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John Chuckman


Vikings were not Nazis, anti-racists tell Swedish white supremacist groups
‘White nationalists don’t get to reinvent what Viking culture is,’ says campaigner

Who thinks he can speak for the Vikings?

This is ridiculous.

They were not a people who left detailed records.

As far as the Nazis, they represented a self-declared form of new primitivism and barbarism.

Hitler openly admired the barbarism of earlier times, at least as it is represented in myths and legends. He of course was a great admirer of Wagner’s operas.

He regarded barbarism, at least as organized under the oversight of a man of destiny, as he very much saw himself, as a form of strength.

Of course, it was not quite a complete form of barbarism because so far as we understand early barbaric societies, they did not wear uniforms or march in organized fashion.

And the story of his rise to power, complete with its street fights and thuggery, would have tended to validate his beliefs.

Germany of the 1920s-early 1930s was chaotic with gangs of every description out on the streets fighting opponents. Left and Right behaved this way. Many had uniformed corps such as Hitler’s SA or Brownshirts.

He believed it was weakness to embrace modern conventions of morality and ethics and civility, only pretending to regard them in various situations as a political convenience. Christianity was very much viewed in this light, but politically he understood he could not openly fight with all the churches. He saw Germany as evolving away from Christianity.

Aspects of his kind of beliefs are still with us in many forms and variations. We see them often in the United States and in Israel in many government activities from threatening others to just taking things you want from others or to invading any country you don’t like.


John Chuckman


Twelve Facebook tips that everyone should know
Sync your calendars, censor your history and save great posts: top ways to streamline your social experience

Better advice: steer clear of this manipulative, dishonest, nasty site.

It has been caught in dishonest practices many times, and it has never made clear to its users just how their information is used.

Nor does it make clear to users the constant snares that are set to collect still more information.

Every time a question of any kind appears, it is rigged to get the information Facebook wants, not the information users would want to give.

Facebook is essentially a gigantic electronic Hoover, sucking up all kinds of information to sell for every imaginable purpose and to supply to American security services.

It’s not even aesthetically pleasing, and it offers little (other than meaningless stuff such as “likes”) that cannot be had in other ways of using the Internet.

The Guardian is a Facebook/Zuckerberg cheering section, popping up regularly with arms waving and shouts for the wonderful team.

John Chuckman


‘West’s Shadow’ Behind All Terrorist Groups, Including Daesh’ – Erdogan

Erdogan is an unpleasant and sometimes dangerous man.

But unpleasant and dangerous men can say true things.

And this certainly is an instance of that.

This is, in my view, a very important statement.

Not that it tells us anything we didn’t know, but it confirms it from a very highly-placed source.

Erdogan really does seem to be becoming alienated from “the West,” meaning, of course, America and its followers.

John Chuckman


“Incredible, But True: How Hitler, Mussolini Nearly Received Nobel Prizes”

This shouldn’t be surprising.

Hitler, before he launched the most destructive enterprise in human history, made one of the great speeches in history about peace, to quote William Shirer, the great journalist on the Third Reich.

And Hitler was admired by many prominent people at the time, including the British Royal Family and half the British aristocracy.

He was also Time Magazine’s Man of the Year for 1938.

But beyond all that, the history of the Peace Prize is quite blighted with political errors to the point I believe of having become meaningless.

It has included warmongers and at least two Israeli terrorists. It included an imperialist like Theodore Roosevelt and an absolute do-nothing at the time of his award, Obama, a do-nothing who later proved yet another warmonger.

This year, as has been done before, it was awarded to an organization, one which has no hope of ever achieving its goal. Yes, it would be nice to get rid of nuclear weapons, but only a fool or a propagandist says that it can happen.

In making this year’s again-meaningless award, the Committee ignored obvious and deserving candidates, including Julian Assange.

A prize, if it means anything, must award actual achievements, but in a great many instances the Nobel Peace Prize does not do so, and, in fact, by operating in the way it does, the Peace Prize is completely out-of-step with the Nobel prizes for science, prizes where only genuine achievement counts.

Even one of the greatest scientists of the century, Albert Einstein, did not get the prize for what all regard as his greatest work, the theory of relativity, because it was regarded at the time as a not-fully verified theory.

The Peace Prize has been reduced to a shabby political tool reflecting American political interests and a statement, occasionally, of feeble dreamer hopes from Scandinavia. Any respect that it still commands is extremely threadbare at best.

John Chuckman


“Trump to announce he will ‘decertify’ Iran nuclear deal – reports’

This provides the best measure possible of the overwhelming influence of the Israel lobby in the US.

The head of every organization and state and agency worth listening to agree on one thing: Iran has scrupulously adhered to the agreement on nuclear weapons.

What kind of a world do we build, if America can ignore and lie about such an important matter?

And America ignores and lies about this important matter under the influence of a genuine war criminal, non-stop liar, and ambitious imperialist in his own region, Netanyahu.

This is just sick, and it sadly leads the world on a one-way trip to nowhere.

You cannot make important agreements with the United States is the inevitable and dangerous conclusion.

John Chuckman


British people think they know America – but the gun control debate shows how little we do

The article is right about one thing, America does have a special relationship with guns.

And I do think many Europeans do not fully understand it.

I don’t really think it has anything to do with the Second Amendment, as many conservative Americans claim that it has.

The very idea of modern day Patriots out on the streets, dressed in camouflage with their rifles and shotguns and even other more intimidating weapons, protecting the country from “tyranny” is almost the stuff of Monty Python.

It is, after all, a country with some huge armed forces, a huge National Guard in every state, many layers – from state to county to city – of heavily armed police, plus seventeen national security organizations. Patriots would have an easier time opposing tyranny in some of the world’s dictatorships than in America.

I think the single biggest reason, generally unspoken, for the gun culture has to do with America’s racial history. On the old plantations, fear of slave revolt was a constant reality, even though there had been only one revolt of any note. Planters went to bed typically with guns and daggers under their pillows or at hand on a nightstand.

There is a massive residual fear which permeates much of America, a fear not typically mentioned in the press. Thus, we have “gated communities.” Thus, we have an endless sprawl of new “safe” communities built on what were farmlands. Thus, I believe the first military-looking SUVs sold a sense of commuter protection and not just transportation. Thus, we have the widespread ownership of guns for personal protection. Thus, we have police forces which set frightening standards for brutality with a “shoot first, ask questions later” attitude.

Quite typically today, in the urban areas where most Americans live, there are “inner city” areas where many white Americans from suburbs will not set foot. Americans from suburbs who must commute to city jobs avoid these areas. Many also carry a pistol in their car’s glove compartment. Indeed, there used to be whispered advice about not stopping if you ever have an accident with a car having black people in it.

These are just a few of the not-often-discussed realities of America, fears which drive gun ownership. And it is not just white people. The inner-cities are thick with guns, and the tales of the large-scale killings, which do go on there, only further drives everyone’s fear.

In a city like Chicago, as many as fifty or sixty may be shot on a long weekend. These are overwhelmingly young black men shooting other young black men. Most do not die, but many do, hundreds each year. And you can just imagine the tone of the local television news in reporting these events and the fears and dread of those listening, even in distant suburbs.

Response to another reader’s comment comparing American past war deaths to domestic homicides:

Yes, your point is well made, but you overstate American losses for WWII. They were just about 300,000, making the comparison with US domestic killing even more dramatic.

In general, too, American war losses are miniscule compared to what was experienced by other nations. For example, total losses in WWII exceeded 50 million people, a number which makes American losses about one-half of a percent of the world’s total.

You could say, Americans barely experienced WW II, especially when compared to, say, Russia, which lost 27 million people. When you haven’t experienced total war, you are almost certainly more cavalier about starting wars, and that certainly seems to we what we observe with contemporary America.

But there is another extremely important aspect to the American war-loss totals, one generally overlooked, and that is the genuinely horrific losses America inflicted on others. This is not widely understood, but it reflects the use of truly terrible weapons on a scale few appreciate.

The mass bombing and fire-bombing of Japan was so intense it was recorded that there were no secondary targets left standing in the entire country. And then, along came the nuclear bombing of non-military targets. If Japan had not unconditionally surrendered after two cities were obliterated, the US had planned a total series of a dozen nuclear attacks.

Later, there was the three years of carpet-bombing North Korea, estimated to have wiped out 20% of the country’s entire civilian population, a figure which if you applied it to today’s America would mean over 60 million deaths.

The carpet-bombing was repeated in Vietnam, along with many other horrors such as napalm and early cluster bombs, and the US killed about 3 million people there.

The US also bombed neutral Cambodia and eventually succeeded in destabilizing its government, allowing the Khmer Rouge to take power and create the “Killing Fields,” a horror which America did nothing to stop.

There is also America’s indifference to various horrors, such as the genocide which occurred in Indonesia after Sukarno fell. Actually, indifference is the wrong word since the American State Department was busy on the phones submitting names of communists for the waves of killing that gripped the country. At least half a million had their throats cut and their bodies dumped into rivers.

We have America’s recent vast march across the Middle East – otherwise known as the Neocon Wars – bombing in at least half a dozen lands, savaging others with mercenaries, killing at least 2 million people, and driving many millions of desperate refugees from their homes.

And over all those years, there has been a large number of lesser but still murderous actions.

The truth is that America is an extremely brutal society. And the brutality feeds both ways, too, from foreign to domestic, and vice-versa. There are lots of brutal candidates on America’s streets for its armed forces’ imperial work abroad, and the many returning soldiers, trained to kill and brutalized, add to the hazards of the streets. For example, America’s infamously brutal police forces quite often select their candidates from the ranks of returning veterans.

I just do not think you can have both a world empire, which has been the main work of America since WWII, and a decent society.

And America certainly does not have a decent society.

John Chuckman


What are the qualities making Trump so “American?” I think there are a number of them, but in this first comment on the subject, I’ll focus on just a few which are related to each other.

He is exceedingly bombastic about Patriotism, complete with photos of himself hugging flags. He enjoys the “toy soldier” militaristic qualities of football half-time shows and marching bands and the histrionic lyrics of the Star-Spangled Banner, and of course he freely expresses himself, with no sense of the dignity of the high office he holds, about the way other people may behave when the anthem is played.

“Real” Americans tend to tell you what they want you to hear, whether you want to hear it or not.

It all seems somewhat over-the-top for a man who avoided military service for the thinnest of reasons, the kind of reasons only supported by draft boards for rich young men in the 1960s. But hypocrisy about such matters, as we’ll see, is also a very old and widespread American tradition.

Cowardice, of course, is closely associated with hypocrisy. Trump has demonstrated cowardice already a number of times, but the truth is that it was there from a young age. In his election campaign, he made very telling statements about matters such as the needless Neocon Wars and Obama’s belligerence towards Russia, but as President, he immediately backed off from any action on those life-and-death matters – that is, once faced with the realities of Washington’s bristling military-security establishment. And it is only cowardice when you both claim to be devoted to something and yet refuse to serve its demands and needs, as he very much did as a young man.

It is also a form of cowardice to attack publicly other people’s beliefs in anything, including how they should or should not express their patriotic feelings. And what is more cowardly than attacking those much weaker than yourself? It is the pattern of a bully.

Trump received four draft deferments while in college, a normal experience at the time (Although there were perhaps more sincere Patriots who managed to give up their deferments and go to war. After all, with “communism threatening our very way of life,” how could you ignore it?), but upon graduating in 1968, at the very height of the Vietnam War, the year of the Tet Offensive, he became eligible for the draft. Well, he supplied a doctor’s letter about heel bone spurs and was excused.

It was the kind of deferment only rich young men could obtain. He not only had been very active in sports during college despite the bone spurs, but many millions of people have this minor condition, many of them never taking much note once they adjust to the initial discomfort which lasts only months at most, and, of course, the condition is completely correctable through a small operation, hardly a barrier to a rich young man. But it nevertheless served to keep this flag-hugging Patriot out of the military and out of Vietnam, though I’m sure he kept dutifully hugging and saluting the flag.

Avoiding military service during Vietnam was a common enough experience among future American politicians. Americans used to call some of the most aggressive, war-mongering figures in the Republican Party “chicken hawks” for their backgrounds in avoiding service.

The list of American chicken hawks includes Dick Cheney, George Bush, Dan Quale, Jeff Sessions, Tom Delay, Newt Gingrich, Joe Lieberman, Trent Lott, Mitt Romney, Ronald Reagan, Mitch McConnell, John Ashcroft, Karl Rove, Paul Wolfowitz, and includes non-politician warmongers like Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly, Jerry Falwell, Thomas Friedman, and William Kristol. Of course, there is no longer a draft, but the warmonger types still often include those who did no service such as Ted Cruz, Rick Santorum, and Marco Rubio. So, Trump is in very good company in America.

Hypocrisy in Patriotism goes back a long way with American leaders. The godfather of them all is, perhaps, Thomas Jefferson, exactly the person Samuel Johnson had in mind when he spoke of Patriotism as the refuge of scoundrels or when he condemned those in America who yelped about liberty while being drivers of negroes.

Jefferson, of course, is famous for blubbering about the tree of liberty requiring bloodshed periodically for its growth. Yet, as Governor of Virginia during the Revolutionary War, he never picked up a musket, and he set a then-hilarious example of getting on his horse and riding non-stop until exhausted when a small troop of British Cavalry approached his home. He was the butt of rude jokes among Americans and British for a long time.

He demonstrated his bravery again when the Continental Congress tried to appoint him as a negotiator in Europe and he pleaded to be excused for fear of being captured by the British, leaving the redoubtable Ben Franklin to do the job he shirked.

John Chuckman


The dancing, beer-drinking woman who would be Egypt’s next president
Running against al-Sisi might be a risky prospect, but Mona Prince cuts a bold figure in this repressive society

“Abdel Fatah al-Sisi won the last election with 96% of the vote”

Nonsense, Egypt ceased being a democracy with the overthrow of Mohamed Morsi.

Morsi was Egypt’s first and only democratic president.

Quoting Al-Sisi’s official vote tally is precisely the same thing as quoting the election results under the old Soviet system or indeed the referendum votes once Hitler was ensconced as dictator. Always not too far from 100%.

Mona Prince appears an energetic and challenging character, but she as much chance of being “elected” in Egypt as I have.

Morsi was overthrown by cooperation between the CIA and Egypt’s armed forces.

Yes, there was popular discontent, but in what democratic state is there not discontent? Look at today’s America. Morsi was overthrown because Israel had become extremely upset by a couple of his acts and statements.

John Chuckman


“Elon Musk: SpaceX can colonise Mars and build moon base”

Musk is a very intelligent man, so what can you say of such a nonsense assertion?

Well, it keeps excitement going and likely keeps speculative investors investing.

Mars is a totally hostile environment, making even the most polluted earth imaginable look cozy by comparison.

Mars offers zero promise of anything except maybe minerals which could be better exploited by robots.

Yes, there are always adventurer types willing to go anywhere, and in the days of the New World being opened, they were important.

But we already know Mars in remarkable detail from all our robots and satellites.

It has almost no atmosphere. It is incredibly cold. Its surface is a vast wasteland which makes the Southwestern American desert look lush, and it now turns out that it is poisonous too.

The only possibility of any life would be bacteria under the surface. Future robots are infinitely more suited to discovering it than people.

John Chuckman


Donald Trump unveils ambitious plan to overhaul US tax system

The United States, right now, is running massive, massive deficits in its budgets.

And those are destined only add to the greatest heap of debt in recorded history.

At the same time, the great corporations of America are so unbelievably flush with cash, they don’t know what to do with it.

Of course, one of the things they will inevitably do is buy up other companies and extend themselves into still new areas.

Already, a number of them are troubling-sized multi-corporations, butting into every corner of our lives.

Also, at the same time, individual wealth in the United States has reached grotesque levels, and the division between wealth and poverty has grown frighteningly large.

Personal fortunes like those of Mr Microsoft or Mr Facebook or Mr Amazon are only possible under a tax system already badly axed by the likes of George Bush.

This all means not only great inequality, but, almost more importantly, it means vast concentration of power.

The United States already is more of a plutocracy than a democracy. It took a multi-billionaire to defeat the best-financed candidate in history, one who spent somewhere between $1.2 and $1.8 billion on her defeat.

Too many people in the United States do not appreciate the intimate connection between concentrating personal wealth and lack of democracy because of the deep attachment to the concept that what you earn is yours and yours alone. It is a very dangerous attitude over the long term.

I fear that these measures will only add to the horrors we see in the world. The American establishment – the plutocrats supported by their huge military-security establishment – has been on a non-stop tear for years to dominate everywhere, its Pentagon-generated slogan being, “full-spectrum dominance.”

Increased concentration of wealth in the United States threatens all of us long-term militarily but also economically. Financial instability in the United States has the capacity to put us all back into a Great Depression. Of course, Trump further adds to this possibility with his wolf-pack approach to international trade and destabilizing arbitrary acts.

And here comes boy genius Trump to say we need to pay even fewer taxes. He is playing what likely is the last round of a nasty game played by Republican leaders from Reagan through Bush, reduce taxes to gain votes but also to increase the flow of campaign finances from grateful billionaires, money so crucial to America’s money-drenched politics.

It is actually a nightmare scenario, and we are all going to be forced to live through its results.

John Chuckman


Israel shooting: Palestinian kills three at Jewish settlement near occupied West Bank

All of the trouble and violence was started by Israel.

When you do what Israel has been doing in the West Bank and in East Jerusalem, you can expect to make serious enemies.

How would the average person in Britain, or anywhere else, act if a bunch of bullies threw you off your farm or out of your house and simply stole it from you, setting up armed guards against your return? The men shot were guards.

And Israel just keeps this kind of ferocious and immoral activity up, using its American-supplied military muscle to abuse almost beyond our imagination.

Israel arrogantly ignores all pleas to behave otherwise, blubbering about democracy. Some democracy!

Response to a comment offering a dishonest brief account of Israel’s birth:

That is a dishonest summary of what happened in 1948.

It was complex, not simple, and the yet-to-be Israelis were brutal then too, employing terror regularly with gangs of thugs like Irgun and Stern and Lehi, killing and raping to make Palestinians run away in terror.

Several later-to-be prime ministers were terrorists who killed many people. Begin and Shamir for example.

Israel was founded in terror, and it has never ceased to maintain (early Zionist) Jabotinsky’s Iron Wall rule towards the native people.

Those unbelievably-mistreated people of Gaza are only where they are because they fled terror in 1948.

The early Jewish terrorists wanted them all to leave the area completely, not caring what became of them, but large numbers huddled together around Gaza for safety, and the Jewish terrorists were not ready for mass killing on quite that scale.

The horrific publicity would have made American recognition impossible.

But the Iron Wall just keeps slowly moving out, crushing more unfortunates out of their property and lives.

It would be hard to think of a more painful, brutal injustice on the planet, one which just continues year after year, one largely ignored thanks to America’s massive and dishonest influence in the West.

John Chuckman


Labour conference 2017: Jeremy Corbyn’s leader’s speech – Politics live

“Labour’s denial of antisemitism in its ranks leaves the party in a dark place’

That’s The Guardian’s Jonathan Freedland in another article about Labour, an article on which we are not allowed to comment.

To my mind, that’s just the worst form of reverse prejudice.

That headline works to tar the party with an ugly accusation without the slightest indication of a fact.

I don’t see how The Guardian can go about in this fashion, claiming as it does to be a voice for the liberal spirit, yet making dark accusations without an ounce of proof.

America’s Senator Joseph McCarthy personified the very opposite of a liberal spirit, and just so anyone who copies his shabby behavior.


The Vietnam War review – Ken Burns makes a complex story immediately comprehensible

This is the second review of Ken Burns in just a few days.

I cannot agree with this reviewer’s “The Vietnam War review – Ken Burns makes a complex story immediately comprehensible”

I am familiar with the work of Burns, and his glossy, pop documentaries cannot do what is claimed for a profound and disturbing event. Baseball, maybe. Hell, no, and the Vietnam War was a jump straight into hell.

Response to a reader who said “After watching last night it struck me the real baddies were the French?”

The French were supported and encouraged and pushed every step of the way by America.

Nixon, as Vice-President, actually wanted to provide direct American air support for their efforts.

Eisenhower wasn’t having any of that because he always tried to avoid direct military colonial conflicts to preserve his image – it was under Eisenhower that the Allen Dulles’ CIA was heavily used to covertly attack people America didn’t like, from overthrowing democratic governments in Guatemala and Iran to other governments in a dozen other places. Old smiling Ike was responsible for the growth of the ugly CIA we see today.

Anyway, Eisenhower gave the French everything he thought he could, and by Kennedy’s election (1960), the CIA was deeply entrenched in Vietnam as were a fair number of military “advisors.” The (temporary) division of the country, after the French defeat and departure (1954), was itself an American-engineered business.

America wanted a pied-a-terre in mainland Asia, and the whole war which burst out with Lyndon Johnson was nothing more than an effort to establish that permanently. The military-intelligence establishment had been very frustrated by Kennedy’s approach to Vietnam. When he conveniently died, they had their man in Lyndon Johnson.

But he had to get elected on his own first, and he lied his way through doing that – remember the controversial ad of a young girl with a flower and an atomic explosion, an ad aimed at Barry Goldwater saying he was a threat to peace? – before starting the full-scale war he hungered for, wanting to be seen as a great war-president, a new Roosevelt, never dreaming America would be defeated.

The American establishment and leaders in Vietnam were very dark figures, evil, if anything deserves to be called that, but you will never hear that from insipid Ken Burns.

John Chuckman


“The Kurds of Iraq have been loyal allies. The west must repay its debt”
Kurdish independence is under threat from powerful neighbours. The west should not stand by and see this dream of self-rule crushed

Loyal allies? Loyal to what? American imperialism in the region? Debt for what? For helping America make a bloody mess of the place?

‘…the Kurds have proven loyal and valuable allies in the struggle against Islamic State”

What struggle with ISIS is the writer talking about?

The real one involving Syria and Russia or the shadow-play version involving the US and its coalition?

Yes, the US finally did some real bombing, after a few years of fake bombing, against ISIS in the last little while, but that was really only in preparation for its fallback plans in the region, having failed in Syria with its support for folks like ISIS and Al-Nusra.

There is nothing heroic or principled or even ethical in the American effort. And use of that loaded and outdated term, “the West” is just an appeal to sentiments from the Cold War that have no application here.

We should be grateful for an invasion which killed about a million people and destroyed a prosperous state for a generation? I don’t think so, but I’m sure Tony Blair agrees.

It did pretty much manage to destroy Iraq, and Iraq’s being split into mini-states was anticipated years ago in an expert book.

You see, the US wants to separate the truncated Iraq from its oil in the Kurdish area. It also wants to put this oil at the disposal of Israel. And it wants the Kurds in Syria to join in, truncating that state too.

The author is right that the Kurds have been badly treated, for sure, but one of those historically mistreating them was the US itself. Henry Kissinger succeeded in getting them to revolt against Saddam with promises and aid. When Saddam ruthlessly suppressed them, the US just watched.

I normally support referendums, but this one has no legitimacy. You see, Iraq is still occupied. Its affairs are manipulated, the US having built a fortress-like embassy/CIA operations center there which is the largest in the region. A vote has no legitimacy under those conditions.

Moreover, the combination of Turkey, Iran, and Syria are going to make it very hard for such a state to succeed. They each have their own reasons for opposing it.

By the way, if loyal allies” automatically deserve something, then the subsidized and trained mercenaries posed as radical Muslims of ISIS and al-Nusra surely also deserve something?

Lunacy begets only more lunacy.


Hillary Again Says Putin ‘Kills Journalists’ – Charlie Rose Doesn’t Blink RI
So here his Hillary on his show Monday night with her truly delusional ideas about why she lost the election.

You don’t need to call him names.

Charlie Rose has always been a mediocre interviewer/journalist. He could only pass for deep in America.

His interviews, many years ago when I last heard him, always left you feeling as though you had heard a lot of inflated nothing, much like the feeling you get from eating a McDonald’s hamburger.

He spent years on PBS, and for anyone who really knows that insipid network, that pretty much says it all.

You cannot be a hard-hitting journalist on any American television network, much less PBS which is always just getting by fighting political battles in Washington over its very existence. Controversy simply is not allowed, unless its the kind of manufactured fantasy-controversy you get from a Hillary Clinton or a Donald Trump.

That Hillary still goes about speaking the way she does is pathetic. Here is a major American political figure with nothing to say except attacking a foreign leader and blaming every official in her own party and the last president’s government for her election loss. She is as devoid of real content as the McDonald’s hamburger.

In case you hadn’t noticed, there is an underlying theme in this shabby interview, a theme which literally is symbolic of contemporary America.

Nothing that really matters is ever discussed, from terrible domestic problems of poverty and racism to the horrible colonial wars which have killed and crippled millions and to the overwhelming role of big money in national politics which literally reduces the country to a plutocracy.

No, a national issue in today’s United States is whether football players are being Patriotic enough when they peacefully protest, their gesture being so mild and insignificant you’d miss it if you blinked.

America simply cannot tolerate real talk or criticism of any kind, and It lives in an intellectually-mushy environment of fantasy-problems and political correctness, except when the topic comes around to foreigners, whether foreign leaders who do not take their lead from America or migrants of any kind, all of them being pretty much regarded as horrible and undesirable.

This is an unhealthy national intellectual environment, to say the least. It perhaps reflects all the doubts and uncertainties Americans feel as they sense the coming of a new world, one which before too long will not regard America’s view as quite so important as it has been since WWII. That is a hard thing for any highly privileged and fortunate group to accept, their coming loss of privilege with a threatening set of changed circumstances clearly approaching.

A world where the views of other states are important, with compromises to be made and international arrangements and institutions for governing relationships, something which is highly repulsive to a large part of Americans, both Trump’s Trailer Park supporters and supporters of Hillary’s vicious War Party. In a word, the decline of the American Empire, something whose first indications can clearly be felt.


‘Have we not learned from the war?’ Re-emergence of Germany’s far-right brings back memories of darker times
The nationalist Alternative fur Deutschland (AfD) party won 93 seats in parliament, the first time a far-right party has entered the Bundestag in almost six decades

Oh, please, it is Angela Merkel whom you should be addressing.

Her policies created a backlash, policies from supporting Obama’s hideous Neocon Wars to embracing the chaos they created with millions of refugees.

The vote was a protest.

Saying anything else is just unobservant.

Response to a comment which said “The horrors of AntiSemitism are sadly on the rise…at the Labour party conference”

Only in your mind and in the minds of others who simply do not like Jeremy Corbyn.

Minds which are too afraid to say what they really believe and fear.

It is Corbyn’s fair-minded views on the Middle East which are hated, not any non-existent anti-Semitism.

All the empty charges hurled about are just shabby attacks on a decent man.

And they are an effort to influence Corbyn in an indirect and dishonest fashion should he come to power.

No genuinely liberal-spirited person can be anti-Semitic. It is quite literally an oxymoron to say so.

It is nonsense which is promoted in Israel where the word “liberal” has been deliberately turned into a dirty word when applied to any foreigners.

Why is that? Because liberals are the truest critics of oppression and barbaric policies, so they are hated in a place where those things are openly permitted to exist.

People always forget who the Nazis and fascists really were.

They were the Right Wing – whether in the United States, where there were plenty of them, with people like Henry Ford or Charles Lindbergh, or in Germany whose great industrialists financed Hitler, or to Britain where the Royal Family and good parts of the aristocracy adored him.

It is precisely today’s attacks on liberals that are dangerous and short-sighted if you really think about it.

The Right Wing – whether David Cameron or the kings of Saudi Arabia or Egypt’s el-Sisi or Benjamin Netanyahu himself – gets a pass.

There are none so blind as those who will not see.

John Chuckman


Famous 2016 US Election Hoaxer Paul Horner Reportedly Found Dead at 38
Horner claimed his fake news articles had helped get Trump elected; he fooled his readers with invented tales about President Obama being gay and a radical Muslim.

I really do not think people making this kind of outlandish claim had any great effect on the election.

He was “preaching to the choir,” as they say.

America’s Extreme Right always loathed Obama, undoubtedly for little other reason than he was black.

People abroad perhaps cannot imagine how much racism exists just below the surface in America, almost like chemical waste under a lake.

John Chuckman


The Vietnam War: terror, heartbreak and helicopters ablaze in an epic documentary

Ken Burns produces the video-equivalent of coffee table books.

His past historical series are expensive kitsch, having little historical value beyond viewers seeing some interesting archive photographs.

His whole career has been in doing this for Public Television in the United States, an institution so cautious, so safe, so unflinchingly patriotic, so unquestioning that much of its programming resembles pabulum for babies.

I lived through the war and protests and horror, and I would not give Ken Burns five minutes to lay out his interpretation.

I understand from other reviews that he is basically using the “tragic mistake” line, the line which can be easily swallowed by most now – again, much like baby pabulum – eliciting little controversy or anger or truth.

But it most certainly was not a mistake.

It was a deliberate war of aggression which Lyndon Johnson – always a loyalist to folks like J. Edgar Hoover at the FBI or the Pentagon and CIA – started firing up as soon as he was safely in office, having lied to everyone in order to get there.

The Gulf of Tonkin incident was no mistake. It was a deliberate fraud to provide an excuse for war.

And what a war.

It was a true holocaust. Americans killed about three million people there, many of them in the most horrible fashion, as with napalm, early cluster bombs, and carpet bombing. It left the country a savage wreck with land mines and Agent Orange spread everywhere.

It helped kill at least a million more in Cambodia, a land it kept bombing and sending troops secretly into until its neutral government fell, making way for the horrors of the Killing Fields, something, by the way, America did nothing to stop.

No, throwing prisoners out of helicopters was not a mistake.

The CIA’s Project Phoenix – in which belly-crawling American special forces slipped out night after night to cut the throats of village leaders and other non-military figures, killing somewhere between twenty and forty thousand in this way – was not a mistake.

And those American helicopters taking off from the embassy at the shabby end, with the desperate hands of Vietnamese associates being pried or gun-butted off the landing gear as they took off to leave them all to their fate, was not a mistake.

Nor were the countless incidents of rape and murder by troops or the thousands of women left with no support for their Amer-Vietnamese children.

And all for what? For Captain Ahab seeking “the damned white whale.”

The war displayed American values at their most raw and vicious. What we see today in Trump and others is almost child’s play by comparison.

Response to a reader who wrote “Vietnam is a rare war for which Britain (thanks to Harold Wilson) didn’t sign up”:

Yes, thanks to Wilson.

And thanks to Pearson in Canada.

You know, Lyndon Johnson actually grabbed Peace-Prize winner Pearson by the lapels and pushed him against a wall, trying to “convince” him to commit some troops. We have the story from a very reliable source.

That’s the Lyndon Johnson who created all the horror in Vietnam, and much more before he left the presidency.

It is a sad exercise today to compare Europe’s leaders under America’s almost equally-destructive and brutal Neocon Wars in the Middle East.

There is not one Wilson. Not one Pearson.

John Chuckman


The Danger Of Patriotism

Samuel Johnson had it right at the time of the American Revolution on the subject of Patriots.

He especially had in mind at the time Thomas Jefferson, the biggest hypocrite in American history as well as the godfather of all the stupid militia and extremist groups America has produced since, including, by the way, the American Confederacy whose secession he anticipated and set the example for in Virginia decades earlier.

Response to another reader’s comment:

Yes, partly right.

Patriotism as practiced in America is actually a secular religion or cult with the Founders replacing the Disciples, the Flag replacing the Cross, the Declaration and Constitution replacing the Bible, plus a strong propensity to think only you are right and others are not worthy.

And all of the things on which the Patriot Faith is founded, as the American Constitution and Declaration of Independence, are heavily flawed and increasingly outdated, just as the Bible is.

Of course, you cannot say that to a Patriot True Believer without being treated much the way Christians used to treat heretics.

The events of the Revolution, which I have studied closely, as recited by True Believer Patriots are as full of exaggerations, myths, and fibs as the Biblical tales of Jonah or Lott’s wife or Jesus and the Devil’s Temptation.

There’s no explaining religion, it comes from dark places in the human mind, and America’s version of Patriotism is absolutely a religion, a very aggressive and unforgiving one, much, by the way, as was Communism at its height.

John Chuckman




The words of an idiot.

People in America do not have the right to protest?

Good God, what does it mean to be an American then?

Someone who supports a military which has killed at least 2 million people in the last 15 years of Neocon Wars?

Someone who supports thug police who kill over 1,100 Americans each year?

Someone who supports an elected idiot for President, a man who says you cannot protest?

A man, by the way, who evaded military service himself.

John Chuckman


Donald Trump ‘so proud’ of Nascar plan to sack anyone that protests against national anthem

Here is what America has come to in the 21st century.

Hillbilly Nascar owners threatening drivers over any hint of exercising free speech at the behest of the country’s first Trailer Park President.

“This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.”

John Chuckman


Labour is traditionally the party of the oppressed. So it’s about time Corbyn sorted their issue with antisemitism. Until Corbyn is seen to be on our side against the antisemites, British left-wing Jews won’t be able to contribute to the party

“…sorted their issue with antisemitism”?

Sadly, such words are not uncommon today, but they truly are the words of idiots.

They are themselves loaded with prejudice or hate.

You cannot say such things if you have even a touch of fairness in your make-up.

And they are more than that. They are a political threat against someone so he will do the (unspecified) things that you want done. To what level would politics descend if everyone acted along those lines?

It much resembles the United States’ and Israel’s contemporary approach to the United Nations: do things my way or I won’t pay my dues.

If you have any genuine evidence about hate or hateful acts, then you are obliged to offer the specific evidence, minus the name-calling.

But we never get that, do we? We just get the name-calling and innuendo, as we did for months following Corbyn’s first election as leader. It was one of the most shameful displays in postwar British history.

That was an extended display of genuine McCarthyism. American Senator Joseph McCarthy in the early 1950s, a secret drunk whose career was failing, exploded onto the national scene waving a fistful of pieces of paper and shouting claims that they contained the names of a couple of hundred communists in the government.

We never saw any evidence, and we never even saw the names.

McCarthy went on like that for some time because there were secret interests backing him, interests like that master of hate and dishonesty and manipulation, J. Edgar Hoover. And just so here.

Many who have used this attack against Corbyn for one reason only: they simply do not like his views – completely fair-minded and balanced most would agree – on Palestine and Israel.

They do not want a Corbyn government simply because it would not be quite so obsequious to the often-unfair demands of Israel as the governments of Theresa May or David Cameron.

A Corbyn government might even expect that Israel show its dedication to peace rather than to territorial expansion and oppression of millions.

Terrible thing, that would be, don’t you think?

Tony Blair was very much in the Cameron camp and had a hand in starting all the original attacks against Corbyn. Now, Blair is a man of high moral character indeed.

Blair’s entire record of invading Iraq, helping kill a million people, receiving the Israel Peace Prize, and being showered with many sinecures in gratitude for his help, such as his well-paid, do-nothing appointment to the Middle East Quartet, display his unquestioning loyalty to Israel’s interests, ignoring fairness and justice.

In public life in the West, you are not allowed to be fair about Israel, you must be fanatically in its corner, ignoring all the rights of millions of others and ignoring Israel’s terrible abuses.

It is a very twisted worldview, and one of the methods for enforcing it in Western countries is a constant readiness to label people as anti-Semites. Or, in party circles, to withdraw monetary support, just as this writer does.

“Somehow, we as Jews are not allowed the title of minority, and antisemitism, as a crime, is not taken seriously.”

It would be hard to come up with a more dishonest assertion.

Those claims are false, entirely.

Jews are regarded as a legitimate minority, everywhere. I can’t think of an instance where they are not. If anything, in most jurisdictions, Jews are a minority whose rights and interests are more closely guarded than those of any other.

And anti-Semitism has been built into our laws despite the extremely grey and difficult matter of actually defining anti-Semitism in many instances.

We all know Nazi-like gutter literature when we see it, but the truth is we virtually never see it. It is banned, everywhere.

And speeches like Nazis used to make have been banned, everywhere.

Plus, we have dozens of other laws concerned with anti-Semitism, and they are enforced, everywhere.

But we also have demands for unfair new laws such as one making support of the peaceful BDS protest movement illegal. (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions – the exact tactics used years ago against Apartheid South Africa or in the American South against Jim Crow laws).

Israel and its lobbies have worked hard to get such anti-BDS laws passed in many Western countries, nearly doing so recently in America, gaining the support of almost half the Senate with intense lobbying, even though such laws are plainly unconstitutional in lands where a Bill or Charter of Rights exists, something which, incidentally, has never existed in Israel where the rights of minorities are at the complete mercy of the majority.

Rather than genuine anti-Semitism, what we do typically see is people rightly questioning Israel’s motives and methods, its abuse and brutality and aggression, and we see other people, Israel’s apologists, suggesting or declaring that they must be anti-Semitic for noticing and saying so.

Response to another comment:

No one argues with the truly great contribution of Jews to Western civilization, but that has nothing to do with the topic, and, again, you assert what you do not prove, that violence against Jews is increasing.

I cannot honestly recall reading of one instance of violence against Jews in Britain.

On the other hand, we have an almost daily spewing of open hatred against Muslims. It very much is in the news. Daily.

Jews are leaving? We hear this assertion over and over, but where are the stats?

Who are all these people and where are they going?

To Israel? I doubt that. Moving from a relatively peaceful land of opportunity like Britain to one of genuine strife and hatreds and violence like Israel?

John Chuckman


Fearful neighbours look on as Iraq’s Kurds stake claim to nationhood Monday’s independence poll for the Kurdish north is supported by voters but opposed by Turkey, Baghdad and the west, which fear it will deepen instability

Well, perhaps were the vote taking place under normal circumstances, I could support it.

But it is not, and I do not.

The country has been at war, and still is to some degree.

The United States effectively illegally occupies the country with many military and intelligence facilities, including the most massive fortress-like embassy/CIA operations center in the Middle East, built after the invasion with no genuine permission from Iraq.

All of these plans for the Kurds have been made with United States’ covert efforts.

In that sense, the vote is a fraud.

Many condemn Russia about Crimea, where there truly was a free vote before Russia entered, so how can anyone support the legitimacy of this vote after US invasion and under US occupation?

John Chuckman


Universal healthcare in the US is possible. We already have proof Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris’s universal healthcare bill is a step towards a humane and cost-effective system. Naysayers are denying reality

I’ll believe it when I see it, which I strongly suspect will be never.

I just do not think British people have a good grasp on American political attitudes.

“Socialized medicine,” for that is what universal healthcare is widely disparagingly termed there, is a non-starter.

The word “socialism,” which Bernie likes to throw around is only slightly less popular than “communism” or “radical Islam.”

That is the mindset of average Americans after a lifetime of wading through rivers of propaganda from the corporate press and some pretty Neanderthal politicians in key positions for life.

Also, British articles seem to have an exaggerated idea of Bernie Sanders.

He is not a powerful Senator, holding no really important Committee Chairmanships, and he comes from a state with the population of a large neighborhood of London. I believe it’s about 700,000. Tiny. Industrially insignificant. With virtually no corporate headquarters.

Bernie is an attractive figure, but in the brutal terms of American political reality, he is not too far from being a non-person.

John Chuckman


Healthcare bill: Latest Republican attempt at Obamacare repeal suffers grievous blow after John McCain announces opposition
‘I take no pleasure in announcing my opposition’, Mr. McCain said.

McCain is no hero on this or any other matter.

A life-long creep, a true war lover, he is, in his last days, behaving in a very strange way.

No one completely understands why this is so. His entire life bespeaks a man of the most extreme selfishness and right-wing sympathies.

He does personally hate Trump, we know.

And we know, in recent time, he has received substantial funds from George Soros. Their extent and what they are supposed to be buying we do not know.

Of course, Soros, in general, is himself kind of weird jokester who likes manipulating others with his wealth, a kind of political psychopath. He too has some very dark chapters in his life, as with his early Nazi associations in his native Hungary.

American politics are a dark and murky place, and few can understand what is going on from the kind of normal, simple headlines we see in newspapers.

For McCain’s life achievements, see:

Another aspect of McCain’s glorious career: