Skip navigation

Monthly Archives: October 2015

John Chuckman


Here’s more propaganda from The Independent, so poorly disguised you cannot vouch for the source.

God, don’t you ever get tired of pushing this stuff out?

Even if you could account for the source, this is propaganda precisely because it has absolutely no perspective. The best propaganda always has a tiny bit of truth, and the truth here is that, yes, such weapons are used.

You absolutely cannot fairly take one small part of a huge destructive war and suggest that it explains what is going on. It cannot. It can horrify people though, and that would appear to be its purpose here because The Independent makes no practice of presenting such things in most situations.

I can’t recall any equivalent material being used by The Independent for Israel’s slaughters in Gaza, and such material does exist. Some very brave photographers took images of the rivers of blood and smashed children.

I don’t recall such material for America’s (and of course Britain’s) proud invasion of Iraq in which such ghastly weapons as cluster bombs and white phosphorus were used. Thousands of pictures exist of sliced-up children and smashed women, but you never ran any.

The creepy Saudis, whom Britain implicitly supports and with whom it explicitly does a handsome business, are, right now, killing masses of civilians in Yemen, and they are using America’s dreadful cluster bombs to tear them apart, maiming those not killed. Where are your terrifying images?

The horror in Syria did not start by the government’s barrel-bombing places. The barrel-bombing is a response to the infiltration and entrenchment of tens of thousands of heavily-armed terrorists trying to destroy the country from scattered and hidden positions all over it.

They were infiltrated into Syria by the lunatic now running Turkey. They are financed and supplied by the absolute princes of Saudi Arabia. They were assisted, advised, and even led in some cases by the same government of Israel which holds more than five million unwilling people as prisoners. Yet more money came from the absolute princes of Qatar.

And the United States has also supplied and trained elements. It clearly approves of what has been going on or it would be stopped. We know to a certainty that nothing happens anywhere near its Middle East colony of which it does not approve.

Britain under David Cameron, as one of America’s most groveling allies, has also done its dirty bit to help.

This entire misery could be ended if outside help and support for thugs were ended, but that help and support, by the above-named parties, will not stop. Because those countries want Syria destroyed just the way Iraq was destroyed, reduced to a meaningless set of rump states with a population left to suffer for a generation.

And they want to achieve that in the most cowardly of fashions, giving the bloody work over to hired mercenaries and ideological maniacs while standing off – tsk-tsking at the horrors as Cameron is wont to do – pretending they have nothing to do with it.

I simply do not understand how anyone can think human trash like ISIS and al-Nusra Front should prevail over a reasonable, highly-educated man like Assad, a leader who has always protected a secular and diverse society and who keeps the support of large parts of that society.

It is a totally absurd situation, and it can only be explained in light of American policy. It is the policy that destroyed Iraq and Libya and sparked in large covert operations the whole pointless and wrongly-named Arab Spring. There was nothing spring-like in what happened.

A brief experiment with democratic government in Egypt was smothered following Israel’s complaints about the threat it represented. Egypt was returned to a decades-old dictatorship much to Israel’s liking. In other places, like Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, potential uprisings were violently suppressed by absolute governments.

It was all an effort to re-mold the region to the liking of America and its Middle East colony under a façade of popular revolt and never mind all the inconvenience of death, destruction, and misery. The region’s authoritarian governments were overthrown only where they disagreed with America and/or Israel while in all other cases they were left to flourish, and the authoritarian governments overthrown were only replaced by others. Democracy flourishes nowhere.

Well, Mr. Putin understands that, and if the nations doing the deadly supplying aren’t going to stop, he’ll destroy what they’ve supplied. The Syrian army will do the rest.


Julian Assange has said that the massive influx of refugees into Europe is, in fact, part of the American strategy to de-stabilize Syria, and I don’t doubt that he is right. Emptying Syria of good parts of its professionals and technicians only further weakens it.

This, of course, puts in quite a different light Ms. Merkel’s controversial, open-arms support for unlimited refugees in Germany. She, rather than speaking from a heart larger than we would have credited her from past behaviors, is just once again supporting American policy, a much more familiar stance for her.


John Chuckman


Tell it to the Americans, Daniel, and their nasty associates in the Middle East.

By the way, landmines are now only a small portion of the problem.

America’s cluster bombs are even worse, leaving tens of thousands of bomblets, each of which will explode into razors when touched.

Saudi Arabia, courtesy of America, is using them in Yemen right now.

The United States used countless of them in Iraq, and you can still find pictures of the results on Iraqi children.

Israel literally covered the earth with more than a million of them on the Lebanese border a few years back.

John Chuckman


Forget humans for the foreseeable future.

Send more robots.

They, the robots, have done a fabulous job, and at a fraction of the cost of transporting and sustaining humans.

We want to learn.

Astronauts are just inefficient, costly showboats.

John Chuckman


Reader comment:

“It has done nothing but kill people for 65 years, having invaded every neighbor that it has, many of them two or three times.”

Israel was attacked in 48, 67 and 73 by armies (variously) from Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq. Israel risked being annihilated in all these wars.

Read some history – don’t parrot what you’ve read on far-left hate sites.”

Your comment is arrogant and uninformed. It simply repeats the David and Goliath myths manufactured by the Israeli Ministry of Truth for American consumption.

It is you who should read some history.

The 1967 War was engineered by Israel. Yes, some Arabs attacked, but only after an elaborate series of aggressive and provocative acts by Israel. It was what Israel wanted because its government had made an elaborate calculation ahead and was sure it would win fairly quickly. The prize was all of Palestine and part of Syria.

In the War, Israel also betrayed its best allies.

De Gaulle, a defender of young Israel, warned that he wouldn’t support conquest, but he was ignored.

The United States told Israel not to turn their armor north after defeating Egypt, but that’s just what Israel did because the entire intent of that war was to conquer what Israel still occupies to this day. Just ask yourself why else it still holds millions of people captive and has worked so hard to make their lives miserable as an incentive for their leaving?

In order to turn the armor in the Sinai quickly, Israel had to eliminate its Egyptian prisoners, and that is what it did. It shot hundreds of POWs, much as WWII Germans sometimes did.

To cover this up from the United States and to cover up turning armor north, it attacked the American surveillance ship, USS Liberty, trying desperately for two hours to sink it with everything the pilots had. This was not an error as Israel claimed later, the ship was not only well-marked, Israel had been told of its presence, and the Israeli attack pilots who first buzzed the ship waved to the waving crew.

As to 1948, well, please, it was Israel who was slaughtering Palestinians, driving them out of their own land to seize their farms, homes, and villages – all re-named afterward. There were several documented mass atrocities by people like the Stern Gang, Irgun, and other Jewish terror organizations. Hundreds of civilians were shot and Palestinian women were raped. The hope was that all Palestinians would simply run away as the rumors spread. I should hope some Arab states responded with anger, but they made only a half-hearted effort.

1973 was indeed an attack by Egypt against Israel, but it happened in light of all I’ve written above and far more.

Israel has demonstrated not an ounce of ethics in its 65 years. Duplicity and killing have been the chief features of Israeli policy over the entire period. Let’s not forget several invasions of Lebanon, killing tens of thousands, creating a years-long occupation (against which Hezbollah was formed, an army of genuine freedom-fighters, not terrorists), and using such horrible weapons as large numbers of cluster bombs on civilians.

And then America invaded Iraq, largely on Israel’s behalf, killing a million. Now Israel and America have terrorists doing the same thing in Syria.

It has been a completely destructive and destabilizing history.

John Chuckman


It’s not merely a “wrong method.”

It’s completely stupid because it violates Europe’s own interests.

Anyone who looks at a map may plainly see that Europe and Russia form “a marriage made in heaven,” as they say.

Europe’s vast industries and huge population right next to Russia’s vast natural resources and willingness to do business.

The United States has been pushing such nonsense on Europe for many years, and it is based entirely on a selfish imperial American ideology, not the interests of others.

The great irony is that America is always shouting from the roof tops about free markets, but then when that fair-minded economic philosophy comes seemingly into conflict with the American Empire, the Empire wins, every time.

I remember being in Washington back in the 1980s for an energy conference, and I met a representative of the State Department who expounded on why Europe should not buy Russian natural gas.

I told him then that that was an entirely wrong-headed view, but it is clearly one still cherished in Washington decades later.

It is actually pathetic that any state in Europe does not completely ignore Washington’s dim-witted attitude.

John Chuckman


Of course she should.

But then that goes equally for her former boss, a.k.a., the President.

For thinking people, there never has been a great mystery about Benghazi.

It is an instance of classic blowback in a dirty intelligence operation.

The U.S. was rounding up, from the bloody mess they made of Libya, weapons and human scum to be shipped through Turkey to go kill still more people in Syria.

The Ambassador, up to his armpits in the dirty business, provided some thugs an accessible target as attractive in their eyes as any they might find in Syria.

The United States cannot explain the events in Libya because to do so would admit its responsibility for the bloody horrors of Syria.

John Chuckman


This is the dumbest, most Daltonesque stunt yet by McGuinty’s successor.

Unions are private organizations whose job is to get concessions from employers.

The teachers’ unions are already well endowed because their members are well endowed, thanks to taxpayers.

Paying the unions money because you change the way negotiations are conducted is an idea straight from cloudcuckooland, and it should make clear to everyone in what a sad state of affairs we find ourselves. Quite possibly, the original change in the structure of negotiations was itself a hare-brained idea.

But then I must remember the Premier and her Education Minister are both former teachers.

God, will no one ever make a serious effort to get control over public education?

It is simply out of control.

Teachers who’ve left the classroom run the entire thing from principals to directors and to the Education Ministry.

Not only is the average public school teacher not skilled at management, many of them aren’t even very good teachers because they have no special knowledge or strong motivation.

Unions belong in steel mills and plumbing shops, if anywhere, and not in schools. The very fact that they are there and function the way they do supports the previous observation about teachers’ skills.

The proof is in the pudding: Ontario’s schools are not overly successful, and they are not even close to world-class. They are so-so, but they cost a fortune to run, almost all of it in the form of salaries and benefits.

Our teachers often can’t use a computer, and computers have not been integrated into how we educate children. There are computer programs which should have replaced paper exercise sheets and even text books long ago, but Ontario doesn’t exploit their learning strengths and cost reductions. Self-correcting programs designed by really capable people expert in their fields will beat the average drone teacher hands down in communicating a subject. They also can provide greater challenges to brighter students while allowing slower ones to go at a suitable pace.

We only get fraudulent reforms from our government such as making teachers’ college a two-year program. Twice as much of nothing is still nothing, and it costs everyone twice as much. All this “reform” did was grandfather a lot of college staff who would have lost their jobs under mandated reduced student enrolments, itself a simple management housekeeping task which should have been done years ago. Teachers’ colleges are where to go if you want to witness junk-science being taught as professional-level material. Moreover, they are staffed, again, with teachers who have left the classroom. Ridiculous.

We are backward in our public education, but the people responsible for the fact are never accountable and only ever want more pay and privileges, and our silly government is always ready to give it to them, sometimes even in elaborately disguised ways.

There are no checks or controls over the quality of our public education. No one assesses our teachers for their knowledge, curiosity about what is new, classroom demeanor, or methods at any point in what may be some forty years of exposing young minds to them. The only assessment ever is the fiasco that goes on in the teachers’ colleges. Their superiors, the principles, are only ex-teachers who’ve taken additional piles of academically-undemanding courses at a teachers’ college. They know nothing of management except by accident.

There are no able managerial people handling public education’s vast resources. None. If you have been exposed to a number of board superintendents and directors, you know how just how ineffectual a bureaucrat can be. They pretty much beat anything in all the old jokes about government agencies.

Local curricula for the most part are just nonsense because there is only a world curriculum if you want to be competitive.

Our public education today is a one-way trip to nowhere.

John Chuckman


Mark Steel is just a second-rate propagandist.

Of course, China has its flaws, and some serious ones.

But perspective is everything.

After all, let’s not forget that Britain did help mightily in killing about a million people in Iraq, the creation of a couple of million miserable refugees, and the destruction of large parts of an advanced society for generations.

And Britain happily supports America’s horror in Syria, the letting-loose of tens of thousands of well-equipped cutthroats in an effort to destroy a beautiful land.

I haven’t heard any public cries from Downing Street over the Saudi terror campaign in Yemen, including the use of cluster bombs on civilians. Perhaps I missed something?

No, I don’t think I did. There was nothing either about all the Saudi beheadings and a sentence of crucifixion either. But there was a huge secret arms sale and a project for building prisons in one of the world’s great tyrannies.

Please, stuff like this of Mr. Steel’s is just clap-trap. I doubt very much he raised his voice on such other atrocities as Israel’s murderous abuse of several million Palestinians for half a century. This remains the world’s single greatest example of a complete squashing of human rights and decency: the Palestinians have no votes, no rights, no future, and they can’t even enjoy their homes and farms with any security. Again, that is a matter about which we never hear from good old David or Mr. Steel for that matter.

After all, for David to do so, even slightly, would seriously harm relations with Rupert Murdoch, a man, by the way, whose British publishing empire was built in part on hacking the intimate telephone conversations of hundreds of unfortunate people, including victims of violent crime. To say nothing of casting a pall over those delightful country weekends with Rupert’s designated creature in Britain, red-haired bombshell Rebekah Brooks

Interesting, despite China’s shortcomings in human rights, it has pretty well lived in peace with its neighbors for its entire modern existence.

That certainly cannot be said of the United States or its colony in the Middle East, the two most dangerous states in the modern world, both of whom get David’s unlimited support and affection.


America has given us nothing but wars and coups and “interventions” since the end of the Second World War. The toll of their attempts to control the planet, including such glorious episodes as the Vietnam War, has been literally as many people killed – mostly civilian, as is the case in all modern war – as were killed in the Holocaust.

Three million victims just in Vietnam, another million in Iraq, a million in Cambodia, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, Somalia, Chile, Guatemala, and on and on.

Israel, America’s colony in the Middle East, has behaved as a miniature replica of the mother country. It has done nothing but kill and suppress people for 65 years, having invaded every neighbor that it has, many of them two or three times.

I don’t see how anyone can write what Mark Steel writes without being entirely ignorant of modern history or deliberately ignoring it. In either case, the result is not worth publishing.

John Chuckman


Yes, there is something to the notion of Justin Trudeau’s experience in Canada having some application to Jeremy Corbyn’s situation in Britain.

Corbyn doesn’t have Trudeau’s good looks or family heritage, but they do share one very important quality.

They are both politicians who speak remarkably honestly.

And the people do come to understand that when they’ve heard from someone enough times.

Insincerity is the hallmark of most run-of-the-mill and smarmy politicians such as David Cameron.

And the people come to understand that, too, just as Canadians understood it about Stephen Harper.

It’s just that they often, or usually, do not have an authentic choice in elections.

Give them a meaningful choice, and the democratic results can be gratifying.

Jeremy Corbyn has before him this possibility, and the hack political establishment knows and fears it.

That’s why they came crawling out of the woodwork, day after day, name after name, at the mere possibility of his nomination as leader.

Imagine the second greatest liar living on the planet, Tony Blair, advising people against an honest man?

And the press gave him generous coverage, too, while he was doing it.

Pretty close to ridiculous.

Now, when we enter the subject of ISIS and other terrorists in Syria, we enter the world of complete dishonesty.

American flunkies like Cameron and Harper can do nothing about ISIS, except making token gestures. They are neither powerful enough nor can they take acts against what is American policy.

ISIS, al Nusra, and other gangs of murderers are doing America’s bidding – Israel, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar serving as America’s chief administrative assistants in the murderous work.

David Cameron’s implicit support for the terrorists in Syria, while blubbering on about fighting them, may be characterized as David’s doing Rupert Murdoch’s bidding.

Rupert is an intense supporter of Israel’s interests, and the effort to destroy a stable Syria largely reflects Israel’s interests, just as the destruction of Iraq did. The cries of the birth of a new Middle East, as Condoleezza Rice once so graciously described subsidized murder and mayhem on a colossal scale.

Only this time, the key players and their associates do not want to take the credit and consequences and lingering sense of blameworthiness and shame involved in another illegal invasion, so they are secretly supporting a big gang of cutthroats – recruiting, training, supplying, and arming them – all while play-acting regret in public about the horrors they inflict. Who knows, such cynical, black-hearted policy may even have included plans to attack their own bloody servants in terror once the job of ruining Syria was done?

It is only because of the apparent contradictions arising from all the stoked-up press propaganda about ISIS – meant to play up their horrible acts as theater for the folks back home, intensifying Islamophobia and support for the existing, highly selective war on terror – that David Cameron feels moved to blubber on about (token) bombing.

But, of course, he has no intention of opposing American policy or Rupert Murdoch’s dictums in such matters. And that would considerably reduce the charm of country-house weekends with Rebekah Brooks.

Cameron wants to have his cake and eat it too, as they say. Talk about the banality of evil – David Cameron surely is one of our chief living examples, much the same as Canada’s now-departed Stephen Harper.

But Russia’s genuine intervention in Syria is changing all of that by revealing the true state of affairs, how a determined attack can decimate these bloody thugs in fairly short order, unlike America’s long-running pretend-attacks and actual attacks on Syrian infrastructure meant to support ISIS against Syria.


Response to a reader saying Trudeau’s victory was all in his name:


No, you are wrong. He fought a tough campaign, going from a point of being third in polls to victory.



Response to another reader calling Corbyn “a dead man walking”:


Yours are words which carry the pungent, seamy odor of Tony Blair with them.

John Chuckman


A bit too much religion here, as there is in so much of this kind of apocalyptic discussion.

Every bad or undesirable thing going on seems thrown into the pot to suggest humans are creating a sixth great extinction.

We do change the planet, but I’m not sure that such change isn’t “in the scheme of things.”

The planet itself has changed immensely, time and time again, as the primordial super-continent broke up and pieces drifted apart, as great meteors fell from space, as volcanism reached high levels, and as the incoming solar radiation levels changed.

I would love to preserve every interesting or beautiful species, but I am afraid that is not possible, any more than it is possible to return mammoths and sabre-toothed cats.

Life itself is about change, continuing, relentless, and unstoppable change. It is called evolution. We as a people wouldn’t even be recognizable to our ancestors of only a few hundred thousand years ago.

And I think it likely we will not be recognized by our future generations, as humans become part electronic or part genetically modified or even replaced by robots.

John Chuckman


That is an understatement.

Positively depressing is closer to the mark.

Worst of all, the very meaning of being Canadian in the world has been diminished and debased.

Harper stole something very precious from us, our good name.

John Chuckman


This article tells us very little worth knowing while ignoring some tremendously important facts.

Apart from leaving out two unexplained cut-out mattes we have of someone standing in the backyard, the kind of thing used in forging composite photos in those days, even were the photo of Oswald authentic as claimed, it proves precisely nothing.

We know Oswald was carrying on a deception campaign about being a communist. In fact, he was a paid FBI informant (we even have his identifying number) during this effort which included everything from writing letters to handing out pamphlets.

He had previously been a phony defector to Russia for over two years in a program created by the Office of Naval Intelligence, a brainchild of the CIA’s legendary and often bizarre James Angleton. As a young Marine, one of above-average intelligence, Oswald was selected for Russian language training and suddenly started receiving communist literature at his barracks, to the amusement of his fellows. This was unquestionably to help build a “legend” for his future phony defection in a rather questionable program intended to discover what day-to-day life was like in the Soviet Union.

There is also absolutely no evidence Oswald actually purchased a mail-order rifle from Klein’s Sporting Goods in Chicago. It is too detailed to go into, but it remains completely unsettled whether he or someone else made this purchase. There is significant evidence that another unknown person had access to Oswald’s postal box.

The “killer” shot – the one to the right temple which explosively exited the rear of Kennedy’s skull, the occipitoparietal area, with a spray of material, including half his brain. Police outriders were hit with some of this gruesome stuff. Mrs Kennedy’s famous reaching back on the limousine was about reaching a piece of his skull blown back on the trunk. Such damage cannot ever be caused by a jacketed bullet of the kind used in the Mannlicher. It was caused by a soft nosed or explosive bullet. And it cannot ever be caused by a shot from the rear. Simply impossible.

In any event, that rifle is completely unsuitable for an assassination. It was not sighted correctly and was notoriously inaccurate as well as being subject to jamming. The World War II Italian army had utter contempt for it calling it a widow-maker.

Still further, there were several witnesses that the first rifle found at the Book Depository was a good one, a larger-calibre Mausser. It disappeared and the cheap Mannlicher–Carcano appeared later. Also the shells supposedly fired by Oswald were unrealistically lined-up on the floor for bolt-action shooting. The Dallas Police handled all evidence unbelievably badly – the chain of possession of key items having been violated many times – and there is strong reason to suspect some members were in on the conspiracy, including the one said to have been shot by Oswald later on a suburban street, Officer Tippet, a known right-wing militia type with highly questionable associations.

It is very likely that one of the assassination team – there were at least three men firing – fired ammunition suitable for the Mannlicher-Carcano with a device called a sabot, which allows a rile to fire smaller ammunition without making new barrel markings, from a different rifle. This provided actual strikes of such ammunition in the limo.

The limo had damage never formally investigated, including a hole in the windshield. After Kennedy’s body was taken to the hospital, the car was rushed off, ending up soon after to Ford’s Rouge River plant where it was cleaned-up and partially re-built, a totally inappropriate treatment of evidence. For the brief time it was at the hospital, despite Secret Service efforts to keep people away, several, including a reporter, saw the windshield bullet hole. There was also damage to chrome trim.

No honest and rational person who studies the evidence available to us can deny Kennedy was attacked from the right front (the general area of the grassy knoll). The first non-fatal neck wound was also an entry wound from the front. Other shots were fired from behind, but none of them would have seriously hurt him. I say “honest” person because there has been a stream of writers and apologists who have worked to muddy the waters, likely all in the pay or with the encouragement of the CIA, which has been covering up from day one with key files still not released.

By the way if you want to see an intriguing bit of photo analysis, see:


Response to a reader saying we already knew backyard picture authentic from Marina Oswald:

Yes, she authenticated the photos, under pressure from FBI and Secret Service men who controlled her every movement and could determine her fate, and that of her children, as to staying in the U.S. Marina’s testimony is simply riddled with contradictions and uncertainties, making her sound almost insane at times.

John Chuckman


I think we all instinctively knew this, but it is always nice to have hard supporting evidence.

Blair is so clearly an extreme narcissist, perhaps even a full-blown psychopath.

His personal ambitions could only be fulfilled in partnership with the United States, Britain not truly having any longer sufficient weight to throw around in the world.

George Bush offered Tony Blair, given Blair’s personality, the opportunity of a lifetime: be a genuine war prime minister, get to portray yourself as an opponent of tyrants, experience the gratitude afterwards of America and its satraps (millions flowing in still), hear your name rung out with praise, and feel very consequential.

The dark eccentricity of Tony Blair seems as though it should have been obvious to the public from the start.

He and his wife are genuinely bizarre figures. But we all have political systems full of glitches which do not serve genuine democracy, Mr. Cameron for example now serving with 35% of the vote.

To see good examples of the weird Blairs:


Response to another comment about being time to look into Doctor Kelly’s mysterious death in those days:

Doctor Kelly, indeed.

But I doubt that was Blair’s work, although he certainly helped cover it up.

Kelly made the mistake of being honest with BBC and others. Recall how BBC got its wings clipped, essentially for telling some truth, a commodity with which Tony Blair was never comfortable. These events suggested to other parties that Kelly might spill some seriously embarrassing additional knowledge.

Israel certainly is a possible candidate for his murder, because Kelly, the arms expert, knew where the nuclear bodies were buried, including what happened to the fissile material from South Africa’s small nuclear arsenal after apartheid’s collapse, which some speculate covertly went to Israel.


Response to a reader comment:


“…murderous regimes like Saddam’s”?

You condemn yourself out of your own mouth for lack of knowledge and meaningful perspective.

Saddam was a nasty piece of work, but the world has many such men including the often overlooked, blood-drenched Netanyahu, and Saddam’s acts were nothing compared to Tony and George’s handiwork.

The invasion of Iraq murdered about a million people, destroyed the most advanced society in the Arab world, created two or three million refugees, has close to split the country into rump states, and left millions for years without jobs, electricity, and even clean water.

It also left countless long-lived dangers behind like tons of depleted uranium dust and cluster-bomb bomblets. The invasion of Iraq was horror on a colossal scale.

John Chuckman


Well, it is about time.

The review facility on Amazon is quite valuable. I’ve always applauded Amazon for allowing reviews and making them virtually uncensored.

But it has been clear for quite some time that it is being abused.

Books or films of no merit get great praise – undoubtedly, coming from the author’s friends or colleagues or publisher.

These are not only of no help to any one, they crowd up the job of sorting through reviews to find meaningful ones.

I’ve written a good number myself, always making an effort to have them be genuinely helpful, so it is quite off-putting to see the flood of dishonest, unhelpful ones.

Go get ’em, Amazon.


Response to a comment about Amazon not running critical reviews:

Haven’t experienced this at all. I’ve given the lowest ratings to both some books and some films. They were all published. The fact is one of the reasons I admire Amazon.


Response to a comment about Amazon prices and a suggestion people not shop there:

Yes, but the selection on Amazon is unparalleled, and generally they deliver quickly. I also very much appreciate and use the offers for independent sellers, both in books and films whose prices sometimes much undercut Amazon’s. That’s also a rather brave approach.

Fake reviews generally are fairly easily spotted (although not always), but it takes time and effort to read through a number of them, making the whole facility less valuable.

We do now also very much have on Wikipedia the same business going on.

Articles stuffed with bias are deliberately posted by folks like the good old CIA or by the press agents for celebrities.

It is a little sad that the world has so many people who like to abuse and destroy. It’s why we have all those malicious codes on the Internet, and why in the end we have so many wars and conflicts.

John Chuckman


Has anyone ever asked why Israel automatically is expected to receive still more subsidy after the United States settles an important matter, nuclear proliferation, to all of the world’s benefit?

Israel and the United States even hold talks, as this article announces, about how much and when?

It is rather ridiculous, sort of any excuse at all for some more subsidies.

But then this is a country whose entire existence depends on subsidies of every kind. In a very real sense, it has no independent existence except as a gigantic recipient.

You might view Israel as a kind of geo-political black hole absorbing streams of resources from the West.

John Chuckman


Sorry, but your calling Putin a bully is mighty shabby stuff, Justin Trudeau.

It truly makes you sound like Stephen Harper, likely the most dishonest and disliked politician in Canadian history, a true bully, if you will.

I do not see how there’s really anything you must tell Putin, unless you count repeating some boilerplate phrases borrowed from America’s sprawling junkyard of needless attacks and propaganda.

If there is a legitimate bully on the world’s stage today, it is, without question, America, responsible as it is for the deaths, destruction, and refugees of Syria.

It is America also that is responsible for the mess in Ukraine, putting an illegitimate government in place by coup and then supporting its awful policies of intolerance and war.

And even in the case of Flight MH-17, it is America who has kept things hidden. It never released data from its radars and spy satellite – which was overhead at the time – and that is mighty suspicious. Likely it was afraid of seeing its coup-induced government in Ukraine embarrassed. So we’ve had long delays and much evidence never used and a useless report.

Putin is the most able leader on the international scene today, a totally reasonable man, and a far more honest one than Obama or Harper or Cameron, all of whom lie regularly about matters like Syria. Putin’s country, too, is certainly destined to be a great one in future, given its endowments of natural resources and human ingenuity. It is extremely short-sighted to use American trash-talk about a leader Russians embrace as strongly as they do Putin.

We should welcome working with a reasonable man like Putin for many reasons, but if some chose not to do so, they can at least avoid bellowing undiplomatic nonsense for a few cheap votes, as you did with your campaign statement.

That’s not how your much-respected father would have acted in these circumstances – witness his independent-minded judgment and policies about Castro’s Cuba – and in the case of Russia today, Pierre Trudeau’s way would be far more productive than bellowing.

John Chuckman


I agree that likely the same proportion of people abuse children as ever. It is probably fair to say that any large human population has a similar distribution of “outliers” in the many functions of the brain.

But society has changed its views on what constitutes proper care of children and what constitutes abuse, and rightly so in the view of most people. There are historical examples of pedophiles being tolerated to varying degrees. Thomas Jefferson began sleeping with his slave, Sally Hemmings, when she was thirteen. Robert Hooke, eminent 17th century scientist, had a long sexual relationship with his young niece.

But those kinds of examples cannot be cited as an argument for tolerating pedophilia in a modern society any more than other once-tolerated practices such forced marriage or bride burning or honor killings or droit du seigneur or still a hundred other ancient practices which reflect only the principle of might makes right. Might does not make right when you establish a true society of laws.

We have the rule of law now, and we don’t tolerate, for example, the marriage of 12-year old girls to men, even though the practice continues in several of the world’s dark corners and was once a part of aristocratic European culture.

I do think pedophiles may be characterized as just one of many of Nature’s unfortunate “freaks.” They occur naturally, likely with a certain frequency, but most of society cannot accept them because parents feel keenly the need to protect their children from predators of all types, and the laws of a modern society always reflect the needs of its basic unit, families, and I include families of all descriptions.

The human brain is almost infinitely complex, and it is the seat of sexual desire and imaginings. We know well in the case of other organs, as say with the heart or lungs, how many natural faults and glitches there can be. The brain’s very complexity makes it subject to an amazing variety of irregularities. All of our mental illnesses, I believe, can be ascribed to the huge number of irregularities, and repeated patterns of groups of irregularities (syndromes), which emerge regularly in the brain, the most complex of organs.

And I don’t see it as being any different with conditions like pedophilia or sadism or psychopathy. I’m not calling pedophilia a mental illness, there is nothing useful in saying so, but I am saying it is just one of many unhappy and naturally-occurring conditions which arise regularly yet cannot be accommodated by modern society.

It all makes an irreconcilable problem in terms of a minority versus the large majority’s vital interests, but I do think it essential for our laws and practices always to protect children’s interests first.

Pedophiles in modern society then are automatically condemned to unhappy, constrained lives, but this reality is no different from other such natural but unhappy situations which occur regularly.

Psychopaths, too, occur with a certain frequency in any population, but we can hardly be expected to tolerate what they feel the strong impulse to do. Then again, sadists are a natural phenomenon, but we cannot, as a society, accept people’s enjoying hurting others. And some men seem to be born with rape fantasies, again likely a natural phenomenon that we simply cannot knowingly tolerate.

The truth is, modern society has some inherent limits on the freedom of certain kinds of individuals, and I cannot see how that can be otherwise.

John Chuckman


I nominate Sam Hammond as the most tiresome, uninteresting person in the news.

Drone, drone, drone – the same inaccurate phrases, over and over. Never a word that isn’t predictable, and all of it just about getting more, wrapped in insincere phrases about education and children. He’s about as engaging as an old Soviet apparatchik giving the official party line.

As a teacher, he undoubtedly put many students to sleep.

No teacher worth anything as a teacher could possibly threaten to strike against children.

Striking by teachers is effectively outright blackmail by playing with the anxieties of parents.

I only wish our politicians were not so cowardly.

If they even once called the bluff of intellectual stevedores like Hammond and took a strike, it wouldn’t last long and proper order would be restored.

Teachers are employees, already considerably overpaid in light of the qualifications they have: general BAs, no specialist knowledge, and an academically-worthless piece of paper from a teachers’ college where studies include unscientific notions and attitudes passed off as rigorous professional content. Half of them cannot even use a computer.

Not one elementary teacher out of ten could obtain a job with those meager qualifications that paid two-thirds of what they earn now. Many would find their next best opportunity to work at Wal-Mart. Moreover, nowhere could they obtain similar benefits and privileges, as twelve months pay for about nine months work and a six-hour day.

The economic pressure generated by teachers’ unions is only speeding the day when the current model of public school will literally collapse.

Our model is outdated, inefficient and costly, and there are several better ways of doing things.

Finally, it is just a hard fact that our Ontario public schools do not in any way stand out for achievement. They are nowhere near world-class while costing a great deal of money, almost all of it going to salaries and benefits.

John Chuckman


The New York Times is very much like American foreign policy.

On the outside, it’s all lip service to truth and integrity.

On the inside, it’s exactly and precisely the opposite.

The paper has a long history of prejudices and bad intentions and twisted journalism and work for the secret services while pompously trumpeting its superior merits.

It is, literally, as sick an institution as the State Department, no matter who happens to be serving at its head.

John Chuckman


I think the possibility very strong that Erdogan is behind this atrocity in Ankara.

First, he hates the Kurds and rejects peace with them.

Second, because he has a tyrant’s instincts, he hates people like “peace marchers” trying to influence what he does.

Third, as we see in Syria, he has no qualms about helping kill large numbers of civilians for his obsessive goals.

Fourth, he is an unstable man in many respects, as he has demonstrated a number of times.

A good investigator would make Erdogan’s secret security service number one candidate.

John Chuckman


You really do not need new evidence about the hopeless state of the news at BBC.

Every perceptive reader of BBC’s Internet site knows what a patchwork of half-truths and public relations puke BBC News has become.

It is just painfully obvious in the selection of stories, the selection of descriptive words, the images selected, and what is missing.

I check it daily just to see what games they are playing on any particular day.

John Chuckman


The Dutch investigation into the downing of Flight MH-17 is most disgraceful air-crash investigation I’ve ever heard of, leaving out, as it does, crucial evidence. The report may be understood as the Warren Commission of aircraft-crash investigations, a nickname very suitable since it was produced by the Dutch to the exclusion of other parties under intense American pressure.

Pieces of the plane actually remain on the ground in Ukraine.

The manufacturer of the Buk system was not consulted and evidence they attempted to submit was not used.

Russian government data were ignored.

Ukrainian Air Force records were never examined.

And shabbiest of all, America’s data in the form of radar tracks and satellite images were never examined because they were never offered and never demanded.

The very fact that America never offered data which we know to a certainty exists – an American spy satellite was directly overhead at the time of the crash – is a terribly incriminating fact left untouched by this “investigation.”

What these folks are telling us, after a supposed year of investigative work, is pretty much what we knew on day one: the plane was brought down by someone firing some form of missile.

Contrary to some careless newspaper headlines, the report is not even conclusive about the type of missile, describing it as resembling Buk.

General readers may not know but the Buk system – a Russian-made ground-to-air system – has been produced for decades, and there are a number of versions of it.

Earlier versions of it are no longer in use in Russia, but they very much are in Ukraine. The Russian manufacturer of Buk itself conducted tests and concluded that an older version of the missile, fired from Ukraine-controlled territory, was responsible for damage they simulated in tests.

Russia has not provided the missile to separatists in Eastern Ukraine.

If American data had been examined and released, I’d be glad to embrace the results whatever they were, but there is only one plausible reason for keeping them secret: they demonstrate something embarrassing to America’s coup-installed government in Ukraine.

The investigation thus has served the purpose of a government white paper or special investigation: eaten up time to reduce the public clamor over an issue and allow people to forget.

It is a shabby, shabby effort, just like so many American-induced dark acts in today’s world, such as its phony war against ISIS in Syria which in truth tends to support ISIS as it does what America wants doing.

John Chuckman


Once again, here is an article of which The Guardian, so long as it pretends to genuine journalism, should be ashamed.

Contrary to the completely uninformed words of the article, Putin does not work to keep “the West off-balance.” He is keen to cooperate and work together with Europe and America, as he has demonstrated many, many times. Do you not see the ugly, needless throwback-to-the-Cold War implications of the language used in this article about Putin versus the West?

Putin is cautious – combined with a keen intelligence and decisiveness – this makes him the likely most superb leader in the world today.

Any reader of character can see that Cameron, Hollande, and Obama are missing some of these qualities in various proportions. Cameron virtually comes off as a Music Hall parody of a Prime Minister making overly-pompous pronouncements and demands while Hollande cannot rise above the role of limp-shouldered provincial school master. Obama is an ambitious blunderer who only plays official spokesperson for the Pentagon and CIA. None of that is Putin’s fault.

Putin waited a long time before entering Syria, and when he did so it was under the invitation of what remains the only legitimate government, no matter what Cameron or Obama assert in strained words. That government is a legitimate ally of Russia’s and is entitled to assistance against terrorist forces introduced and armed by third parties. But even now, Putin’s natural caution sees Russia working only with air and missile forces with the Syrian Army doing the fighting under them.

Now that he has made the decision, he gives it the effort it deserves. And while I hate war, much as Jeremy Corbyn does, I cannot help seeing Putin as a courageous and right-thinking figure. He stands a good chance of bringing the horrors of Syria to an end. He works towards peace and stability while America’s public record for years now is almost non-stop war and deceit.

And all the phony mainline press stories and all the dumb statements from the ridiculous man who heads NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, and all the Pentagon threats and name-calling cannot change that. Newspapers running such propaganda only reduce themselves in the minds of thoughtful people to being the modern equivalents of the old Soviet apparatchiks constantly generating bone-headed propaganda no one could possibly believe.

Putin fights only the same terrorists that The Guardian and every other mainline newspaper have screamed about now for several years, giving great publicity to their beheadings and other atrocities, although your effort now to question Putin’s motives does make me question your previous motives. It was so easy to run stories about the gruesome horrors of ISIS while doing nothing about it, wasn’t it? Indeed, you claimed the satisfaction, along with that silly puff-ball of a Prime Minister, David Cameron, of morally pooh-poohing ISIS while remaining secretly satisfied with the dirty work it did to destroy Syria. And all the publicity and pompous speeches just happened to play comfortably into supporting the shameless and continuous stream of Islamophobia with which we’ve been inundated in Europe and America since 9/11.

Nothing could be more hypocritical and completely dishonest.

Yet again, the horrors of Syria have nothing to do with Assad. He started nothing. And such horrors as use of chemical weapons had nothing to do with him. And they certainly have nothing to do with Mr. Putin. The people responsible for the deaths of a quarter million, countless atrocities, and the piteous streams of refugees are Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar working under the auspices and complete approval of the United States and its brutal Middle East colony, Israel.

That group of nations wants Syria reduced to the same kind of divided, helpless mess as Iraq – a bleeding body left on the ground with its limbs hacked off – but they don’t want to take direct responsibility for the criminal assault, as America and Britain did, often to their regret, in Iraq.

You, The Guardian, only effectively work to continue the horror by publishing dishonest stuff, but I’m sure I waste my breath on senior editors who already know much of what I’ve said. Now, for general readers I’ll only say that if this is what appears in a paper of The Guardian’s traditional liberal and non-corporate reputation, you can only imagine what garbage is regularly strewn over the pages of The Times, The Telegraph, The New York Times, and The Washington Post. It is extremely difficult for ordinary people to get even a glimpse of truth through a phalanx like that defending brutal government deceit. And that is just what is intended.

John Chuckman


Sorry, David, but I do think Jeremy Corbyn likely understands exactly what ISIS represents.

It really is you, David, who pretends not to understand.

After all, you support American policy in the region, don’t you, David, even though, if I may be permitted to say, you do so with just a trifle too much groveling?

American policy is about using filth like ISIS and al Qaeda to destroy the beautiful land of Syria. America helped round up this collection of human trash from many places, including Benghazi, and along with Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey, it armed, trained, and supported them in their murderous rampage.

Of course, the Americans do not say that openly, David, but anyone who does just a little thinking can see the pattern. Those who do not see it, choose not to see it.

The U.S. drops bombs in the desert and on Syrian infrastructure, pretending to attack ISIS. The bombing of so-called terrorists you want to do, David, is clearly of the “Me too, Mr. Obama, Sir!” kind.

You really are so transparent, David, quite an ineffective puff-ball of a Prime Minister trying to sound stern and heroic. But then you have no one to answer to, do you, with a “majority” government representing 35% of British voters? Not your fault, is it, that Britain’s election system has such a built-in democratic deficit?

By all accounts, that horrible tyrant Assad is somehow strangely supported by a substantial majority of Syrians owing to his policies of secularism and protection of religious minorities. Then there’s the fact that he accepted at least a million refugees fleeing the American-British invasion of Iraq which killed about a million people, but he’s not fooling you, is he, David? He’s a heartless tyrant who must go. After all, he didn’t listen to you about getting out of town.

I’m just waiting to see how you’ll wiggle your little trotters and oink (sorry for the reference, David, but I couldn’t resist) after Putin’s air force has sent the American-organized cutthroats running for home. There are already reports of some fleeing. Maybe you’ll take them in, David? But I understand you’re not that fond of refugees.

Putin just proves what amazing things can happen when you actually aim for the enemy you claim you are aiming at. In their first 60 sorties, Putin’s boys did more damage to ISIS than America’s claimed 6,000 or so. But then that could be because Americans spend so much effort bombing things like hospitals, or don’t you agree, David?

David, there is one thing I wish you’d clear up for all us lowly, ordinary citizens. What do Rebekah and Rupert think about ISIS? Surely, you discuss the subject on your country weekends?

John Chuckman


Jens Stoltenberg has said so many stupid things in recent time that his words now come as just noise.

Russia of course has troops in Syria, troops to service their planes, load munitions, guard the base, and prepare food.

Such support always comes with an air presence by anyone anywhere. Any thinking person knows that.

To refer to them as “boots on the ground” (a dumb American expression for troops somewhere) is completely asinine.

Putin is clever, cautious, and decisive – an excellent combination in a leader – and he is not ready to march into any potential morass.

Besides the Syrian Army is doing a good job of defending its country, only being impeded by the immense secret assistance America and Israel with their associates have provided the terrorist gangs trying to destroy Syria.

What Russia is doing is simply erasing that assistance. The Syrian Army will do the rest.

Jens Stoltenberg is just pitching one more line of anti-Russian American propaganda, attempting to feed the bonfire of ignorant fear America has kept burning in Europe since its engineered coup in Ukraine.

My question is: considering its face-value worthlessness, why does The Independent bother giving it prominence?