoned political observers know there will be ups and downs.

And may I say that any writer who uses expressions like "we're still reserving judgment..." should send up warning flags in a reader's mind.

You cannot speak for the "we" that is Canada or another whole country.

That should be obvious, but this kind of writing suffers from a desire to bolster the author's authority beyond what can possibly be merited.

Only polls even approach being able to make such 'we" statements, and I can assure readers that Trudeau has every reason to be happy with his polls.
________________________

Yes, The National Post was literally a grovelling servant of Stephen Harper, the most hated national politician in our history.

Some of the articles carried in that paper over the last ten years are an embarrassment to read.

The paper was founded by convicted felon Conrad Black, who, the last time I peeked, still wrote the odd turgid column.

The paper is completely in bed with America's neocons and extreme Republicans, and I believe only subsidies keep it afloat.



JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: BEN FRANKLIN IN LONDON BOOK REVIEW - THE WAY "AMERICANS" ACTUALLY THOUGHT OF THEMSELVES DURING THE REVOLUTION - THE REVOLUTION WAS A MINORITY AFFAIR - FRANCE'S ESSENTIAL ROLE


COMMENT POSTED TO A BOOK REVIEW IN THE GUARDIAN


"We know that 18th-century colonists referred to themselves as English or British; that identification with one’s own particular colony easily trumped any sense of a shared identity as Americans."

Sorry, but for people who done some serious reading of American history, that's not news.

As a matter of fact, it was estimated that during the "revolution" about one-third were Loyalists, one-third indifferent to it all, and only one-third active supporters. It was a minority event.

One French nobleman who came over for some adventure in the later days of the "revolution" said that he saw more excitement over events in the cafes of Paris than he saw in America.

I put "revolution" in quotes because it really is a misuse of the word to apply it to the American War. It has been accurately described by a European writer as a local set of aristocrats seeking to replace a foreign set of aristocrats.

The only time, the events vaguely resembled a revolution was when Massachusetts volunteers responded to Britain's sending over troops to be quartered. It was brief. The Continental Congress then appointed Virginia aristocrat George Washington to take command. He rode in and took over, referring to the local volunteers in his letters as scum and rabble. He instituted lashing and hanging to instill the discipline he liked as an admirer of British Armed Forces.

The "revolution" was only won because of huge French assistance. Washington was pretty well incompetent as a General, never winning a single significant battle, and it was French Generals who insisted on the last, decisive battle at Yorktown. Washington wanted to attack New York instead. The only other important battle was earlier at Saratoga, and again French help was decisive with weapons and money and assistance.

Without France - and here Franklin's diplomacy was crucial - America would have likely given up.



JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: FEROCIOUS OUTBREAK OF NEO-MCCARTHYISM IN BRITAIN - TWO LABOUR MPs SUSPENDED FOR TRUMPED-UP CHARGES OF ANTI-SEMITISM - WHAT IS ACTUALLY HAPPENING


COMMENT POSTED TO A STORY IN THE INDEPENDENT AND THE GUARDIAN


Britain is experiencing a ferocious outbreak of a neo-McCarthyism.

The imagined enemy in this round is not communists lurking around in the halls of the State Department and other agencies and institutions.

It is imagined anti-Semites lurking in the Labour Party, and the McCarthyite pressure groups have now brought the suspension of two members.

Well, I guess if one form of attack fails, you come up with another.

We had endless anti-Corbyn stories and comments and interviews in the wake of Corbyn’s winning the leadership of the Labour Party in fair democratic fashion.

It was relentless, but it failed and has somewhat tapered off, and we can all thank God we see no more interviews with Tony Blair, a sick, sordid man criticizing an honorable one.

But the neo-McCarthyism represents a second wave with the same intent of criticizing and discrediting perfectly honorable people.

Why would people do this? Because Israel’s government does not like Corbyn, just as it does not like Trump in America or, for that matter, President Assad of Syria. The government of Israel resents independent-minded people gaining power and wants to maintain the situation it has enjoyed under the blood-drenched neocon crowd. Hillary is their man.

Criticizing Israel is not anti-Semitism, not any more than criticizing the old Soviet Union for its violations of human rights was anti-Russian.

It is tiresome to keep hearing all the attempts to shut up honest critics with a spurious charge. I think we all know genuine hate when we hear or read it, and those who keep ranting about anti-Semitism where none exists are far closer to the mark than the people at whom they rage.

I’ll remind readers of the honorable company that has been at one time or another attacked in this fashion. It includes Jimmy Carter, Desmond Tutu, and Nelson Mandela.

This kind of ugly noise, in part, reflects unspoken shame and guilt over the situation in Israel. There is a very great deal to criticize about Israel, its behavior in many things violates international law and custom and is simply appalling, and none of it is the doing of the critics pointing it out. Instead of pressuring Israel to mend its ways, Israel’s apologists abroad resort to a campaign against anyone who points the horrors out.   


FOOTNOTE: Ken Livingstone’s unspeakable crime of saying that Hitler supported Zionism is nothing but historical fact, and here is just one indisputable piece of evidence:





JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: DAVID CAMERON'S MCCARTYITE DEMAND THAT LABOUR MP NAZ SHAH BE SUSPENDED - NOTES ON MODERN ISRAEL'S BIRTH - SOME HARSH FACTS


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE INDEPENDENT


I'm glad the Independent’s headline put "anti-Semitic" in quotes.

I think The Guardian would not have.

What I saw quoted from Labour MP, Naz Shah, from Facebook could only be called anti-Semitic by extremists of the Israel Lobby.

Critical, yes. Anti-Semitic, no.
____________________________

A reader comment:  “There has never , ever , in history been a "Palestinian state " . Israel wasnt "recognised" is was created by United Nations decree in a free vote.
“You clearly dont know what you are talking about.”

I know very well the history of Israel's "creation,” and it is a pretty sordid story, full of deception, pressure, terror, and unfulfilled promises.

As just one example, Israel accepted the Right of Return, a UN principle, when it was given membership and has always ignored it, just as it has ignored more than twenty UN Resolutions condemning its acts for decades.

Israel is simply a lawless state by any definition.

And today's re-created state got its start by wheedling a British official, Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour in 1917, during the Great War to make a rather vague promise in a brief note to Britain’s Zionist Federation. This was later elevated into a “founding document” for Israel.

And later, in 1948, as the people who were to become Israelis were busy shooting up and terrifying the native Palestinians, Israel’s lobbyists abroad won crucial American recognition from President Truman by intense lobbying and the promise of substantial support in the form of media and cash for his election campaign. Truman was in serious political trouble in the 1948 election and grabbed the offer of help much as a drowning man grabs a life preserver thrown to him. Yet he believed sincerely that recognizing Israel was a bad idea, and he left us some sharp comments on the whole matter.

Imagine the pride you could feel in a state based on a vague promise from an imperial power which itself had no business being in Palestine and which had even less business making the suggestion of offering it to a third party as though it were a load of used furniture?

But Israel hides behind the skirts of the United States to carry on safely with its lawlessness. And it keeps that position behind the skirts with a powerful American Lobby which takes full advantage of America's ill-considered campaign finance laws, allowing money to run elections. What Truman started continues to this day.



JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: WHAT THE HILLSBOROUGH AFFAIR TEACHES US - HOW EASY IT IS FOR AUTHORITIES TO SUPPRESS TRUTH - A LESSON FOR EVEN BIGGER EVENTS


COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY OLIVIA BLAIR IN THE INDEPENDENT


I think the most fascinating and overlooked aspect of the Hillsborough disaster is the way it is was easy for those in authority to enforce for decades an "official view" of the event, a view which we now know was completely different from the truth.

You might not think at first it possible in so large an event involving many deaths for officials to succeed as they did in lying, but they did succeed and for decades.

It could serve to teach us all a lesson about what goes on at a higher level in our governments day-in and day-out.

The public is fed and it swallows the same kind of garbage explanations about even more serious events, such as the real nature of the war in Syria or the downing of airliner MH-17.

If officials decide on an explanation for something - and the press colludes in supporting it, which it always does - then that becomes history, and the truth does not exist.

We are literally immersed in such practices today by our national governments.