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Monthly Archives: December 2017

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN RUSSIA INSIDER

Witch-Hunter-in-Chief Schiff Panics as His Show Trial Threatens to Devour Him
“He knows the walls are closing in on him.”

_______________________

Response to a comment saying, “It’s increasingly clear that there was and continues to be a conspiracy to discredit Trump and ultimately remove him from office”:

Well, if it is so, I think many would now welcome its success.

Trump has proved an unqualified disaster, and I say that as one who a year ago hoped he had something, at least in a few areas of international affairs, to offer.

But he does not, at least anything anyone would want.

America’s extrajudicial killings are running at record levels, an unforgivable activity for a state claiming loyalty to human rights.

We have open aggression in Syria continued with America troops and equipment occupying places they are not welcome.

We have a dangerous and unnecessary confrontation with North Korea. And a gigantic fleet placed, as part of that confrontation, near China is a serious provocation to a great power.

There is no end of the hostilities to Russia, which now include open talk of arming Ukraine, an insane provocation and something guaranteed to bring no peace.

There is absolutely no end to the utterly false claims of Russian aggression, Crimea having chosen its own fate as surely as did the Falklands, Gibraltar, or Kosovo.

We have increased intensity of trade restrictions with Russia, a brainless set of measures only making everyone poorer at a time of economic difficulties.

We have an American UN Ambassador who is literally a world-class embarrassment, an ignoramus in knee-high suede boots with a very big mouth and absolutely no judgment.

We see Trump giving the Nazis now running Israel everything they want and demanding nothing from them towards peace or justice.

There is Trump and his ridiculous Ambassador threatening the UN, time and again, to get what it wants on Israel’s behalf.

We have the spectacle of Trump featuring his damned, incompetent daughter, Ivanka, at the G-20 as though she were an important world figure. He looked like the world’s greatest dumb-ass father pushing her into photos with other world leaders. After all, they all have children, too, with whom they could pull the same brainless stunt.

And, in several matters, Ivanka has demonstrated incompetence comparable to Nikki Haley. She belongs nowhere near the Oval Office.

No, Trump is beyond a disappointment.

And he is either a grotesque liar – on a par with Tony Blair – with all the things he campaigned for or he is world-class coward for backing down on everything almost as soon as he took office.

I’m definitely inclined to think the latter in view of his earlier background.

https://chuckmanwordsincomments.wordpress.com/2017/10/03/john-chuckman-comment-trump-as-the-most-american-of-presidents-a-claim-which-should-infuriate-both-his-supporters-and-opponents/

No, there’ll be nothing missed but a lot of bluster and bullying if he goes.

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John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE GUARDIAN

From the future of bitcoin to Facebook, 2018 in technology
Social networks and politics, the still unfulfilled promise of augmented reality, pay-to-play games: what might change in the year ahead

Why is Facebook a name that is repeated in every article having anything to do with technology and the Internet in The Guardian?

In fact, it is an operation that does nothing interesting in technology. It is a pioneer in almost nothing.

But there it is regularly, much like the sun rising, in The Guardian.

I don’t know whether it is deliberate or careless, but Mr. Zuckerberg and his Frankenstein creation are there, time after time, whereas there are all kinds of other people doing interesting stuff with technology, but their names and efforts remain strangers to The Guardian.

Indeed, the one creative aspect of Facebook much resembles what we would expect in Egypt or China or some other such place, innovations in enforcing political preconceptions and official standards of acceptability.

Just the other day we learn, from sources other than The Guardian, Facebook is busy at again, coming up with new modes of enforcement, this time deleting vast numbers of accounts at the direct request of the governments of Israel and the United States.

Innovation? Advanced technology? Social Media?

I think rather the face of Big Brother wearing a casual grey t-shirt and smiling blandly.

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY NED LAMB IN THE GUARDIAN

My self-worth and confidence were shot to pieces, and something had to change. Quitting drink gave me some control over my life

“Giving up alcohol for a year salvaged my mental health”

Perhaps, and if so, I am glad for you.

But I think there are many people whose mental health would deteriorate without the soothing application of limited amounts of drink.

It’s a tricky balance, perhaps, but then so are many, many things in life.

I have to say that The Guardian, with more than one article touching on this, emits faint echoes of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union in recent days.

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN RUSSIA INSIDER

It’s Been a Very Good Year for Israel and Her Friends

“Congress is to a certain extent the source of all evil.”

Not quite right.

Money for campaign costs plus laxity in lobbying laws are the sources of all evil.

And that same money buys the pathetic Congress we see in America.

But Americans, many of them, are adamant about private financing of campaigns.

It’s a ridiculous prejudice, and it has become enshrined in law by a Supreme Court decision that equates money and free speech.

If that doesn’t make sense to you, don’t worry, it makes little sense to an thinking person who is not involved in the receiving or giving of campaign contributions.

And elections are costly in the US. You see, if your opponent can spend unlimited amounts, then you must do so too.

Hillary Clinton, for example, burned through at least 1.2 billion dollars in her failed campaign.

It took a billionaire to beat her.

Anyway, that billionaire is also not immune to the effects of unlimited campaign spending. His party’s chances in Congress (Congressional elections in 2018) depend on it.

Well, you can just imagine the pressure to give Israel whatever it wants in the current situation, and that’s just what Trump is doing.

The money and good publicity (The simple fact is that Jewish Americans do own most of the high-end press and broadcasting in the US – it’s a powerful political tool) will flow from the Israel Lobby owing to his stunt in giving away someone else’s capital.

The history of this kind of thing goes back to Harry Truman in 1948. He was immensely pressured to recognize Israel despite his personal doubts about doing so.

Truman was losing to the Republicans’ Thomas Dewey, but after his decision for the Israel Lobby, things turned around and he won what was an unexpected victory.

Well, that event set a political precedent, a very poor one.

Since then, all American Presidents have, to one degree or another, pandered to Israel.

Perhaps the worst of them was Lyndon Johnson who both began the massive annual subsidy in foreign aid to Israel, but who also secretly colluded with Israel on the Six Day War.

We do not know the details of Johnson’s collusion, but he was perfectly ready to see an American intelligence ship, the Liberty, sunk with all hands by Israel.

The Israel attack was deadly serious, killing many, but it failed to sink the ship.

Now, wouldn’t you expect a ferociously-tempered Johnson to make Israel pay for that?

No, he meekly called back all forces going to help the Liberty and never in public said a harsh word about Israel, despite its deliberate act of war. One former senior American naval officer who was dispatching assistance has written, long afterwards, that he had received a direct communication from Johnson saying he wanted that ship to go to the bottom.

Why? Israel may have known of his collusion in the assassination of John Kennedy, and, undoubtedly, Israel’s Lobby made sure Johnson would be rewarded.

It’s all a vicious business with the affairs of a tremendously powerful state deeply affected by a tiny one and ending up often doing things against its own long-term interests.

But it is a self-inflicted wound.

Congress set the standards for campaign financing and for lobbying activities, and it is married to the corrupt situation which has evolved.

NOTE: For background on recent events around this topic, see:

https://chuckmanwords.wordpress.com/2017/12/06/what-trump-is-doing-in-jerusalem-and-why-he-is-doing-it/

Note especially the footnote there, written about three weeks after the essay.

John Chuckman

EXPANSION OF A COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE INDEPENDENT

American Isis fighter says ‘war on Islam’ has made US more vulnerable to attack in video message to Donald Trump
African American Isis fighter appears in propaganda video saying Islamophobia will help fuel support globally

This is just a stupid article giving publicity to low-grade propaganda.

ISIS is an American-Israeli-Saudi creation with generous assistance from Britain and France plus a couple of others. Turkey was deeply involved, but appears now to have backed off.

Reports like this one serve only to keep the murderous charade going, the charade of gangs of non-uniformed mercenaries – people who receive regular paychecks, training, supplies, and air support – posing as jihadi warriors.

They serve both to do some of America’s dirty work and to perpetuate the myth of a vast uprising of Muslim terrorists in the world, the very myth which supports America’s decade-and-a-half-long blood-drenched war through the Middle East in support of Neocon imperial goals.

It still amazes me the way our corporate press reports the doings of ISIS as though it were some independent entity. The reporting just provides more evidence, as though more were needed, of how the establishment regards the general public’s intelligence, and that’s remarkably low.

Yet they largely get away with it. The press and government officials are never seriously questioned or doubted. Nor is there ever any investigative reporting into any of these matters, outside of independents and some other government news services.

My favorite ridiculous example is the CBC’s Middle East correspondent who regularly reports from Jerusalem where he magically obtains material about places like the heart of Syria. But all the major Western news services are the same. None wants to be viewed as upsetting America’s elaborately prepared schemes and narratives. Their governments and their major advertisers would simply not tolerate it.

That’s why we never see interviews with people actually in the thick of things, like Assad or Gadhafi or even the head of Hamas or Hezbollah or even academics with some independence and deep understanding. We only hear other people, people representing definite interests, telling us what to think.

It is the old story of the “big lie” repeated often. There are so many instances of it now in Washington, no one can easily tell just what is happening. From tales of Russia and Trump to the last rag-tag lies still about the Kennedy assassination. As far as official sources go – both government and corporate press – we live in something pretty close to a hermitically-sealed space in which nothing too “dangerous” is allowed to enter.

ISIS is a tool, a tool of governments. It is not a cause. And it is not independent.

Individual members do sometimes misspeak or carry on in terrible ways, but what else could you expect from a mercenary army of violent idiots recruited from a dozen broken lands?

Of course, some fools from Western countries have taken the bait provided on the Internet and other places, providing the press and government officials with neat anecdotes to frighten people and keep the phony narrative going. Endless crap about recruitment and terrorist conditioning.

But this relatively tiny number of fools and discontents have nothing to do with the aims or direction of ISIS. Their experience is nothing but what intelligence services call “blowback.” They serve also to reveal to intelligence services where there may be some disagreeable sympathies at home, something always to be looked into by the kind of people we see in the FBI, for example, whose history includes such glorious achievements as providing about a third of the membership of the old American Communist Party.

Saying the tiny numbers of foolish ISIS volunteers from the West are any real threat is much like claiming a few brainless groupies on the rock music circuit do something important in popular music.

Indeed, America has seen to it that there is now a substantial concentration of ISIS in Afghanistan, a recent story from Afghanistan suggesting eight thousand of them now there, Afghanistan being yet another land America is trying still to completely conquer.

ISIS, if it were indeed what its publicity claims it to be, would have little interest in fighting Taleban.

But America does fight Taleban for local control and now appears to be recruiting unofficial allies in the form of ISIS and others, just as it did in its efforts to destroy Syria and Libya.

Remember, in the original Afghan invasion, America avoided what it did in Vietnam – that is, sending in a vast traditional army of foot soldiers, a true disaster by every measure for the Pentagon. Something which, at its height, came close to creating a new civil war in America and stamped America’s military with shame and disapproval from the public for years.

What America did in Afghanistan was to bomb heavily in support of the Taleban’s natural political opponents in the country, tribes of the so-called Northern Alliance, many of whose members were people no more modern than, and just as ruthless as, the Taleban. Their only merit was that they opposed the Taleban long before America arrived on the scene.

The Northern Alliance were the guys, behind a wall of carpet-bombing supplied by America, who actually chased the Taleban into the hills, not American soldiers. And no one at the time dared pursue the Taleban into their natural redoubts, so over time they have gradually returned with a vengeance. Although America did plenty of bombing in places they thought Taleban might be hiding, as in Pakistan, undoubtedly killing thousands of innocent people.

The Taleban is a threat to no one, except to the government America has installed in Afghanistan and to the Pentagon’s pride. The Taleban, despite endless propaganda in the press, are not international terrorists bent on subverting the West. They are just a tribal party interested in governing their own land of Afghanistan without foreign interference, as they were doing when America’s intervention first started.

American soldiers in the original invasion defeated no one and served mainly “to secure” “liberated” areas. Their work consisted of terrifying house-to-house raids, blowing down doors and holding whole families at gunpoint, running around in armored vehicles shooting at things they hadn’t even identified, many times massacring masses of people and establishing secret torture centers and prisons.

American planes joined in the same dirty work, strafing or bombing groups and parties they hadn’t even properly identified. More than once, they were fooled by malicious reports into killing innocent groups an enemy wanted killed. This is, after all, a land of ancient grievances and grudges, a tribal place resembling a little the American Ozarks during old blood feuds.

But the Taleban has remained strong because it is not just a party but virtually a basic division in the country. You cannot defeat them in any traditional sense of war, unless you are ready to go into mass exterminations, something I believe only the terrible publicity has stopped the US from doing.

There are, indeed, no ethics or principles in anything we see anywhere from contemporary Washington’s murderous efforts in country after country. But there is always a keen awareness of public opinion. Plenty of spokespeople, plenty of press releases, plenty of denials of this or that, and always a readiness to come down hard on anyone from the corporate press who breaks ranks. It all has to be given a constant sense of everyone’s agreeing the right thing is being done and the truth is being told.

Indeed, there have been mass exterminations several times. A group of about three thousand Taleban prisoners were “disappeared” in the early days after the invasion. Donald Rumsfeld, a man who would have been perfectly content working for the Nazi hierarchy had that been his time and place, was quoted in public as saying those prisoners should be walled away for life or all killed. Imagine, a man who knew nothing about a group of prisoners thousands of miles away, saying that?

Well, one of the local Northern Alliance warlords allied with America perfectly accommodated Rumsfeld. General Dostum had his people put the prisoners in batches into the backs of trucks which were then sealed up and driven out into the hot desert until they expired. Three thousand of them while American troops stood around watching and picking their noses. A Scottish film-maker actually made a documentary about it.

Now, America’s current wave of killing Afghans with bombs – involving everything from striking hospitals and schools to such horrors as using America’s gigantic non-nuclear bomb (called the Massive Ordnance Air Blast or MOAB), which created devastating effects and pollution on a colossal scale – is going to be supplemented by paid ISIS lunatics.

Imagine the morality of people who would secretly ship thousands of cutthroats into a country to let loose? Well, that’s America today. Of course, they are only repeating something they’ve done now a number times and largely with success, if you judge the chaos and ruins of a Libya as success, as surely the Pentagon does.

Of course, when ISIS (or al Qaeda or any of a number of other such created outfits) is sent somewhere else like this, it gives the US an escape refuge for them, as when we saw clearly, thanks to Russian intelligence, hundreds of ISIS thugs being helped to evacuate parts of Syria and given a safe-conduct by American forces.

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY JAMES TRAUB IN FOREIGN POLICY REPRINTED IN ZERO HEDGE

The United States of America Is Decadent and Depraved
The problem isn’t Donald Trump – it’s the Donald Trump in all of us…

A surprisingly sensitive assessment.

And highly accurate.

But I don’t think there is a lot of hope for change.

Change will come only after some kind of disaster.

If you know much American history, you will know I am being truthful and not just insulting when I say America learns by banging its head into walls.

There’s a long list of precedents.

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE INDEPENDENT

North Korea will not be accepted as a nuclear power by US or Russia, say Rex Tillerson and Sergei Lavrov
Both sides agree to pursue a ‘diplomatic solution’ to the crisis

Well, I don’t know why North Korea is less worthy to be a nuclear power than America and Russia or, indeed, others. I’m not sure what deity declared this.

The ugly truth is, America has a record of horror in North Korea few appreciate.

Look at these:

https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2017/12/19/us-germ-warfare-apology-north-korea-could-advance-dialogue.html

https://theintercept.com/2017/05/03/why-do-north-koreans-hate-us-one-reason-they-remember-the-korean-war/

Given that record, it is hard to view North Korea as irrational.

And, by the way, all reliable observers indicate, Kim is an intelligent leader, likely more so in some respects than Trump. Some comments here just reflect the stuff fed to us by our corporate, government-serving press.

And, of course, any time we discuss this topic, we must include Israel, not only an outlaw nation which has killed many people and abuses millions but one with a large, and unquestioned arsenal of nuclear weapons.

It also is a nation which engaged in serious secret proliferation in the case of Apartheid South Africa, a nation which acquired a small arsenal with Israel’s illegal help.

What is your standard?

Israel supposedly fears what people in one country did 75 years ago, so its weapons are okay.

Plus, it is okay that they’ve violated every standard set for nuclear weapons?

But North Korea experienced hell on earth about 65 years ago at the hands of the same US now threatening it, but that, too, is okay? They somehow are unfit to join “the big boys”?

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY TOM LUONGO IN RUSSIA INSIDER

Mueller Should End the Russia-Gate Investigation – For His Own Sake
Robert Mueller’s investigation is having the opposite of its intended effect, exonerating Trump.

Good points.

But I have to believe that the main purpose of the Mueller effort was to make life just that much more difficult for Trump, to serve as a continuing irritant, not to find genuinely criminal behavior.

Trump is not liked by the establishment of either party, and we’ve seen, he has few friends in traditional establishment institutions like the FBI in Washington.

But the Mueller investigation is also very much aimed at Russia by the rabid anti-Russian Washington establishment.

I think with those goals in mind, you would have to say Mueller’s investigation has been a success so far.
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Response to a comment that “Trump turned out to be just another status quo supporting swamp dweller that caved to the US State Department within the first month of office:”

Well said. Right to the point.

Trump is pathetic, but not for the reasons to be found in a Mueller-type investigation.

He is simply a big-mouthed coward, ready to do or say any brainless thing for his political base and to capture the support of establishment figures.

He truly is almost as pathetic as George Bush. Although not a genuine moron like Bush, he has proved ready to talk and act like one just to gain favor.

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE AND VIDEO IN RUSSIA INSIDER

Russia’s Amazing Hi-Speed Rail Boom – Trains Made in Russia, Huge Growth

http://russia-insider.com/en/russias-amazing-hi-speed-rail-boom-trains-made-russia-huge-growth/ri21973

That bit of video of President Putin reviewing the train is just terrific.

Nice to see the advanced state of the latest Russian trains.

And President Putin’s interest in all kinds of developments in Russia is one of the best measures of his quality as a leader. Quite remarkable.
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Response to a comment saying of another comment “It is not true that America never had to build railroads because they had cars and airplanes”:

You overlook some important facts.

America’s interstate highway system, built starting back in Eisenhower’s day as in large part a strategic military project for moving the military around the country, supports effectively vast movements of goods by truck.

Because the highways are subsidized by government, over the years they have created artificial competition for railroads which, when they were all private, had to pay for their own roadbeds and everything else.

The structure of long-distance transport we see in America today reflects all kinds of economic distortions.

Trucks on long distance are less efficient and more polluting.

And, had rail been able to compete on fair terms all that time, undoubtedly today, American rail would have advanced further along than it has.

COMMENTS POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY SABRINA BARR IN THE INDEPENDENT

“Sketches of Meghan Markle’s wedding dress designs have been revealed”

Oh, please, I want to puke.

Insanely-ambitious American “B” actress reveals the costly packaging in which she will become a fairy princess.

Well, nothing is free in this world, including becoming a fairy princess.

Her price? Being married to a tiresome, not-too-bright man who has displayed the clearest signs of mental instability.
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Response to a comment “Now take this drivel away and just stop it, if you would. Leave the Guardian to wallow in this slush:”

Yes, and…

“Israeli designer Inbal Dror has been approached to design the gown.”

How very tasteful of her at this time of turmoil and killing and public theft in Israel.

Maybe she is just as bonkers as her beau?

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN EDITORIAL IN THE GUARDIAN

The Guardian view on the power of heresy
An idea whose time has come: Over the holiday season the Guardian is examining themes that have emerged to give shape to 2018. Today we look at the humanity of departing from dogma

“… he [Martin Luther] made “heretic” into a term of moral approval’

I can’t agree with that.

Indeed, long after the Reformation, people were being burned and tortured for heresy, the Reformation itself being the cause.

Indeed, “heresy” in one form or another keeps rearing its ugly head.

These days it is usually a form of secular heresy, but the basic mechanism is the same, the basic hate is the same, the basic ignorance and superstition are the same.

The intensity of the anti-communist crusade in the United States almost cannot be imagined unless you lived through it, as I did as a boy and as a young man.

It left deep scars, just as did the Protestant Reformation.

And it has been echoed or repeated time and again in one form or another.

The crashing waves of Islamophobia and anti-migrant attitudes have done a lot of damage. In the United States, whose horrible wars in the Middle East are the root cause of both, these waves can be felt pounding all the way up to the White House.

We have also a close-to-lunatic form of Russo-phobia which has taken hold, full of threats, ignorance, and hatreds.

Russia has become everything Cold warriors of the 1960s could have wished, a country doing business with anyone and open for investment with a highly rational approach to affairs, yet the zealots have somehow managed to turn it into a terrible new kind of heretic. The most rational major leader on the planet is literally portrayed in our press and by our politicians as a devil.

Please note, that in this newspaper, too, this Russian heresy is much repeated. As is Islamophobia in various forms. Over and over. We also had months of echoes of American 1950s McCarthyism around imagined heretical anti-Semitism in Corbyn’s Labour Party.

I regard it as a form of hubris to say what the author of this piece has said. The truth is that the human condition remains largely unchanged, and that certainly includes forms of heresy and prejudice and fear. As Jesus said of the poor, these you have with you always.

We are little more than apes, albeit ones with larger brains, but those larger brains give us the capacity not just to attack a neighboring tribe but to decimate the planet, as the United States is busy at doing this very Christmas day in many lands.

And people who describe our situation as I do are, undoubtedly, counted as heretics by those in power and the legions who believe what they are given to read daily.

john Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN RUSSIA INSIDER

Trump Opens up US Arms Sales to Kiev, Escalates War in East Ukraine, and Ensures More Russian Aid for Rebels
Moscow will never allow the rebels be defeated militarily so all this will do is intensify the bloodshed, earn Trump increased Russian ire, and earn the US military-industrial complex a buck or two.

Well said, but unfortunately, America is on a kind of “roll” or “bender” of demonstrating its belligerence to everyone everywhere and demanding acknowledgement of its pre-eminence.

It is the terrible influence of the Neocons – who have their own agenda of aggression and intimidation – coming at exactly the moment a kind of malaise or sense of America’s inevitable relative decline has set in the Washington establishment, a malaise about a future coming where they no longer enjoy being kings of the earth.

It is, I believe, an extremely dangerous time we have entered, perhaps with greater risks ahead than we have experienced in the Cold War.

I have to confess, sometimes I am glad to be a bit old; the circumstances really are that dark.

America busies itself leaving behind all the principles of Enlightenment that it once prided itself on being born into and hurling itself headlong into a world guided only by power and dominance.

Where does Trump fit in? He is a political maverick, an outsider, the hijacker of an old-line establishment party who was quickly made to feel uncomfortable and unwelcome.

He got the message, and today this man, in a desperate desire to win acceptance and admiration from the establishment, is ready to say to whatever he is asked, “Yes, Sir, yes, Sir, three bags full!”

In other words, Trump complicates an already dangerous set of circumstances, adding yet another dangerous and unpredictable element, a leader ready to please power-mad people at the Pentagon, the CIA, and major lobbies like the one for Israel.

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE GUARDIAN

Why we keep scanning the skies for signs of alien intelligence
The search for alien life continues, but how near are we to finding life on other planets – and will we ever answer the question ‘are we alone’?

Of course, we will answer the question. When? Who knows?

It is inconceivable that the universe is not teeming with life, life at every stage of evolution and created life such as robots or manipulations of biology and genes.

To believe otherwise is to accept a truly primitive notion from three millennia ago as meaningful, the idea of a human-centered universe.

Whether with or without a god, that is simply silly at this stage of our knowledge and discovery and just plain imagination.

Trouble is that the very nearest star is 25 trillion miles away, with all the other trillions of them (literally, there are billions of galaxies each with vast numbers of stars) going out from there to who knows where.

And of course, there may even be a multiverse, not just our universe.

Such immensity almost cannot be conceived by people, and no technology we have could do the distances, at least not with living passengers.

Many forms of life will not have arrived at the stage to communicate by radio. We only did about a century ago. Many forms of life may not be interested in communication, as robotic ones. And, of course, there may be other forms of communicating besides radio, forms we have not discovered.

Readers may enjoy this of some years ago:

http://chuckmanmiscellanea.blogspot.ca/2006/11/short-story-cosmic-hum.html

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN PRESS TV

US drone strikes double in Somalia, triple in Yemen under Trump admin.: Report

I always like to imagine the buzz-cut thugs who work for CIA on its extrajudicial killing system sitting at their computer screens in secure basements somewhere.

They play computer games with real human lives, much resembling a scene from a science fiction film.

I wonder, when they get “a kill,” do they pump their arms and shout like Americans at a sports event do when their team scores, maybe then going out for a hamburger and a Coke?

And I wonder, do these willing-helper killers work on Christmas?

Sick beyond words.

It’s almost unbelievable that America, with all its pretentious claims about rights, has gone full-time into the extrajudicial killing business.

What they are doing is absolutely no different from what the old much-hated Argentine Junta used to do, make people disappear, and by the thousands.

Only America is doing it on an industrial scale.

This a violation of all principles of justice and all human ethics.
__________________

Response to another reader’s comment:

I agree. Internal use of drone-killing on Americans themselves is coming one day. Things you use regularly gradually are taken for granted and accepted as ordinary, no matter how bizarre they seemed once.

America’s ruling elites are gradually dropping all pretensions to ethics or morality.

Just as all Americans today are spied on but before long will have their every movement tracked and recorded.

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE INDEPENDENT

Boris Johnson clashes with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow over attacks on Putin regime
Spat comes after Foreign Secretary criticised ‘hostile’ Russia over the war in the Ukraine and its cyber attacks on the West

Johnson has made nearly as big an ass out of himself on this trip as Trump has made of himself the other day in the UN General Assembly.

Johnson’s is the language of the illogical and unthinking ideologue. It’s America’s language.

Lavrov, always the consummate senior diplomat, was gracious. After all, Johnson has said a lot of rubbish to the press about Russia.

Of course, Britain’s ridiculous position is one it has been forced into by the United States, a United States now aggressively pushing almost everywhere and busy killing still in half a dozen places.

Johnson and May know as well as I do that the incompetent government in Ukraine, busy destroying that country’s economy, is solely the result of an American-arranged coup against an elected government.

the coup was undertaken only to hurt and insult Russia right on her border.

Once that fact is established, and it has been established as all people who read widely and keep informed know, everything else is just rubbish.

We have it directly from the ugly mouth of American Neocon, Victoria Nuland, formerly of the State Department, that the United States spent $5 billion arranging that coup.

Yet, here’s Boris making a public fool of himself pushing America’s tissue of lies into the faces of very clever men who very much know otherwise.

Pretty shameful stuff. As far as Crimea goes, the people (almost all Russian speakers) made their wishes known.

They made their wishes known against an unpopular Kiev government which almost immediately started taking measures to suppress the Russian language, a language which has a history of centuries in the region.

And isn’t it the residents’ wishes that keeps Gibraltar or the Falklands or even Northern Ireland British?

Talk about hypocrisy.

I do hope that in private, Boris says a few intelligent things to his hosts instead of continuing with the dumb American servant act.

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE INDEPENDENT

It’s become a national tradition to obsess over what the royals wear. But it’s time we left Meghan Markle and her dress alone

Acting or not acting ‘like a princess” makes no difference because she is, in fact, not a princess but a “B” movie actress.

She is about as much a princess as the little girls who dress up in pink Disney princess costumes and carry around wands with plastic gold stars on their tips. It’s just her wardrobe budget is a great deal bigger.

This entire business of princes and monarchy should come to an end with Elizabeth’s passing.

It is now approaching the level of a skit from Monty Python.

The original concept of princes was rationalized by the notion that breeding gave us the fittest people to rule.

That idea is not only outdated by a couple of centuries, it is plainly silly in light of this example, the current royalty.

The idea is, and always was, fake, only conceived to defend and glorify an aristocracy which ruled solely because of what it owned.

Both Diana’s boys are extremely mediocre, the one blandly pleasant, the other, Harry, rather a narcissistic, unbalanced, and completely unproductive man.

Their father, a rather tediously preachy man, is someone few seem to want, although the very concept of monarchy requires that he be king next.

Now, we throw into the mix a pretend princess, as indeed, to some extent, Diana was herself.

Why would a modern state carry on with this Movie Magazine charade?

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY NATALIE NOUGAYREDE IN THE GUARDIAN

To fight European antisemitism, we must first face up to it
The attacks following Trump’s Jerusalem decision are a wake-up call – this prejudice has not gone away

“To fight European antisemitism, we must first face up to it”

I believe, Ms. Nougayrède, in logic this is called begging the question.

If you want to make such assertions, the burden of proof is on the writer, and the proof must be viable to readers.

But you prove no such thing.

Truly, for those not dedicated to the concept of endlessly repeating the mantra of anti-Semitism, yours is a meaningless statement.

May I point out that it keeps being repeated, each time with no more proof than this, by a number of columnists in The Guardian?

One can only guess at the purpose of this.

Keep promoting guilt about what someone else did 75 years ago?

Keep providing an excuse for what all thoughtful people can plainly see is unacceptable behavior by Israel?

Absent these, I do not see the point.

We don’t ask ourselves or others a comparable question regularly for Islamophobia or dislike of black people or dislike of Polish people, do we?

And, indeed, today the question that might be truly pertinent concerns prejudice against Russians or Iranians.

We in fact have the latter in our newspapers daily.

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY TOBY MOSES IN THE GUARDIAN

Anti-empire, pro-activist … The Last Jedi is as left wing as Jeremy Corbyn
The latest Star Wars film is an unlikely champion of the grassroots – and it’s not even subtle about it

I am surprised that anyone takes anything about Star Wars seriously.

The series is nothing more than a hi-tech update of the old 1930’s serials, Flash Gordon, with Buster Crabbe.

There, the ultimate evil was Ming the Merciless, who, of course, also served as a regular propaganda mechanism to instill anti-oriental attitudes against the rising Japanese.

Now, it is Darth Vader and Company. Darth vaguely resembles a WWII German soldier with the shape of his helmet, his black outfit perhaps suggestive of the Waffen SS, elite Nazi soldiers who also carried daggers and had a dark credo.

It is just the same childish fantasy as Buster Crabbe’s series entirely.

Star Wars is remarkably unimaginative, too, with its good guys versus bad guys and space wars resembling battles between aircraft carriers in the 1940’s Pacific War.

Awkward weapons – light sabers or big robotic marching animals – which make no sense except to a child.

Already our abilities to kill already far exceed these, and this generation will see us hurled into far more terrible ones with AI and new concepts in nuclear weapons.

But in the end, the message seems to me to be the opposite of Corbyn.

It is a message of: “War, you have with you always, and only a well-armed vigilance can halt the evil ‘others.’”

That is precisely the message of the American power establishment. Prepare for war. Always.

There is always another “other” out there: communists, Japanese, jihadists, Russians.

The movie series actively promotes the American imperial view of the world, except that in the series, the bad guys have already got the upper hand.

Real message: we can’t let that happen here on earth.

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE INDEPENDENT

Jean-Paul Sartre argued that the point of the intellectual was to be interested in everything. Joy Connolly agrees and recommends that postgrad courses should produce all-rounders who are better adapted to the real world

‘Beware of experts with PhDs, they might just take over the world’

Indeed, you can see them all over, as cab drivers, as Starbucks servers, as vacuum cleaner salesmen, etc.

Any similarity between Jean-Paul Sartre’s view of intellectuals and modern PHDs is strictly coincidental.

We have PHD factories today, churning them out by the platoon in such useless and non-intellectual subjects as film studies, television studies, education, women’s studies, black studies, journalism (a dead subject), sports administration (in the US), library studies (another dead subject), and on and on.

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN RUSSIA INSIDER

Canada Greenlights Lethal Arms Sales to Ukraine
Today, the Canadian government announced that it had added Ukraine to the Automatic Firearms Country Control List, which is a list of countries deemed to be permitted destinations for the export of firearms.

Again, although I’ve encountered misunderstanding, and even abuse, here when I have explained previously, I wish Russians to understand the situation Canadians are in.

We share a gigantic border and a massive trade with our Southern neighbor. Stopping that trade would be the equivalent impact of a war on our economy. We are that dependent, and the United States dramatically demonstrated the fact when, not long after 9/11, it halted cross-border movements temporarily to pressure Canada into agreeing to a new border regime. As for being invaded along that border, it wouldn’t take a week for America’s Frankenstein military to overrun our modest forces.

In times long past, Canada took its own views on a number of international matters, views which differed from those of the US. America was often hostile, but there was much less sense of the threat of the kind of international criminality we see today from America.

The government of Justin Trudeau is different for two reasons, I believe.

First, he is not cut from quite the same cloth as his tough and independent-minded father, Pierre. And I am very much a believer in Thomas Carlyle’s dictum, history is biography. His father would never have appointed as unpleasant, biased, and American-oriented a foreign minister as Chystia Freeland, for example.

Second, and this is important for the whole world to understand, the United States has changed drastically in the last two decades. Its path is directed by genuinely ruthless people with no morals or ethics.

Today, the world finds the US dominating Europe as never before, acting for all the world as an occupying power while pretending otherwise. The US runs arms and troops right up to Eastern borders against a number of previously given assurances in the days of President Reagan. And it constantly promotes, by many means, fear and hostility of Russia, appealing to, and keeping alive, historical prejudices of Eastern states that were far better encouraged to be forgotten.

It threatens Europe’s economic interests with arbitrarily-imposed sanctions against its natural continental trading partner, Russia. It also, with its Neocon-inspired wars raging through the Mideast, has close to destabilized the EU at times with side-effects, like armies of refugees running from American bombing and mercenary terror gangs, refugees America itself is unwilling to lift a finger to assist.

NATO is used like an organizational fig leaf to cover America’s often naked aggression in many parts and make it seem as though the aggression isn’t aggression but consensus policy by a number of Western countries. That is literally what NATO is reduced to, its original role of opposing possible Soviet aggression long having become obsolete.

Today, America makes ugly threats regularly against several countries, including Iran, Russia, North Korea, China, Venezuela, and others.

It conducts coups or organized terror campaigns or vicious dark efforts in a number of countries, including Venezuela, Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Lebanon, Somalia, and more.

It leaves the unfortunate people of Palestine, and especially those in the miserable concentration camp called Gaza, to suffer and rot under relentless Israeli abuse and oppression, Israelis using, without criticism or interference, American-supplied weapons, financial support, and assistance of every kind.

America has violently overthrown governments in a number of lands in the recent past, including those of Libya, Egypt, and Ukraine.

Through revelations in the recent past, we know that America has been even more involved in the state murder business than we ever thought before, likely victims having included Sweden’s past Prime Minister, Olaf Palme, and others.

It does all this while maintaining a smug and pious face to the world, blubbering about freedom and democracy – perhaps most extremely represented by its moral-idiot appointee at the UN, Nikki Haley, but indeed a constant feature in the language of every American official.

Of course, as the last election, America amply demonstrated to the world that it is itself incapable of running a clean election. It even featured a political murder, that of idealistic Seth Rich, apart from all the vote fraud and meaningless money-driven campaigns between two parties who represent much the same things. And as Palestine and Guantanamo and ISIS and the CIA’s dark international rendition gulag demonstrate, it cares very little about any freedom except its own freedom to behave as it wishes.

So, I can at least understand the timidity of leaders in countries like France and Germany. And I think we have to add the current government of Canada.

Many Canadians do not like foreign policy initiatives under our current government, but at the same time, they remember the ugliest government in our history, that of Stephen Harper, for the decade before.

We are at least relieved not to have that relentless assault on all of best traditions, both foreign and domestic., by an ideologue ultra-conservative like Harper.

It should be noted Mr. Harper was a vocal and relentless advocate for the Israel Lobby such as we’ve never experienced before, and it is that lobby plus their allied Neocons in Washington who have produced what I can only call an America unashamed to behave like conquering fascists abroad.

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE GUARDIAN

Star Wars: The Last Jedi: the Force, the Porgs and the future – discuss with spoilers

Will people never tire of guys in white plastic armor, a man in an orangutan suit, Mark Hamill desperately trying to look serious and thoughtful, and absolutely ridiculous hairstyles and outfits like Daisy Ridley has in the picture above?

Cowboys and Indians in space mixed with John Wayne winning WW II, all with punk costumes and computer game effects.

Truly if space is going to prove as boring as this American military-minded series has it, it ain’t worth the effort.

The one honest thing about this series: Darth Vader, perhaps inadvertently, nicely sums up America’s current role back on planet earth.

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE GUARDIAN

Trump turning US into ‘world champion of extreme inequality’, UN envoy warns
Special rapporteur Philip Alston, fresh from fact-finding tour, issues devastating critique of US society and condemns ‘private wealth and public squalor’

“Trump turning US into ‘world champion of extreme inequality’, UN envoy warns”

I’m sorry, but that is an uninformed statement.

I grew up in the United States, in a large city, and the kind of slums we see here have been around since I was young.

Detroit, Baltimore, Toledo, New Orleans, parts of Chicago, parts of New York, Newark, Gary, and dozens of other places would shock Europeans who are used to seeing only travel photos and Hollywood movies.

The stark poverty and ugliness are not in way distinguishable from parts of the third world.

And it’s not just cities. Many years ago, I was taking some photos of river bridges near Joliet, Illinois, and I turned onto a small road to get one of the shocks of my life. There was a sizable settlement of homemade shanty structures ahead on both sides of the road. It looked exactly like something from Soweto, South Africa, and perhaps worse.

The United States is full of such surprises. You find them in Appalachia and out on the Southwestern desert, quite apart from all the vast urban slums. A great many Americans live in beat-up little trailers in places like rural Maine or Arizona.

It isn’t Trump, although I’m sure he won’t be helping.

And it isn’t just Republicans.

Democrats in the national government along with Republicans have done nothing about this.

Obama, the first black president, did nothing.

The places I’ve listed plus many others have looked like scenes from hell for forty or fifty years.

America’s government has busied itself with creating new ruins in many parts of the world. instant ruins with bombs. That’s how it spends its time and resources.

Washington has shown no interest and made no effort for decades to help the American people. Washington resembles more an occupying power than a government “of the people.”

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO A BOOK REVIEW BY CHARLES KAISAR IN THE GUARDIAN

Secret meetings and dirty money in a compelling investigation of the US president’s 30-year relationship with Russia

“Collusion: How Russia Helped Trump Win the White House by Luke Harding”

I cannot believe people continue to generate this kind of stuff. Talk about “conspiracy theories,” here we have a deep new vein of them being mined to yield mountains of uninformative articles, political speeches, books, and a range of activities about Trump and Russia.

I am not a Trump supporter, but I follow current events closely. Trump is not really the target in this onslaught although his behavior and unpopularity serve to stoke the fires.

I have yet to read one fact that supports as much as a charge of public nuisance for urinating on a sidewalk.

The United States literally has been reduced to mumbo-jumbo insanity.

But, in fact, like Polonius’s observation of Hamlet, “there’s a method to his madness.”

The real target is Russia.

I believe the genuine underlying cause for all this viciousness is the anti-Russian Neocons who have seized control of American foreign policy.

Russia is seen as an enemy by them because it is the only country capable of ultimately opposing the United States, capable of ultimately obliterating the United States. China, owing to geography and its state of weapons’ development is not quite there yet, but it will be, and already, it, too, is being treated abusively.

Russia also has become one of the more fair-minded and balanced players in world affairs today. It has become everything people once railed against the Soviet Union for not being – business-oriented, communicating with the world, ready to trade and make big business deals anywhere, and with reasonably democratic institutions.

Its behaviors are measured and restrained, quite the opposite to those of the United States.

But none of that is palatable for America’s Neocons who are dangerous ideologues intensely focused on the assertion of American power. The official, accepted goal for international affairs today in America’s power establishment is termed, “full-spectrum dominance worldwide,” about as odious and dangerous a goal as you could come up with.

Fairness and reasonableness are not what is being sought by the folks who created a coup and civil war in Ukraine, started a terrible bloody war by phony-jihadi mercenaries in Syria, destroyed Libya, flattened Iraq, and are busy with a whole list of ugly, murderous projects.

We live in truly dangerous times because in matters of war and power conflicts, it is never a specific ideology – as, communism or fascism – which is truly dangerous, it is simply the existence of powerful ideologues of whatever description bent on getting their way.

And that is precisely what we have in Washington.

So, at every opportunity Russia is attacked as though it were “An Enemy of the People,” when in truth, just like Dr. Stockman in the powerful Ibsen play, it is the one opposing irrationality and aggression in the present world.

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN INVESTMENTWATCH

The Deep State’s Christmas Present to America: Surveillance That Never Ends

Absolutely, and I believe there is no going back.

The not-too-far future for Americans is to be wired into government information-collection systems in virtually everything they do.

It will include everything from data from all advanced household electronic appliances, ticket agencies, grocery stores, airlines, railroads, all state and local governments – all with a system of facial recognition cameras positioned at every important transportation node.

I doubt that anyone, and certainly not a coward like Trump, can stop this now from becoming reality.

It’s what the people with real power want. So, unless, they were somehow magically to be changed, it is what you will get. Of course, we’re already a good way along.

Americans will become effectively a herd of cattle with machine-readable tags stapled to their ears.

The entire phony War on Terror with its outrages in the Middle East, launched by Neocons for their own purposes, working with a bought-and-paid-for Congress, provides the driving force.

There are no effective checks and balances worth talking about in America. And one may easily speculate darkly about the somewhat more distant future. Already America has police forces with an international reputation for violence, but in future they will be equipped as never before.

And with the CIA running a huge computerized extrajudicial killing operation abroad, how long can it be before the same practice slips into becoming part of life in the good old USA?

It’s all self-induced and could have been avoided, but it may well be too late now. I don’t see the least bit of meaningful opposition in the “land of the free,” close to everyone being heavily conditioned now to accept the psycho-babble about “international terror” and “them and us.”

The harmless little squib fired off against the Deep State by Trump in his campaign has been silenced. He proved an extremely unchallenging opponent and in fairly short order. Indeed, he has become part of the problem.

Remember Dwight Eisenhower’s eloquent warning in his farewell address about the risks of the “military-industrial complex?” His words were often talked about but effectively ignored. Now, the threat is immensely greater and growing daily. It includes gigantic intelligence agencies, powerful and secretive lobbies, and monopolistic, entrenched media of every kind. It is an advanced metastasized cancer in the body-politic of America.

America’s plutocracy, supported by powerful and lethal agencies with the best technology, wants to run everything, and not just abroad.

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN RUSSIA INSIDER

“JFK Took a Bullet When He Tried to Make Peace With Russia, Trump Bent the Knee Instead”
_______________________

Response to another comment which said, “I still believe that the assassination was Israel’s response to Kennedy’s pressure exerted on Ben-Gurion, to shed light on Dimona’s nuclear reactor in Israel”:

This is a possibility. Israel sure had motive. And Israel acts with no conscience or ethics regularly.

Jack Ruby who featured as a central figure in the plot was more than a small-time Mafia figure. He identified very strongly with his Jewish heritage.

Of course, the CIA, on Cuba, was already in bed with the Mafia, too. And a big Mafia figure, Meyer Lansky, was an intense Israel loyalist.

So, a mix of actors is quite possible.

There is even a theory that CIA had set up a phony assassination attempt to scare Kennedy into doing something about Cuba.

This phony set-up included the Oswald imposter going to Mexico City to associate Oswald’s name with Cuba and Russia.

This theory says that other covert actors became aware of this effort and used the opportunity in Dallas to really kill Kennedy from the grassy knoll.

No matter what the details, CIA had to be involved in some fashion if only for the reason they have done nothing but lie and hide stuff ever since.

LBJ and J Edgar Hoover both hated the Kennedys and were glad for the chance to go along with anyone getting rid of him.

LBJ removed the investigation from Dallas and put it into the hands of the phony Warren Commission.

Hoover did all the investigation for the phony Commission. They did none of their own. And Hoover was fixated for no known reason on Oswald almost from the very start.

Of course, CIA itself had lots of reasons to kill Kennedy.

He fired the three top men after the Bay of Pigs, including the legendary Allen Dulles.

He threatened more action against CIA.

He ignored their advice during the Missile Crisis, and formed an extensive backchannel communication with Premier Khrushchev.

He promised never to invade Cuba again.

And he had as his closest girlfriend, Mary Pinchot, a well-off and well-connected woman who talked extensively of peace in private with Kennedy and is known to have introduced him to some drugs.

Mary was herself murdered, in professional assassin-style, less than a year after Kennedy at a time when her own investigation into his death may have been having some success. She was extremely well-connected, knowing everyone who was anyone in Washington, and her ex-husband was a very high CIA official.