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Monthly Archives: August 2015

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.”

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 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 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 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 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 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.

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE NATIONAL POST

And in a very real sense, Mr. Duffy’s lawyer is right.

All writers on this affair seem to forget Mr. Duffy had been on what can only be termed an extended Stephen Harper Conservative campaign tour.

That was literally his assignment from the PMO.

It was Harper & Co’s decision – why, I can’t imagine – not to directly pay Duffy’s costs and conveniences for traveling around and speaking and glad-handing.

It was Harper & Co telling Duffy to bill the costs through Senate expenses.

That was completely wrong by any standard of business and government ethics.

Duffy gets no praise for his behavior, but he was serving the PMO directly and following what he had been told to do, full stop.

Then the PMO went into a panic because of an audit – simply put, their role in corrupt Senate practices would be documented

So they also sought to go-around a proper audit.

And there was their loyal servant, Mr Duffy, perfectly reasonably saying he needed to be compensated for what he did for them and the party.

And they saw that he was, through a still more corrupt practice.

It is a shameful story from beginning to end.

A story of corrupt practices and true incompetence at the top.

And in the end it is a story of cowardice: Harper and Wright behaved, and behave to this day, as cowards trying avoid all responsibility for what they did and to pin it all on Mike Duffy.

It is the sheer cowardice perhaps that is most repellent.

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE NATIONAL POST

Oh, please.

Nigel Wright’s “revulsion at porkery”? It’s just one ridiculous fantasy notion after another in the National Post.

Men at Nigel Wright’s level do not deal in fantasies and sentiment.

They deal in realpolitik or they wouldn’t keep their posts.

The realpolitik here is simple enough for anyone to understand: Wright paid $90,000 to shut someone up who had damaging information, and that someone happened to be a Senator who happened to be appointed by Stephen Harper, and Wright’s act is a crime, full stop.

And no one on this planet, knowing what a ferociously controlling person Stephen Harper is, can ever believe that he was not informed and had not approved beforehand. Saying anything else is perjury.

Harper is a man with a ferocious temper in private – he is known to have thrown a chair in one meeting – and no one would dare do what Wright claims he did.

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE NATIONAL POST

John Pepall offers a feeble argument for electing a national leader, very feeble indeed.

“The devil you know”?

While I readily grant the application of “devil” to Stephen Harper, I cannot accept such complete lack of reasoning.

Does the author follow this philosophy in other things?

Does he return to restaurant that gave him a miserable meal and poor service, rather than go to a new one?

Does he buy another book by an author so boring he couldn’t finish the first one, rather than try a new author?

This philosophy is actually a somewhat disguised form of what the Luddites asserted.We’d have no progress in anything if we embraced that philosophy.

The nature of our world today is one of constant change in almost everything, and that rate of change is only going to keep accelerating because it is driven by ever-changing technology.

It was an earlier stage of the same changing technology that the Luddites so feared and disliked and to which they reacted like thugs.

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO ARTICLES IN BOTH THE GUARDIAN AND RUSSIA TODAY

The fact is that most of the solid information we have and many suggestive bits point directly to Ukraine as responsible for downing the airliner. We do know to a certainty that some very important evidence has been suppressed.

Clearly, we all knew from day one that some form of anti-aircraft missile was used, so this discovery, vaguely described in the press, is not much of a discovery.

We need to know which kind of missile was used and from which source it came. The Russians have some pretty good leads suggesting a Ukrainian fighter was near the airliner. They also have the statement of a ground serviceman that a fighter took off loaded with air-to-air missiles – not an everyday event – and returned without them. We even have the name and a photo of the pilot said to be involved.

The Russian BUK ground-to-air missile system, an older version of it, was in the hands of the Ukrainian armed forces, and the design is significantly different to the design of the current BUK system.

But there are many good reasons to believe it was not this kind of missile that was used. There is a very revealing photograph of the pilot’s seat, only the metal frame left, on the ground after the crash. That photo clearly shows a couple of almost precisely round holes in the metal, not the kind that can be made by an exploding missile warhead, but the kind made from the standard cannon on a fighter jet. Importantly, the holes were roughly perpendicular to the seat’s side frame.

Of course, there are also many pictures of missile fragment rips in the plane’s body, so the strong hypothesis emerges of a fighter attack, using both canon and air-to-air missiles. By the way, the Dutch kept the Malaysian pilot’s body an unnecessarily long time, and when it was released to his family for burial, the widow was ordered by Malaysian authorities not to open the coffin. Why? Was the body full of bullet holes?

The Dutch investigators are lax beyond description. There are dozens of pieces from the crash still on the ground today, some being found quite regularly by locals. Yet the Dutch have shown virtually no interest in them when informed of them. Why, you have to ask?

The original site clean-up was positively careless, absolutely nothing like what we’ve come to expect in such investigations. Remember the infinitely patient search for the tiniest bits in Scotland? Remember the recent crash in the French Alps with stuff littered for a huge area, and it was patiently picked up.

The Dutch methods of operation suggest to me perhaps they already knew what happened and knew they had little to investigate. Indeed, this announcement of vague missile parts is highly unprofessional. Are such matters to be settled in the press? A trip to Russia’s manufacturer of BUK systems, a company which indicated its readiness to help, is what was called for. At least one of the things because a visit to Ukraine’s air force is also required and examination of pilot logs and armaments records, but, no, we have none of these.

But the Dutch sure have used an extraordinary amount of time so far, announcing virtually nothing of consequence yet. In such matters typically, especially where the black boxes have been found, it is a matter of a few weeks to come to a conclusion. At most, a few months. Why not in this case which actually seems fairly straightforward?

I am sure the Dutch are deliberately delaying, and they are doing so under the hot breath of the United States which has a lot it is hiding here. The United States is hoping that if enough time passes, people will forget their interest.

The United States has never produced its radar data for the area, radar data which must certainly exist in a region of such intense strategic interest to America. After all, here they are accusing the Russians of aggression and they do not even keep watch on them? Impossible.

Also, the United States has never produced any data from its Keyhole spy satellites, each of which has many sophisticated imaging capabilities, including cameras not unlike the Hubble Space Telescope. We know to a certainty that one of these was overhead at the time since the Russians naturally enough track them all and they have said that was the case.

Finally, Ukraine itself has made public none of its data from its own radars, and the same with recordings of conversations of aircraft control.

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE GUARDIAN

An organization, such as ISIS, can only rise out of nothing and literally change a region with a great deal of help.

It cannot be otherwise.

ISIS has been assisted, supplied, and, in some cases, trained by Western interests. We have had countless little revelations of these activities, although we never read about them in the corporate press.

ISIS was even supplied some while back by some of these interests with terrible things like small amounts of nerve gas to use on people so that the United States could blame Syrian forces. Acts just do not come any more cynical and evil than that.

ISIS serves the interest of assisting to bring down a legitimate state, Syria, a state, by the way, which attacks no one and which has never threatened legitimate American interests. They already served to eliminate a leader in Iraq, sending him running off in fear, whom the United States and Israel greatly disliked.

ISIS also serves to solidify the planned smashing of Iraq into mini-states. This was particularly clear in the case of the Kurds, who received great assistance in fighting ISIS, effectively defending their own part of the (former) country against those who now run other parts.

The public does not recognize what is happening because news coverage in our major corporate press is selective and always supports government policy, even black operations policy.

If the United States were serious about fighting ISIS, they could eliminate them in very short order, but they are not serious. They display only token efforts, and increasingly, the reality of these efforts is the destruction of Syrian lives and property – in effect, acting as air support for the terrorists.

Also, the United States appears gradually to be working its way towards direct intervention against the Syrian government, blubbering all along the way about the horrors of ISIS.

When ISIS has served its filthy purpose, maybe it will be seriously attacked. Who knows? But, for now, America’s attacks on ISIS are little more than show and perhaps curbing those who’ve exceeded their brief. After all, these terrorist groups – and there are several doing lots of killing in Syria – do contain some genuinely horrible people, even if they were assembled and assisted through American efforts. The American attacks really assist the terrorists in Syria by attacking Syrian infrastructure.

Turkey, with the blessings of the United States and Saudi Arabia, has given them shelter and border access to Syria, as well as arms shipments. Israel too is involved in surreptitious support, including hospital treatment for wounded fighters in the North and secret arms exports, as is the absolute monarchy of Qatar. And now that proud and fearless defender of American values, David Cameron, has joined the fray in the name of “fighting terror.” My, what a brave fellow he is.

The actual terror that is going on is the destruction of legitimate state, a beautiful and historic land. It is being carved into smaller entities, just as Iraq has been. This comes at the cost of hundreds of thousands of lives and the creation of millions of refugees, but the states secretly working on this dirty project only cry crocodile tears over all the deliberately-induced horror.

It’s just one part of a savage scheme to “give birth to a new Middle East,” as former Secretary of State Condi Rice expressed it. So far we have seen a million die in Iraq, aerial bombardment of Yemen, Libya torn apart and reduced to chaos, and Egypt’s fledgling democracy destroyed with a return of dictatorship.

Now, all of this destruction does make people like Mr. Netanyahu very happy, but for countless millions, and for a generation to come, human misery is the chief product of the effort.

Of course, it is this very scheme producing the flood of refugees to Europe, refugees the United States refuses even to help and David Cameron treats as rabble and scum.

The whole business is a psychopathic politician’s dream: inflict all the killing and destruction you wish while condemning the hired help and posing as someone horrified at what they have done. Compared to this, the stunts of Hitler’s Germany to cover its bloody trail – as when it dressed prisoners in Polish uniforms and shot them at the border, claiming they were Polish soldiers attacking Germany – seem amateurish.

The face of evil is no longer merely banal, it is slick and sophisticated and leering at all we hold as values.

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE NATIONAL POST

The proposed measure to criminalize some travel by Canadians is totally in keeping with Stephen Harper’s ferociously controlling, anti-democratic temperament.

It reminds me a great deal of repressive American measures during the Cold War, a time of genuine craziness and dark extremes.

Canada is not that kind of society. In a free society, and people travel where they wish.

Moreover, if you are the kind of person who wants such Stasi-like restrictions, then you should insist they be applied in all cases.

Without question, young Canadians who go to the United States or to Israel to join the armed forces are involved with the two greatest sources of official state terror on earth, at least as measured by the sheer number of people those countries kill, suppress, and abuse.

It is an easily-confirmed fact that no publicized terrorist organization on earth has a record of killing remotely similar to that of these two states over recent decades.

Yet, somehow, I can guarantee Harper’s law would not include those two jurisdictions.

It will include only those places deemed suitable by Stephen Harper, in consultation, of course, with his heavyweight political contributors for whom he works so hard to please with custom-made national policy.

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE NATIONAL POST

The article is technically well done, but it seems to me there is such an important set of facts understated in, or missing from, the article that, taken as a whole, it becomes inaccurate and misleading.

I might call it polished propaganda.

There is only one source for the election phenomenon we see now in Canada, and that source is Stephen Harper. It has little to do with “competition run amok.”

Harper is on record for admiring the American system, a system which is so dominated by big money that many astute and knowledgeable observers have said America is no longer a democracy but a plutocratic oligarchy.

Harper is also on record as hating many of Canada’s traditions in politics. His past assertions are so unpleasant and “Canadian self-hating” one wonders why he did not long ago seek a career in the United States. His total set of views and attitudes would have done him well in a place like Texas. They are in perfect keeping with politicians of the quality of Dick Armey or Phil Gramm or Tom Delay.

His major obsession in his entire political career has been to destroy the Liberal Party, the institution he holds largely responsible for the Canada he dislikes so intensely.

His basic method has been simple. Remove as much government funding as possible. Remove as much quasi-judicial oversight and rules as possible. Bend national policy in the direction big contributors want to see. Collect as much money from these special interests as possible. Lengthen the election period so that you can spend more than ever under laws you yourself have created.

Added to those structural changes are changes in practice completely learned from America’s example. Throw lots of dirt through advertising, knowing that if you throw enough, some will stick. Use third-party organizations to fund these whenever possible. Avoid direct contacts with press and interviewers as much as possible, and never answer a question in an honest and straightforward way. Use any costly frat-boy trick – such as robo-calls to misdirect voters – which might make gains for you in a swing area. Afterward, sandbag government officials investigating such matters. These approaches take full advantage of having a treasure chest full of private funds with which to play.

It is a formula guaranteed over time to badly damage Canadian democracy, and it is a formula favored by no other party.

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE GUARDIAN

I’m just waiting for the first piece of wreckage showing missile warhead fragments and holes.

It is a virtual certainty that the United States shot down this plane, either deliberately or accidentally, a matter perhaps related to its top secret base at Diego Garcia.

America has the world’s best radars and spy satellites, yet has never released a scrap of data in this matter.

But unfortunately, the wreckage pieces are going into French hands, and France these days is almost as much an American lapdog under Hollande as Britain was and is under Tony and David.

The Dutch, also under American pressure, are holding the evidence on the crash of Flight MH-17 in Ukraine against all traditional practices, and that can only be because it demonstrates Ukraine shot it down by accident and the United States does not want its coup-created government destabilized. Such an investigation takes only a few weeks with the evidence they have. And, here again, the US has withheld all data from spy satellites and radars.

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE GUARDIAN

Why not indeed?

Jeremy Corbyn says something intelligent almost every time he opens his mouth.

That fact alone – quite apart from whether you agree with him each time – puts him head and shoulders above the mealy-mouthed David Cameron.

There are aspects of Corbyn that remind me of the giants of Europe a couple of generations ago.

Today the political landscape of Europe is littered with sad mediocrities like Cameron and Hollande.