Archive for January 2016

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: A DISTANT RELATIVE OF ANNE FRANK SAYS “TRUMP IS ACTING LIKE HITLER” – THIS IS PLAINLY WRONG AND COMPLETELY UNINFORMED – SO WHY IS SHE PUBLISHED IN A MAJOR NEWSPAPER? – NEO-CON IMPERIALISM IS STARTING TO PULL OUT ALL STOPS TO HALT TRUMP

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARICLE IN THE INDEPENDENT

 

This is foolish.

First, being related to Anne Frank qualifies someone with absolutely no expertise or even knowledge of this or any other political matter.

She’s entitled to her view, of course, but it means not a jot more than the views of 7 billion other humans who will not receive publicity in The Guardian.

Second, for any informed person her assertion is close to ridiculous.

I reject most of Trump’s views, but I would never compare them to Hitler’s.

I don’t even understand how anyone who knows anything can say this. Just read one of the better biographies of Hitler – Allan Bullock or Joachim Fest, for example – and you will quickly understand why I say this.

Confusing unpleasantness and unacceptable views with monomania and nihilism shows pretty poor judgement.

In fact, in a few areas, Trump is exactly Hitler’s opposite. He tends to be anti-imperial wars, and he voices a sensible view about Russia and China.

These are the areas where Trump does bring something new to American national politics. Our political systems, unfortunately, are such that any national candidate comes with a bundle of views and issues. If you buy into one part of the bundle, you must take, willy-nilly, the rest. No one comes with a platform completely satisfying to most voters.

Trump comes with some very heavy baggage, yet he does have the potential to bring some welcome change to international affairs, an end to decades of pointless war in which the U.S. has been engaged.

I utterly reject ideas like his wall with Mexico, and further I don’t believe it would prove doable. But it does seem to me that criticism of him is highly selective. How is his wall proposal any different than Israel’s walls? It isn’t, and indeed Israel is building still more walls, but they don’t receive the publicity that Trump’s proposal does.

Again, I utterly oppose selecting a kind of immigrant who is unacceptable, especially Muslims who are in my personal experience excellent people.

Yet Trump has not proposed a ban or an end, he has proposed a pause, and that is a very different thing. There can be no question that massive Muslim – or any other specific, culturally different – migration over a short time can cause huge social adjustment problems, as it very much is doing today in Europe.

However, please think about the absolute root cause of this sudden massive migration: it is America’s violent tear through the Middle East, upsetting old societies, killing tens of thousands, destroying countless homes and institutions. Libya, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, and others. That American savagery is source of all our headlines today, and this consideration takes us back to the importance of changing American foreign policy.

I think it worth noting, too, that Israel has a permanent ban on many, many kinds of immigrants. For some recent poor black refugees it did not want to accept, given embarrassing public outrages over black migrants, it actually bribed some African states to take them, where I’m sure their future, given the circumstances of their arrival, will be bleak.

Israel truly grants full citizenship to only one kind of people, its million or so Arab citizens being both an accident of 1948 history and a people who live under constant shadows and threats of expulsion as well as a set of laws which do not treat them equally in almost any matter.

Of course, then there are the five million or so Palestinians – some of whom are Christian and some Muslim – who live under illegal occupation with daily abuse, no rights, no votes, no hopes, and not even secure ownership of homes or farms. I haven’t heard Trump advocating anything resembling that ghastly reality which has endured in Israel for half a century.

So, if you are of a mind to criticize Trump’s more extreme ideas, then you should be in the forefront of doing the same for, not just a dismal prospect, but a dismal reality in Israel.

“We haven’t really learnt anything—I’m depressed by the current situation.” I can at least say amen to Eva Schloss on that, but I’m sure we are not talking about the same situation.

 

 

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JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: THE TERRIBLE PROSPECT WHICH ISRAEL’S BEHAVIOR OPENS FOR ALL OF HUMANITY

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE INDEPENDENT

 

Response to another comment:

No one hates Israel per se, but millions are repulsed by Israel’s behavior, and quite rightly so.

Now, in any ethical or moral system, isn’t that how we are supposed to judge others, by their behavior, not by what they are?

No terrorist organization which exists has a record to match Israel’s, and that’s just a regrettable and unpleasant fact.

500 kids killed in Gaza?

1,700 others?

The people of Gaza can’t even import cement to repair homes, schools, and sanitation?

Israel sprays a huge swath of Gaza with toxic herbicide, likely to cause birth defects for generations?

And that’s only a partial list of recent Israel behavior.

If Israel wants to be regarded as a state like any other state, then it must act like one.

It does not.

And the great underlying, but generally ignored, truth of so much Muslim anger is that it is a direct result of Israel’s behavior, which never seems to be disapproved of in the West while Muslim violence is ceaselessly condemned.

The prospect which Israel’s behavior opens for the future is a terrifying one.

If it is acceptable to behave as Israel does, then there are no bounds, no rules, no laws in international affairs, and every group or country may do just as it feels it is compelled to do.

Israel’s behavior is a kind of experiment with chaos in human affairs, and it must therefore be of concern to everyone.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: MICHAEL BLOOMBERG SAYS HE MAY RUN AS AN INDEPENDENT – PART OF WHAT IT MEANS IN LIGHT OF TRUMP’S SUCCESS AND CLINTON’S POSSIBLE COLLAPSE

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE INDEPENDENT

 

There is some truth in the idea that the Republican establishment is shaken by the possibility of a Trump candidacy.

But the folks who are really shaken by Trump, without question, are the Neo-cons and the Israel lobby, already extremely influential groups in America.

They do not trust Trump’s independence of mind with regard to Israel and the American foreign policy which keeps that failed venture afloat. This is the one leaning of Trump’s which many people, doubtful or disliking most of his views, would welcome as a relief and a fresh start from the sick status quo of endless wars, many of them catering to Israel.

Of course, Trump’s more extreme statements on other matters give the Israel lobby plenty of ammunition to make it seem as though they are concerned with issues of interest to a wider audience of Americans. But when you consider the people vociferously engaged against Trump, you know that is not the case. They simply are not people with any record of great concerns over human rights, genuine democratic values, and imperial aggression.

Michael Bloomberg, former Mayor of New York who is exploring running as an independent candidate, is well connected with Israel lobby crowd.

As is the publication, Weekly Standard, which has been making very loud noises about Trump. Founded and run by William Kristol, the publication functions as a major mouthpiece for Neo-cons and the Israel lobby.

It would appear possible now that not only does Israel determine a good deal of American foreign policy, it may as well play a key role in the next election.

That’s a pretty bizarre situation when you think about it: a nation of about 7 million weighing so heavily in the most intimate affairs of a nation of about 320 million. Not only do Israel’s narrow self-interests constitute a supremely influential special interest in the internal affairs of the United States, but Israel’s long-term interests are often directly at odds with America’s long-term interests. America’s own election-finance system is responsible for the situation, but that is something unlikely to be sorted out within the lifetime of any reader.

The relationship between Israel and the United States resembles one of those marriages we read about now and then in the news that is so dysfunctional one of the spouses kills the other.

Readers may enjoy this analysis of a while ago:

 

https://chuckmanwords.wordpress.com/2015/12/15/john-chuckman-essay-donald-trump-is-electable-as-president-but/

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: THE RISE AND FALL OF SARAH PALIN – WITH A FEW REFLECTIONS ON CONTEMPORARY AMERICA

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE GUARDIAN

 

I don’t know about Sarah Palin’s “soul,” whatever that is, and I very much doubt anyone else does either.

But I do know she is a perfect example of a person almost exploding with ambition and having almost no talents beyond a pretty smile.

Her entire career is an example of someone completely ignoring the wise and ancient words, “Know thyself.”

First, she is genuinely stupid. It took her 6 years at 5 different institutions to finally get a BA in a vacuous subject like “communications.”

This says a lot because anyone who knows American post-secondary education knows there are thousands of marginal colleges which award BAs pretty much just for attending and paying your fees.

She lacks the most basic qualities of application and perseverance, having resigned half way into what is certainly the simplest executive government job in America, the governorship of thinly-populated Alaska.

She was also involved in minor corruption in Alaska.

She did some incredibly stupid and embarrassing things as John McCain’s running mate.

Most notably, the Republicans gave her a generous line of credit to keep her wardrobe up for the campaign. This woman grossly overcharged the account, buying clothes not only for herself but for her entire family. It was a scandal, but it was kept fairly quiet.

Later, she was advised to “make hay while the sun shines” with speaking engagements, which have become something of an American institution for anyone enjoying their 15 minutes of fame. She went around giving speeches with zero content at $100,000 a pop, making millions from suckers who seek celebrities, even silly ones. This is, after all, the Age of Oprah Winfrey who has become a billionaire giving America such little circus acts accompanied by moral bromides.

Sarah even got her pathetic daughter into the act at $30,000 a pop, this a woman with literally nothing to talk about, not even “family values.”

These are pathetic people who should never have been involved in politics, but the example of George Bush was prominent and had set a precedent.

Bush was almost certainly the most ignorant and unintelligent person ever to serve as president. In some ways he proved America does not even need a president. Of course, the real power in those years was Dick Cheney, an intelligent, ruthless, and malevolent man, assisted by Donald Rumsfeld.

Some thought the trick could be repeated but with a pretty face, and Sarah had so little sense of herself she went along gleefully for the ride.

It is hard to have any sympathy for a person of her demonstrated lack of good sense, thinking she could be so much more than she almost certainly had to know she was.

At any rate, she is a success, of sorts. She’s worth millions, doesn’t have to do anything she doesn’t want to do, and still has a following in trailer parks across America.

 

 

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: COLUMNIST WRITES THAT JEREMY CORBYN’S LEADERSHIP ISN’T WORKING OUT – JUST A FEW MONTHS AFTER CORBYN WON IT – HOW DESPERATE ARE THE ATTACKS BY THE PRESS – IS THERE ROOM ANYMORE FOR A DECENT MAN IN POLITICS?

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY AMOL RAJAN IN THE INDEPENDENT

 

I just want to know why Amol Rajan bothers to write when he has nothing to say?

Seems like the ultimate expression of vanity to me.

Corbyn has only held the job of leader a short time, yet here is a man saying he isn’t working out.

And during that short time, he has been under constant attack about every petty detail down to what he wears on his feet.

This is an intelligent, thoughtful, and decent man.

Is there then no longer a place in British politics for such a man?

If that is the case, then I think Britain has a lot more to worry about than whether Corbyn wears the right shoes.

The Independent seems to work night and day to tear a good man down.

I guess it isn’t just the Rupert Murdochs of this world with whom we need be concerned over the very future of democracy.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: EUROPE NEEDS AMERICA TO SAVE IT AGAIN? NATALIE NOUGAYREDE WITH THE SMUGNESS OF A CAMERON AND THE INSOUCIANCE OF A WOULD-BE SALON HOSTESS – IN FACT, EUROPE NEEDS SAVING FROM AMERICA

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY NATALIE NOUGAYREDE IN THE GUARDIAN

 

I have rarely seen such an unperceptive and truly meaningless piece of writing. It is a very good example of words used just to hear yourself.

“Once more, America will have to step in to save us…”

What an incredibly patronizing statement, loaded with unwarranted assumptions, the smugness of a David Cameron, and the insouciance of a would-be Paris salon hostess.

How can a country which cannot run its own affairs help anyone? America is in bad shape on almost every front, yet it insists on a new monomaniacal drive to re-make the face of the earth.

And how is that drive financed in a country which cannot balance its books, its trade balances, or any other measure of self-regulation you care to cite? By abusing its fortunate position as world reserve currency, pumping out endless dollars for all the world’s suckers to hold.

In fact, America is the source of many of Europe’s greatest problems.

It was America’s irresponsible, greed-based financial crisis in 2008 that tipped the world into dangerous economic territory from which it has not recovered.

It is American aggressive policies which are pushing Europe into untenable positions vis-a-vis Russia, a natural partner for Europe in everything from energy supplies to a market for consumer goods and farm products.

Aggressive American policies have pushed Europeans towards greater military spending at a time when realistically it is completely unnecessary.

NATO itself is today nothing but a mechanism to keep America at the center of European affairs, a very costly mechanism both in terms of military spending and in terms of divisiveness with Europe’s natural partners.

It is American aggressive policies concerning the Mideast which have caused all the misery of Syria and Libya and Iraq, resulting in all the terrible migration of refugees.

It is American influence, especially through its unceasing facilitator, Ms. Merkel, that has transported these woes into Europe.

Look at the madman, Erdogan, an unbalanced and genuinely dangerous man, and the risky games Europe is driven to play with him.

Europe, left to itself, might end many of its relations with him, but it is American insistence on the geo-political importance of Turkey that keeps Europe from responding as it should.

Good God, what could be more insane than a member of NATO shooting down a Russian plane and then running behind NATO’s skirts? It reflects the same insanity which drives Erdogan to slaughter Kurds, imprison journalists, and assassinate opponents.

The sum total of American policies is effectively crushing Europe almost like a glacier rolling over the continent, and here is this silly salon-voice saying you need more.

_____________________________

Response to another reader’s comment:

American policy has generated the refugee crisis which is the cause of most xenophobic reactions in Europe.

Any country would be hard pressed to accommodate what is happening today.

Every population has its share of nasty people who will react badly to such huge new stresses.

Every population has a natural distribution of everything from plug-uglies to mental cases. You can’t make that fact go away. Wise governments don’t create situations which stress them and bring them to the fore.

But Europe under American influence has done just that.

I cannot imagine a more bankrupt policy than paying a violent lunatic like Erdogan – a key player in creating the horror – to help, but that is what Europe is doing.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: A BRITISH OFFICIAL’S EMBARRASSINGLY STUPID FINDING IN AN OLD MURDER CASE – LITVINENKO AND PUTIN VERDICT – KENNEDY AND THE WARREN COMMISSION – A WORD ON LORD JANNER