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John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN RUSSIA INSIDER

Canada Greenlights Lethal Arms Sales to Ukraine
Today, the Canadian government announced that it had added Ukraine to the Automatic Firearms Country Control List, which is a list of countries deemed to be permitted destinations for the export of firearms.

Again, although I’ve encountered misunderstanding, and even abuse, here when I have explained previously, I wish Russians to understand the situation Canadians are in.

We share a gigantic border and a massive trade with our Southern neighbor. Stopping that trade would be the equivalent impact of a war on our economy. We are that dependent, and the United States dramatically demonstrated the fact when, not long after 9/11, it halted cross-border movements temporarily to pressure Canada into agreeing to a new border regime. As for being invaded along that border, it wouldn’t take a week for America’s Frankenstein military to overrun our modest forces.

In times long past, Canada took its own views on a number of international matters, views which differed from those of the US. America was often hostile, but there was much less sense of the threat of the kind of international criminality we see today from America.

The government of Justin Trudeau is different for two reasons, I believe.

First, he is not cut from quite the same cloth as his tough and independent-minded father, Pierre. And I am very much a believer in Thomas Carlyle’s dictum, history is biography. His father would never have appointed as unpleasant, biased, and American-oriented a foreign minister as Chystia Freeland, for example.

Second, and this is important for the whole world to understand, the United States has changed drastically in the last two decades. Its path is directed by genuinely ruthless people with no morals or ethics.

Today, the world finds the US dominating Europe as never before, acting for all the world as an occupying power while pretending otherwise. The US runs arms and troops right up to Eastern borders against a number of previously given assurances in the days of President Reagan. And it constantly promotes, by many means, fear and hostility of Russia, appealing to, and keeping alive, historical prejudices of Eastern states that were far better encouraged to be forgotten.

It threatens Europe’s economic interests with arbitrarily-imposed sanctions against its natural continental trading partner, Russia. It also, with its Neocon-inspired wars raging through the Mideast, has close to destabilized the EU at times with side-effects, like armies of refugees running from American bombing and mercenary terror gangs, refugees America itself is unwilling to lift a finger to assist.

NATO is used like an organizational fig leaf to cover America’s often naked aggression in many parts and make it seem as though the aggression isn’t aggression but consensus policy by a number of Western countries. That is literally what NATO is reduced to, its original role of opposing possible Soviet aggression long having become obsolete.

Today, America makes ugly threats regularly against several countries, including Iran, Russia, North Korea, China, Venezuela, and others.

It conducts coups or organized terror campaigns or vicious dark efforts in a number of countries, including Venezuela, Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Lebanon, Somalia, and more.

It leaves the unfortunate people of Palestine, and especially those in the miserable concentration camp called Gaza, to suffer and rot under relentless Israeli abuse and oppression, Israelis using, without criticism or interference, American-supplied weapons, financial support, and assistance of every kind.

America has violently overthrown governments in a number of lands in the recent past, including those of Libya, Egypt, and Ukraine.

Through revelations in the recent past, we know that America has been even more involved in the state murder business than we ever thought before, likely victims having included Sweden’s past Prime Minister, Olaf Palme, and others.

It does all this while maintaining a smug and pious face to the world, blubbering about freedom and democracy – perhaps most extremely represented by its moral-idiot appointee at the UN, Nikki Haley, but indeed a constant feature in the language of every American official.

Of course, as the last election, America amply demonstrated to the world that it is itself incapable of running a clean election. It even featured a political murder, that of idealistic Seth Rich, apart from all the vote fraud and meaningless money-driven campaigns between two parties who represent much the same things. And as Palestine and Guantanamo and ISIS and the CIA’s dark international rendition gulag demonstrate, it cares very little about any freedom except its own freedom to behave as it wishes.

So, I can at least understand the timidity of leaders in countries like France and Germany. And I think we have to add the current government of Canada.

Many Canadians do not like foreign policy initiatives under our current government, but at the same time, they remember the ugliest government in our history, that of Stephen Harper, for the decade before.

We are at least relieved not to have that relentless assault on all of best traditions, both foreign and domestic., by an ideologue ultra-conservative like Harper.

It should be noted Mr. Harper was a vocal and relentless advocate for the Israel Lobby such as we’ve never experienced before, and it is that lobby plus their allied Neocons in Washington who have produced what I can only call an America unashamed to behave like conquering fascists abroad.

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John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE GUARDIAN

Star Wars: The Last Jedi: the Force, the Porgs and the future – discuss with spoilers

Will people never tire of guys in white plastic armor, a man in an orangutan suit, Mark Hamill desperately trying to look serious and thoughtful, and absolutely ridiculous hairstyles and outfits like Daisy Ridley has in the picture above?

Cowboys and Indians in space mixed with John Wayne winning WW II, all with punk costumes and computer game effects.

Truly if space is going to prove as boring as this American military-minded series has it, it ain’t worth the effort.

The one honest thing about this series: Darth Vader, perhaps inadvertently, nicely sums up America’s current role back on planet earth.

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE GUARDIAN

Trump turning US into ‘world champion of extreme inequality’, UN envoy warns
Special rapporteur Philip Alston, fresh from fact-finding tour, issues devastating critique of US society and condemns ‘private wealth and public squalor’

“Trump turning US into ‘world champion of extreme inequality’, UN envoy warns”

I’m sorry, but that is an uninformed statement.

I grew up in the United States, in a large city, and the kind of slums we see here have been around since I was young.

Detroit, Baltimore, Toledo, New Orleans, parts of Chicago, parts of New York, Newark, Gary, and dozens of other places would shock Europeans who are used to seeing only travel photos and Hollywood movies.

The stark poverty and ugliness are not in way distinguishable from parts of the third world.

And it’s not just cities. Many years ago, I was taking some photos of river bridges near Joliet, Illinois, and I turned onto a small road to get one of the shocks of my life. There was a sizable settlement of homemade shanty structures ahead on both sides of the road. It looked exactly like something from Soweto, South Africa, and perhaps worse.

The United States is full of such surprises. You find them in Appalachia and out on the Southwestern desert, quite apart from all the vast urban slums. A great many Americans live in beat-up little trailers in places like rural Maine or Arizona.

It isn’t Trump, although I’m sure he won’t be helping.

And it isn’t just Republicans.

Democrats in the national government along with Republicans have done nothing about this.

Obama, the first black president, did nothing.

The places I’ve listed plus many others have looked like scenes from hell for forty or fifty years.

America’s government has busied itself with creating new ruins in many parts of the world. instant ruins with bombs. That’s how it spends its time and resources.

Washington has shown no interest and made no effort for decades to help the American people. Washington resembles more an occupying power than a government “of the people.”

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO A BOOK REVIEW BY CHARLES KAISAR IN THE GUARDIAN

Secret meetings and dirty money in a compelling investigation of the US president’s 30-year relationship with Russia

“Collusion: How Russia Helped Trump Win the White House by Luke Harding”

I cannot believe people continue to generate this kind of stuff. Talk about “conspiracy theories,” here we have a deep new vein of them being mined to yield mountains of uninformative articles, political speeches, books, and a range of activities about Trump and Russia.

I am not a Trump supporter, but I follow current events closely. Trump is not really the target in this onslaught although his behavior and unpopularity serve to stoke the fires.

I have yet to read one fact that supports as much as a charge of public nuisance for urinating on a sidewalk.

The United States literally has been reduced to mumbo-jumbo insanity.

But, in fact, like Polonius’s observation of Hamlet, “there’s a method to his madness.”

The real target is Russia.

I believe the genuine underlying cause for all this viciousness is the anti-Russian Neocons who have seized control of American foreign policy.

Russia is seen as an enemy by them because it is the only country capable of ultimately opposing the United States, capable of ultimately obliterating the United States. China, owing to geography and its state of weapons’ development is not quite there yet, but it will be, and already, it, too, is being treated abusively.

Russia also has become one of the more fair-minded and balanced players in world affairs today. It has become everything people once railed against the Soviet Union for not being – business-oriented, communicating with the world, ready to trade and make big business deals anywhere, and with reasonably democratic institutions.

Its behaviors are measured and restrained, quite the opposite to those of the United States.

But none of that is palatable for America’s Neocons who are dangerous ideologues intensely focused on the assertion of American power. The official, accepted goal for international affairs today in America’s power establishment is termed, “full-spectrum dominance worldwide,” about as odious and dangerous a goal as you could come up with.

Fairness and reasonableness are not what is being sought by the folks who created a coup and civil war in Ukraine, started a terrible bloody war by phony-jihadi mercenaries in Syria, destroyed Libya, flattened Iraq, and are busy with a whole list of ugly, murderous projects.

We live in truly dangerous times because in matters of war and power conflicts, it is never a specific ideology – as, communism or fascism – which is truly dangerous, it is simply the existence of powerful ideologues of whatever description bent on getting their way.

And that is precisely what we have in Washington.

So, at every opportunity Russia is attacked as though it were “An Enemy of the People,” when in truth, just like Dr. Stockman in the powerful Ibsen play, it is the one opposing irrationality and aggression in the present world.

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN INVESTMENTWATCH

The Deep State’s Christmas Present to America: Surveillance That Never Ends

Absolutely, and I believe there is no going back.

The not-too-far future for Americans is to be wired into government information-collection systems in virtually everything they do.

It will include everything from data from all advanced household electronic appliances, ticket agencies, grocery stores, airlines, railroads, all state and local governments – all with a system of facial recognition cameras positioned at every important transportation node.

I doubt that anyone, and certainly not a coward like Trump, can stop this now from becoming reality.

It’s what the people with real power want. So, unless, they were somehow magically to be changed, it is what you will get. Of course, we’re already a good way along.

Americans will become effectively a herd of cattle with machine-readable tags stapled to their ears.

The entire phony War on Terror with its outrages in the Middle East, launched by Neocons for their own purposes, working with a bought-and-paid-for Congress, provides the driving force.

There are no effective checks and balances worth talking about in America. And one may easily speculate darkly about the somewhat more distant future. Already America has police forces with an international reputation for violence, but in future they will be equipped as never before.

And with the CIA running a huge computerized extrajudicial killing operation abroad, how long can it be before the same practice slips into becoming part of life in the good old USA?

It’s all self-induced and could have been avoided, but it may well be too late now. I don’t see the least bit of meaningful opposition in the “land of the free,” close to everyone being heavily conditioned now to accept the psycho-babble about “international terror” and “them and us.”

The harmless little squib fired off against the Deep State by Trump in his campaign has been silenced. He proved an extremely unchallenging opponent and in fairly short order. Indeed, he has become part of the problem.

Remember Dwight Eisenhower’s eloquent warning in his farewell address about the risks of the “military-industrial complex?” His words were often talked about but effectively ignored. Now, the threat is immensely greater and growing daily. It includes gigantic intelligence agencies, powerful and secretive lobbies, and monopolistic, entrenched media of every kind. It is an advanced metastasized cancer in the body-politic of America.

America’s plutocracy, supported by powerful and lethal agencies with the best technology, wants to run everything, and not just abroad.

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN RUSSIA INSIDER

“JFK Took a Bullet When He Tried to Make Peace With Russia, Trump Bent the Knee Instead”
_______________________

Response to another comment which said, “I still believe that the assassination was Israel’s response to Kennedy’s pressure exerted on Ben-Gurion, to shed light on Dimona’s nuclear reactor in Israel”:

This is a possibility. Israel sure had motive. And Israel acts with no conscience or ethics regularly.

Jack Ruby who featured as a central figure in the plot was more than a small-time Mafia figure. He identified very strongly with his Jewish heritage.

Of course, the CIA, on Cuba, was already in bed with the Mafia, too. And a big Mafia figure, Meyer Lansky, was an intense Israel loyalist.

So, a mix of actors is quite possible.

There is even a theory that CIA had set up a phony assassination attempt to scare Kennedy into doing something about Cuba.

This phony set-up included the Oswald imposter going to Mexico City to associate Oswald’s name with Cuba and Russia.

This theory says that other covert actors became aware of this effort and used the opportunity in Dallas to really kill Kennedy from the grassy knoll.

No matter what the details, CIA had to be involved in some fashion if only for the reason they have done nothing but lie and hide stuff ever since.

LBJ and J Edgar Hoover both hated the Kennedys and were glad for the chance to go along with anyone getting rid of him.

LBJ removed the investigation from Dallas and put it into the hands of the phony Warren Commission.

Hoover did all the investigation for the phony Commission. They did none of their own. And Hoover was fixated for no known reason on Oswald almost from the very start.

Of course, CIA itself had lots of reasons to kill Kennedy.

He fired the three top men after the Bay of Pigs, including the legendary Allen Dulles.

He threatened more action against CIA.

He ignored their advice during the Missile Crisis, and formed an extensive backchannel communication with Premier Khrushchev.

He promised never to invade Cuba again.

And he had as his closest girlfriend, Mary Pinchot, a well-off and well-connected woman who talked extensively of peace in private with Kennedy and is known to have introduced him to some drugs.

Mary was herself murdered, in professional assassin-style, less than a year after Kennedy at a time when her own investigation into his death may have been having some success. She was extremely well-connected, knowing everyone who was anyone in Washington, and her ex-husband was a very high CIA official.

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE GUARDIAN

“Inequality is not inevitable’

You really do have to be careful using words like those.

Defining “inequality” is not easy, and you cannot measure it in just dollars.

And that “not inevitable” is an assertion with which I cannot agree.

Free markets always generate inequality. It is part of what capitalism is about in the concentration of capital resources.

Good governments work towards constant amelioration of the effects of this ongoing force upon citizens. They do so through taxation, redistribution policies, and social services.

But their goal can never be true equality, which is undefinable and unreachable and can only cause the economy to lose its drive.

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE INDEPENDENT

Roy Moore loses to Doug Jones in humiliating Senate result for Donald Trump

For British readers unfamiliar with politics in the American South, this may be helpful.

All the Deep South was once solidly Democratic, but it was always a subtle battle with principles to keep it so.

It was Democratic, not out of any principle about social welfare, but because of Republican Lincoln and the Civil War. Grudges last a long time in this part of the world.

Eleanor Roosevelt once approached Franklin after another lynching in the 1930s, asking him to speak out.

In this neck of the woods, they actually used to hold family picnics when there was to be a lynching. It was treated as free public entertainment.

FDR explained that he couldn’t speak without bitterly alienating Southern Democrats.

And he was right. The term “Southern Democrat” actually named a special sub-party group that had its own party rules. All that changed after Lyndon Johnson’s Civil Rights Bill put an end to Jim Crow laws and suppression of voting.

The Southern Democrats became Republicans, almost overnight. Public school integration – a topic of big publicity in the 1960s – was put an end to in novel fashion, by opening private “Christian” schools and academies all over. The public schools became black.

The South’s new Republicans have pretty much remained that way since.

So, this victory is a pretty big deal, just in case you are influenced to think by the relatively small differences in total vote percentages that it was not.

It is important too because Trump staked a great deal of his very scarce (both with his own party and the opposition – he is still regarded as an outsider and a party hi-jacker by many big-shot Republicans) political capital on this nasty Republican candidate, and Trump won this state in his election.

I am not sure what all went into the mix – sex scandals, an aggressive Republican candidate’s personality, weariness with Trump, actual quiet support by some big Republicans who still don’t like Trump, plus other matters – but I know it is important. Trump and the Republicans in Washington know that too.

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO A COLUMN BY DAVID STOCKMAN IN RUSSIA INSIDER

Stockman: Why the Deep State Is at War With Trump
“The Deep State has turned its own crimes during and after the 2016 election into nothing less than a coup d’etat against American democracy.”

A rather silly and unperceptive piece, in line with a lot of stuff you can find on Alt-right Internet sites.

I do not believe the Deep State is after Trump, not anymore anyway.

There was some opposition early on, but it has dissolved away.

The Democrats are very much against him, but what else would we expect? Stunts and lies and cheating have long featured in American politics, making them toxic, but that is not to be confused with the Deep State’s work.

Trump has made every concession to the deep State he can make, to the point of demonstrating himself a coward.

The Pentagon gets just whatever it wants.

The CIA gets just whatever it wants.

The Israel Lobby gets just whatever it wants.

The idea that Trump is now even pretending to “drain the swamp” is actually laughable if you look at the facts.

What was originally deeply resented by many in his own party and others was his hi-jacking a major party which had been pretty much adrift and seemed without direction or purpose.

In America’s anti-democratic party system, in either party, you have to earn your “creds” over years of work and support and successive offices. The whole mechanism is effectively a vetting system making America safe from any sudden changes.

The two official parties are nothing but two branches of a single Imperial Party. They do not like outsiders. They do not like anyone who might “rock the boat.”

But Trump’s days of being seen as a potential threat are over, long over. He’s completely compliant with what the establishment wants. The only thing different about him is his big mouth and his crudity, but those threaten no one’s position or power.

Today, Trump is as much a threat as one of those huge cartoon character balloons they use each year at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York. Full of hot air and nothing else.

But his loyal followers, the Alt-right crowd, just don’t get it. They pathetically cling to him and see him as a savior under attack by Romans or a great general on a white horse doing daring deeds against the foe.

But it is all a bad joke, he is nothing of the kind. He’s a big hot-air balloon, a threat to no one’s power, simply a national embarrassment in taste, manners, and judgment.

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO ARTICLE BY PAUL BUTLER IN THE GUARDIAN

Pushing the judicial system to the right has been the objective of every Republican president since Ronald Reagan. Now Trump is doing it

‘The right-wing takeover of the US court system will transform America”

Well, the author is right, but he’s about fifty years late.

The US court system was hijacked by conservatives, extreme conservatives, years ago.

The US Supreme Court today literally stands for almost nothing.

The scholastic-like doctrine of “original intent” (of the Constitution’s authors), is dominant, and it has already been withering.

Good God, the court ruled years ago that money was free speech.

No single idea has been more destructive to America.

Politics and political office are literally a bidding war for the favors of special interests.

American policies are the concepts of special interests, and this has been destructive beyond telling.

Indeed, it is hard to see how the country can ever go back to responsible government.

It stumbles along like a drunk who knows he is a drunk but can doing nothing to stop himself.

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY MAX BERGMANN AND MAX BOOT

Robert Mueller is closing in on Trump. Congress must protect his investigation

“Robert Mueller is closing in on Trump”

Sorry, the claim is hyped beyond any resemblance to reality.

Mueller has nothing worth talking about in legal terms, especially the kind of legal standards applied to impeachment.

The stuff about Flynn is almost laughable. The man was doing his job, a job many others have done, and he misrepresented it slightly under questioning. Not a capital crime. Indeed, a big fat nothing outside of a witch-hunt environment.

And given the total of lying, cheating, stealing, etc. we see in Washington, it really makes you wonder about priorities.

And I do not understand why any writer is still salivating over the prospect of Trump’s impeachment.

If presidents were to be removed for the kind of nothing stuff we know, America’s government would become more unstable and elections more meaningless than they already are there.

Not that I like Trump’s proven abilities to govern, which are poor. But I don’t think we want to see this kind of suggested nonsense.

And not that I think Trump is safe. I think the credible threat comes from other sources, such as a number of women saying his behavior was lewd and inappropriate.

If supported, it’s hard to see how he can ride through that in today’s environment, and it won’t require the immense effort of impeachment.

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE GUARDIAN

‘We’re here to stay’: the Guardian invites Dreamers to guest-edit our US edition
The Trump administration has put the future of young, undocumented immigrants at risk. Meet our guest editors and hear what they have to say

Well, this is all very nice, and of course Trump has done something stupid here.

But we do have a number of other far more terrible situations in the world, many of which are also the result of acts by the American government, generally with full support of Britain’s government.

I don’t see a trace of the same treatment by The Guardian.

These Dreamers are an easy, not controversial, sympathetic case.

But what about the more controversial and far more terrible cases in the world in which either the American or British government is responsible?

The terrible bombing of and starvation of Yemen, for which Britain’s good armaments customer, Saudi Arabia, is responsible, a customer supported also, and heavily, by America?

The 3 million refugees temporarily housed in Turkey, their situation being totally the responsibility of America’s brutal wars in Syria and Libya, supported by Britain?

The unrelenting horror in Gaza, a giant concentration camp in all but name?

One can easily name other terrible cases, and in each case, the government of the United States, supported by that of Britain, is responsible or could easily reverse the situation with the muscle it so readily flexes in selected other places.

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO A RESTAURANT REVIEW IN THE GUARDIAN

Simpson’s in the Strand: ‘I can’t love it any more’
After serving Londoners for 189 years, Simpson’s needed a makeover. But did they have to change the menu, too?

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/dec/10/simpsons-in-the-strand-london-i-cant-love-it-any-more-restaurant-review#comments

I can’t believe what they’ve done.

Don’t we have enough places with those godawful servings of something or other piled up in the center of an otherwise empty plate and with little daubs or squiggles of sauce randomly distributed?

It is a tiresome presentation. It was tiresome 20 years ago. To go that way now shows an incredible lack of imagination.

These plates at this kind of place are like seeing Churchill in a pinwheel-beanie instead of a Homberg.

One expects something George Smiley would have liked at a place like Simpson’s.

Instead they’re serving the kind of thing Trump gets at one of his resorts.

Yuck!

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE INDEPENDENT

“Noam Chomsky: Antifa is a gift to the far right and US state repression”

I think that may well be right, Mr. Chomsky.

But the truth is that the situation with Antifa closely parallels your own.

Your long-standing position in America effectively supports the terrible abuse and oppression of Palestinians by Israel.

That ghastly situation in the Mideast is an American imperial creation, but your brand of criticism from the left leaves it untouched as though it were something entirely unrelated to the America you so readily criticize for so many other things.

And your position effectively supports the horrible Neocon wars raging through the Mideast, all of them having to do with reshaping the Mideast to accommodate Israel, wars having killed a couple of million and made hopeless refugees of millions more.

No wonder you understand Antifa so well.

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY SALLY KOHN IN THE INDEPENDENT

Misogyny is hatred. Time to start fighting it that way
‘Why sexual harassment should be treated as a hate crime’

A truly dumb piece.

The photo of Weinstein at the top only highlights the author’s light-headedness.

Weinstein, if all the charges are true, is not guilty of sexual harassment.

He is guilty of serious, violent crimes.

Things like rape, forcible confinement, and uttering threats, plus a whole lot else.

The author doesn’t seem to realize that she is effectively minimizing serious crimes, treating violent felonies as unpleasant misdemeanors.

“Hate crime” is a weak and ineffective and poorly-defined term., a mighty poor substitute for charges of violent crime. It is in such cases, a truly irrelevant notion.

And harassment in general, as I understand it, is unpleasant, annoying, and unacceptable, just as any other form of bullying, but it is not violent crime.

And I must say this is the second or third time a piece has appeared in a British paper associating the photo and acts of a violent criminal who belongs in prison with harassment. That blurring is just unacceptable.

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY OWEN JONES IN THE GUARDIAN AND PROMPTLY REMOVED BY EDITORS

“Online abuse must be curbed. But who decides where the line is drawn?”

Unbelievable set of thoughts jumbled together, using of course, Preacher Owen Jones’ favorite word, “must.”

What is abuse?

Would that include McCarthyite false accusations of anti-Semitism which Mr. Jones and his newspaper indulged in for considerable periods?

Would that include the pack of lies told by Tony Blair in his rush to see a million people crushed, lies unchallenged by all of Britain’s press?

I expect respectable sources on the Internet to distinguish themselves by their own words and tone. All intelligent readers are able to distinguish these things.

We require no one to explain – and most certainly not, control – what we may read or see or think about.

That ugly notion goes against three centuries of Enlightenment, and it is in keeping with the philosophies of such ugly, retrograde states as Stalin’s or Mussolini’s or Hitler’s.

It is a complete contradiction of terms for anyone regarding himself as a liberal-minded figure to be saying such things.

Contrary to the advocates of control and repression of free speech, the danger in society is always those who would control and repress. It is not the material they want to repress.

The right to repress is much like the right to jail those you don’t like. Where does it end? It does not. There’s always, always another disliked person or view that “must” be repressed.

Well, as to the author’s “who decides?” all thinking people know the answer to that before the question is asked. No one can decide. Not governments. Not a demonstrably biased press. And certainly not preachers.

I regard an article like this as a form of abuse, but I would never advocate its suppression.

John Chuckman

EXPANSION OF A COMMENT POSTED TO INVESTMENTWATCH

“Obama Compares President Trump To Hitler, Says ‘America Is Heading Towards Genocide’”

Obama has become in my view a ridiculous figure, one who failed in most things and isn’t even aware of the extent of his failure.

He carries himself around with a great deal of arrogance and likes making dark pronouncements in the style of a preacher, and like most preachers he is a noisy hypocrite.

I can never forget his “Yes, we can” slogan when he first ran for office. It had a great deal of appeal for those with little. But just what was it that he really meant by it? Yes, we can have more war, and lots of it? Yes, we can have a national extra-judicial-killing program? Yes, we can be even bigger bullies in Europe and in other places? And, yes, we can be even more intrusive into the private lives of Americans?

I don’t think that for millions of ordinary Americans, many with tears in their eyes at the sight of America’s first black man running for president, that the slogan meant anything resembling those things, but those things are what proved to be the real meaning of the words over eight years.

However, people who write articles such as this one, are, if anything, even more pathetic than Obama.

America does in fact have a deep and seemingly intractable racial problem.

It has had it since the very beginning, and it has nothing to do with Obama or the things he speaks of.

I wouldn’t even describe it as racism the way Obama does, although that is a term commonly-enough used. It is something far more complex than simple hatred based on color.

It is part of the very fabric of the country. It is sensed in everything from gated communities, out-of-control police who kill more Americans every year than any terrorist could dream of (more than 1,100 each year), vast ghettos, a culture of worshipping guns and violence, and a lot of other very unpleasant stuff.

What America has inherited comes from those wonderful hypocrite Founders like Jefferson and Washington, who, in the words of Doctor Johnson, were “drivers of negroes, yelping about freedom.”

The country was founded in deep dishonesty, and no one can admit this. Indeed, far from admitting it, they pretend it has strayed from its original “principles.” As soon as someone starts writing or talking in that way, you know for sure that they are either exceedingly naïve or just ignorant.

It does tend to be that way with religions, and there is on earth today no more conspicuous example of a fiercely fundamentalist religion, one with millions of intense and unthinking adherents, than American Patriotism.

Of course, by principles American Patriots mean things like the Bill of Rights. But for most of the country’s history, the Bill of Rights has served as an adverting or public relations document. In this it is not so very different to the various teachings of Jesus dutifully praised and publicized, but in practice ignored, by the many churches founded in his name

Originally, the Bill of Rights wasn’t even enforceable by the Supreme Court, and a man like Thomas Jefferson threatened secession if it were made enforceable against the wishes of states. Over most of the country’s history, the Bill of Rights has simply been ignored or suppressed for one reason or another. Ignored for slavery and states’ rights, ignored for the country’s countless wars, ignored by the police almost constantly, ignored in the many intense practices to hype patriotism, ignored in legislation of many kinds from loyalty oaths to immigration practices, and today ignored in the name of national security, a situation which will only grow in future and never recede.

But America has not strayed from its true principles, which certainly are not a set of words on parchment, the principles which continue to guide its every act. America, as a state today, functions with a great deal of violence, injustice, boundless greed, endless war, and self-delusion. Just as at the beginning.

The Founders, in fact, created problems which have never been dealt with, and, indeed, I think never will be dealt with.

The thin mask worn by a state pretending to honor democratic principles and defend human rights has badly slipped, to reveal the harsh, underlying reality of a wealthy establishment supported by its powerful, well-funded government agencies working to almost no other end than in an endless quest for dominance.

Readers may enjoy these anecdotes:

Hitler was supported by Ford, IBM’s boss, Texaco, the Bushes, Wall Street Investment Banks, and many others.

Indeed, Hitler kept a photo of Ford over his desk in the chancellery since Ford was virulently anti-Semitic, advocated racial “purity” policies, and a number of other charming ideas.

America had an involuntary sterilization program of “the unfit” before Hitler. Tens of thousands of “undesirables” were involuntarily sterilized in the good old USA before any such program began in Germany.

The American Bund movement was a big one. You may see what it was about here:

http://chuckmangrotesques.blogspot.ca/2011/03/hitler-youth-american-volksbund-youth.html

By the way, here is how American children used to say the pledge of Allegiance (itself a rather fascistic requirement for children):

http://chuckmangrotesques.blogspot.ca/2008/10/blog-post_3676.html

Hitler’s first choice to make Germany free of Jewish people was to ship them off to other places. This was tried a number of times.

Guess who wouldn’t take a shipload of Jewish people and indeed turned them back?

You’re right if you guessed America.

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN RT

US, South Korea launch large-scale air drills amid spiraling nuclear tension

The problem with this nonsense is that it is so easy to turn a large-scale wargame into an actual attack.

North Korea will be acutely aware of this fact and set its forces of high alert.

Then it is just so obviously easy for someone to make a mistake.

God, the US is irresponsible.

And what’s happened to that new leader in South Korea who seemed so very promising?

He has been beaten into an unrecognizable pulp by American “diplomacy.”

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY PATRICK COCKBURN IN THE INDEPENDENT

“There’s no such thing as precise air strikes in modern warfare”

Absolutely, and saying otherwise is American propaganda from the time of the Gulf War.

Remember General “Stormin’ Norman” giving press briefings with an impressive video of a smart munition going down a smokestack?

At the time he did that stunt, only 1% of the bombs America was using were “smart” bombs.

The rest were the same kind of stuff used in the carpet bombings of Vietnam and North Korea.

Indeed. the poor Iraqi recruits in the desert behind sandhill forts were carpet-bombed by B-52s. Untold tens of thousands were pulverized into the sand, the US refusing to reveal how many were killed, but the number was horrific.

B-52 carpet-bombing was used again extensively in Afghanistan.

In Iraq, American used many dumb bombs, a fair amount of white phosphorus (its substitute for napalm after all the furor over Vietnam), and, worst of all, cluster bombs.

Independent and Al-Jazeera photographers captured many sickening pictures of lacerated children or women smashed into pulp.

The fact is that whatever kind of bomb you use, there is the greatest need for good intelligence and bomb-spotting. This is a risky and expensive business to carry out with special forces gathering information about planned targets.

The US proved very poor at doing this in Raqqa and other places. It likely killed more people than ISIS.

Still, the vast majority of bombs dropped in many cases are old “dumb” bombs. “Smart” bombs cost a whole lot more money, and they very much need ground-based intelligence to be at all effective.

The fact is that war is horrible, that all of it is a vast atrocity. It should be only the last resort, but an imperial power like the US makes it pretty well the first choice.

And it doesn’t care about leaving behind a lot of mangled people and a lot of hideous stuff like tons of depleted uranium dust (or, in Vietnam, millions of pounds of poisonous Agent Orange) and the shrapnel-loaded mini-canisters of cluster bombs – all of which keep killing for many years after.

Some years back, Israel dropped a million of those horrific cluster-bomb canisters along the Lebanese border to shred farmers and children for years to come. It was an atrocious act, but I heard few speak up about it.

john Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY TIM FARRON IN THE GUARDIAN

Liberalism has eaten itself – it isn’t very liberal any more

I don’t agree with the analysis, but saying liberalism isn’t liberal anymore is just a fact.

Look at the paper this appears in.

If you pay close attention, you will see that a number of positions it espouses regularly could not possibly be called liberal.

The essence of true liberalism is a kind of generosity of spirit and trying to be guided by the largest principles.

That is not what we see in a world constantly yanked at by special interests.

Our governments and our press serve special interests faithfully.

The odd word of concern for the poor or disadvantaged or minorities does not make any one a liberal in the true sense of the word.

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY ROBERT PARRY IN CONSORTIUM NEWS

The Scalp-Taking of Gen. Flynn

https://consortiumnews.com/2017/12/01/the-scalp-taking-of-gen-flynn/

This is an excellent article on the FBI’s Flynn charges, a subject which has been wildly misrepresented and has generated the most sensational (and meaningless) headlines in the commercial press.

Sadly, this tells us how low American politics have sunk, and you sure do not have to be a Trump supporter to say that. I can’t imagine tales from the old USSR or from some third-world political hellhole that could be any more embarrassing or distasteful than what we’ve seen in America since 2016.

You have never had much of a democracy in the United States. You have money and special interests guiding affairs of a corporate/imperial state with an elaborate regular stage play of an “election.”

In the past, many corrupt and anti-democratic practices have come to light, but with this election a new low standard has been set on many fronts.

Complete corruption at DNC with stealing the primaries. Just in California, a million votes trashed. Record amounts of money spent, almost beyond ordinary imagination. An embarrassingly bad set of presidential debates. An almost constant stream of lies. A serious effort to overturn an election conducted under the rules, no matter how much you may disagree with the Founders’ anti-democratic provisions like the Electoral College. Ongoing dabbling and interference by the former president. Such disgraceful stuff as Bill Clinton’s tarmac meeting with the Attorney General, and no investigation or charges over abuse of office so obvious. An idealistic young man murdered on the street, undoubtedly over his role in leaking Democratic Party secrets, and no investigation worthy of the name conducted.

Perhaps it all reflects the record poverty of the American political institutions. Such a huge and powerful nation, and the best it could do was run two very unappetizing candidates. One a big-mouth, often rude buffoon, a man who has proved a coward. The other, a woman with an immense record of being caught in lies and with a great deal of blood on her hands.

Trump won only because of the intense dislike of Hillary on the part of many men and women. But the Democrats had to run Hillary because the Clinton money connections were so important to them.

The election actually added strong proof to the concept of America as a plutocracy. A record well-funded candidate who spent special-interest money like a drunken sailor could only be defeated by a multi-billionaire.

Obama seems to have skated over a lot of thin ice, too, with a number of arrogant behaviors, while his actual record both in local efforts and especially in bloody foreign affairs should make him a contemptible figure. At least half a million killed under his supervision, yet many continue to think of him as kindly, perhaps a good measure of how confused and bamboozled many Americans are. His post-election secret political work is totally inappropriate, too. He has shown himself a secretive, arrogant, unprincipled, and brutal man. Yet all the while we have the big boyish (psychopathic?) smile.

I think we’ve reached the stage in American politics where we can truly say, “anything goes.”

John Chuckman

LETTER TO PRIME MINISTER OF CANADA JUSTIN TRUDEAU

I cannot say how disheartening it was to learn that a lovely family from Sri Lanka who had lived for five years in Quebec was deported.

This family represents exactly the kind of migrants we need and want. They are industrious, intelligent, speak both of our national languages, and all had managed to fit in well where they lived. I don’t care about the technical details of their migrant history, they were exactly the kind of immigrants we should seek. Sending them away is shameful.

I have to say Prime Minister Trudeau is such an immense disappointment. I cannot imagine why he allowed this to happen.

But there have been a number of things from Mr. Trudeau that I cannot understand. Major arms sales to the killers of women and children in Saudi Arabia was sure one of them. If you preach to China about human rights, why on earth are the truly awful princes of Saudi Arabia an exception?

Sending troops and tanks to Europe also was regrettable act because the entire American establishment’s focus on Russia today is not based on any principle beyond keeping itself primary in Europe. We don’t have to give that a vote of confidence. What is going on is unnecessary and dangerous.

Mr. Trudeau’s complete turnaround on ballot reform was a major disappointment. He had campaigned strongly for it, and I took an interest because a couple of years ago I wrote Mr. Trudeau in Parliament and suggested that ballot reform should be a top issue.

Again, we had an outstanding person as Minister of Foreign Affairs in Mr. Dion, the kind of person I feel represents Canada and its values handsomely. But Mr. Trudeau dismissed this excellent and thoroughly decent man.

Mr. Trudeau’s appointment of Chrystia Freeland as Minister of Foreign Affairs is the closest he has come to aping Stephen Harper. She was a terrible choice, a clearly biased person, an unsympathetic person, a person whose tone frequently reminds me of some of the unpleasant Harperite appointments.

Well, all I can say is that I see mainly the superficialities of a politically-correct “niceness’ from this government, photo-ops and sound-bites, and remarkably little of the sweat and toil of working for what is principled and important, and I am sorry that that is so.

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS IN INVESTMENTWATCH

Is Washington the Most Corrupt Government in History?

I think Mr. Roberts has it wrong.

The issue with Washington is not corruption, per se, although there’s plenty of that.

The truth is that America’s government is not responsible to anyone except a group of special interests.

And the truth also is that the elevation of money to the level of free speech is twisted beyond description, and it has twisted the country.

Money is central to American politics, ergo, the special interests who supply it are in the driver’s seat. Senators spend two-thirds of their time soliciting campaign funds.

The political structure of the United States actually totally lacks that old concept, checks and balances, in any real or effective form.

And with the exaltation of money in politics, it is impossible to rearrange the badly damaged machinery because doing that is not what the serious money wants.

Because politicians really are answerable mainly to special interests, they have little tie to voters.

Washington cares almost nothing for American voters, except at election time when a whirlwind of costly advertising and sound bites will appeal for a vote. It almost is like fulfilling a technical requirement more than conducting a real campaign between policies.

The truth is that from the power establishment’s point of view, it almost doesn’t matter who wins. They will both answer to the same lobbies.

Democrat or Republican is much like Coke or Pepsi: the establishment is never threatened by either one. Two branches of one Imperial Party.

This all creates a permanent lack of connection between the American people and their national government, a government free to busy itself with running an empire on behalf of special interests.

Idiots like George Bush, always a figurehead, used to joke to appeal to silly voters about never reading the international news section of the newspaper, but, in fact, that is most of what Washington does care about. That and the taxes and regulations affecting special interests.

You have a corporate/imperial country.

End of story. Stuff about corruption, stuff about the swamp, stuff about the founding principles are all childish nonsense having nothing to do with the realities of contemporary America.

What difference has Trump made to the world set on fire by Obama and Bush? Nothing. He continues down the same path. He has no choice, except in the noisiness of the way he does it. He takes orders from the same folks.

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE GUARDIAN

“White House reportedly has plan to replace Rex Tillerson with CIA chief”

Makes sense to me.

After all, Tillerson actually does say some intelligent things on occasion.

We just can’t be having that, now can we?

Mike Pompeo?

Trump couldn’t pick a better mouthpiece for CIA and the intelligence establishment.

I don’t say that just because Pompeo has briefly served as CIA Director (isn’t all service brief in this chaotic administration?)

He has a record in Congress and before.

Trump is so weakened and flawed, the security-military establishment is grabbing for all the power it can get.

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY JONATHAN FREEDLAND IN THE GUARDIAN

In the age of Trump, it’s time to ditch the special relationship

There never has been a “special relationship” except in the minds of some British people who are either naive or deliberately deceived.

We have a number of incidents over decades, including sarcastic private references by a President, giving harsh insight into how the American regard the supposed relationship.

Beyond that simple fact, Britain has acted time and time again very foolishly at America’s beckoning – from the slaughter in Iraq to participation in the fake-jihadi mercenary operation in Syria.

Surveying all the hard evidence of the past couple of decades, some would come to the conclusion that Britain’s role for America has been that of water boy.