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Monthly Archives: March 2016

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY ROBERT FISK IN THE INDEPENDENT

 

Easy answer to the question: because David Cameron is a political pygmy, and not a statesman.

He is Elmer Fudd, not Churchill.

And remember, Cameron has always been part of the cheerleading section for this horrible work in Syria, the grisly work of America, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Israel.

Cheerleaders like Cameron or Hollande have spouted off, hypocritically, about terror while they fully supported, in secret, five years of terror inflicted upon the beautiful land of Syria.

But a real statesman acts, and acts supported by facts and reason, and Putin is our best living example of that.

But of course, in our Washington-scripted version of events, Putin is a villain. After all, what else can justify the insane activities of NATO in Eastern Europe after an American-engineered coup in Ukraine?

What the battered Syrian army has done with the assistance of Russia is pretty close to a miracle.

I was especially moved by the Russian Special Forces soldier- used to spot and confirm targets, a practice which has produced an exemplary record of accurate Russian bombing – who, when he found himself surrounded by ISIS, called in an air strike on his own position. That is simply heroism beyond describing.

Most telling about ISIS is that this supposedly wild-eyed fundamentalist bunch never touches Israel or Israeli interests.

And the same for Saudi Arabia and Saudi interests.

It has all been a gigantic, violent fraud perpetrated by America and its allies.

And it all points to how badly we are governed, with our governments regularly lying to us while squandering our taxes in the service of special interests.

Think of all the money wasted in destroying Syria and of all the good things that might have been done instead with it.

Disabled people in Britain? We have no money for that says David Cameron.

We’re spending big on the murderous desires of special interests.

And we are also profiting from lovely people like King Salman in Saudi Arabia, selling them things to assist in killing still more women and children in Yemen.

That ugly set of facts describes the world in which we live today, represented by leaders of no ability or ethics who know only special interests and doing what America’s imperial government tells them to do.

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE GUARDIAN

 

Sorry, I think you are just wrong, Oliver James, about not being able to “blame the genes.”

Nurture over nature is a common contemporary prejudice, but it does not stand up to examination.

I certainly support nurturing, but we should be aware of the limits always.

In any field from sports to playing an instrument, we know that native talent always wins the day no matter how much nurturing goes on.

You cannot make someone with the talent to be an acceptable pop piano player into a Rubenstein. It just cannot be done.

And each year in America, literally millions of kids play Little League Baseball, many of them, often joined by their parents, dreaming of making it into the “big leagues,” but there are only something on the order of 600 people at any time who get to do so.

Those are pretty terrible odds that completely favor natural talent. If you bet against them, working as hard as possible, you are sure to lose.

And so it is with all fields of effort in academics from languages to maths.

The trouble with emphasizing nurture so much is all the terrible pressures it puts on teachers and coaches from all the parents who aren’t happy with what their child has proved capable of.

It is also unfair to children who are bound to be disappointed by false promises.

And, in the end, the religion of nurture – for that is just what it is, religion, not science – just leads society and institutions off onto false paths

_______________________________

Response to another reader:

But, oh, how wrong you are.

There are countless cases of people with good minds surviving and thriving bad homes, bad institutions, wars, catastrophes, etc.

Really terrible homes tend to point to lack of mental talent in the parents in the first place.

Not always, but I think often enough to form a pretty good working assumption.

 

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO A REVIEW OF A BOOK CALLED A VERY EXPENSIVE POISON IN THE INDEPENDENT

 

I do not see how there can be a “definitive account of Litvinenko murder.”

We do not know accurately what happened, full stop.

And we don’t know what Litvenko himself was up to with British intelligence.

This claim for the book reminds me much of claims for latest book on the Kennedy assassination, a crime whose true details are hidden to this day.

Speaking of polonium in someone’s tea, about which there seems to be no end of talk and theories, what about the identical poison used on Yasser Arafat?

He was a much more important figure in the world than Litvenko, and in his case the polonium was in his toothpaste.

Just who in the Middle East had access to a radioactive element?

And just who had a powerful motive?

The answer seems pretty obvious, but we see no on-going controversy in a case of much greater consequences.

But of course the Arafat case offers no opportunity to attack Russia’s leader.

Readers may be interested:

http://russia-insider.com/en/politics/bombshell-french-counter-terror-boss-i-have-proof-who-killed-litvinenko-it-wasnt-russia

 

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY DIANE FRANCIS IN THE GUARDIAN

 

This is a pretty silly column.

A poll showing what groups of Americans think on any subject has little substance and certainly has little to do with journalism.

The last time I looked, close to half of Americans believed Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction still hidden.

The fact is the press, acting much like one big advertising campaign, weekly swings and colors American opinion, and, as I think it clear, the press, which is just one more large corporate special interest in America, does not like Donald Trump. In fact, it attacks him relentlessly.

Truly, misogyny is one of those words writers should use carefully. Cheap name-calling, something again we have truckloads of in America, isn’t pretty, and it isn’t journalism.

By all accounts Trump’s family relationships are warm and affectionate. His wife is a very intelligent woman who, apart from other accomplishments, speaks four languages. I find it hard to credit that she lives with genuine misogyny.

Trump does have a problem with his mouth, but it is not exclusive to the subject of women, and the fact is that he is part of the fabric of an entire country which has serious mouth problems. America is a rude, often uncouth, and violent place, full stop.

The President says stupid things regularly, as do many of the chief politicians in Congress.

I just love that closing with “…he responded with characteristic self-delusion.” So, Ms. Francis also is a psychiatrist?

The Guardian seriously needs to up its game on publishing opinion pieces.

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO A BOOK REVIEW ARTICLE IN THE GUARDIAN

 

I detest the term neoliberalism because it is a phony construction.

It is a way to apply the noble term “liberal” – and it is a noble term with a great history – to what amounts to brutal imperialism.

All great historical liberals would know immediately that is impossible.

The horrors of our world are the work of the so-called neoncons.

Pope Francis seems a decent enough man, so far as popes go, but I don’t think he has any special claims in fighting for social justice.

Everyone should recall that when Francis was a priest in Argentina under the military junta he never spoke up once against the horrors going on, people being “disappeared” in the night.

He knew about it, and he had a reputation for his unwillingness to do anything.

And so today, the same business is going on a global scale with America’s fleet of assassination drones regularly “disappearing” people in half a dozen countries.

Ever heard Francis speak to that?

Never.

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY LOIS  BECKETT  IN THE GUARDIAN

 

I’m sorry, but the problem is in the black community.

The level of violence among blacks in Chicago (and indeed in every other American city where there is a large black presence) has been high for all my life, only going up or down a little with events like the availability of new drugs or gang warfare over turf or indeed additional changes in population mix.

I grew up there.

This is a harsh social issue we never speak of.

It actually has little to do with guns, per se, except that they make the killing easier.

In my youth, knives were common.

The national stats are clear – and they unfortunately agree with those in other countries – black males are on the order of eight times as violent as others.

By the way, in a place like Jamaica – whose entire population no larger than Chicago’s – they have about 1,500 murders a year.

South Africa’s stats tell the same story, an extraordinary rate of murder as compared to, say, Canada or Northern Europe.

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE INDEPENDENT

 

This is the smartest thing Trump, or any other candidate, has said to date.

NATO today has only two purposes, neither of which is for the benefit of Europeans.

One, it is essentially a way to occupy Europe without calling it occupation.

Two, it is called in to serve as a kind of fig leaf for American imperial adventures, a way of making America’s aims seem larger than they are in fact.

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE INDEPENDENT

 

“Over-zealous attacks on Israel ‘anti-semitism by proxy'”

I’m sorry, but that is a rather twisted assertion by Chris Bryant, representing a bizarre new formulation of familiar, tiresome name-calling.

In a free country people are able to attack the abhorrent behavior of other states and leaders, full stop.

The conflation of criticism of the state of Israel with anti-Semitism is a low tactic used so much it is wearing extremely thin.

You criticize me; I call you an ugly name.

Israel’s behavior is atrocious and ignores all laws and conventions in the world, and it cannot ever be anti-Semitic to say so.

It kills regularly, it imprisons large numbers without rights, it steals homes and farms regularly, it holds millions as prisoners with no rights, it engages in hideous practices such as using herbicides on swaths of Gaza or spraying people with sewerage, and it is ultimately responsible for countless wars including the American neocon rampage through the Middle East killing a million people.

Decent, thoughtful people cannot just accept that, saying nothing, and, actually, the day they ever do, our world be under greater threat than ever.

But with the mindless, almost reflexive practice of calling decent people names – even Jimmy Carter has been treated this way – Israel and its apologists only have succeeded in making “anti-Semitism” an increasingly meaningless word, much like the old fable about yelling “wolf” too often.

Chris Bryant’s “anti-Semitism by proxy” is just one more effort, and a pathetic one, to intimidate and shut people up.

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY PETER POPHAM IN THE INDEPENDENT

 

Sorry, but I’ve never shared the press-promoted view of Aung San Suu Kyi.

She has displayed less-than-fine qualities a number of times.

Her general reputation is just the result of her being manipulated as an American propaganda tool for a long time.

Readers might enjoy:

https://chuckmanwords.wordpress.com/?s=Aung+San+Suu+Kyi&searchsubmit=Find+%C2%BB

 

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY ANNE PERKINS IN THE GUARDIAN

 

“When terror strikes, do something useful…”

I am sorry, Anne Perkins, but your words are meaningless because we live surrounded with almost constant terror today.

And I do not mean (the still comparatively rare) events such as Brussels.

Look at what the poor people in beautiful Syria have endured for five years.

That is terror on a scale which dwarfs Brussels or Paris, yet I don’t read writers such as you saying anything about it.

Perhaps non-Europeans don’t count?

That serious terror in Syria is the work of Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Israel, and America, with Britain and France sitting on the sidelines applauding.

How about the horrors in Libya? A decent society smashed for no good reason and never a tear shed.

There’s the grotesque situation now in Ukraine, induced entirely by the United States.

How about the horrors in Yemen as David Cameron’s friends in Saudi Arabia bomb women and children?

And there’s the absolutely pitiless situation in Gaza?

Terror is everywhere, but the mainline press only describes as terror those relatively few and smaller-sized events in Europe or America.

I believe that our quiet acceptance of what is taking place in the world on a grand scale actually makes our journalists morally unfit to comment upon such events as Brussels. At any rate, it leaves them totally lacking in crucial facts around such events, and writing without facts is a perilous business indeed.

So long as our governments either engage in, or tolerate, the terrible things now going on in half a dozen places, there is likely to be no end to what are essentially “blowback” events like Brussels.

You stop terror by stopping your own share of it.

Are you listening, David Cameron, friend and supplier to King Salman for instance?

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE GUARDIAN

 

Yes, but please, your husband’s cartoons made a lot of other people angry also.

He had the right, of course, in a free country, but did he display any judgment or consideration or even compassion for others in his vicious work?

I very much think not.

We are reading these words in a newspaper which regularly erases comments which its editors judge as too harsh.

You can’t have it both ways in a logical world: sympathy for grotesque inconsiderateness in cartoons (Hebdo, absolutely the case) and no sympathy for inconsiderate comments.

Or I suppose you can, but is that a rational point of view? And isn’t irrationality at the base of the horrors we experience now?

About a million people destroyed in the Middle East over the last decade.

I do not believe in censorship, but I am offended by a publication like Hebdo which made vicious and often obscene fun of others, and its meanness was limited to only certain targets.

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO A COLUMN IN THE GUARDIAN

 

This is the supreme low point for the EU under Merkel’s influence.

A deal forged with one of the most evil and ruthless leaders on the planet, and it involves giving him lots of money and encouragement to become a future part of the EU.

We’ve had a lot of garbage propaganda about Russians doing this or that, including an idiotic claim that Russia has weaponized migration.

But here is a pay-off deal with the very man who really has weaponized migration, Erdogan.

Paying a mass murderer – Syria and his own Kurds – to help alleviate the very problem he created.

Oh, I am sick at the thought of the EU today, where once, in de Gaulle’s day, I much admire

How does any Western politician ever again open his or her mouth to speak of ethics or morality or rights?

Of course, I am sure that the murderous empire of the United States has been pushing hard for this.

None of this would have happened had Europe stood up to the United States – and its evil proxies – Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Israel – five years or so ago.

They are the ones who caused all of this.

Yet our governments and press cannot stop calling Putin – who has done nothing but defend Russia’s interests in the face of another American aggression – names.

Then they sign a deal with a mass murderer, thief, and tyrant against free speech.

A monumental disgrace.

I suspect strongly that intense American pressure is at work to achieve just that, Turkey always been having been viewed as a key geo-political spot in the endless hostility towards Russia.

 

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE GUARDIAN

 

Trident’s becoming obsolete seems a trivial concern, indeed I think likely it is used as a red herring.

Uselessness and draining costs are, on the other hand, real and pressing issues.

If you want to subsidize the Pentagon to the tune of tens of billions while getting nothing for it but the ability of folks like Michael Fallon to go for fun rides, then by all means buy Trident.

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE GUARDIAN

 

Response to a reader referring to Israel’s democracy:

Democracy?

Where do you see that?

Israel is exactly as much a democracy as the former American Confederacy or former Nationalist South Africa.

They, too, had elections and legislatures and the window dressing of democracy.

Unfortunately they also had millions with no rights, no vote, and limits on what they even could own.

Well, that unarguably describes modern Israel.

We can only be glad there are not more such democracies in the world.

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY DAWN FOSTER IN THE GUARDIAN

 

“Tony Blair has turned profiting from others’ misery into an art form”

Couldn’t have put it better, Dawn Foster.

There are several politicians who give me the creeps, but I do think Tony Blair remains unchallenged as number one with his war, his profits, and his pathetic show of religion.

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY JONATHON JONES IN THE GUARDIAN

 

“How can she embrace the man who invaded Iraq? Because the alternative is Donald Trump’s world of hate and resentment”

Just off the top of my head, I do believe Jonathan Jones has set a new record in The Guardian for truly repellent writing.

One man kills a million people and destroys a prosperous land for a generation, and does it covered in lies.

The other man is often rude and loud and says some unpleasant things, but somehow he is more horrible than the mass killer?

Apart from being a rather sick way of looking at things, this is profoundly dangerous thinking.

It’s along the lines, only far worse, of those who think its okay for gangs of thugs to break up political meetings with fists and shouts and threats – a la Hitler’s Brown Shirts (the SA) in about 1931, because they are fighting in a good cause. Just sick.

Trump can be unpleasant, but so what? You don’t have to vote for him. And the country in which he is being unpleasant is not only generally unpleasant it has a record that goes infinitely beyond unpleasant.

Years of horror in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, and other places. “Disappearing” people by drone in half a dozen lands. Supporting the endless bloody excesses of Israel, never putting pressure on them to stop and make peace.

And Trump’s “worst” proposals are nothing but things already being practiced elsewhere, most notably in Israel itself which builds more walls and turns away all migrants and refugees except for one small group.

Trump would never get most of his domestic proposals approved by Congress, but efforts in foreign and military affairs, where a president has more authority, could do some real good in the world.

I say “could” advisedly, but in Hillary’s case, I know to a certainty there is only more bllod and horror. She is a sick and dangerous woman, but she is friends with some other sick and dangerous leaders who’ve given us the bloody mess we have in the world.

But is the loss represented by this last possibility that folks like Jonathon Jones are in fact fearful for, and I’m sure he shares a lot of attitudes with Hillary who has worked for years on the neocon agenda of destroying major parts of the Middle East.

Actually, when you think about it, there is nothing odd about the photo. These people are both remorseless killers who’ve shared in shedding the same blood.

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY OWEN JONES IN THE GUARDIAN

 

“Antisemitism is a poison – the left must take leadership against it”

Owen Jones, I don’t quite know what to say about such an idiotic assertion.

To whom do you think you are preaching? Those who genuinely are anti-Semitic – just as those with other special hates – are certainly not going to heed or even read your prattle.

And why in God’s name does “the left” have a special, or any, responsibility here?

I’ll tell you where this fraudulent notion of yours comes from: Israel has always castigated the Left in Western countries.

And why?

Because liberals and progressives have long criticized Israel’s brutal behavior towards the Palestinians, as they very much should do.

A person who embraces liberty and democratic values can never approve of what Israel has done to the people of Palestine for more than half a century.

Israel’s leaders know that, so they play the ugly game of throwing around the epithet “anti-Semitism.”

We even get books written about imagined contemporary huge increases in “anti-Semitism,” when an honest author would call it what is, an increase in the abhorrence of the government of Israel.

The government of Israel has so overplayed its hand for years in this – always, mind you, supported by the press, as here with Owen Jones – that the epithet literally is losing not only its force, it is losing its meaning.

So, despite the historical fact that real anti-Semitism has always been associated with the Right, especially the brutally ignorant Right, we have the Left being charged with anti-Semitism, or in the case of this column, charged with a special responsibility for anti-Semitism.

Simply outrageous.

You cannot defend what you have written here, just as Israel’s government – a truly Right-wing, fascist-oriented government which makes Donald Trump seem open-minded by comparison – cannot sustain its name-calling nonsense.

 

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY JEFFREY LORD FROM THE AMERICAN SPECTATOR IN FREEDOM WATCH

 

“The American Left has a horrendous history of flat out racism and bigotry, liberally salted with violence.”

I think that an extremely stupid thing to have written.

The author is ostensibly criticizing the campaign behavior of MoveOn in their violent disruptions of campaign rallies, while in fact using the opportunity to plant his own hateful propaganda points along the way.

Jeffrey Lord is, of course, feeding off Israel’s long-term contempt for western liberals because they criticize Israel’s brutal behavior. After all, this is from the American Spectator, a neocon-oriented publication, in which he writes.

His prattle is just another version of:  if you criticize Israel, you are anti-Semitic, and since liberals do criticize Israel, they are anti-Semitic and any other bad thing we can think of calling them. Literally, this twisted thinking is ridiculous.

Now, this same intellectual garbage is being dragged into the camp of those who support Trump – whom, by the way, Israel detests – by Trump’s own supporters in search of any kind evidence against nasty outfits like MoveOn.

This is an utterly wrong and self-defeating thing to do.

Outfits acting the way MoveOn does are not, by any stretch of the imagination, liberal. Liberals have no attraction to imitating Hitler’s Brownshirts.

George Soros, one of the original forces behind MoveOn, is not, a liberal either, possessing, as he does, a long history of association with the CIA in dirty projects like coups.

Russia, for example, is well aware of Soros’s associations, and it has banned his NGOs.

Liberals, real ones, are not attracted to the thugs of the CIA. That is the home territory of ugly folks like Hillary Clinton or John Kerry, people often bizarrely called “liberal” but who, in fact, represent the raw domestic political face of American imperialism. Both Kerry and Clinton are stained in blood up to their armpits working for America’s arrogant efforts to remake the world to its pleasing, a project strongly supported by Israel because it in turn supports Israel.

It is dangerous to confuse these things – vicious anti-liberalism and a justified attack on phony liberals such as MoveOn – a bit like letting a violent criminal into your home when he says he’s the gasman come to read the meter.

But America is a very confusing place, whipped by many contradictory winds and rages, with little thought and virtually no ethics, about what is being done.

 

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN RUSSIA INSIDER

 

I have had a pretty low opinion of Kerry since his days in Vietnam, a shabby set of acts if ever there was.

Nothing he has done since ever improved my view.

Now, this previously-unknown secret advocacy of his to use cruise missiles on Assad confirms again the opinion of decades.

This is what passes for a liberal in America.

Pathetic man. If you check his record, you find a frequent coward, and a rather murderous one in Vietnam, a man eager to establish his own importance and career at any cost, a rich phony posing as liberal, and a generally ineffectual and unattractive human being.

I’ve written on the subject of Kerry a number of times. Readers may enjoy and learn from:

https://chuckmanwords.wordpress.com/2009/05/28/the-perfumed-prince-and-other-political-tales/

htps://chuckmanwords.wordpress.com/2009/06/01/a-modest-proposal/

https://chuckmanwords.wordpress.com/2009/06/01/a-deafening-silence-of-meaning/

https://chuckmanwords.wordpress.com/2009/06/01/hope-is-on-the-way/

https://chuckmanwords.wordpress.com/2009/06/05/these-colors-dont-run-2/

 

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE GUARDIAN

 

Turning failing schools into “academies” has long been a practice in the city of Chicago.

This was done mainly in neighborhoods where schools once were okay to superior, but with changing population patterns – the neighborhoods having become mainly black – school results dropped like a brick.

The re-designation has achieved nothing – and a few schools have even been re-designated more than once – other than in confirming Orwell’s views on politics and the English language.

It is part of a game to buy time, giving the politicians and school authorities some years afterward to say, “Just wait and see.”

But in Chicago, they have waited and waited. These schools still perform badly.

All the schools I went to as a boy – schools which ranged from mediocre to excellent – are now called academies, and do you know what? Performance in them has not changed from the time they first became failed schools decades ago. One can know this because the Chicago Board of Education is required to publish stats on each school on the Internet.

This new British policy is a sure sign of desperation and dishonesty. Well, what else to expect from David Cameron?

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE INDEPENDENT

 

“Brexit could weaken Nato alliance”

More bone-headed propaganda from another bone-headed American general.

His argument might well be regarded by thinking people as a merit of Brexit.

NATO is now nothing more than a mechanism for American dominance of Europe.

Anything which would hasten its end has merit.

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE INDEPENDENT

 

“It’s not just Russia to blame…”

Please, it’s not Russia at all.

Who is responsible for 5 years of terrorizing Syria with thugs smuggled in, weapons and training supplied, and fulsome talk about freedom?

Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the United States, and Israel, with folks like Cameron and Hollande sitting on their rears applauding.

Saying anything else is just a lie.

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE GUARDIAN

 

This disruption of Trump rallies is an organized effort to disturb an election, full stop.

Everyone, no matter what you may think of Trump or his views, should condemn this effort.

Instead, we have the spectacle of those who are the beneficiaries of this thug-like effort, his opponents, blaming it on Trump.

If you really think about it, it is this effort which represents fascism. Sending in gangs of shouting, fist-fighting thugs to disturb and intimidate others is exactly what the Nazi Brownshirts did as standard practice during the early 1930s.

But I remind readers again of the real nature of American society.

It is a great throbbing engine of a place, and it has a pretty cavalier attitude towards violence. People torn apart by its whirling machinery are of no interest or account. Only “vets” now and then receive lip-service, as in political speeches, but they too are so often ignored or treated roughly.

There are a lot of angry people on the streets. It seethes in some places.

You read in The Guardian that about 1,100 people were killed by America’s police there in one year. People just shot dead in the street, three times a day. And of course, that means a lot of others merely wounded or brutalized.

In a city like Chicago, on any given weekend, 20 to 25 people will be shot, mainly blacks shot by other blacks. Most don’t die, but many do. It makes for a horrifying atmosphere in many parts of the city.

The United States has more people in prison than any other country.

Its murder rate exceeds by far that of any other advanced country.

It retains capital punishment and is even gleeful about it.

But that’s only a small part of the violence.

People allowed no due process are being summarily executed by Obama’s government week-in, week-out, in half a dozen lands in a fashion much resembling the old Argentine junta’s practice of making people “disappear.”

America’s CIA ran an entire secret torture gulag for years, kidnapping people off streets anywhere and flying them to dark holes for “rendition.” When it was through with them, it just dumped them somewhere one night. Guantanamo’s unfortunates will remain there until death, having had no proper trials or legal representation.

America has laid waste to Iraq, Libya, Syria, Afghanistan, and others by direct action or through proxies. At least a million human beings have been slaughtered in recent years. Countless others were injured or lost homes. All lost jobs and a peaceful life. And of course, there were the millions, literally millions, killed in Viet Nam and Cambodia and other places by America’s war machine.

America winks at the murderous horrors of Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Israel. These are countries which abuse and kill as a regular part of their practices. You never hear a word of complaint from an American government official or an American news source.

All America’s half-crazed ex-soldiers, shell-shocked and disoriented – many having joined the armed forces because there are no jobs and they were bribed by the promise of money for “college” they possibly now can make no use of  – come home from these insane colonial wars in various marginal mental states, some destroyed for life, some murderous.

America has many monuments in Washington to its many wars, yet strangely, there is no memorial to the massive, centuries-long blight of slavery.

America is a harsh, mean place, and that is something casual visitors on holidays don’t see. You will never see the real workings of America at Disneyworld, at Times Square, or at the fishing piers of San Francisco. What you see there is the glossy, carefully-maintained surface of things, much like a well-kept garden in front of an insane asylum.

Remember, America thinks nothing of staging coups and black-ops interventions in many, many places, and that includes against many democratic governments. Countless ordinary people are killed or wounded or displaced by these acts which serve only the narrow purposes of America’s powerful. The American government feels entitled and the general population does not in the least object.

So to say Trump’s language is something extraordinary is to speak from sheer ignorance.

If you play in enough filth, you get very dirty.

 

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE GUARDIAN

 

‘…despite having gained much better qualifications…”

Aye, there’s the rub.

It is only superficially true that they have better qualifications.

What has really happened is that Britain followed the American approach to education along many lines, producing a value-eating inflation into much of higher education.

Among other things, this means that you can get a degree now in almost anything you care to name – film, sports, television, women’s studies, black studies, even circus (yes, in the United States) – subjects many of which offer no prospect of a profession or serious career and amount to little more than hobby interests.

Well, I’m not speaking against hobby interests, just saying that anyone who associates them with rigorous education is seriously misguided, and just so anyone who gains credentials in a hobby and expects to rise in the world.

Many of these courses of study are not academically challenging, so kids graduate without much effort. They also gain entrance far more easily since standards of acceptance are lowered. This last becomes even more serious when the public schools feeding the universities and colleges gradually reduce their standards by giving easy grades, inflating the grades of everyone applying. In most American high schools, for example, you cannot fail if you try.

The universities and colleges move away from rigorous academics and in a sense treat their swollen student populations as piggy banks to break open. Even at the graduate level, the impact of all this is felt. Once accepted, you will graduate, short of never handing in assignments.

It’s all a great game for a while – more university jobs, more public schools with “improved” records of success, more students at university – but we all know what happens when you inflate anything, such as money, enough – it simply loses value. While it takes a while to see the results, in the end the results will become clear, as in this study.

The system has the added negative, especially in the United States, of leaving young adults with huge student loans to pay with low or non-existent job prospects. And, remember, in the real world of making things and making a living, genuine talent or exceptional ability count perhaps more than ever. Also, for such talented people moving from one to another country is encouraged by governments and corporations, so apparent prospects are even more reduced for others.

Now, add to all that an economy which is in in serious trouble and one where machines keep replacing people, and I think it is fair to say our senior educators have been “out to lunch.”

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE GUARDIAN

 

Partly caused? Well, William Perry was always a cautious man and he is not going say the things which would make him persona non grata in his own land.

Please, Putin and his key staff, such as Foreign Minister Lavrov, are amiable, gifted, and very civil people. They had no motive for any hostilities, looking forward to increased trade and cooperation with the west. They have reacted only to America’s extremely hostile acts.

The Ukraine coup was engineered and paid for by the CIA. We even known the dollar amount, thanks to the State Department’s most bizarre neocon, the close-to-incompetent Victoria Nuland, a hateful person inexplicably put in charge of this file who has offended just about every senior person involved.

The coup was a flagrant challenge and insult to Russia, much comparable to Russia’s doing the same in Mexico. You only have to imaging how Washington would react to that. I can almost guarantee the reaction would not show the same restraint. In a way, the insult is even worse because Ukraine and Russia have such an ancient common history with many connections.

The coup toppled a democratically-elected government, but that is nothing new for the CIA. It has toppled many democratic governments in the past, including Iran and Guatemala in the 1950s.

It is a bit stunning that Obama would support this kind of thuggery, but it is pretty clear in this and other cases – Syria or Libya, for example – that he is pretty much a prisoner of the ongoing unelected government in Washington, the massive defence/security apparatus. Either that or Obama is much more like Dick Cheney in temperament than any of us would have guessed years ago.

The government installed in Ukraine has proved a disaster for the country and its people. Right-wing thugs, like the Azov Battalion, run loose in the country, threatening even its coup-installed government. (Here again, imagine Russia arming and supporting American malcontents such as the Minutemen or Aryan Church?) The new government is divided and has made a long series of incompetent and destructive decisions.

It attacked Russian-speaking portions of the country, creating a civil war in which thousands have died, and even tried making their language illegal. Its armed forces are so badly led and incompetent they could not prevail against a much smaller enemy. When Ukraine tried raising more troops in Western Ukraine by conscription, there were massive run-aways.

And for those who’ve studied the case carefully, there isn’t a doubt that Ukraine’s poorly-led and incompetent armed forces shot-down MH-17. Believe me, if it had really been the Russians, there would have been a storm from Washington, including the release of American radar and satellite data, which have not been released to this day. The Dutch investigators are working under immense American pressure to creep along at a snail’s pace and let time do its work in forgetfulness. Of course, had the world early discovered what really happened, America’s coup-installed government likely would have collapsed immediately.

At the same time as generating all this hostility, the US has increased its armed forces near Russia’s borders, pushed Europeans to do the same, provocatively staged huge war games, and initiated a long series of completely unwarranted anti-Russian economic sanctions. The truth is, almost certainly, all this violence and fear-mongering represents a studied effort to separate Russia from Europe in what had been a growing friendly and economically beneficial set of relationships. It represents a harsh declaration that Europe is more or less American territory, and the ineffective current leaders of Europe don’t seem even capable of saying no.

It is all shameful, and I am sorry Europe’s major countries are today so poorly led that they support America’s dirty work without objection.