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Monthly Archives: February 2016

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY RICHARD BENTALL IN THE GUARDIAN

 

Sorry, I just do not agree that misery causes mental illness.

I’m no authority, but I am someone who has always been curious about the subject.

I’ve come to believe that all forms of mental illness represent glitches or flaws in the brain. Parenting, for example, plays little to no role, parents generally – always excluding criminal activity – playing less of a role in childhood lives than they themselves believe. We know, for example, today that peers play a far greater role in a child’s development than parents do.

Various traumas also play less of a role than is generally believed. The impact of trauma has a lot to do with the receptivity of the person. It is the basic structural nature of the brain that determines whether a person succumbs to trauma or overcomes it. We see both all the time.

We know how different imperfections can affect some organs, say the heart, there being a host of illnesses or future illnesses deriving from these differences – thin walls or thick, overall organ size, strength of blood vessels, etc.

The brain is infinitely more complex than the heart or any other organ, and its very complexity means it is subject to a great many possible flaws or imperfections. In a sense, ultimately the term “mental illness” will prove inadequate and not helpful. Flaws are flaws, whether in the shape of a bone or a lung or a brain.

The huge spectrum of mental disorders – from simple forms of anxiety to serious psychoses – is the result of the many individual things and combination of things which can affect so complex an organ. Really serious mental disorders – as, paranoid schizophrenia or severe autism – are likely the result of combinations of faults rather than individual ones because we see so many forms and severities of these conditions. It is much like differences in intelligence, which will undoubtedly ultimately prove to be determined by different combinations of formation and efficiencies of brain structures.

We have always had quacky theories and superstitions around the subject. Psychiatrists actually once believed, and told people, that poor mothering caused conditions like schizophrenia. That was in the last century and likely inflicted a great deal of pain on innocent parents.

Freud’s was the first serious effort to be scientific about these things, but today his “science” looks as advanced as bows and arrows. Freud himself believed his system could only help what he called neurotics but failed with psychotics, schizophrenics, manic-depressives, etc – in other words, it failed the people who really needed help. Nevertheless, we still have Freudian psychotherapists out there taking people’s money for regular sessions.

We have dozens of kinds of other “therapists.” New schools seemed to rise like weeds in a garden. But any of them is about as helpful with serious conditions as going vegan would be in helping cancer or heart disease.

Our pharmacology industry has been able to introduce some helpful drugs, but not enough of them or enough effective ones to make a difference. Some of these drugs for more serious conditions can be dangerous and some produce zombies. Others perhaps do little harm but not a lot of good either. And that is because we do not yet understand the precise cause of almost any of these disorders. Our drugs suppress symptoms at best.

Given humanity’s history of dealing with mental disorders – after all, two centuries ago we chained psychotics to walls in dungeons for life and as recently as the 1950s we cut out parts of the brains of schizophrenics (lobotomies), and for some conditions, we still strap people down and jolt them with electricity as a “therapy” – given all that, I think there has been huge advances in society’s ways of looking at mental illness.

We are such a cruel species at times, much like our relatives the chimps, it is virtually impossible to eliminate superstitions and bullying. We see bullying every day of people who look odd or have terrible physical impairments. We are also ignorant beyond telling. Remember, in parts of Africa they still hunt down poor albinos to kill them, and we are not that much different in advanced societies. Most of the people in our prisons are in fact mentally ill.

Real solutions for mental disorders will require a great deal more science than we yet have.

We need tolerance of course, but preaching tolerance to a society that daily kills people in a half dozen far-flung places because it believes they are dangerous, doesn’t go far. After all,  Britain’s government busies itself with selling many billions in arms to Saudi Arabia, a county murdering people in several places, including its own streets and led by an absolute monarch who has dementia.

 

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John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY CHARLIE BROOKER IN THE GUARDIAN

 

Mr Brooker, this is an entirely silly piece.

First, you cannot use the word “theory” for a notion which is in your own words “unprovable.”

Theories, by definition, are capable of being disproved by data.

Otherwise, they are just notions. Much like the vapid content of dreams themselves.

The rest of this piece goes downhill from there.

It isn’t amusing. It’s dumb.

Where great power is at stake, believe me, conspiracies are a reality.

If you don’t know that, you’ve not read any history.

And if you’ve read no history, why bother are you bothering to write?

 

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE ON INFOWARS

 

I’ll remind readers that Ross Douthat, the journalist who tweeted an idiot reference to assassinating Trump, does a job Bill Kristol used to do at the New York Times.

So he comes from the same ugly pack that has been most strongly attacking Trump from the start, the neo-cons and their close friends.

And these are people who have worked hard to keep the blood flowing abroad, seeing the Middle East flattened, and the U.S. mired in decades of war.

These are people who view independent-mindedness in foreign policy as unthinkable, being totally dedicated to the cozy and immensely destructive relationship which keeps Israel afloat.

Any serious threat on Trump would almost certainly come from this quarter.

After all, these people, the neo-cons, gave the world the whole Middle East in blazes with millions killed and hurt and great masses of refugees. Why would they even pause about the life of one politician they hate after all that?

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN RINF

 

The unpleasant Stephen Harper was definitely headed in this direction, with perhaps even more anti-freedom measures added, as criminalizing criticism of Israel.

We’re hoping our fine new Prime minister can resist this kind of genuinely Stalinist law promoted only by special interests.

But, in any event, all of the ugly laws Israel is promoting abroad and Israel’s tireless building of walls simply scream desperation.

If Israel wasn’t threatened by the weakness of its own founding’s logic, it would require none of this.

Just as the Soviet Union was built with a faulty foundation – flaws in logic and basic understanding of economic and social principles – so Israel, an unimaginably inefficient state kept afloat on the world’s greatest flow of subsidies.

Israel is, just like the Soviet Union was, a garrison state where the military/security/police forces are completely out of any sensible balance for a healthy society.

And it holds millions of people as prisoners.

Sooner or later, the crunch is coming, and for all these reasons.

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE INDEPENDENT

 

Udi Aloni could not be more correct in describing the government of Israel as fascist, and he is a brave Israeli to speak out. His welcome home will be less than enthusiastic without a doubt.

The whole Western world watches this monster Netanyahu at work and does nothing, hardly ever saying a word.

The only man on the planet right now who can compete with Netanyahu for stupid brutality and nonstop lying is Turkey’s Erdogan.

The grotesque irony of Western countries supporting these two – along with the brutal, senile King Salman of Saudi Arabia – while vilifying Putin and Assad is breathtaking.

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Response to another comment:

 

I’m sorry, but today’s Israelis are not the descendants of the Hebrews.

That has pretty much been proved by DNA tests.

The Ashkenazi people are Germanic, in every respect including their original language which is Yiddish.

Tests show they arose a thousand years ago near Italy and then migrated.

Judaism in the centuries after Jesus became a much more evangelical religion than we think of it today.

Bits of Africa were also converted, as was the kingdom of the Khazars, a people from the area near Ukraine who were Turkic people. They too adopted the Hebrew ways.

Christianity itself rose up as a cult-like offshoot of Judaism, and its success was startling. At the time of the Dead Sea Scrolls, there were numbers of such cults or sects, much like we see today in Protestantism.

The Bible is a history of the Hebrew people only in the loosest possible sense of the word ‘history.’

Archeology teaches us the Jews were never in Egypt (Moses by the way is an Egyptian-origin name). There is absolutely no record of them in a land which kept superb records.

There is not an ounce of evidence too for the existence of King David. Even Israeli archeologists, determined as they are, cannot find any.

The Romans too were great record keepers, and there is no evidence at all of the Hebrews being expelled after the Roman conquest. It is almost certain that the Palestinians are in fact what is left of the ancient Hebrews. They have of course in two millennia undergone many changes, including in language and religion.

By the way, modern Israel’s claim to the Holy Land, tenuous as it is when you know some history, is even weaker when you extend the history of the region.

Egypt once ruled there before the Hebrews, so Egypt could have a claim. The Phoenicians ruled there before the Hebrews so Lebanon too could have a claim. Italy, through the Romans, could have a claim. Iraq and/or Iran could also have a claim since their ancestors also ruled for a time.

The entire idea of basing a claim today on an ancient document full of errors and myths is self-evidently ridiculous. Or maybe you believe in Jonah or Lott’s wife or Noah or Daniel or the burning bush or the ten plagues – all complete fantasy nonsense.

Given that the notion of a wandering people is also pretty much a fantasy – again, remembering the Ashkenazi are not the Hebrews – the entire official narrative means about as much as the Greek myths.

By the way, using modern Israel’s strange logic, Turkey should belong to Greece owing to victory in the Trojan War.

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE GUARDIAN

 

The Pope has no business commenting on anyone’s politics, and I think he is a foolish old man to have done so.

I would admire him if he consistently stood for justice and decency, but he most certainly does not.

Apart from his silence in horrors like Syria or Yemen, I’d like to remind readers of something from an earlier time in Francis’s life in Argentina.

Francis, while a seemingly decent man, had a bad reputation years ago among many people in Argentina.

He never once spoke out against the military junta that murdered tens of thousands of people in the night, running a virtual Reign of Terror against people suspected of leftist sympathies.

He passively accepted the horrors going on around him, standing in the same shameful ranks as the American State Department, an organization without morals, ethics, or shame, then as now.

I hardly think him qualified to speak to any moral issue.

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE INDEPENDENT

 

Insanity, but then we’ve known for some time the King of Saudi Arabia is insane.

Imagine the threat to airlines worldwide from the distribution of such weapons into the hands of lunatics?

But as readers may recall, hideous Sarin nerve gas was previously given to some of these lunatics working to destroy Syria, and it was indeed used.

The Russians of course have many steps they could take in response to new weapons supplied by Saudi Arabia, but no matter how you look at it, a larger, more dangerous war would be the outcome.

The West is playing literally with a group of dangerous lunatics here: King Salman, President Erdogan, and Prime Minister Netanyahu.

And they are supposed to be the good guys?

No wonder American voters are turning their backs on the party establishments. We live in a world that makes no sense, thanks to that establishment.

John Chuckman

If Donald Trump never achieves another thing in his entire life, he can always be proud of having sent the whining, ineffectual Jeb Bush running back home to Mom.

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE GUARDIAN

 

Bashar al-Assad says he wants to be remembered as the man who saved Syria.

And I believe he will be so remembered.

This man, so often portrayed in our heavily biased press as a monster, is in fact a quite thoughtful and intelligent leader.

Not a lot of people seem to know it but he is a medical specialist, making him far better educated than a David Cameron, and he has always shown toleration for the many religious groups in Syria. The religious minorities understand that, notably Syria’s Christians, and in return support him.

He is hated by America and Israel entirely because he is independent-minded. What an appalling indictment of those two countries. They support thoroughgoing monsters like King Salman of Saudi Arabia or President Erdogan of Turkey – both genuine war criminals – and just endlessly call Assad names and threaten him.

Because the American-Israeli attitude is dominant in our press, we virtually never hear directly from leaders like Assad, and that fact alone should tell you something. In contrast, try to find a major Western newspaper without regular pictures or flattering stories about Netanyahu or Obama. It really cannot be done.

The tale of Syria’s recent years is simply one of the most disgraceful we’ve seen. A beautiful, peaceful land has suffered immense destruction, death, and injury, and sent millions of refugees fleeing abroad in the worst humanitarian crisis of modern times.

All of that horror is directly attributable to the covert acts of Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Israel, and America. It is the fault of no one else, although we have leaders like Cameron and Hollande, who toy, much like a cat toying with a living but wounded mouse, with becoming full members of the filthy game.

Just look at what America did to Iraq. It really is not even a single country anymore, some of the world’s most precious archeological treasures destroyed or looted, and the blood of a million stains America’s flag.

Just look at Libya. No matter what you thought of its late leader, Muammar Gaddafi, its people were educated, received health care, were fed, and generally thrived in a nation at peace. Now, it is a wasteland, scarred by bombs and left with warring gangs.

Today the press is silent for the most part as Saudi Arabia – under American auspices always in this region of the world – uses horrors like cluster bombs and bunker busters and kills thousands of women and children in Yemen.

The people of Gaza stand in their own filth, not even allowed the supplies of cement to rebuild sanitation and homes, while our press and governments say nothing. The Israeli government freely sprays large swaths of their land with herbicides, and we all know the ghastly legacy of America’s Agent Orange in Vietnam.

Egypt, after decades of a brutal dictator who was strongly supported by America, finally enjoyed a brief breath of democracy before again suffering repression under a new American-supported dictator. And why was that? Because Israel was seriously unhappy with the views of a newly-elected President, by all accounts a decent man, who now rots in an Egyptian prison.

We live in a world of the most remarkable senseless brutality and dishonesty from so-called Western, democratic countries, most notably from the United States in its self-assumed mission to re-make great parts of the world, no matter how much misery is generated.

And we say nothing, letting bullies and tyrants have their way.

 

 

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE GUARDIAN

 

I like Jeremy Corbyn and support his views in a number of matters, but not on the EU.

I never thought I would rethink my longstanding support for the EU, but Cameron’s blundering excuse for statesmanship and all the discussion and puffed-up publicity around it have caused me to do just that.

I have little use either for xenophobes or the stout little island types often associated with rejecting the EU, but I fear the EU concept I’ve always supported has virtually disappeared.

Today the EU is, to a considerable extent, just another mechanism for American domination of Europe. It gives America one name to call at the start of any of its new dangerous or destabilizing adventures.

And who needs that except the madmen at the State Department?

I had always held out hope that the EU could become a true force in world affairs, countering America’s bullying influence, leading the way to a multi-polar world.

But I’ve waited a long time to see anything happen, and all I’ve seen is decay from the early possibilities.

I don’t think that Europe’s emergence as a world power is going to happen now, at least for a very long time. America would certainly not support it and would actively work covertly and overtly against it, and America today behaves almost as though drunk on the sense of its own power.

The current generation of European leaders is a truly pathetic crowd. Cameron, Hollande, and even the gifted Merkel are just servants of America. Gone are the great leaders of decades ago. Not a sign of real individualism remains. One might even suspect all of them as being long-term recipients of CIA pensions, a common American covert practice for bending governments abroad to their purpose.

Events in Syria and Ukraine with their huge impacts upon Europe are distressing reminders of the truth because these crises were generated by America while almost all the very great costs, social and economic, are dumped upon Europe.

World dictatorship is even more threatening than dictatorship inside one state.

So, for the first time, I almost hope Britain does exit the EU. Economics – the original and strongest argument for the EU – of course remains important, but social and political and diplomatic matters are also important, and when they are seen consistently all going the wrong way, as they are today and have been for years, it is time to reconsider.

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE INDEPENDENT

 

And, I’m sorry to say, so have a good many others been intimidated about speaking out, other worthy people who have consciences, Jimmy Carter being a recent one.

Israel has been reduced to the lowest tactics possible to defend what cannot be defended by any decent person.

Apart from its threatening behaviors, its efforts even get desperately silly, as with its practice of paying Israeli students who post rubbish to muddy discussions on any news site allowing comments.

I think that this state which recognizes no laws, no conventions, no ethical claims, and pretends it is democratic will certainly go the way of the old Soviet Union eventually.

It has a grossly inefficient economy, yields a poor life for most ordinary Israelis, is dominated by a vast cancerous military and security apparatus, holds millions in perpetual bondage, and starts wars with every neighbor – that is not a long term formula for success, ever.

Neither are the practices of building massive walls, passing discriminatory legislation, encouraging the passage of discriminatory legislation abroad, and calling anyone, literally anyone, who questions your behavior ugly names and insults.

Throw in many assassinations, a great deal of torture, a huge number of illegal arrests, constant abuse of several million people in the streets, and state-sponsored theft of the property of others.

The place would collapse today were it not for the support its lobby buys for it in America, but that cannot go on indefinitely. Most Americans do have some innate sense of fairness, and Israel violates it daily.

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Response to another reader’s comment:

 

The human capacity for cruelty seems to have no limits.

You might think a people who were so terribly treated in the past could teach the world a lesson in enlightenment and fairness.

But, no, all we see is more cruelty.

John Chuckman

COMMENT TO AN ARTICLE IN THE GUARDIAN WITH PHOTOS OF GOLDSTEIN HOUSE DONATED AS A MUSEUM

 

The house has some dramatic perspectives, but I think, considering all the views, it is a rather sterile environment.

I love good modern architecture, but this house by John Lautner is a showboat effort which actually fails as a place to live.

There are many details which might look impressive on first glance but actually display poor design in the true, deep sense of that word.

The clearest examples are its impossible benches and seats. I can’t tell from photos whether they are made of polished concrete or metal, but they are covered by bright custom cushions.

Those benches are not only uninviting as places to sit – which is opposite of what a seat should be – I can guarantee with their very low backs, extremely rigid structure, and minimal cushions, they are uncomfortable to almost anyone after a short time.

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Response to a comment by another reader:

Why would being an architect make any difference in appreciating architecture?

Seems to me, what you are saying is much like saying you have to be a painter to go to an art gallery, which is self-obviously ridiculous.

Le Corbusier, one of the most original and gifted architects of the last century, said a house was a machine for living, and while that’s a bit absolute, it captures an important truth.

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Response to a comment from a reader:

“Actually I was thinking of North by Northwest, the glass house mounted on the rock frame that Cary Grant had to shinny up.”

 

One of my favorite Hitchcock films.

Oh, now there was a great house, great modern design, including a sumptuous sense of natural materials.

Although, you may know that it was a set built for the movie and doesn’t exist. I was disappointed to learn that.

 

 

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY BOB WOODWARD IN RINF

 

Bob Woodward is not speaking for the larger interests.

He never has. He demonstrated that during the horrible Bush administration when he slithered around on his belly, flattering and giving favorable publicity to George Bush, the most incompetent and destructive president in memory.

America’s recent Supreme Court has been a disaster.

Money is free speech? That’s what it ruled, and the results are disastrous.

That view does not earn you freedom, it earns you slavery.

Slavery to a plutocracy.

That is what America has become.

Woodward also always subtly represented the interests of the Israel Lobby. They like things the way they are with America being aggressive across the globe keeping Israel afloat.

And that view shares many aspects with the views of America’s super-rich crowd.

It is ordinary Americans and others who suffer from the current set-up.

Scalia was a basic building block in creating the mess we have. His views were narrow and often uninformed, and over time he said some just plain dumb things.

His views and words on gays and gay marriage were intolerant and disgraceful, just serving to highlight his backwardness and lack of leadership.

The trouble with a lot of what is carelessly labeled as conservatism in America is that it actually supports fascism and the plutocratic crowd. I think many do not appreciate this, but it is painfully true. There is a natural border between these two, but it is easily violated and in today’s America virtually does not exist.

A number of Americans are convinced that Scalia’s views on guns were vital, but the net effect of his views is part of the explanation for the hopeless situation in America today.

Just think of America’s horrible, aggressive, poorly-trained, and murderous police who cause many Americans literally to live in fear. They killed more than a thousand of their own people last year, as they do every year, a performance putting any so-called terrorists to shame.

Scalia supporters may not see a connection, but there very much is one. The police always have the excuse that they thought the person was armed, and it is an excuse which continues to work perfectly because a huge number of Americans are armed.

The plutocrats love things the way they are: murderous police keep the mob in order. Most of these people or corporations live in what are effectively gated communities, and they have very little interaction with the mess “out there.” They just want to see it quiet where they live.

And here it is no accident that large numbers of American police now receive training in Israel, Israel being a place in which a privileged group also wants to live in quiet and security and a place where almost half the population are terrorized by police and army. Israel itself is becoming one giant gated community, and ordinary Israelis themselves do not have a great life. Israel’s equivalent of America’s plutocracy – some being Americans with dual citizenship – is the group making the rules. Thus there is a natural fit with present-day America in many aspects of life.

Scalia was not about freedom. He was about its opposite, slavery.

He reminded me of Thomas Jefferson in his thinking.

No, Jefferson was a thousand times more eloquent, but his seemingly freedom-loving words were not about freedom. Most people who quote them have no idea about the kind of man they are quoting. He actually used words as a kind of self-written legacy, a vast advertising campaign which was about sympathetic-sounding things the real Jefferson was not about.

Jefferson was quite backward in many things. While superficially interested in science, he had some remarkably unscientific views, like the healing properties of soaking his feet in cold water each morning or his interpretation of some fossils found in Virginia which was quite silly.

He was a strong, life-long supporter of slavery. Even when he was President he opposed the rebellion of slaves in Haiti and supported Napoleon’s efforts to crush them. After the French failed, he made sure to have nothing to do with Haiti. His dreamy thoughts about freedom died instantly anytime black slaves were involved.

Jefferson absolutely believed in black inferiority, and we have his own embarrassing words on the subject. This despite his long sexual relationship with a mulatto slave, Sally Hemmings, said to have been fathered by Jefferson’s dead wife’s father. That relationship started when Sally was thirteen. Today we would say Jefferson was a pedophile, and that’s hardly about freedom. He fathered children by Sally – we have the sworn testimony of her adult son on this, no matter what some of Jefferson’s Caucasian descendants claim in order to protect his legacy – and Jefferson did little to improve their lot.

Jefferson rather bizarrely hated industry and wanted only a nation of stout yeomen farmers, something, which if you analyze it, greatly resembles the views of someone like Pol Pot. His vision of stout yeoman farmers of course is completely oblivious to the industrial revolution and the new prosperity coming to some societies.

Jefferson, despite his wealth and over 200 slaves, was never able to support himself. He died a bankrupt. His love of things like fashions and luxury imports was such he was regularly borrowing from friends, some of whom he cheated, never paying them back. He was not a man of his word.

When Jefferson, as President, decided that America must boycott Britain, he was ruthless against American businesses suffering from the policy. His program put many of them under, and he used substantial force to go after any who were not complying. None of this corresponds to today’s fantasy ideas, or Jefferson’s own words, about freedom.

Jefferson as Governor, at the drop of a hat, was ready to have Virginia secede from the Union. He anticipated the entire Confederacy, and that is not an idea of freedom in keeping with a wholesome, democratic society. It’s a version of – what some American plutocrats do today – taking your marbles and running.

Jefferson opposed the Supreme Court even having the very powers which men like Scalia later exercised. He wanted no interpretation of the Constitution. He wanted it to have no force at all in the individual states. His vision much resembled anarchy. He was extremely provincial and ruthless about states’ interests when a Governor, views which were bent completely around when he had other needs as President. Consistency was not a Jefferson strong point.

Jefferson’s words about free expression were extremely hypocritical. When he was Secretary of State under Washington, he secretly hired some nasty scribblers to attack the President and his policies, always pretending he knew nothing about the source of the libels.

Despite Jefferson’s many pretentious words about bloodshed and regular revolutions, he proved in the Revolutionary War a complete coward. He rode so hard away, never stopping for a long time, from some approaching British – a quite small force under the dashing Banastre Tarleton – that there were jokes and laughter about it long afterward by colonists as well as by the British.

When Jefferson was first considered as the colonies’ ambassador in Europe, he wouldn’t go. He was afraid to sail and perhaps be captured by British ships. That didn’t stop old Ben Franklin, who went instead and served well.

Jefferson’s overall impact on the shape of today’s America is extremely negative, despite all the fine words. Ironically, for American conservatives, what I’ll call the Jefferson Myth, was revived by Franklin Roosevelt’s government when they built the memorial in Washington. They were laying false claim to aspects of his legacy for political purposes.

And just so, the acts of many American so-called conservatives like Scalia which ultimately are destructive and divisive and anti-freedom in nature, just as Jefferson was once ready to divide the young country or violently suppress those who disagreed with his presidential policies.

It is all an extremely confused and confusing legacy, and a dangerous one.

America’s armed forces and secret security apparatus today are killing people in at least half a dozen places. America supports torture and illegal imprisonment and suppression in many parts of the world, from Israel to Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. America’s police, in many parts of the country, literally terrorize their own citizens. America’s secret security forces spy on everyone in the false name of protection from terror. And, all the while, we hear slogans – completely empty slogans about freedom and democracy. And the great plutocrats that Scalia represented think nothing of moving an entire company abroad, destroying jobs and communities, while enhancing their own wealth.

People who truly love and understand the meaning of a good and decent society cannot shed any tears for the passing of Judge Scalia. His legacy, like Jefferson’s, is simply poisonous.

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY OWEN JONES IN THE GUARDIAN

 

Perhaps.

For some.

But Americans on the whole have short memories.

And celebrity worship thrives like a weird tropical infection.

There were Americans, many, who went to the O J Simpson home to be photographed at the front gate shortly after such a brutal crime.

You really cannot underestimate them.

And Jeb certainly doesn’t.

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO A STORY IN THE GUARDIAN

 

Regime uproots 9,000 people near huge telescope hoped to find aliens” says The Guardian’s front page.

Regime?

Maybe it’s just me, but I thought it was “the government of China” at work here?

Uproots?

The word choice betrays bad intent.

A choice of words is everything in politics, as Orwell taught us.

For another nation with a big project, you undoubtedly would have written, “relocates” or “resettles.”

To find aliens?

Please, you don’t invest that kind of money and work in the search for aliens. Radio astronomy has made some of our most important discoveries in space, and the Chinese facility will be a terribly important scientific facility for the whole world.

Shame on you.

Is Rupert Murdoch now a full-time consultant to this supposedly progressive newspaper?

Seems very likely.

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN SPUTNIK

 

All American-imposed sanctions are doing – apart from a lot of hurt to different parts of the European economy – is proving the natural, underlying relationship between Europe and Russia.

In that sense, they will prove highly counter-productive over time.

After all, America is doing this only to stop that natural relationship from flourishing.

But to my mind, it’s a bit like commanding the sea’s waves to stop.

Quite stupid in the end, and America is supposed to believe in market forces.

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE GUARDIAN

 

“Putin is a bigger threat to Europe’s existence than Isis” says George Soros

Why do you publish crap like this?

George Soros has a long history of using his money and organizations in front work for the CIA, and that includes in groundwork for future coups.

He is just one more old American billionaire frustrated in not always getting his way when attempting to manipulate the world.

Putin knows him for just what he is, and Soros is angry about that.

There is one leader in today’s western world who indisputably stands for a decent international order of fair laws and fair treatment for all nations and unrestricted trade, and that leader is Putin.

The President of the U.S., by contrast, works full time on trying to interfere in the affairs of others. He does so in Syria, in Iraq, in Libya, in Ukraine, and in half a dozen other places. He doesn’t just interfere, he kills, and on a large scale.

If our press generally weren’t so servile to our governments – and David Cameron being little more than a junior lieutenant in America’s imperial order – we’d get a more balanced view of the world in the news.

But that’s empty wishes because it is a small number of people like Rupert Murdoch, who by the way is regularly celebrated in The Guardian, coloring everything we read and hear.

John Chuckman

EXPANSION OF COMMENTS POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE GUARDIAN

 

Robots for sex already exist although they are quite primitive, but who can doubt they’ll be rapidly improved?

However, that aspect of robots seems a rather minor part of what is happening. We have a huge revolution, resembling nothing we’ve ever seen, coming at us in not very long.

It will be a great turning point for everyone on earth, and I’m almost glad I’ll not be here to see it.

There will be no work for most people, certainly all unskilled and manual workers, including farmers as things are developing for example now in Japan.

But all skilled workers and the professions are not exempt. They will just take a little longer. All the professions can be robotized within some decades. Doctors, lawyers, accountants, you name it, machines will do a better job, and, in some cases, already do.

And who will own the robots? That’s a huge question, full of implications for a society resembling ancient ones with a small exalted elite and a great mass of nobodies under them.

And why will the elites share any wealth produced with the rest of the people?

Will the owners want to see the great mob of humanity gone?

In the end, perhaps robots will assume control themselves, not requiring the elites.

Once artificial intelligence resembles our kind of intelligence, and there is little reason to regard it as staying at some level of ability forever, it may turn out just to be so.

Will the robots want to be rid of us altogether?

I do think robots are the next major stage of evolution, organic life then serving no purpose.

If we do soon discover highly intelligent life on other worlds, either through their contacting us or visiting us, I think it likely it will not be human or even organic.

 

Readers will definitely enjoy:  http://chuckmanrobots.blogspot.ca/

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE INDEPENDENT

 

Sorry, this is utter nonsense.

Compared to American practices in half a dozen places where they have carelessly wiped hospitals, schools, and crowds of civilians in bomb shelters, the Russians have made a great effort to be cautious.

And they only use intelligent munitions, although the Pentagon has lied about that too.

Every possible target is double-checked.

Now if you want to see some hell-hole messes created by Americans just look at Libya or Afghanistan or Iraq or indeed Vietnam which still suffers from the horrors of Agent Orange and millions of landmines.

Almost every vicious thing that has happened in Syria has happened at the hands of the people Russia is fighting, people long assisted and supplied by Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Israel, and America, with the odd “God bless” from Britain and France.

Also the senile tyrant King of Saudi Arabia conducts a war in Yemen, completely against international law, but no one says a word while he kills women and children as well as having bombed several small hospitals.

As I write this, we have the shameful admission by an American Defense official that, yes, it was ISIS using Sarin gas previously in Syria, and it could be used again. Previously the U.S. lied about this and claimed Assad used it, which he never did. Using this poison was a clear war crime against Geneva Conventions. So why was no effort made to stop it? No effort made to hold someone responsible for supplying this horrible stuff? It had to come from a fairly advanced country and one using the covert supply avenues. I’m pretty sure Obama or Cameron knows who it was, but not a word.

And as I write this, Turkey is firing heavy artillery into Syria aimed at a specific people, the Kurds, which Turkey’s insane leader happens to hate. This too is a war crime. Imagine America firing artillery into Canada aimed at, say, French Canadians? Yet no one speaks up. Not the UN, not David Cameron – they are all under America’s thumb, and they are all cowards.

Further to my point, several times footage of Russian pin-point bombing has been used by television networks, both in America and France, claiming it was their work when in fact they bombed nothing useful to the enemy.

Last but not least, not many days back there was bombing in the city of Aleppo which killed civilians. The Pentagon claimed it was from Russian planes, but we now know it was an attack by American A-10 planes.

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE GUARDIAN

 

Well, I just love a few of Trump’s lines.

Even though I am no great admirer, he sometimes can land a great line, and Jeb is the most pathetic guy to run since his brother, well deserving of our contempt.

His brother was one of the most hated presidents and was, without a doubt, the least intelligent and honest in our lifetime.

And it was his crooked brother as Governor of Florida who helped put him in with a corrupt election.

It’s Jeb who insists on injecting his brother into his campaign, which makes George fair game and also provides a great measure of Jeb’s asininity.

When Jeb whines about Trump “going after his family,” it’s unbelievably juvenile for a man with national leadership ambitions.

Ya gotta love the Trump response to Jeb’s blubber about his “mother’s strength,” “Well, then maybe she should run.”

And why should Jeb’s mother be a topic?

Because Jeb put her there, hoping to use cheap sentimentality to win a point.

You may not like Trump, but this exchange establishes Jeb as qualified to be little more than a doorman at a Florida resort.

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY JONATHON FREEDLAND IN THE GUARDIAN

 

And, Jonathan Freedland, you’re no Seymour Hersh or I. F. Stone or Carl Bernstein or Robert Fisk – a few of our finer journalists.

This piece is simply vacuous.

Essentially, it is just one more Guardian attack on Corbyn, and a rather cowardly one.

I truly think Guardian readers should ask why this newspaper, once considered as representing the interests of working people and progressives, gives such an inordinate amount of space to attacking, week after week, a decent and thoughtful politician?

Why is he such a threat?

And Freedland is silly at his own game here.

The Guardian always dismisses Corbyn as “unrealistic,” which is just code for: outside the establishment which the paper now so desperately works to support and do good works for.

Just look at the ridiculous article celebrating Rupert Murdoch and his aging Lady Gaga which has run for two days, and with no comments allowed. It is at least the third article on the dreary subject I can remember. That somehow represents the interests of working people and progressives?

Bernie’s a refreshing voice, and I like him, but, as I’ve said, he has the proverbial “snow ball’s chance in hell” of being elected.

A self-declared “democratic socialist” becoming leader of a belligerent, plutocratic empire?

Unless you know America well, it is hard to describe how absurd that notion is. I spent nearly half my life there and still study aspects of it, and I can honestly say that its brutality, belligerence and its plutocratic nature have only increased, become overwhelming, virtually cancerous, as I could never have imagined many decades ago.

If Sanders were somehow to manage the double miracle of getting the nomination and then winning the election, either he or the empire would have to change.

Want to guess which one it would be?

_____________________

Footnote on how it works in America. Sanders won a landslide victory in New Hampshire, yet he leaves the state with roughly the same number of delegates as Hillary. And the party has an institution known as super-delegates – there are many hundreds of them – who have no responsibility to vote at the convention as the people voted in the primaries. I believe something approaching half of these already are pledged to Hillary.

And in the end, were a double miracle to happen, there is always the Kennedy Solution. Already used a few times in the past, why would anyone doubt that today’s bloated, rich secret organizations now killing people daily in half a dozen countries would hesitate?

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE INDEPENDENT

 

This report is total crap propaganda, and, as a couple of thoughtful readers remind us below, murderous Saudi Arabia is now chair of the committee issuing this report for “human rights.”

The UN today is in total lockstep with the United States. It displays virtually no independence.

A few years back, the United States showed the UN just who is boss by refusing to pay its dues for a considerable amount of time. That ugly display wouldn’t be soon forgotten since the U.S. accounts for fully a quarter of the budget.

Whenever a man of some independent-mindedness has managed to be elected as Secretary General, America has constructed a plot to oust him, as in the case of Boutros Boutros-Ghali.

Old Madeleine Albright, a truly bloody character, won her diplomatic spurs with just such dirty work.

Ban Ki-Moon is America’s man, and his ineffectual and sometimes cowardly behavior is just what America likes.

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE GUARDIAN

 

“UK needs Trident to play ‘outsized’ role in world affairs, says US defence secretary”

Yes, indeed, and his statement unintentionally makes the key argument for getting rid of Trident.

Since Trident cannot be used by Britain for British purposes – simply a fact of the American rules governing these purchases of thermonuclear weapons – it cannot be a deterrent, full stop.

Buying it effectively makes Britain a junior partner, very junior, in America’s purposes. As if, that were not already the case a sickeningly large portion of the time.

The use of the word “outsized” is telling. It’s another way of describing penis-envy.

So the British people are being asked to pay out countless billions for generations just so their politicians and admirals can parade around as part of the “outsized” set.

When you reduce the proponents’ argument to what it really is, it is revealed as ridiculous.

But then David Cameron is a man given to doing ridiculous things many times, isn’t he?

John Chuckman

COMMENTS POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE GUARDIAN

 

Of course Sanders is the best choice.

At least, in a dreary field.

But, please, you are talking about the United States, or had you forgotten?

The United States has become a world imperial power.

It has been at continuous war for a couple of decades and its secret services have arranged coups in many places from Ukraine to Egypt.

It has supported for years the murder in Syria.

And its fleet of drones behave as an Argentine junta killing people with no legal process whatsoever.

The imperial power serves one thing only: the interests of the plutocrats who actually own and run the country.

A recent Princeton study and former President Carter, the most honest man to serve as President this century, tell us clearly that America is no longer a democracy, if it ever was one.

So a man who describes himself as a socialist is going to be elected? And if elected, he is going to survive in office?

The last man who seriously tried to change some things in America was Jack Kennedy, and he left half his brain splattered across a Dallas street.

And it wasn’t patsy Oswald that did that. It was the same folks who kill with impunity in a dozen countries around the globe.

________________

Response to a comment about how much Sanders has raised in small contributions:

 

Sorry, but that’s still peanuts.

Do you have any idea how much the 2016 election will cost in total?

We are talking on the order of a billion dollars.

The American Supreme Court, after years of conservative appointments has become so conservative that it declared money to be free speech.

The general population just cannot begin to compete with folks like the Sheldon Adelson, Koch Brothers, or George Soros. Or outfits like AIPAC.

_______________

Response to another comment:

 

Well said. Exactly so.

The Guardian’s editors today are so clearly not liberal progressives.

They maintain a front with items like this and other fluff.

But back home we can see who they like and who they praise and who they endlessly criticize.

It’s actually become something of joke, it’s so inconsistent.

At heart what matters for those now running The Guardian are pretty much the same things that matter for David Cameron or Tony Blair: loyalty to America, spending on national defence, and Israel’s welfare.

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE GUARDIAN BY LINA KHATIB

 

This is simply an ignorant article, reflecting the Pentagon’s fantasy view of events.

The horrors of Syria have been caused by Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Israel, and the United States.

Those states have paid the bills, gathered and moved the terrorists, trained the terrorists, given them refuge and medical help, and generally lied through their teeth to all of us for about 4 years.

The whole Benghazi fiasco Clinton won’t discuss was exactly about these ugly matters, a CIA operation to gather weapons and thugs from war-torn Libya to be sent to Turkey for insertion into Syria, an operation which experienced “blowback” in the form of the ambassador and his party being killed.

Those countries have directly caused around 300,000 deaths, countless injuries, and a terrible wave of refugees.

The bottom line for them in Syria has always been about getting rid of Assad.

Why? Because he is independent-minded and fairly liberal in some matters, and, most all, he doesn’t bow down and accept Israeli-American hegemony.

He is tolerant of religious differences, and all past polls show he holds a majority of public support.

For those reasons he is hated in Israel and anything hated in Israel is hated by the pathetic leadership of the United States.

The entire Middle East has been torn apart by America for these same reasons.

As to Saudi Arabia, I’m pretty sure this just ain’t going to happen.

If Saudi troops enter Syria, they face Iran and Russia.

Besides, the Saudis, while expensively equipped, have demonstrated to anyone who follows events in Yemen they are not the world’s most competent forces, resembling Ukraine with better weapons.

Their incompetence would lead to calls for America to save their bacon, but that ain’t going to happen either because Kerry has already spoken on the topic of not being lured into war with Russia.

Also the Saudis are already very busy with their totally illegal attack on Yemen – never covered in any detail by The Guardian – having killed thousands of children and women and poor peasants, as well as with other matters, such as suppressing their own people and holding public beheadings.

If you want to see a truly hateful country, Saudi Arabia is one of your must-go destinations. All of America’s waves of propaganda about Assad are more accurately used to describe Saudi Arabia with its absolute, half-demented monarch and a place where a woman can still not even get a driver’s licence well into the 21st century.

The sooner the induced-horror of Syria is over, the better. And recent moves by the United States basically reflect a growing acceptance that Russia is right although they will never say that in public. They must also now secretly acknowledge that Erdogan is a dangerous lunatic.

The Russians, working with the Syrian army and Iranians and Kurds, are about to achieve a miracle, closing the northern border with Turkey which has been the cause of all the miseries. We should all be grateful for the effort and grateful that, just for once, the good guys are winning.

_______________________________

 Response to another reader’s comment:

The Russians are not saints, and I would never say they were, but they have done something worthwhile, while Britain and France sit on their self-satisfied asses and continue to say “Yes Sir, three bags full!” in answer to Washington’s every stupid demand.