Archive for April 2017

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: SOME FACTS AND HISTORY CONCERNING AMERICA’S DANGEROUS AND DISHONEST POSITION IN NORTH KOREA – THE PENTAGON AND NUCLEAR WAR

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE INDEPENDENT

“US wants North Korea nuclear talks, says Rex Tillerson”

Sounds reasonable, if you don’t know much.

It is the US which has always refused even to speak directly with North Korea.

It is the US which maintains a sizable army at North Korea’s border.

It is the US which regularly puts on threatening war game displays offshore and in South Korea.

It is the US, during the Korean War, which conducted a horrific bombing campaign against North Korea. This is seldom discussed in the West, but North Korean cities were nearly levelled the bombing was so intense.

It is the US which keeps nuclear weapons – against Japanese law – in Okinawa.

It is the US which has been on a 15-year rampage through the Middle East, killing about 2 million people, setting an example to the contemporary world of arbitrary and brutal use of power.

It is the US which has ramped up a new Cold War in Europe, sending tanks, planes, and troops right up against Russia’s border, expanding NATO membership aggressively, building THAAD anti-missile systems, while making lots of provocative statements and periodically sending spy planes towards Russia with their transponders turned off, a dangerous practice – all this while declaring various economic sanctions for no sound reason.

It is the US which is placing the THAAD system in South Korea, something both China and Russia oppose.

This missile system is a much more provocative act than many understand because the ostensible purpose of the system is said to be defensive, and for several reasons.

The THAAD missile tubes and radars can be used covertly for entirely different kinds of missiles such as short-range ground-to-ground nuclear-armed ones. Just this possibility so near to China or Russia is inherently destabilizing.

They can also be used with other types of anti-missile missiles covertly substituted, to bring down ICBMs in their most vulnerable phase of early take-off. This always means the possible threat of launching a nuclear assault coordinated with neutralizing any response.

Even in John Kennedy’s time, the Pentagon was advocating detailed plans for a pre-emptive nuclear strike against Russia. He once left a Pentagon briefing saying it made him sick to his stomach. Does anyone believe that kind of thinking has just melted away?

Of course, both Russia and China are taking counter-measures, and they have many that they can take, but does anyone in his or her right mind think we need an arms race?

You do not have to like North Korea’s government to understand their fears and why it is they have “gone nuclear.”

I think it fair to say, too, that North Korea’s reasons are precisely the same as those of Israel.

But, in the case of North Korea the US periodically gets worked up to possible warfare while in the case of Israel, it just pretends the nuclear weapons do not exist.

There is simply no rationality or balance or respect for others in US foreign policy.

It is always just a matter of, “This is what I want,” and I’m pretty sure anyone else behaving that same way would be called a bully.

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Posted April 29, 2017 by JOHN CHUCKMAN in Uncategorized

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: HOW THE SECURITY SERVICES ASSISTED BY THE CORPORATE PRESS TURNED AN ELECTED PRESIDENT INTO A BIZARRE VERSION OF THE DEFEATED CANDIDATE – SO MUCH FOR ELECTIONS IN AMERICA

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE INDEPENDENT

 

“How relations between White House and intelligence agencies crumbled in Donald Trump’s first 100 days

“Mr Trump cannot shake off the allegations that he was the ‘Muscovite Candidate’”

American intelligence agencies have already ended the Trump presidency, in case you hadn’t noticed.

And the corporate press, never checking facts and always quoting intelligence officials as though they were dependable, helped in the job of wresting power from an elected president. Look at you still using a stupid, baseless expression like “Muscovite Candidate,” even if you place it in quotes to cover your ass.

Trump, who was something of an interesting maverick, has totally collapsed to the internal pressures.

He proved a coward, something no one expected.

But then those hugely unaccountable, immensely well-financed, and dirty-tricks-oriented security services can be very scary.

And far be it from the corporate press ever to question anything that gang of life-long liars and dirty-tricks guys say. Rather, you only serve to amplify their volume and validate their authority.

Everyone should be concerned that what has been proved conclusively in three months is that American elections are noisy, expensive shows with no real meaning.

We now have killer Hillary sitting in the Oval Office in reverse-drag.

_______________________

Response to another reader calling Hillary the lesser of two evils:

 I don’t see how you can say that with any knowledge.

She has an appalling record of killing and brutality.

Remember her psychopathic, “We came, we saw, he died. Ha! ha! ha!” on Gaddafi’s murder?

He had been a good ruler for his people – free education, good water systems, many good services, and kept them out of war – but Obama and Hillary knew better. Now Libya is in ruins and full of violence.

And that’s just one of her achievements.

She made the call on the FBI attacking Waco because she wanted it out of the political headlines. Bill could never stand up to her demands because his long record of reckless sexual behavior gave her immense leverage over him. Eighty people were incinerated, including women and children. They were kooks, but they did not deserve that.

Hillary was also responsible for stocks of Gaddafi’s chemical weapons, including Sarin nerve gas, being transferred to Syria to kill women and children. It was all part of an elaborate plan to topple another decent, but too independent-minded, leader in the Mideast, Assad. We know this from journalist Seymour Hersh.

 

Posted April 29, 2017 by JOHN CHUCKMAN in Uncategorized

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: WIKIPEDIA TAKES UP THE CAUSE OF FIGHTING “FAKE NEWS” – JOINING AMERICA’S OTHER INTERNET GIANTS IN A PHONY CRUSADE FOR WHICH NONE OF THEM IS THE LEAST QUALIFIED

John Chuckman

EXPANSION OF A COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN SPUTNIK

 

“Wikipedia Founder to Fight ‘Fake News’ Epidemic With New Online Service

Just plain silly.

But also amazingly pretentious.

How is Wikipedia qualified in any way to do anything approaching this?

They are not, of course.

And, of course, you are right to point out that their own site’s embarrassing shortfalls in accuracy and substance. On some subjects, Wikipedia resembles a spinning toilet-paper roll of changes to what are supposed to be facts.

Some entries are actually amusing because of the obvious efforts of posters to create an impression rather than give facts. PR flacks, celebrities, and special interest groups often write material shining a favorable light on themselves or a subject of interest. What we may call “partial truth” abounds on the site.

I’m sure all controversial entities – from CIA and FBI to Israel and the Pentagon – have low-level employees constantly churning out crap for this site, factual enough to stay posted but avoiding all unwanted complexities or subtleties or divergent interpretations – in other words, propaganda, the most effective kind which is always built on some truth, partial truth. I don’t know whether there is open complicity or just a bit of winking going on at Wikipedia.

This Wikipedia initiative is just one more effort by America’s huge Internet corporations to pretend they are something more than what they are.

Facebook, Google, Wikipedia, Amazon plus others – all have some legitimate areas of effort and service, but they all serve the American establishment constantly in various ways from collecting personal information to spreading propaganda. And they all pride themselves in posing as deciders of truth.

They all are involved in giving security services users’ personal information. They all are involved in various degrees of misrepresentation about what they do. They all are involved in “serving the cause” of American world empire, sometimes embarrassingly so. They all, for example, through one mechanism or another, displayed blatant partiality for the official presidential candidate of the War Party, possibly the most corrupt candidate in American history, Hillary Clinton.

I can’t help laughing every time I think of Google – once, long ago, a seemingly honest operation – inserting absurd warning-of-danger pages whenever I used to hit my link for Sputnik. The page included a button marked “back to safety” as though you were approaching serious malware.

I haven’t seen it in a little while. Perhaps they realized how ridiculous it made them look.

But intelligence services do a lot of not-very-intelligent things at times, as does anyone who is dedicated to “getting out a story” rather than just performing an honest job or explaining something truthfully.

I still think Facebook is the most laughably absurd of all of them in this regard. A truly stupid site that has done everything from running fraudulent trending news story lists to suffering plagues of false “likes” (which affect advertising rates) to abusing its members’ privacy, without ever informing them, by using malware which tracks them everywhere they go on the Internet.

And then there is its preposterously pretentious owner who plays t-shirted, regular-guy guru and who also plays at the claim of being a great philanthropist by announcing he’ll give away most of his fortune someday. Oh sure, but don’t hold your breath.

The last immensely wealthy man in America who actually did that was Andrew Carnegie, and his kind of old-school Scottish conscientious character has not been a popular model since. Neither has his interest in philosophy and ideas and friendships with important thinkers of his day been adopted by other immensely wealthy Americans.

I don’t understand why anyone even uses the Facebook site, but it benefits from great numbers of people intimidated by the Internet in general and glad to find “one-stop shopping” so to speak. It is a highly controlled and regulated space which gives the illusion of the nearly-infinite variety and diversity and freedom of the Internet itself.

In sum, if there is such a thing as “fake news,” it is as likely to be found on the sites of the American Internet giants as anywhere else, and perhaps even more likely, since we see their clear set of declared intentions and biased behaviors rather than dealing strictly in facts.

Posted April 29, 2017 by JOHN CHUCKMAN in Uncategorized

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: WHAT SO MANY AMERICANS SIMPLY DO NOT UNDERSTAND ABOUT THEIR OWN COUNTRY – PARALLELS OF AMERICA TODAY WITH 16TH CENTURY CHURCH

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN RINF

 

“FOR WHAT SHALL IT PROFIT A MAN, IF HE SHALL GAIN THE WHOLE WORLD, AND LOSE HIS OWN SOUL?”

Absolutely.

And what so few Americans even begin to appreciate is the simple fact that you can either have a world empire or you can have a decent society, but you cannot have both.

Whether Patriot-types or just ordinary party loyalists or genuine liberals (albeit there are mighty few of the latter in America) the entire gamut of American political society misses this point. They all pretend they have an explanation for who or what is responsible for all the things which are so clearly wrong, but almost none of them touches the truth.

Everything about Imperial America works against having a decent country.

Huge, intrusive security services. Intrusive everywhere abroad, causing great pain and injustice, and not the least reluctant to practice the same well-honed arts at home.

A massive military which influences all of society and, especially young people, daily, its fundamental principles being necessarily the opposite of free and democratic principles. The military is authority-oriented and no believer in democracy in anything it does. The larger it is, the more its values permeate. And that’s in addition to the destructive fact that its very existence provides a constant temptation for politicians to use it for more wars.

An entrenched, privileged political class which essentially lives off of the vast donations of America’s wealthy. The best government money can buy is a joke often heard, but it is a joke with a bitter truth to it. Special interests are almost all that matter in American politics.

And with all of these institutions, Lord Acton’s dictum about power is in full force.

“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Nothing truer was ever said, and it is unbelievably naive to think America is somehow exempt.

Waving the good old Stars and Stripes, a folded copy of the constitution in your wallet, a framed copy of The Declaration of Independence on the wall, reading endless blather about rights and freedoms – it all counts for nothing under the insidious, ongoing influence of great and corrupting power.

I think a good comparison for the extremely naive beliefs of so many Americans is found in the Catholic Church of, say, the Sixteenth Century.

High official principles. Glorified sense of purpose in the world. The words of Jesus. The genuine naive belief of many millions of humble followers. Pious painting and statues everywhere. Beautiful churches and music.

But the unquestioned reality of a power structure which worked only for power, both in money and political influence, and almost nothing else. Wars. Slaughters and massacres. Corrupt church officials with lifetime sinecures. Great temporal lords who know that money given to the right church official will buy whatever you want, from the appointment of a cardinal to a divorce or support for some claim.

Yes, the Catholic Church of that period closely parallels the reality of America’s establishment today, and it will take a grindingly long time or some great catastrophe for it to change.

I’m sure for some, especially for the American Patriot-types, the notion of repeating one of humanity’s many past rebellions and revolutions in history springs to mind, but that is a hopelessly naive thought because it ignores the reality of an establishment now so well-armed, it is untouchable. You cannot rebel against Zeus hurling thunderbolts from Olympus.

A fair number of people did believe Trump was going to go to the Temple and whip some money-changers until they ran away, but, instead, the money-changers intimidated him into complete submission. He is indistinguishable along any important line from the person many regarded as America’s genuine Political Satan, Hillary Clinton.

The American establishment is far too powerful and entrenched ever to be changed by the almost-silly ritual of America’s money-drenched elections, and any figure who is elected quickly faces, gathered around massive polished tables in Washington, the true face of American power.

Immensely-rich special interests, immensely-rich corporate owners and management, and their faithful servants, crinkly-faced Senators with lifetime sinecures, the brass-and-ribbon bedecked figures of the Pentagon and the Armani-clad, arrogant, almost unaccountable figures of the CIA and other security services.

But they all dutifully salute Old Glory and subscribe to all the words about rights and democracy, Just like the College of Cardinals and the Pope embracing the Holy Bible in the Sixteenth Century. A magnificent wine-drenched lunch in a church palace with a blessing for God’s Grace just before viewing a group of heretics being burned alive or having a quiet meeting with a great duke, seeking favors and carrying a heavy bag of gold.

 

Posted April 27, 2017 by JOHN CHUCKMAN in Uncategorized

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: WHY ISRAEL HATES HAMAS – IT COMES FROM THE SAME PLACE AS ALL ITS OTHER RELATIONSHIPS WITH NEIGHBORS: EXTREME DISCOMFORT WITH REAL DEMOCRACY

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE INDEPENDENT

“US Jewish organization condemns Pope Francis for comparing refugee centers to ‘concentration camps’’

_____________________________

Response to another reader’s comment accusing someone of supporting Hamas terrorists:

Yours is an uninformed response, seemingly taken right from the official Israeli government crib sheets for making comments in newspapers abroad.

Honest and informed people do not regard Hamas as a terrorist organization.

Indeed, in the organization’s early days, Israel secretly supported Hamas in hopes of destroying Arafat’s Fatah.

Then, when Hamas had some political success as a result of its many effective charitable and organizing efforts, it suddenly became a terrorist organization according to Israel. And using its intimate political connections to get the United States to agree was a mere formality. So, Hamas became a terrorist organization by the same process we read of in Alice in Wonderland when the roses were painted red.

We have no less a figure than Jimmy Carter, one of the most intelligent and conscientious statesmen of his time, who has described the realities of Hamas vis-à-vis Israel, having met all the parties involved.

Israel only uses the “terrorist” ploy to prevent an effective democratic party from unifying the Palestinians.

That is what is really feared. Just as Israel hates democracy in any neighboring countries, a fact relatively few outsiders understand. Israel’s good friends in neighboring countries are all kings or tyrants. Tyrant in Egypt. Absolute monarch in Saudi Arabia. King in Jordan. Relationships with these and others run deep, and the word “democracy” never passes anyone’s lips.

The House of Saud and Israel are close friends and virtually secret allies, sharing many mutual interests including fears around democratic and human rights and concerns around defending the influence of wealth in the region. They often work secretly together on the same projects, as in Syria. It was not always so, but after 9/11, the House of Saud was terrified that the United States would attack them, and it started bending over backwards to cooperate.

The King of Jordan is a virtual servant of Israel, and he is well known in his own country for having no independence of thought or action. That’s why any critic in Jordan pointing out the fact out ends up in prison.

Israel got on extremely well with Egypt’s dictator, Mubarak, for thirty years, Mubarak receiving his annual “assistance” payments from America so long as that continued to be the case. Egypt’s flirtation with democracy was brought to a quick and deadly end shortly after its first elected president dared make a few brief statements angering Israel. Through a combination of covert activities by Israel and the United States, a new tyrant was installed in Egypt, again a man with whom Israel has good relations, a man doing Israel such favors as building a section of wall between Sinai and Gaza which extends a metallic skirt deep underground.

Israel’s long-existing list of governments which it wanted the United States to topple – including Iraq, Syria, and Iran, Ariel Sharon having been quite open at times about his murderous demands in the name of “democracy” in the Middle East – were all governments which did not toe the line with Washington, preserving for themselves some portion of their own legitimate national interests, something not accepted by Israel. That really is the key fact for any government’s having been listed, not any lack of democracy, because Israel simply has some of its best relationships with non-democratic (and extremely corrupt) governments.

Well, the principles applying to Israel’s major neighbors apply also to its closest and smallest, Palestine. That’s why Israel still props up Mahmoud Abbas as “president,” a man who has not faced an election for years and has no basis in fact for his title.

Abbas also is a rather Stepin Fetchit type of personality, someone Israel finds useful even though they almost never talk even to him.

Hostility to democracy in its neighborhood is why Israel, early on after an observed clean election in Gaza, sent troops charging in to arrest properly elected representatives, a totally illegal act.

That’s why Israel openly threatened the head of Hamas with assassination, a totally illegal act.

That’s why Israel did assassinate some Hamas officials, totally illegal acts.

That’s why we had the Nazi-like blockade of Gaza declared, Nazi-like because in its early period it actually included a calorie count of the minimum necessary calories to sustain life, that count controlling the level of allowed food imports. You could not buy a candy bar in Gaza.

That extreme measure, once it was known to the public, came under US pressure, and it was eased, but the Palestinians of Gaza still sit in many ruins from Israel’s bombing because they cannot import many basic building materials. And I don’t think anyone with an open mind believes Israel has any right – beyond might – to even impose any blockade.

It is absolutely savage, and no one who is not a partisan of the genuine terrorists, the Netanyahu government, can accept it.

By the way, not all readers may be aware but recently, for the third time I believe, Israel sprayed herbicides on large swaths of Gaza limited arable land.

Imagine, in that crowded place with many, many children, spraying herbicides? America’s arrogant use of Agent Orange in Vietnam is still causing birth defects and deaths all these years after the war.

Israel previously used this horrible technique of spraying herbicides, multiple times, on Bedouin in the Negev region they wanted to force away from where they lived.

That’s getting awfully close to Nazi methods I think all decent people can agree.

Posted April 24, 2017 by JOHN CHUCKMAN in Uncategorized

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: THE GUGGENHEIM MUSEUM IN BILBAO OFFERED AS AN EXAMPLE OF GREAT NEW ARCHITECTURE GIVING FRESH LIFE TO TIRED PLACES – WHY THIS IS NOT SO

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE INDEPENDENT

 

“How stunning architecture like the Guggenheim in Bilbao breathes new life into tired cities”

It just ain’t so.

Bilbao, if it is indeed considered great architecture, is an example making just the opposite point.

It is like a daunting fortress dropped from the sky with no relationship to its surroundings.

Even your photo demonstrates the opposite of your claim.

There’s no life at the place. I’ve yet to see a photo showing any life around it.

The truth is, of course, that this is not great architecture.

It is a monumental sculpture which has no relationship with people who come near it or with the city in which it resides.

It is simply a monstrous memorial to a wealthy family.

It almost reminds me, in its “tone,” of the kind of monstrous buildings Hitler had planned for Germany’s future.

Posted April 24, 2017 by JOHN CHUCKMAN in Uncategorized

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: IN FIFTY YEARS AMERICA’S TWO BOUTS OF MASS KILLING AND DESTRUCTION – HOW THE WEST HAS CHANGED IN ITS REACTIONS OVER THAT TIME

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE INDEPENDENT

 

“Britain could join US in Syria air strikes against Assad without parliamentary approval, Boris Johnson says”

Lovely statement.

Britain has reached a new low since the mass murders of Tony Blair.

Syria has attacked no one.

Its government is one of the better ones in the region.

Its minority of Christians support Assad, who has always protected them.

The country is fighting desperately against gangs of armed thugs, collected, trained, supplied, and paid by America and Israel and Saudi Arabia and Turkey and Oman plus lots of past help from Britain and France.

Since when does an honorable country or an honorable statesman support attacking a country like Syria? That opposes every principle of rule of law and human decency.

Welcome to the world of the Neocon Wars. Fifteen years of bombing and killing anyone you don’t happen to like. Like hateful little boys crushing butterflies or smashing birds’ eggs underfoot, just because they can.

All that death and horror and destabilizing armies of refugees created by just this very thing.

Why? Because America and its nasty Middle East colony want Syria treated like Iraq or Libya or Yemen.

A total disgrace for every person of conscience on the planet.

While smaller in scope, these wars are ethically and morally indistinguishable from those of Mussolini or Hitler.

I consider how much things have changed, and not for the better, since Lyndon Johnson failed to get most NATO countries to join with his insane crusade in Vietnam, something which turned into a holocaust killing three million people, achieving nothing.

Fifty years later, most are on board for an equally insane round of barbarism which has already killed a couple of million and sent millions running from their homes.

Two mindless bouts of mass murder and destruction just to get something you want and only decades apart.

Posted April 23, 2017 by JOHN CHUCKMAN in Uncategorized