Archive for January 2017

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: PERHAPS THE EU IS DOOMED – IT IS A SHAME BUT HERE’S THE BASIC REASON – TOO MUCH EMPHASIS BY TRUMP FOLLOWERS ON NATIONAL SOVEREIGNTY COULD ALSO PROVE DANGEROUS – MODERN NATION STATES

John Chuckman

EXPANSION OF COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY JAMES DELINGPOLE IN RINF

 

I regret to say he may be right.

The EU was a great idea, but its execution and its administration, especially in recent years, have been disasters.

It did not have to be this way.

But American influence pushed the EU in the direction it has gone, extending itself too far and into countries incapable of meeting the same standards as the traditional anchor states of the EU.

The United States has used the EU in much the same fashion it uses NATO, to control European affairs, to create a wall against Russia (Europe’s natural partner for many resources and projects), and effectively to create one-stop shopping for the State Department in pushing American policies and demands.

Europe’s weak leadership has been complicit, always accommodating American imperial attitudes, and it deserves responsibility for the regrettable events happening.

There are some very short-sighted comments here, especially stuff about traditional borders and sovereignty. That is tiresome stuff which ignores history and stifles much original thinking.

The borders of modern nation states are neither somehow sacred nor are they eternal. Everything about the modern political entities we call states or countries is subject to change over time.

Look, modern Italy only came into existence in 1861.

Modern Germany really only dates to Bismarck.

Tiny Austria was once a great sprawling empire, just before WWI.

America only dates back 225 years, but actually modern America only dates to the 1860s Civil War.

Indeed, parts of America were only added around the turn of the last century with the Spanish-American War and the illegal seizure of Hawaii.

Things change.

Sometimes countries come into being, and sometimes they disappear, as did the USSR just a couple of decades ago.

The EU was a promising experiment in creating a large market with world-scale clout as well as a new force in world affairs to offset the undue influence of a post-Cold War United States.

Emerging China and the BRICS countries are other developments along those lines.

A multi-polar world is far better than a unipolar world, just as surely as representative government is better than a dictatorship in a single country.

But the EU leadership has failed, and it has failed in many ways.

The United States, in the interest of keeping its single-power status in the world, deliberately encouraged much of the destructive nonsense of the EU. America’s establishment – the same folks who gave you Bush and Obama and Clinton – is not looking for competitors nor does it welcome anything which erodes its ability to exert near-dictatorial influence over a good deal of the world.

The United Nations, too, has come under the same increasing American pressure. Essentially, America has been saying to the UN, do it my way or it’s the highway. Progressively weaker Secretaries-General recently culminated in Ban Ki-Moon, a totally ineffective man who failed to speak for the 95% of humanity who are not Americans.

While Trump’s promises to end the terrible excesses of the Bush-Obama Neocons are welcome, antipathy to worthy international organizations is not. This hostility plays to the belly-over-the-belt segment of Trump supporters, and, in the end, if there are no other effective voices in the world, America may easily slide back into Neocon assumption of arrogant and destructive power.

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Posted January 31, 2017 by JOHN CHUCKMAN in Uncategorized

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: THE SLEAZY USE OF A HORRIBLE MASS KILLING TO MAKE A PROPAGANDA POINT – DONE MANY TIMES BY THE PRESS AND RARELY CHALLENGED

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY KEVIN DOUGHERTY IN THE INDEPENDENT

 

“Quebec Mosque shooting suspect was a fan of Donald Trump and Marine le Pen”

This is just completely irresponsible, Independent editors.

A man murders people for reasons we know nothing about – although to any well-informed person, such acts first suggest an unbalanced mind at work – and you connect it with his political position!

How about his religion?

Oh, I forget you’ve done that many times before, especially where Muslims are doing the killing.

How about his tastes in literature?

God, for all we know he’s been reading the Bible, especially that Old Testament which is just packed with violence and hatreds.

Maybe he goes to bad movies or plays too many violent computer games?

Then, on the other hand, maybe he just was reading too many confusing newspapers like The Independent?

I really have to say this approach to a horrific crime stinks, and stinks really badly.

Posted January 31, 2017 by JOHN CHUCKMAN in Uncategorized

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: TWO EXAMPLES OF YELLOW JOURNALISM’S OLD “THE EXPERTS WARN” TECHNIQUE – EACH USED TO ATTACK TRUMP WITH NO FACTUAL BASIS

John Chuckman

COMMENTS MADE TO TWO ARTICLES IN THE INDEPENDENT

 

“Donald Trump’s ‘Muslim ban’ could be just the beginning

Truly dumb journalism.

“Experts warn”?

What experts?

And in what are they experts?

Did they all take university courses in the mind of Donald Trump?

The Independent these days just repeats shabby trick after shabby trick of what Americans call “yellow journalism.”

This is a complete non-article on a complete non-subject intended only to run a scary headline.

Grow up.

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 “Experts warn Donald Trump policy on torture could be ‘catastrophic”

Here we go with “experts warn” ploy again, two of them in one day.

I despise torture, but Trump, if you carefully consider his words, is not saying he will torture people.

Where was all this self-righteousness when Bush tortured people by the thousands in the CIA’s black sites?

When they opened Guantanamo?

When they killed a million people in Iraq and destroyed the country?

When Obama killed at least another half million in Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia and other places?

There was virtually the complete silence of consent from our press.

Posted January 31, 2017 by JOHN CHUCKMAN in Uncategorized

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: PERSPECTIVE ON BRITISH PETITION AGAINST TRUMP’S UPCOMING OFFICIAL VISIT

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY JOE WATTS IN THE INDEPENDENT

“Pressure grows on May as a million people sign anti-Trump petition over ‘Muslim ban'”

So what?

Please remember, just a while before the filthy Tony Blair committed Britain to the invasion and destruction of Iraq, London saw the biggest peace march ever, more than a million people.

It didn’t do a thing to stop far more terrifying events than a temporary ban on migration.

The plain fact is that if Blair had not joined in on that murderous assault on the Muslim world, generating years of increasing hatreds and violence on all sides, we likely would not be facing what we face today.

And exactly the same goes for a sleazy politician like David Cameron with his secret support for the destruction of Syria. And how about selling cluster bombs to the rotten House of Saud for use on women and children in Yemen?

Western policies in the Neocon Wars have been appalling, and they are responsible for much of what people fear – both massive migrations of people fleeing American-induced horrors and what we loosely call “international terror,” most of which is the response of powerless victims to the destruction of their families and countries.

Posted January 31, 2017 by JOHN CHUCKMAN in Uncategorized

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: “REFUGEE SAFE ZONES” HAS A NICE RING TO IT – BUT THE OUTCOME COULD WELL BE LESS THAN NICE – ON “GOING IT ALONE” IN PLACES LIKE SYRIA

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN STILL REPORT

 

“Trump Sets Up 6 Refugee Safe Zones in One Day”

 The problems here are at least two.

One, the US has no business doing things in Syria without approval from the Syrian government.

Two, these “safe zones,” decided without conferring with Russia, have the awful potential of becoming gathering and regrouping places for the various terrorist groups.

You really can’t pull “go it alone” surprises on the other parties involved unless you are returning to discredited Obama policies.

Posted January 31, 2017 by JOHN CHUCKMAN in Uncategorized

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: GERMAN ACADEMICS PUBLISH OPEN LETTER AGAINST THE WESTERN PRESS’S TREATMENT OF SYRIAN SITUATION – SOME TRUTHS ABOUT THE WESTERN PRESS AND THE HUGE CHANGES NOW UNDERWAY

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN SPUTNIK

 

The letter is, of course, completely sensible.

However, these are all things that those of us who are able to work at being informed on important matters already understood. Nothing here is new.

The problem with the approach of the academics is that “Western media” are treated as though they were something they in fact are not.

Western media, the major broadcasters and newspapers, are actually owned by relatively small group of large corporate interests after years of mergers and take-overs.

Moreover, they have lost some of their most traditional sources of revenue – as, for example, classified advertising in big cities, something which now belongs to the Internet. So, their financial ability to do more extensive or better quality reportage is greatly reduced.

None of them is in any way an independent source of journalism. None.

And they proved that to us overwhelmingly with Trump’s election, during which they lined up like the troops of a foreign power rather than as objective journalists. The case of Syria was even worse, but many ordinary people had no way of fully understanding what was going on. They never saw Syrian or Russian speakers or independent critics the way they saw Trump on the hustings contradicting the corporate press’s claims.

To even expect large corporate interests, who depend on the American government for many things – from permissions and licenses to favors with leaks and interviews – to behave much differently than they have done is actually pretty naïve.

It is only new competition that will stir things up a bit and create some change, and we are very much seeing that happen before our eyes on the Internet.

Alternate media were very influential in Trump’s victory, and he knows it. He has already demonstrated in a few ways that he intends to formalize the changing media situation – from giving accreditation to an alternate media site to asking questions of reporters at the back of the press room and to avoiding the traditional wave to the press corps when he leaves on Air Force One.

One thing is certain, things in the Western press are changing and changing fast.

 

 

 

Posted January 28, 2017 by JOHN CHUCKMAN in Uncategorized

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: LOBBYISTS USE THE POPE FOR A PHOTO-OP AND SOUND-BITE PUBLICITY OPPORTUNITY ON THE VERY QUESTIONABLE IDEA OF RISING ANTI-SEMITISM – BLAMING “POPULISM” AND “ISOLATIONISM” – WHAT WE ACTUALLY SEE TODAY

John Chuckman

EXPANSION OF A COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE INDEPENDENT

 

“Anti-Semitism rising across West as result of ‘populism and isolationism’, Jewish leader to warn Pope Francis”

I’d swear they were kidding, but I know better.

The Pope is being used as a photo-op or sound-bite opportunity to create publicity for unwarranted charges.

How in the hell does isolationism cause anti-Semitism?

You might, with equal implausibility, say that staying at home causes anti-Semitism.

And where does anyone see isolationism today? What I see are raging wars and destruction in many places, ceaseless interference in the affairs of others – all of it deliberately started and all serving no good purpose.

And populism causes anti-Semitism? How about democratic elections, do they cause anti-Semitism? Just utter nonsense.

And the assertion of rising anti-Semitism is question-begging. Various Jewish groups do keep statistics on anti-Semitic events, but are those statistics of any value when we see events and people regularly being characterized as anti-Semitic which plainly are not?

Just a few examples demonstrate this with frightening clarity. Jimmy Carter, the most decent man to serve as America’s President in a century as well as a man of exceptionally keen intelligence and powers of observation, was widely labelled as anti-Semitic for his words on the oppressive situation in Israel and on the true nature of Hamas.

Jeremy Corbyn, another genuinely decent man, just after being elected as leader of Britain’s Labour Party, faced a months-long firestorm of false accusations over anti-Semitism from Britain’s corporate press driven by a powerful insider group of Tony Blair loyalists in the party. Of course, it just happens that Blair earned that support by having joined America’s illegal and bloody invasion of Iraq, an invasion conducted almost exclusively for Israel’s benefit, one pleaded for by Ariel Sharon many times.

While various Israeli politicians freely express themselves in threatening or prejudiced or even violent terms almost without criticism, anyone of prominence who criticizes what they see in Israel and advocates peaceful measures, such as boycotts, to create pressure to change it is typically called anti-Semitic. Among many efforts by Israel to lobby for protective legislation in Western countries have been efforts for legislation literally equating criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism, a totally self-serving, repressive, and anti-democratic idea.

So, when we hear that anti-Semitism is on the rise all over, we really do have to question the validity of the claim, insulting claims about anti-Semitism being so often used to cover Israel’s own dark acts and to attack the credibility of those who question them.

How is it that among all the cases of injustice in the world, we are effectively told that in the one case of Israel, observers are supposed to suspend their usual ethical standards and that not doing so makes them guilty of some nasty charge? Human nature is such that the basest human instincts are always and everywhere working their way towards power over others. No group with power over others can ever simply be blindly trusted to do the right thing and be exempt from criticism – not prison guards, not police, and not armies of occupation. There is no other way for an informed and ethical person to look at things.

So, what are we to say of charges that anti-Semitism is on the rise, especially, coming as they do, at a time when Israel feels free to simply march in and destroy the homes of others? To build new homes of its own on the property of others, violating time and time again that most basic Western concept of the sanctity of people’s ownership of homes and farms? A time when Israel’s Defense Minister is a former bar-room bouncer who makes outrageous statements which, coming from someone in any other country, we would immediately condemn as hate-filled and violent?

A time when Israel’s Prime Minister is a man who has raged and made threats for years in all directions, someone past presidents of both France and the United States are on record as having called a non-stop liar? A man who killed 2,200 people with complete impunity, people living in what is effectively a giant, open-air refugee camp surrounded by fences and machine-gun towers? And a man who has left the victims and survivors of his savagery just to rot in destroyed homes and public facilities by forbidding the import what they need to rebuild? This is also a man who dropped a million cluster-bomb bomblets in Southern Lebanon some years back, a violation of all international norms and standards for these horrible weapons? A man whose intense drive to start war with Iran was only blunted by Obama’s reportedly telling him that he would shoot down the planes if sent?

Any honest and dispassionate observer would say there is no anti-Semitism to speak of in Western society today. It has no significant influence anywhere in the West. It has no official status anywhere in the West. It is the position of no political party in the West. Its clear expression is even a crime in many places.

However, Israel’s ugly behavior naturally affects people and what they say in response. It cannot be otherwise, and Israel’s unacceptable behavior seems only to increase with time. Can anyone not understand how that would incite both hatreds and behaviors which can be deliberately misinterpreted as hatreds?

The question always remains unanswered, and indeed it is never even asked in our press or by our governments, just what is it that Israel sees itself as doing? In not making peace? In not returning to its own previously-accepted borders? In maintaining an abusive occupation for more than half a century? In marching out regularly and stealing homes?

The answer seems clear, even if all the details remain unclear because Israel’s government always maintains the same kind of ambiguity on this matter that it does on its illegal atomic weapons. Israel is creating what is called Greater Israel, a vague, supposedly Biblically-based and religiously-charged concept that simply should have no validity in today’s world of legal boundaries, treaties and protocols and international standards.

It is conducting ethnic-cleansing in slow motion across an extensive territory. By making the territory’s inhabitants miserable through countless unfair laws and abusive acts and by, bit-by-bit, taking their land.

The intended fate for these millions is completely unclear, whether they will be driven out entirely, as has been advocated by a number of prominent Israelis, whether they will simply be reduced to an existence in South African-style Bantustans under the perpetual authority of an Israel in which they can never enjoy citizenship and rights, or whether they will be made so miserable and hopeless that they will flee to other places?

What other places? Names like Jordan or the Sinai crop up, almost as though they were reasonable suggestions, but what thinking person believes any other state in the region would willing to take millions of refugees? They won’t and they can’t, but no one in authority in Israel appears to care in the least about this. We see in Europe the effects of vast numbers of refugees, and it is not pleasant and its shock waves are affecting many parts of the world, stirring anti-refugee sentiments.

And it is important to note that these terrible refugee problems, stretching as they do from Turkey to Britain, problems which have shaken the foundations of so staid an organization as the European Union, are in fact the result of deliberate and violent American activities in the Mideast.

And for whose benefit have those American activities been taken? Clearly, “the birth of a new Middle East,” as American officials sitting in armchairs casually term the destruction of whole countries, the killing of a couple of millions of people, and the creation of millions of desperate refugees, has a great deal to do with Israel. Its own leaders in the past – notably the monstrous Ariel Sharon – openly advocated for it. The reduction of these places leaves Israel, a land of alien European and American migrants, as the dominant and unquestioned power in the region.

Although there is one other, unintended result of America’s destructive work, as there so often is in dirty affairs, and that is the re-emergence of Iran as a regional power. And that is why we are already hearing new calls against this essentially peaceful country, new calls for sanctions, new calls for military action. It is all very bleak.

I think these men who talked with the Pope know all or much of that, but the charge of “anti-Semitism” is one of Israel’s main weapons for deflecting attention from Israel’s morally repulsive and violent behavior.

Dragging in anti-Semitism as a charge against those rightly upset with Israel’s behavior is rather like shouting out in a court room that the honest witness to a crime is just a prejudiced liar.

Posted January 26, 2017 by JOHN CHUCKMAN in Uncategorized