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CHUCKMAN - BUSH - GOD - EVEN THE CREATOR GETS IT WRONG - TINTED

Posted May 30, 2018 by JOHN CHUCKMAN in Uncategorized

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: ON A COMMENT CALLING AMERICAN POLITICIANS OMAR AND TLAIB “WOLVES IN SHEEP’S CLOTHING” – YOU CANNOT EXPECT COMPLETE HONESTY FROM ANY U.S. POLITICIAN – AFTER ALL WE ARE SPEAKING ABOUT THE CAPITAL OF AN EMPIRE, NOT 1960s SWEDEN – THE REALITIES OF LIBERALISM IN AMERICA   Leave a comment

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ITEM IN MOON OF ALABAMA

 

“There are freshmen from Michigan and Maryland in Congress who recently made some news with comments about the Zionist lobby. Some anti-imperialists and progressives lauded them for their efforts and defended them against attacks. But these are wolfs in sheep clothing.

“Rep. Ilhan Omar: ‘The people of Syria revolted against Assad’s repressive dictatorship 8 years ago today, demanding a more just and free government. Peace loving people around the world stand in solidarity with them in this struggle!’

“Rashida Tlaib: ‘The anniversary of the uprising against the oppression in Syria was yesterday. We must recognize the struggle of those who organized and stood up against injustice. It is my hope that we can see a Syria that is truly free one day.’”

 

I like Ilhan Omar for speaking out on Palestine, just as I like Tulsi Gabbard’s efforts to understand the ugly war in Syria. I admire them both for public courage.

But, please, this is America we are talking about.

To expect anyone in American politics to come along with completely fresh and informed and honest views is just dreaming.

Just as with Bernie Sanders’ so-called socialism or, indeed, anything at all about Sanders.

He’s a distinguished-looking bag of hot air.

He showed everyone what he was made of in his confrontation with the woman who plainly stole the nomination from him, Hillary Clinton.

He’s never been a strong voice against global empire, against the secret terror of the CIA, against the vast intrusions of the NSA, or against the monstrous waste and mass killing of the Pentagon.

And then we have that thoroughbred phony, Elizabeth Warren, making precious little noises all the time about progressive matters while voting for hateful defense and security budgets and never opposing all those wars and offering us in speeches smatterings of the establishment’s poison about Iran.

I’ve said it many times. There are no liberals, genuine liberals, in the United States, at least not in any positions of authority or influence. Not one in the national government. Not one in charge of a major news source. None guiding the nation’s great institutions and foundations and education establishments.

America is about empire and the wars required to sustain it, and that is pretty much it. The rest is elaborate window dressing, theater, playacting. Empires do not get built and maintained and expanded by nice guys, and the resources constantly pouring into empire leave no room for great human or humane efforts.

Another thing I’ve said many times is that you can have either an empire or a decent country, but you cannot have both. America made its choice, long ago.

The entire atmosphere of the place, the education system, the press, the churches, the politics – all immersed and saturated in war and the drive for empire with little room for other values. It can be seen and heard and felt in a thousand details.

What could be more blatantly unfair and anti-democratic than what we see being done to Venezuela today? Yet, where are the American voices against their government’s open use of threats and terror? The politicians? The editors? The great university heads? The church leaders?

Some might claim an excuse over events in Syria because many facts about responsibility for that set of atrocities remained well hidden for a long time. Many facts remain hidden still, despite our learning a good deal here and there.

But here, in the case of Venezuela, we see daily the blunt face of fascism telling people who they should vote for, who should swear himself in as President, who should control the country’s assets, and destroying the national power grid, an act of terror which undoubtedly killed and injured many and destroyed what was in the fridges of literally millions of the most ordinary people.

Why isn’t anyone shouting at the top of their lungs?

All this done by men who say they respect democracy and human rights and expect to be respected in the world as leaders.

You know, Hitler gave one of the great speeches about peace, not long before he started a new war. It was reported by that great journalist and chronicler of Nazi Germany, William Shirer.

And, under the Nazis, Germany had some window dressings of progressivity, various socialistic measures, if you will. It even sometimes held plebiscites.

Posted March 18, 2019 by JOHN CHUCKMAN in Uncategorized

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: FURTHER THOUGHTS ON WHAT TERROR IS – THE DISTINCTION BETWEEN “ORDINARY KILLING” AND TERROR KILLING – USING “TERROR” AS A LABEL LIKE “WITCH” – NATIONS USE THE WORD “TERROR” TO SERVE SELFISH INTERESTS – A GREAT DEAL OF DELIBERATE CONFUSION IN OUR PRESS WITH THE WORD “TERROR” – STATE TERROR PLAYS AN IMPORTANT ROLE IN OUR WORLD   Leave a comment

John Chuckman

EXPANSION OF COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN CONSORTIUM NEWS

_______________________

Response to another commenter who offered a different interpretation of what terror is:

 

No, sorry, the definition of terrorist is not “Someone who commits acts of Terror on a mass scale.”

In fact, that definition is rather circular and leads you nowhere. And terror does not have to be “on a mass scale.” It quite often is not.

The existence of a manifesto certainly does not tell us that someone is a terrorist. Manifestos have been used by madmen and others, various criminal types, time and again. They mean very little. The famous Unabomber, sought for years by the FBI in the United States, was a very good example.

He had a manifesto, a long one, and it made about as much sense as a poor madman rambling on the streets about being Jesus. As it turned out, he was a tragically afflicted man, a greatly gifted one, once a brilliant young mathematician with a promising career, his mind destroyed by late-onset paranoid schizophrenia.

Genuine terror is the tool of the powerless against power, generally power that is oppressing them. It is always a political tool. Indeed, there’s not much point in having a special word for abhorrent violence if there is no political purpose. Otherwise these acts are just violent crimes.

If you will, an operation like France’s Résistance movement in WW II was a large and well-organized terror operation against a powerful occupying German army. We, of course, don’t call them that because we are in sympathy with their aims.

The word “terror” in recent decades has gained a new connotation as a result of events in the Middle East. “Terror” today is often used as a way branding someone or something as a kind of Twentieth Century witch, so they become automatically hated by others. This use is effectively what the military call a “psy-op.” It actually makes little sense on an analytical level, but most of the ways the general population reacts to words and events, ones which are incompletely explained, are not on an analytical level. Otherwise, we would have no such things as panics and ugly mobs and lynchings. It has proved a very effective label, the public reaction to it closely resembling that of villagers in the Middle Ages on hearing the charge of witchery, as we can see from its widespread use and misuse, over and over, in the press.

This use of “terror” also has the effect of setting an opponent apart from civilized norms, thus legitimizing the people using the term, who may in fact themselves be just as guilty of abhorrent violence. Israel and the former PLO provide the perfect example of this. Modern Israel was, of course, born in terror and violence, and it has extended the violence indefinitely by occupying and abusing millions of people against their will. An outfit like the original PLO, indeed a genuine terror organization, somehow got labelled first, so that they are not viewed as the WWII French Résistance, but that is really what they are in every respect. The successful labelling perhaps wasn’t just a matter of being first out the door. All of America’s major press and broadcasting are notably Israel-friendly, highly biased in fact, and the Palestinians never did develop effective means to tell their story to others, either enough good English speakers or the press to cover them. We see in recent years what a healthy impact quality new English press in Russia has had in telling Russia’s story to counteract the immense waves of bias from Washington.

Characterizing too many violent acts as “terror” has a knock-on effect, too, a highly undesirable one. A good many people hearing and reading the word all the time become a bit paranoid about it, much as they do from some urban American local television stations which squeeze every ounce of juice they can from local crime reporting. Some people do truly get the idea that it’s not safe to out the front door. This a real phenomenon that I’ve witnessed in an American city, and it’s clearly unhealthy. In the case of “terror” being repeated all the time, a lot of ordinary people only become further conditioned to accepting government’s terrible excesses – spying on everyone, increasing censorship, torture, improper imprisonment, extrajudicial killing, more wars and bombing, and the stream of violent abuses they plainly see coming from Israel.

Terror may also be an act of vengeance by the powerless against power. That is precisely what most of the so-called “international terror” in Europe has been. Angry young men seeking revenge for what has been done to their friends and families and countries by Western operations in places like Syria. After all, countries like France and Britain have been secretly assisting the United States for years in its violent efforts to create “a new Middle East,” in its so-called Neocon Wars, wars which have both conventional aspects, as in massive bombings, and employ all kinds of rag-tag terrorist mercenaries and dark operations.

The kind of terror events we’ve seen in Europe have no hope of overturning the societies they attack or of defeating their armies, with whom they never even engage, as in theory, at least, a Résistance or a PLO did. They are acts of angry vengeance, but it should always be kept in mind that the desire for vengeance has a cause. In these cases, it is a response to government violence by countries like France and Britain who long secretly bombed or supplied covert special forces in many parts of the Middle East, killing many people.

In many cases, the word “terror” is abused by our press. Our politicians and press embrace, for example, Israel’s own description of its opposition in the Middle East. Even outfits like Hamas – a democratic organization which has worked to organize the desperate people of Gaza and give them some hope – and Hezbollah – a Lebanese organization born out of Israel’s years-long illegal occupation of Southern Lebanon, one which finally succeeded in driving them out – are called terrorist, not because they actually carry out terror in Israel but because they oppose Israel’s efforts to dominate their places.

Of course, as I said, modern Israel was itself born in terror. Organizations like Irgun, Lehi, and Haganah assassinated people and carried out classic terror operations such as bombings and ambushes. In 1948, Israeli groups actually slaughtered many hundreds of innocent villagers, including women and children, in order to terrorize the Palestinians and send them fleeing for their lives. And they did run. That is how, for example, Gaza became such a densely occupied space. And the terror at some level really has never stopped. A recent book counted 2,700 assassinations by Israel. Every leader of any ability who arises from the Palestinians is threatened with assassination, often openly.

Terror has also been widely employed by powerful states like the United States as a covert means of getting what it wants or hurting those it dislikes. The phony jihadists (actually recruited mercenary gangs) of Syria or Libya are examples. These people have been trained, supplied, paid, and provided all kinds of special assistance from transportation to intelligence by the United States or, in large part, by one of its cooperative allies in the region, such as Saudi Arabia. The recent country-wide electricity blackout in Venezuela, causing hardship for millions and undoubtedly a number of deaths and injuries, is terror as surely as, say, planting a bomb in a vital facility.

The CIA’s long and costly efforts against Fidel Castro, from the late 1950s right through a fair part of the 1960s, was the purest example of state terror. That long campaign went from attacks on ports and ships from boats and attempts to set crop fields on fire and setting various bombs to supplying weapons to Castro opponents and to many assassination attempts – quite apart from the invasion of the country by paid, trained, and supplied gangs of men who had previously emigrated from Cuba to the United States. For these purposes, there were secret camps in the United States, and other places, which made Osama bin Laden’s efforts in the mountains of Afghanistan resemble a boy-scout outing.

And, on an even larger scale, it might be fair to call many of America’s unilaterally-declared wars since WWII, terror operations because they had no other purpose than extracting concessions or privileges from other people through violence. They were in defense of nothing. The methods used definitely have involved the worst kind of terror. In Vietnam, carpet bombing was used to terrorize an entire population, and it did. In the CIA’s Operation Phoenix, which continued for a number of years, somewhere between twenty and forty thousand village leaders of various descriptions had their throats cut by night-crawling special ops. And in the invasion of Iraq, what do you think a name like “shock and awe” was about? I don’t insist on the point, you might look at these wars as just mass killings, but they are sure in keeping with a country so ready to use and support terror, so long as it’s terror for the “right” reasons.

 

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Posted March 17, 2019 by JOHN CHUCKMAN in Uncategorized

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: THE NEW ZEALAND MASS KILLER – NOTHING TO DO WITH TERROR – A GREAT DEAL TO DO WITH THE HATRED AND VIOLENCE WITH WHICH AMERICA FILLS THE VERY AIR WE BREATHE – INABILITY TO IDENTIFY AND HELP SICK PEOPLE – ACCESS TO GUNS   Leave a comment

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY SUZIE DAWSON IN CONSORTIUM NEWS

 

“Misguided Spying and the New Zealand Massacre

“While intelligence agencies were looking in all the wrong places, a conspicuous target slipped through the cracks”

 

I don’t find this very enlightening. In fact, not at all.

The man was not a “terrorist” in the strict meaning of the word, and I do think we should keep to strict meanings. We have enough careless language in the mainline press and from politicians around this topic.

The man is a mentally-ill, violence-prone person who has had easy access to weapons and whose thoughts have been deeply stained by the 24-hour-a-day mainline press’s talk of terror and Muslims and migration of groups of people, talk which reflects the very words of some of our most senior politicians.

It is hate-speech in the true sense of the term, and it is not only permitted, it is actively supported at the top in most Western governments today. It is the United States which provides the driving force in this. All of its allies feel the pressure to go along to get along.

Trump deserves direct blame here with his genuinely foul public statements feeding the fires of the press. It does seem to me that the United States has become something of a 24-hour-a-day hate machine, just spewing out filthy thoughts about refugees, migrants, Muslims, Palestinians, and others. Donald Trump, Marco Rubio, John Bolton, Mike Pompeo, Elliott Abrams, Nikki Haley, Lindsey Graham, the late John McCain. There is a long list of such people in high places.

I do think a sick person such as the New Zealand killer – in fact, he is no different to earlier American mass killers in Las Vegas or Florida or the Columbine high-schoolers – might have done something like this, sooner or later, no matter what the target. The human population, as a matter of course, turns out a certain number of such dangerously faulty minds regularly, just as it does people with bad hearts or other grave disabilities.

“Might have,” I stress. Because it is intense hatred and fear which generally tip the potential danger of a seriously disturbed person into certain horror.

It really has nothing directly to do with politics or religion. Politics and religion only feed the fears and provide the targets for such people. And, of course, politics and religion provide the underlying reason why we see and hear so much hatred and ignorance coming from the United States and influencing everyone. Perhaps the real question we should be asking is, why is that so?

It is our political and journalistic environment which causes some sick people to focus on groups like Muslims, and of course our politicians and press never accept any responsibility.

It is not the job of intelligence services to seek out people like this. It never has been. Nor should it be.

That is a completely faulty line of thinking, and indeed it only lends support to further massive intrusion by Western governments into the lives of ordinary citizens. We are already approaching the point where citizens in the West have come to resemble herds of cattle with identifying tags stapled to their ears.

In our Western world of intense and growing disparity, such practices advocated only reinforce the social-control tools of the privileged few who effectively rule over us, and they only further shred what is left of our pretenses about democracy.

Since our world is also one now of almost constant war and threats and destructive acts by the privileged running the United States, such practices advocated also serve to keep supporting the flimsy excuses they use to justify it all.

Local society everywhere should be working at identifying such dangerous people. Identifying them early. Keeping them from weapons. Perhaps treating them to the extent that treatment is possible. I’m sure countless interactions in schools and with police and with others over the years would have made this man obvious.

Psychopaths tend to reveal themselves quite early and in some well-understood ways, two being a fondness for arson and the violent abuse of animals. And why was he allowed access to weapons? And he obviously earlier had practice with his weapons, as at shooting ranges, being quite proficient at his grisly work. Were none of those around him listening or looking?

No, there is no easy way of preventing such events, and advocating for more intelligence intrusion is not an answer. Stopping the violent outpourings of hatred and ignorance with which we live would sure help, besides being a worthy goal on its own, but responsibility for that goes right to the top.

People just seem to miss the fact that what the United States government has done in the Middle East over the last couple of decades is precisely the same kind of behavior as this New Zealand mass killer, only it is magnified tens of thousands of times by the might of the military and security services. Almost no one shows any concern. Nor is there any serious opposition to the horror of a couple of million killed, millions more reduced to desperate refugees, and whole societies left as chaotic, smouldering ruins.

I am reminded of the hideous murder and disposal of Jamal Khashoggi, an intelligent and thoughtful and decent man. He was hit on the head, cut up alive, and burnt in a backyard barbeque – all on the premises of the official Saudi consulate in Istanbul, all of it the work of a gang of high-ranking loyalists to Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince. We know absolutely who had to order that, even the CIA confirmed that it was so, yet we see the President of the United States and others, smiling and shaking hands with him regularly, and he is at absolutely no risk of facing justice.

That is perfectly symbolic of the entire ethical and moral tone of Western world today, a tone for which the leaders of the United States bear major responsibility in their vicious drive to control the globe. You cannot create wars and coups and terrors, lying about them every step of the way, and not have disastrous effects on almost everything.

Just look at America’s truly ugly behavior right now in Venezuela. The privileged in Washington use every dirty trick they can think of to assist the privileged in Venezuela, even to destroying the food in the fridges of millions of ordinary people and to carelessly taking the lives of the vulnerable with their life-saving machines unable to function at home or in hospitals or nursing homes. Cutting off most of a nation’s electricity for many days literally is an act of terror, genuine terror.

Or how about the week-in, week-out, taken-for-granted extrajudicial murder of legally-innocent people? Again, the work of the United States, and it goes virtually unquestioned.

It’s literally in the air for all of us to breathe, this non-stop bullying and threatening and killing and hate. What would anyone expect its effects to be on violence-prone, sadly unbalanced minds?

Posted March 16, 2019 by JOHN CHUCKMAN in Uncategorized

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: WHY A CRITICISM OF TRUMP’S HALTING CIVILIAN-DEATH DRONE REPORTS REPRESENTS SOMETHING SERIOUSLY WRONG – PICKING OUT A SMALL PART OF THIS UGLY STORY IS LIKE CRITICISING AN ADMINISTRATIVE ERROR AT A DEATH CAMP   Leave a comment

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY DANIEL BRUNSTETTER IN CONSORTIUM NEWS

 

“Trump’s Backward Move on Drone Civilian Casualties

“On March 6, President Trump signed an executive order that revoked the requirement, formulated under the Obama administration, that U.S. intelligence officials must publicly report the number of civilians killed in CIA drone strikes outside declared war zones”

 

Yes, it’s backward, but focusing on this detail gives Americans the wrong perspective.

America is running an industrial-scale, extrajudicial-killing scheme, and I see very little criticism of this human-rights abomination.

And it was started by the boyishly-smiling Obama. The first to receive stacks of “kill lists” in his inbox at the Oval Office.

The scheme was championed to Obama by Joe Biden.

And Secretary of State Hillary Clinton could make such a callous statement about one of the genuine heroes of our time, Julian Assange, saying, “Can’t we just drone him or something?”

Trump is awful, but he’s a comparatively small character in the story of America’s institutionalizing the ghastly ways of the old Argentine junta and its “disappearing” thousands of people.

Too much association I think with the horrors of Israel and its reported past 2700 assassinations. Only the other day, Israel’s election candidate Gantz said he would start assassinating the leaders of Hamas, a democratic, absolutely non-terrorist organization which gives the people of Gaza some little scrap of hope for their desperate futures, and we hear not a word of objection.

Most of America’s current mass killings by drone are in that region of the world.

This article provides an excellent example of what is really wrong in America. A liberal critic focuses on one recent administrative detail of an overall program that is monstrous and ethically repellent.

To my mind, it’s a little like a complaint about some errors made by administrators at Auschwitz.

Posted March 16, 2019 by JOHN CHUCKMAN in Uncategorized

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: CHANGING NATURE OF VOTING UNDER A PARLIAMENTARY SYSTEM – PROBLEMS REPRESENTED – GETTING RID OF BAD LEADERS – NEED FOR ELECTION REFORM   Leave a comment

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN CBC NEWS

 

A critical piece about the behavior of the Doug Ford government in Ontario

_______________________

Response to a comment saying people vote for their local representative and not for the leader:

 

Yes, sort of.

That was the original concept of a parliament.

But read the news coverage, and it is clear that the general public and the press today think in terms of voting for the leader. In other words, parliamentary government has become Americanized, its elections resembling American presidential elections.

Individual members over time have been reduced to nonentities, too, with the dominance of powerful, well-financed political parties run under strict rules of discipline by the leader.

It’s an awkward reality. Voters who want a leader often have to vote for an MPP they don’t care for. And just the opposite, those who very much want to avoid a leader may have to vote against a well-liked MPP.

At any rate, voters can at least avoid votes which support atrocious leaders. It’s not much, but it’s something.

We badly need vote reform, serious reform, too. Justin Trudeau really let us down on that,  although perhaps not any more than he has on a number of important matters.

But to my mind, the bottom line, as they say, is with the political parties doing a conscientious job in selecting leaders. They are badly failing us in that, time after time.

Posted March 16, 2019 by JOHN CHUCKMAN in Uncategorized

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: HOW AMERICA’S USE OF SANCTIONS RESEMBLES ITS USE OF BOMBING   Leave a comment

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN RUSSIA INSIDER

 

“Economic Sanctions: Washington’s Best Tool to Control the World” 

“The lessons taught by nearly 70 years of American economic isolation against Cuba are a prime example; while the sanctions have been painful, they resulted in a nation that has maintained its resolve in the face of economic difficulties and a leader that outlived and out ruled the reigns of U.S. Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush I, Clinton and Bush II.”

 

How very true.

Of course, an important aspect of sanctions is that they always hurt the little people, the ordinary citizens of a country, people who are guilty of nothing even if you believe their leaders are.

That makes sanctions no different than American bombing.

America’s heavy use of bombing has shifted the impact of its wars from soldiers to civilians.

It mainly kills civilians in every theater of war.

Posted March 14, 2019 by JOHN CHUCKMAN in Uncategorized

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: JUST IMAGINE THE DAMAGE TO MILLIONS DONE BY AMERICA’S UGLY STUNT OF DESTROYING VENEZUELA’S ELECTRICITY GRID? – SUCH IS AMERICA’S CARE FOR PEOPLE’S WELFARE   Leave a comment

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY LEE CAMP IN MINT PRESS

 

“We Are Being Lied Into War Again”

 

Yes, and can you just imagine how much damage was done with America’s attacking Venezuela’s electricity production?

People in hospitals or old-age homes who were hurt and killed?

People dependent on life-saving machines of every description right in their homes?

People’s stored food in refrigerators ruined – millions of refrigerators full of food, something demonstrating a new level of American concern with supposed food shortages in the country?

What a vicious stunt.

Done by leaders of the world’s most powerful nation, leaders craving the world’s respect and admiration. Leaders constantly mouthing words about rights and humanity and democracy.

I see this as a new low in America’s lousy behavior.

 

Posted March 13, 2019 by JOHN CHUCKMAN in Uncategorized