Archive for January 2011

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: EDITORIAL SAYS EGYPT’S MUBARAK DOESN’T GET IT – BUT WHOSE CREATURE IS MUBARAK ? – THE UNITED STATES’ AND ISRAEL’S DARK ROLES IN EGYPT


 

 

JOHN CHUCKMAN

POSTED RESPONSE TO AN EDITORIAL IN TORONTO’S GLOBE AND MAIL

Please, just whose creature is Mubarak?

For thirty years he has been protected, generously supplied with aid and arms, and literally paid by the United States.

He is only one of many such people in the world’s oppressive governments who has spent much of his adult life on the CIA’s payroll.

Just look at the pictures placed on the Internet by demonstrators in Egypt, people gasping for breath in clouds of tear gas, and the canisters they have desperately picked up off the pavement are clearly marked “made in USA.”

Just as they were in places like Pinochet’s Chile or the PRI’s Mexico or the military junta’s Argentina or Marcos’s Philippines or the Shah’s Iran or, for that matter, in the Palestine territories under Israel’s brutal occupation.

The United States’ regularly blubbering about democracy and human rights has become a parody, a dark comedy played out at the expense of the lives of others. Hearing a hardboiled-egg, human-rights phony like Hillary Clinton pronounce on these profound matters is repulsive, like the words of a snake-oil salesman commenting on people whose deaths were caused by his poisonous medicine.

It is fair to say that few countries on earth are responsible for more suppression of human rights, at least abroad, than America.

I am genuinely thrilled by the heroism of the Egyptian people. It is a feeling I recall last experiencing when the poor Romanians rose against “the dracula,” Nicolae Ceauşescu, with their red, blue, and yellow flags, the center communist emblem torn out. Ceauşescu was, by the way, another useful friend of the United States, actually quite a good friend of Richard Nixon’s.

The Egyptians have so much working against them, Mubarak himself perhaps the least of dark and terrible forces. The United States, with its imperialist concerns over Israel and the Suez Canal, I am sure is working night and day to thwart the Egyptians aspirations.

And, of course, there is neighboring Israel, again a country always blubbering about democracy, which has enjoyed a long cozy relationship with this dictator as it has had with others, including apartheid South Africa. One wouldn’t be surprised were teams of Mossad killers sent out to do their dirty work on the uprising’s leadership.

The odds are hugely against the heroic Egyptians, but one cannot help but share their hopes and aspirations.

“Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive
But to be young was very heaven!”

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JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: MORE ON OBAMA’S SAD WORDS ABOUT AMERICA – THE GREAT DISAPPOINTMENT OF OBAMA – DOES AMERICA EVEN NEED ELECTIONS? – CHANGE LIKELY ONLY WITH U.S. DECLINE


 

 

JOHN CHUCKMAN

POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN BY CLIVE CROOK IN THE FINANCIAL TIMES

“President Obama’s great promise has been utterly wasted in policy-setting.”

Absolutely, and I have to believe he represented the last great hope of changing America’s course, Mr. Murray.

The entire planet breathed a sigh when Bush left office and this bright, charming young man entered.

But I cannot think of one area now where Obama has not disappointed, often greatly disappointed.

It does really seem that elections do not matter in the United States.

The pointless Afghan War goes on and on.

America is killing hundreds of civilians in Pakistan.

Iraq remains the mess America has made of it, millions reduced to hopeless lives for a generation.

America’s client, Israel, continues its brutal, bloody policies, never once making a genuine effort at peace, never once even acknowledging the inhumanity of its actions.

Internally, American politics are the same dog-fight they ever were. The Culture of Complaint prevails in everything, the Tea Party being just the latest change of costume for the same old play. No sense is heard anywhere on the national scene, at least from anyone of influence or even potential influence.

Sinking into old age as I am, it is exceedingly melancholy to consider the way virtually nothing in America has changed for the better since I was an angry young man over the horrors of Vietnam. American political rhetoric remains as utterly meaningless as 45 years ago.

The slaughter of innocents continues all over the globe, indeed, now is becoming computerized so that buzz-cut young men in secret rooms can play games at computer consoles, pumping their fists after sending a Hellfire missile into a home full of people.

I think it likely the only force now which will precipitate real change in America is its relative decline in the world, an unavoidable reality, which will cause many changes in attitudes and beliefs as it truly takes hold.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: AMERICAN SECRETARY OF DEFENSE ROBERT GATES MEETS CANADA’S PETER MACKAY TO TOUT F-35 PURCHASE PLANS – THE SAD TRUTH ABOUT THE F-35 AND PETER MACKAY


 

 

JOHN CHUCKMAN

POSTED RESPONSES TO A COLUMN IN TORONTO’S GLOBE AND MAIL

Did readers catch the anecdote yesterday about Peter “peanut brain” MacKay meeting Arnold Schwarzenegger, out on a good will tour, in B.C.?

Peter’s public words included the praise for the fact that B.C. and California share a border.

Arnold is reported to have looked perplexed but said nothing, knowing that the states of Washington and Oregon separate California from B.C.

Pure George Bush or Sarah Palin.

God, what a thin bench of talent the Conservatives have.

This is the man we entrust to make multi-billion dollar decisions and to deal with a very smart cookie like Gates?
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The F-35 is an expensive clunker for which Canada has no need.

From the Pentagon’s point of view, Canada and Australia and others are providing a subsidy to try improving the thing.

A strong country begins with a strong economy.

It truly is the height of folly to be making a gigantic and wasteful expenditure like this at this time.

People with genuine conservative instincts – those who pay their bills and believe in balanced budgets – will agree.

The trouble is Stephen Harper is an ideologue, an ideologue of American right-wing persuasion, and not a conservative at all.
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“The bigger issue down the road is what are the aircraft choices down the road that will be competitive against the Russian T-50 PAK, the Chinese J-20, and the joint venture Russian/India 5th GEN fighters.”

That is only an issue for American Pentagon worshipers.

One thing is certain, we should not foolishly subsidize the anxieties of such people.

Even were the F-35 a good plane, which it decidedly is not, it is not needed by Canada.

We have no genuine use for it, and any modest number we could afford would be absolutely militarily ineffective.

It’s a bad idea from every point of view, unless you are a Harper who sits smiling dreamily at the base of a giant American Bald Eagle statue in his rec-room.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: OBAMA’S SADLY EMPTY WORDS ABOUT AMERICA – IT’S TIME FOR AMERICA TO SHUT-UP AND ROLL-UP ITS SLEEVES – BUT THAT WILL NEVER HAPPEN


 

 

JOHN CHUCKMAN

POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN BY KONRAD YAKABUSKI IN TORONTO’S GLOBE AND MAIL

Competitiveness and innovation are never affected by government exhortations, nor indeed are they affected by any other exhortations, including those of business schools or “inspirational” speakers.

They come from the underlying real economic and financial conditions of a country and of the world in which it functions.

One can only look at the United States’ position in the world and offer a bitter smile at Obama’s empty words.

Debts of monumental proportions in every accounting from international balances to personal finance, idiotic pointless wars, and mindless military and security expenditures – all at the same time new competitors like China, India, Brazil, and even Russia grow to new strengths.

The United States is simply not competitive in so many areas of its economy. Nor is there any reason to believe that it can become so before undergoing a great deal of painful adjustment, the kind of adjustment its government works tirelessly to avoid.

Their government ignores reality because Americans are on average surely the world’s greatest whiny babies when it comes to painful adjustments.

It is their sense of boundless entitlement, fostered by countless dumb politicians blubbering in Fourth of July speeches about the American Dream and passing laws and budgets, year after year, which are completely irresponsible.

That is simply a one-way trip to nowhere, no matter how big your economy and how great some of its past performance.

But Americans are suckers for tent preachers, in everything from new product advertising to politics and self-help gurus helping themselves to people’s pocket books, and Obama is really starting to sound like one more of a tiresome breed.

The answer, of course, is for America to shut-up and roll its sleeves up – even then there are no guarantees of the same kind of future as it has enjoyed in the past – but you never fire America’s imagination by truth and reality.

Miracles, sermons, sugar plums, and fairy stories are always in demand.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: COLUMNIST ASKS WHY OBAMA HAS DONE NOTHING BUT PRESSURE ISRAEL OVER SETTLEMENTS FOR TWO YEARS – WORDS SURELY FROM CLOUDCUCKOOLAND


 

 

JOHN CHUCKMAN

POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN BY STEPHEN POLLARD IN THE TELEGRAPH

“So why has the US done nothing except pressurise the Israelis over settlements for the past two years?”

That seems an extremely naive question besides being factually an inaccurate description.

The only way to get a fair peace in the Mideast is with pressure on Israel. After all, Israel literally holds all the cards, occupying the land, controlling the people, regularly stealing bits of the property of others with no effective opposition, and being militarily a Frankenstein monster compared to the Palestinians, a military monster which regularly strikes out killing and maiming large numbers.

Israel has also managed to quash every outside effort to reach peace, as with the Oslo Accords. And Obama started out right, for the first time being a little tough on Israel rather than the usual complaisant attitude.

Still, anyone viewing the last two years objectively would hardly say he has seriously pressured Israel. But, in fact, he has now turned quite around. Why?

The answer is obvious: serious local electoral troubles plus the tireless efforts of the Israeli Lobby.

That is precisely the formula which got Israel recognized as a nation in the first place.

President Truman was under tremendous political pressure in his reelection bid.

He had no intention originally of recognizing Ben-Gurion’s self-declared state. There was no good argument for doing so.

But then Truman was literally inundated by lobbyists and apologists for Israel. His life was almost made a misery by platoons of special pleaders.

So he agreed to recognize Israel, and he was reelected.

Clearly those two things do not constitute cause and effect, but money is the mother’s milk of American politics and, undoubtedly, large campaign funding pledges plus promises of press support were made between the two events.

Obama went into office with a balanced and reasonably fair attitude towards Mideast peace, the first modern president to do so.

But he too was met by a wall of pressure – influential delegation after influential delegation.

His name also became widely hated in Israel, as his assistant, Rahm Emanuel, unhappily discovered on a visit to Israel with his family.

At the same time, his reelection prospects have turned around dramatically owing to the ongoing poor economy in the United States and to Obama’s widespread perception as an elitist serving the interests of bankers and corporations.

So now he has quietly backed off all of his original Mideast positions.

He has also made some dramatic efforts, in light of his new political weakness, to placate Israelis and American Jews – e.g., signing a ten-year arms gift agreement with Israel, supplying Israel with some new weapons technology, and offering Netanyahu a ridiculously extravagant bribe for a few months of cessation of settlements.

Obama’s getting ready to run as a less-than-heroic figure, and he needs all the help he can secure, so he has abandoned any pretence of fairness or the much-required pressure on Israel for a fair peace.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: TELEGRAPH EDITORIAL SAYING THAT BLAIR DESPITE HIS PAST RECORD SHOULD BE TRUSTED ON IRAN – AN EDITORIAL AS DISHONEST AS TONY HIMSELF


 

 

JOHN CHUCKMAN

POSTED RESPONSES TO AN EDITORIAL IN THE TELEGRAPH

“How should we respond to his warning? Ignore it because he made mistakes in Iraq and therefore nothing he says can be trusted? His analysis of Iran is based on far more reliable information than was available about Saddam’s Iraq.”

Sorry, but this piece is not just incorrect, it seems to me to be dishonest.

Made mistakes in Iraq?

How is that anything but dishonest? There were no mistakes, there was only a long and twisted and deliberate effort to deceive, and Blair works hard at it still.

You did not have to be a senior member of a government before the Iraq invasion to know that Bush, and his hopeless acolyte, Blair, were not telling the truth.

The facts were there for a critical mind to sort before the invasion. Solid information from past and current weapons inspectors, leaks from foreign intelligence, the testimony of an émigré Iraqi nuclear scientist, and the views of some heads of state – there was a mountain of legitimate information out there to put the lie to George and Tony.

And there was just the basic history at the time: context is always critical for understanding any situation. The first Bush’s invasion decimated Iraq, much more so than we were ever told, and then we had a decade of bombing, plotting, blockades, and the starvation of Iraqi children.

During all that extended horror, the phony right-wing think tanks in the United States never stopped the lobbying and speeches and publishing papers for the overthrow of Hussein, the very people George Junior hung around with and later made advisors in his criminal government.

His analysis of Iran is based on far more reliable information than was available about Saddam’s Iraq?

How can you write that with a straight face? First, Blair’s access to information can only be less than it was. Two, the general understanding of what is happening in Iran is demonstrably bad, less because Iran is a closed society – it is not – but Israel and its apologists and lobbyists conduct a non-stop crusade of misunderstanding, black information, and blind pressure. Newspapers like the Telegraph cooperate in this effort with editorials like this one.

We have already been told by the best intelligence available in the world that Iran does not have a nuclear weapons program. Moreover, many of Iran’s efforts to defuse the situation created by blind international pressure, as its efforts at an agreement with Brazil, point in the opposite direction of Israel’s claims. But even if they had one, they are a threat to no one. Modern Iran has attacked no one, quite unlike Israel which has attacked every neighbor that it has, some more than once.

Last, no country in the world has a record more packed with deception in nuclear matters than Israel. We know Israel has on the order of 150 warheads. We know it has several delivery systems for these weapons. We know that its nuclear weapons plant at Dimona is not open to any inspection. We know that it is not a signatory to non-proliferation while Iran is. We know that Israel lied, stole, and deceived for decades to get its weapons. We know it cooperated with apartheid South Africa, assisting them with their nuclear weapons, against all international agreements and law.

And last, we know Israel has worked for decades to make itself into a geopolitical miniature of the United States, one that strives to control events for at least a thousand miles outside its borders (whatever those are). Efforts to threaten Iran are only the latest phase of this.
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Blair has been so well paid for his criminal cooperation with Bush, it should be embarrassing. Every gift that it is in the power of the American establishment to grant, including various sinecures, has been granted.

America pays its servants well. You only have to look back at its long history of its various satraps, which includes everything from secret salaries from the CIA to various honors.

Blair even got a “peace” prize of a million dollars. Imagine, a mass killer given a peace prize?

But this prize was the gift of an Israeli foundation, so the confusion between war and peace is perhaps understandable.

Blair is an almost contemptible individual, having helped destroy a society for nothing, lied almost every day of his term of office, served the only certified moron ever to be an American president, and now enjoying unearned wealth like a Middle Eastern potentate.

His word on anything, including religion, is simply worthless.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: TONY BLAIR IN SECOND APPEARANCE AT IRAQ INQUIRY SAYS HE REGRETS LOSS OF LIFE – MASSES & PRAYERS & THE PERFUMES OF ARABIA WON’T TOUCH YOUR STENCH TONY


 

JOHN CHUCKMAN

POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN IN THE INDEPENDENT

He “regrets” the loss of life? How very civil of him.

But just what does that even mean? Is it anything along the lines of saying sorry to the mangled remains of the pedestrian you just dragged to his death under your car while you were driving drunk?

Blair truly is one of the most repulsive leaders of a major country of the last several decades.

Starting a war which ultimately killed a million people and set a society back for at least a generation ranks pretty high in my book of war crimes.

If I wanted to be flip, I could say Tony’s greatest crime was heeding George Bush, but I think that falls in the category of mental illness, not crime.

I think too we should never forget how opposed the British people were to Bush’s evil idea. London had the world’s greatest peace parade.

But Tony managed to manipulate and crawl and lie his way to dragging Britain into that pointless mass killing.

He has been richly rewarded for his dirty work – appointments, sinecures of every description – all the good things in the gift of those he doggedly served, the United States.

And just look at his pictures and hear his empty glib words now.

But isn’t that what you would expect from a supreme narcissist, indeed one bordering on a psychopath?

False charm, constant lies, endless manipulation, and attracted to killing – that is Blair.

It is simply stunning that in the twenty-first century, in an advanced democratic country, a leader can get away with what Blair has.

Indeed, he has prospered beyond anything he likely ever dreamed of, working the miracle of transmuting dead flesh into gold.

Sorry, Tony, all the prayers and masses you can muster and all the perfumes of Arabia won’t touch the stench you carry.