Archive for August 2015

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: TALKING TO THE “BAD GUYS” IN CONFLICTS – TRUTHS ABOUT HAMAS HEZBOLLAH AND ISRAEL – THERE ARE NO BAD GUYS IF YOU WANT PEACE – MORE PHONY STUFF TRYING TO ASSOCIATE JEREMY CORBYN AND ANTI-SEMITISM

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE GUARDIAN

Let’s get our facts straight. Natalie Nougayrède’s piece is just one more effort – even if slightly more subtly constructed – to tar Jeremy Corbyn with “anti-Semitism.” It is unfair, lacks facts, and attempts to divert attention from far more important issues than with whom Mr. Corbyn may have spoken sometime in the past.

No progress in any conflict anywhere has ever occurred without talking to “bad guys.” Note the example of “the troubles” in Northern Ireland.

Besides, any open-minded, thoughtful person knows the term “bad guys” is politically loaded and a very inaccurate description right from the start. You cannot arbitrarily assign the roles of angels and devils in any large conflict, as Israel has always very much done in this one.

Despite what Israel presses people to say, Hamas is not a terrorist organization. It is almost silly to say so. It not only includes a lot of professionals and responsible figures, it was freely and fairly elected. And it represented, for the people, a new clean start over the old corrupt ways of Fatah. Israel’s secret services even played a significant role in its early life, in hopes of dividing and conquering Fatah. Then once it succeeded, Israel launched an endless campaign of vilification and threats.

Israel right away actually arrested a large number of the elected government and threw them into prison. It openly threatened the elected leader with assassination. And of course it twice invaded Gaza, killing about 4,000 people, mostly civilians and including about 1,000 children. Then it laid down a nasty blockade which originally included a hideous limit on the number of calories allowed into Gaza to weaken the population.

Hezbollah also is not a terrorist organization and again was partly created out of Israel’s own acts – in this case, Israel’s long, illegal, and brutal occupation of Southern Lebanon. Hezbollah simply grew up as an anti-occupation force, a résistance, a la France in WWII. And it did succeed eventually in driving Israel back home through an unacceptable level of casualties. And of course that is why Israel so hates it.

Hezbollah has never attempted to invade Israel, but Israel has invaded Lebanon numerous times. Israel has done many brutal things to get back at Hezbollah, including its last horrific atrocity of dropping about a million cluster-bomb bomblets in the region to kill and cripple farmers and children for years to come.

In both cases, what really is taking place behind a lot of meaningless words is Israel’s slow but constant effort to build “Greater Israel,” taking more of other peoples’ land without the people. Those who oppose this in the region are called “terrorists,” and those abroad who address the matter are called “anti-Semites.”

Advertisements

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: AN UNPOPULAR BUT HONEST VIEW: FRANCOIS HOLLANDE, FRANCE’S CURRENT PATHETIC PRESIDENT, MISUSING THE LEGION OF HONOR AS A PERSONAL POPULARITY PROP – AND EXACTLY WHY THERE IS SO MUCH VIOLENCE NOW IN THE WORLD

John Chuckman

COMMENTS POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE GUARDIAN

Once again, France’s Hollande demonstrates the pathetic, almost comic, figure he is by awarding France’s highest honor to the American soldiers who stopped a gunman on a train.

The soldiers’ act was unquestionably a brave one, but no braver than a hundred others that must have happened during the year.

Previously Hollande, in an act which resembled parody, awarded the Legion of Honor to four victims of an attack on a Paris grocery store. His response came close to making the award meaningless: find yourself in the wrong place at the wrong time, get shot by mindless gunmen, and suddenly you are elevated to secular sainthood.

After all, violent acts and murders do happen regularly. I cannot recall another instance in which the corpses of a murderer’s victims were elevated to national heroes. If that were the practice in the United States, with 25,000 murders a year, the factory couldn’t keep up with minting medals.

Of course, in both these instances Hollande is playing up to the ridiculous, deliberately exaggerated fears of terror, relentlessly promoted by the United States, and that is their distinguishing, common feature.

In this last one, the train incident, he also flatters those whom he has served with such cringing, dog-like loyalty, the Americans.

My God, how low France has fallen from the days of de Gaulle.

_________________________________

Response to a further comment about why there is so much violence:

 

A certain percent of all human beings, everywhere and always, is mentally unbalanced, including such conditions as psychopathy. That’s just a biological fact, much as saying a certain percent of any population is born blind or lame or with various degenerative diseases.

I suspect the proportion of such people is not wildly different over time, although, of course, the world’s ever-increasing population yields an ever-greater absolute number of mentally ill people.

What has changed in the contemporary world for sure are the unbelievable quantities of deadly weapons available. They are everywhere, in the millions. And why is that the case? Because the United States pushes them (yes, including AK-47s and other weapons not of American origin) out like products from an assembly line to destabilize places in dozens of locations where it is unhappy about either a government’s position on American policy or about a people trying to topple a tyrannical government that America just happens to favor. Examples of the former include Iraq, Syria, Libya, Ukraine, and dozens of others, while examples of the latter include Yemen, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, or Egypt.

Many of these weapons stay around for a lifetime. The most vivid case of this recently was perhaps in Libya. The CIA and others pumped weapons into the place to destabilize Gadhafi. When he was gone, the CIA was back trying to round up some of the vast quantities left in the chaotic country to ship to the madmen they had set up to topple still another government they dislike, that of Syria. It was in that covert operation that an American ambassador was killed at Benghazi, an example of intelligence blowback and an incident never explained because America didn’t want to advertise the facts behind it.

In the process of so much aggression and destabilization, the press is filled day after day with stories arousing all kinds of powerful emotions in millions of people. Just think of the people of Gaza being slaughtered by hi-tech American weapons supplied to Israel in fleet-loads, or of people of Yemen being slaughtered by the same American weapons supplied to the absolute kingdom of Saudi Arabia, a place where the ISIS scare tactic of public beheading is just the day-in, day-out normal practice of government. Just think of the madman running Turkey who secretly ships the same American weapons to terror groups destroying Syria while offering refuge to the cowardly monsters as may be required.

Just think of the horrors of millions of migrants in the press today – all of them a direct effect of America’s various acts in places from Syria to Libya. Those tidal waves of human suffering are tearing many societies apart as well as individuals.

You cannot expect an international society of laws unless you yourself are willing to respect the rule of law.

Nothing could be clearer than that the United States is not willing to live by the rule of law, although it unfailingly pays lip-service to it. In Syria, Palestine, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Ukraine, and a dozen other places, America is manufacturing misery and oppression on a gigantic scale. And all of the exaggerated stuff about terror keeps citizens intimidated from raising their voices. And of course some of that “terror” is just the legitimate response of oppressed and frustrated people made to appear mindless by America’s relentless propaganda.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: STORIES OF JEFF BEZOS, AMAZON, AND OTHER TECH COMPANIES – HUMANS HAD NOT EVOLVED THE LAST TIME I LOOKED – WHY THE NEW YORK TIMES OWING TO ITS OWN BEHAVIOR CAN NEVER IMMEDIATELY BE TAKEN AT FACE VALUE ON ANY STORY

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE GUARDIAN

The article’s headline and photo suggest it is about Amazon, but it is not. It purports to explain why tech companies’ behavior is much like that of older companies, giving a few anecdotes of interest but not much else.

Steve Jobs indeed had a long public record of behaving as a bastard, including in his private life. He once tried to disown in court his illegitimate daughter, trying to pay nothing for her support, then settling on what can only be called a token amount for a man of his then resources. His business practices with employees and customers did not depart from his personal behavior, although he liked to play the smiling guru, a little like the Ghandi parody done by Bill Gates in meetings.

Other companies the author mentions are also known for some unpleasant practices with their customers, most notably Facebook, a ruthless outfit in bed with the CIA from the start. The author left out the most egregious example, Microsoft, surely one of world’s most disliked companies and deservedly so.

But I do not believe Jeff Bezos belongs in that crowd. I stand ready to be corrected by facts, but the author of this article provides none.

The article in The New York Times does not convince. Much of the public still seems to believe The New York Times is a voice of authority, but it is not, and it is not owing to its own shoddy practices over the years. It actually has a long record of dishonest journalism, favoritism to friends and associates, and a number of terrible with-hunts.

Its witch-hunts included, for example, investigation of a woman some years ago who said that a Kennedy cousin raped her at a Kennedy beach house. Not only was her testimony believable, but in trying to discredit her, The Times revealed her identity, something against court practice in such cases. It was a shameful example of pandering to a wealthy family with which it had connections. Another case involved the scientist Wen Ho Lee. The Times pursued him with a long series of articles for crimes of which he was never convicted because the FBI did not have evidence.

There have been many such cases in American domestic affairs, but The Times is just as guilty in foreign affairs. Several times it has been caught with CIA agents on the payroll. It has never once failed to beat the drums for war too. And it accepts and justifies every atrocity committed by Israel. It is hardly the voice of dispassionate journalism.

So an article by The Times should serve only as a starting point for an investigation, but the author of The Guardian article has done none.

I think the article he has written has an extremely naïve starting assumption, that tech industry somehow was thought to behave differently as an employer and supplier than traditional industries.

The last time I looked, humans had not shown any recent advance in evolution. We remain relatives of chimpanzees, only with larger brains capable of still more damage than those cute but nasty animals. So why would you be surprised human behavior in a newer industry hasn’t changed? It seems to me it was a false premise from which to start writing.

But even in older industries we do sometimes have enlightened and responsible owners, and until I am convinced otherwise by facts I regard Bezos not as Andrew Carnegie but as a decent and innovative businessman.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: JUSTIN TRUDEAU KEEPS MAKING THE KIND OF BLUNDERS WHICH GIVE PEOPLE NO REASON TO VOTE FOR HIM – HIS LATEST ABOUT COALITIONS IS JUST IGNORANT AND STINKS OF HARPER-SPEAK

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE NATIONAL POST

I like Justin, but he keeps making serious errors, almost certainly under the advice of advisers he should have dumped.

You cannot be viewed as fresh and promising if you keep say some of the things he says, such as this about coalitions being back-room deals.

First, there was the disastrous press conference with Eve Adams, a genuinely unpleasant person whose past service-station idiocy was in a video online even as Justin spoke with her.

Then, he supported Harper’s ghastly Bill C-51. You don’t support stupid and oppressive legislation just to differentiate yourself from the party to your left, but that is what Justin did.  Just dumb.

And now, he describes coalitions as “back room deals.”

This last one is just ignorant. Half the parliamentary governments of the world rule by coalitions. The last government of Britain, the government of Germany, the government of Israel – and that’s just for starters.

“Back room deals” is a pejorative phrase used to characterize something which is a normal and open in parliamentary democracies.

And that is precisely the kind of misleading expression which might well have been written by a Harper speechwriter.

I truly dislike that kind of language, which is part of the reason I find Stephen Harper so repellent a politician.

Sorry, Justin, but if you keep going down the road you are going down, people simply have no reason to vote for you. It makes you sound ideological, narrow, old-fashioned, and, yes, boring.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: A WRITER ARGUES INCORRECTLY ON THE PARALLELS BETWEEN DONALD TRUMP AND RONALD REAGAN

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN OPED NEWS

The basic reasoning here is flawed.

Reagan always had an extremely likable personality which softened things even when he lied, which he not infrequently did.

Trump has no likable personality. He is a rude loud-mouth. The fact that a lot of people ignore this fact is the measure of how desperate Americans are about a political and election establishment which completely fails to deliver anything but two versions of party boilerplate.

But even a pushy, aggressive, and wealthy man like Trump, if he were elected, would soon find how little authority a President can really command.

The last President who challenged the military-intelligence-corporate establishment which actually runs America, John Kennedy, left part of his head scattered in the streets of Dallas.

Nothing has changed. Indeed things only have become worse.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: THE REAL REASON THERE IS SO MUCH NEGATIVE NOISE ABOUT JEREMY CORBYN BECOMING LEADER OF BRITAIN’S LABOUR PARTY – BEING INDEPENDENT-MINDED AND ETHICAL IN TODAY’S WORLD AFFAIRS IS REASON ENOUGH TO BE ATTACKED AND QUITE VICIOUSLY

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE GUARDIAN

No wonder The Guardian keeps running the smarmy words of the world’s greatest a$$hole, Tony Blair, against Corbyn. You really are trying to sink his candidacy.

By the way, it really is unfair for newspapers to make political recommendations.

It’s not part of legitimate journalism, although I grant it has a long tradition.

____________________________

Israel is reported as not happy about the prospect of Jeremy Corbyn.

And it has nothing to do with “anti-Semitism,” although without a doubt that now-tired canard will be used, or suggested subtly, yet again.

It has really to do with Corbyn’s independence of mind. And I would suggest The Guardian shares this view.

Right now, much of Europe marches in lockstep with America, and America’s foreign policy allows for almost no independence of mind, especially when places like the Mideast are involved.

America’s campaign contribution system – a disgrace which has close to eliminated effective democracy in the country – is at the root of the problem.

The American Lobby for Israel – not a figment of anyone’s fetid imagination but a hard reality documented by scholarly work – is the most well-organized and financed in the country, and Congressmen and Senators listen when it speaks.

Not only are substantial contributions at risk in opposing them, but there is always the threat of the major news sources going negative on such opponents in their local constituencies. Owing to unlimited corporate mergers, now only a half dozen mega-corporations control most of what Americans read and see on television. They are all friends of Israel if you judge by their words. The situation is very much like the Rupert Murdoch situation in Britain, only more so.

That is why freshmen Congressmen all dutifully attend the free trips for “information” Israel provides after every election. Declining to go is risky indeed, for you will be marked down as “not being a friend of Israel.”

That is why the American Congress today listens to the raging nonsense of Netanyahu’s violent government against their own elected President over an important international agreement. It is a scandal almost beyond describing for the government of the world’s greatest power to behave in this way.

And that is why Jeremy Corbyn can expect some rough treatment ahead. There is no allowance for independence of mind or, for that matter, ethical standards.

Tony Blair, as most readers know, has zero independence of mind, and he appears to have been born and educated without any ethical compass. He’s proved that scores of times. And being so had its rewards: amongst other prizes that tumbled into his lap after he helped kill a million Iraqis was the Israel Peace Prize, a one million dollar thank you for a job well done.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: THE IRAN NUCLEAR AGREEMENT – THE EXAMPLE OF A GOOD POLITICIAN SUPPORTING IT YET NEEDING TO CRAWL AROUND A BIT IN SAYING SO – WHY IRAN CAN BE TRUSTED – AND THE PEOPLE SAYING THEY CAN’T BE TRUSTED ARE THE VERY ONES TO REGARD WITH EXTREME CAUTION

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE NATIONAL POST

This article by Kelly McParland is rubbish propaganda.

Bob Rae introduces his statement about why he supports the Iran agreement with words “conceding that Iran is a repressive regime that can’t be trusted, hates Jews, represents a threat to the very existence of Israel, encourages terrorism, destabilizes the region….”

That is not so much a statement of conviction, I believe, as it is what it is absolutely necessary to say if you don’t want to be pilloried in the press and by many politicians for a view on an important issue which happens to be at odds with the one prevailing in Israel.

His “necessary” statement contains almost nothing but echoes of myths and propaganda repeated a thousand times in our corporate, and very biased, press.

Iran can’t be trusted? Where’s one scrap of evidence for that? So far as I am aware they keep all their agreements and obligations.

Iran hates Jews? There is nothing to support that. Tens of thousands of Jews live good lives in Iran. I guarantee that the Jews of Iran live far, far better lives than do the occupied Palestinians.

Iran encourages terrorism? I’m not aware of any such events. Iran lives at peace with its neighbors and has not started a single war in its modern history. Yes, it supports allies in the region, as do the United States and Israel, but I can’t accept they qualify as terrorists in quite the same fashion as America’s thuggish recruits now working to destroy Syria.

Contrast that with Israel whose brief modern history is one of continuous attacks on every neighbor it has, many more than once.

Indeed, the Six Day War was deliberately started by Israel to seize lands it still holds half a century later against the will of all those living on them.

It seized part of Lebanon too and occupied it for many years, until Hezbollah drove them out, Hezbollah receiving Iran’s assistance. But that was not terror, it was self-defence by any reasonable reckoning. Hezbollah, in contrast to Israel, never invaded and occupied any part of Israel.

If you want an example of genuine terror, look to the two recent invasions of that refugee camp called Gaza in which about a thousand children were killed, apart from thousands of adults. And look to an endless blockade of the same unfortunate people, a blockade which in its earlier days, before international intervention, actually included a calorie count for allowed imports just sufficient to keep the population alive. Even Gaza’s humble fishermen can only go a short distance into the sea before being shot at.

How about the Israeli bombings of Southern Lebanon in which a million horrible cluster bomblets were dropped where farmers and children could step on them?

Iran is a theocratic state, but it is not quite the miserable place so often glibly described in our corporate press. You may easily finds sites with lots of photos of these lovely people smiling huge smiles and doing a great variety of things you might expect to see in a free society.

Meanwhile Israel has not an imaginary but a genuine nuclear arsenal, something about which it daily lies. It is not a member of the nuclear proliferation treaty, as Iran is, and it allows no inspections around Dimona. And, speaking of proliferation, it is an historical fact that Israel conspired with apartheid South Africa to assist them in gaining nuclear weapons.

We are far, far freer of danger originating from Iran than we are from Israel.