Archive for the ‘BERNIE SANDERS’ Tag

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: ON A COMMENT CALLING AMERICAN POLITICIANS OMAR AND TLAIB “WOLVES IN SHEEP’S CLOTHING” – YOU CANNOT EXPECT COMPLETE HONESTY FROM ANY U.S. POLITICIAN – AFTER ALL WE ARE SPEAKING ABOUT THE CAPITAL OF AN EMPIRE, NOT 1960s SWEDEN – THE REALITIES OF LIBERALISM IN AMERICA   Leave a comment

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ITEM IN MOON OF ALABAMA

 

“There are freshmen from Michigan and Maryland in Congress who recently made some news with comments about the Zionist lobby. Some anti-imperialists and progressives lauded them for their efforts and defended them against attacks. But these are wolfs in sheep clothing.

“Rep. Ilhan Omar: ‘The people of Syria revolted against Assad’s repressive dictatorship 8 years ago today, demanding a more just and free government. Peace loving people around the world stand in solidarity with them in this struggle!’

“Rashida Tlaib: ‘The anniversary of the uprising against the oppression in Syria was yesterday. We must recognize the struggle of those who organized and stood up against injustice. It is my hope that we can see a Syria that is truly free one day.’”

 

I like Ilhan Omar for speaking out on Palestine, just as I like Tulsi Gabbard’s efforts to understand the ugly war in Syria. I admire them both for public courage.

But, please, this is America we are talking about.

To expect anyone in American politics to come along with completely fresh and informed and honest views is just dreaming.

Just as with Bernie Sanders’ so-called socialism or, indeed, anything at all about Sanders.

He’s a distinguished-looking bag of hot air.

He showed everyone what he was made of in his confrontation with the woman who plainly stole the nomination from him, Hillary Clinton.

He’s never been a strong voice against global empire, against the secret terror of the CIA, against the vast intrusions of the NSA, or against the monstrous waste and mass killing of the Pentagon.

And then we have that thoroughbred phony, Elizabeth Warren, making precious little noises all the time about progressive matters while voting for hateful defense and security budgets and never opposing all those wars and offering us in speeches smatterings of the establishment’s poison about Iran.

I’ve said it many times. There are no liberals, genuine liberals, in the United States, at least not in any positions of authority or influence. Not one in the national government. Not one in charge of a major news source. None guiding the nation’s great institutions and foundations and education establishments.

America is about empire and the wars required to sustain it, and that is pretty much it. The rest is elaborate window dressing, theater, playacting. Empires do not get built and maintained and expanded by nice guys, and the resources constantly pouring into empire leave no room for great human or humane efforts.

Another thing I’ve said many times is that you can have either an empire or a decent country, but you cannot have both. America made its choice, long ago.

The entire atmosphere of the place, the education system, the press, the churches, the politics – all immersed and saturated in war and the drive for empire with little room for other values. It can be seen and heard and felt in a thousand details.

What could be more blatantly unfair and anti-democratic than what we see being done to Venezuela today? Yet, where are the American voices against their government’s open use of threats and terror? The politicians? The editors? The great university heads? The church leaders?

Some might claim an excuse over events in Syria because many facts about responsibility for that set of atrocities remained well hidden for a long time. Many facts remain hidden still, despite our learning a good deal here and there.

But here, in the case of Venezuela, we see daily the blunt face of fascism telling people who they should vote for, who should swear himself in as President, who should control the country’s assets, and destroying the national power grid, an act of terror which undoubtedly killed and injured many and destroyed what was in the fridges of literally millions of the most ordinary people.

Why isn’t anyone shouting at the top of their lungs?

All this done by men who say they respect democracy and human rights and expect to be respected in the world as leaders.

You know, Hitler gave one of the great speeches about peace, not long before he started a new war. It was reported by that great journalist and chronicler of Nazi Germany, William Shirer.

And, under the Nazis, Germany had some window dressings of progressivity, various socialistic measures, if you will. It even sometimes held plebiscites.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: FORMER CIA WHISTLEBLOWER JOHN KIRIAKOU TELLS AN ANECDOTE FROM HIS TIME IN JAIL – EVEN THE POST OFFICE SPIES ON YOU – BUT HERE’S WHY THE AMERICAN NATIONAL SECURITY STATE CANNOT BE STOPPED   Leave a comment

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY JOHN KIRIAKOU IN CONSORTIUM NEWS

 

“Neither Rain, Sleet, nor Snow Will Stop the Post Office From Spying on You

“It’s called the “Mail Cover Program” and it’s run by the U.S. Postal Service (USPS). Yes, even the Post Office is spying on us

 

Good little piece.

I like the personal anecdote about sending his wife a card from prison (where this convicted CIA whistleblower spent just short of two years), something which highlights humble realities of life in a national security state.

“In general, Americans don’t–or at least haven’t–objected to a gradual loss of civil liberties and constitutional rights. That has to stop.”

The first part of that statement seems so true. But the herd behavior of populations, so counted upon by advertisers and marketers, is very much also counted upon by the power establishment and its security apparatus. I say “its” because that’s who is largely being served, not people in general.

I personally take a dark view of the second part of the statement, “That has to stop.”

There is no effective political mechanism for dealing with the situation.

The parties are both married to the security state through money.

Government by, of, and for the privileged and wealthy is what you have.

The combination of the various security mechanisms, the military, and the bought-and-paid-for members of the legislature work round the clock for their interests.

That is what the Dark State is, what America is.

Small independent voices heard in American politics are just that, small and independent. They are tolerated, but they have no power or hope of power.

The more prominent seeming-rebels – a Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren – are just more of the same old, same old, dressed up in jeans and beads.

When you support activities like America’s outlaw work in Venezuela, when you support Dark State creatures like Hillary Clinton, and when you vote for Pentagon budgets, when you parrot all the lines about Iran or Syria, you are only a pretend critic, a potential reformer of nothing that counts. Moreover, even your more fanciful ideas about matters such as education and healthcare have zero chance ever without fundamental reform. That’s Sanders and Warren, completely.

The truth is that any kind of serious popular movement has almost no chance of accomplishing anything in a contemporary, advanced Western state. Just look at France’s Gilets Jaunes. There was a genuine, spontaneous popular movement and it started to have some impact, but France’s national security apparatus – and France is a state just like the United States in the way it is run – now appears to have quieted them with false accusations of being associated with anti-Semitism and a possibly contrived provocative event.

Sorry, but that really is how I see America, and I consider myself very much a realist.

 

 

 

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: HOW AMERICAN POLITICS REALLY WORK – WHY THERE ARE TERRIBLE CANDIDATES AND CONSTANT WARS AND PEOPLES’ PROBLEMS ARE IGNORED – WHY HEROES LIKE JULIAN ASSANGE ARE PERSECUTED AND RIGHTS ARE TRAMPLED AND WHY NOTHING WORTH DOING GETS DONE   20 comments

John Chuckman

EXPANSION OF A COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY CHRIS HEDGES IN RUSSIA INSIDER

 

“The War on Assange Is a War on Press Freedom”

“The persecution of Assange is part of a broad assault against anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist news organizations.”

 

Wow, what an excellent piece of analysis.

I wouldn’t subtract or change a word.

I might add a point or two.

Chris Hedges includes the rot of money in American politics, but there is a lot more to be said about what is at the very heart of things.

The extent of it is not well understood by the average American and certainly not understood by observers abroad.

America has basically managed to create an elaborate political system with all the showy external trappings of democracy but almost none of its content.

America today is run by a relatively small number of people who control the levers in both parties because they control the money available, truckloads of it. These people are served by the American empire’s security-military apparatus and the politicians in Washington who are beholden to them.

The whole gang together, what I tend to call America’s power establishment, has an almost closed system serving themselves. That is why nothing beneficial or useful or even decent can get done in America anymore. And, of course, they do not like those who, like Assange, bring any light to the dark realities of American government.

The unquestioned power of that money-drenched American establishment is why there is now a continuous stream of wars which are not in the average American’s interest at all but are buried under thick layers, almost like stage make-up, of rhetoric about Patriotism and defending freedom.

There are almost no useful or effective rules governing the use of money in American politics. There are also no useful or effective rules governing the operations of America’s immensely powerful special-interest lobbies.

So, if I were a motivated young politician with some good ideas and intentions, I would virtually never stand a chance against the establishment candidate whose millions buy television ads, enable him to travel everywhere with elaborate support, and have the services of everything from a make-up man to pollsters and public relations flacks.

Of course, accidents do happen, and, once in a thousand times, a little guy does manage to win owing to some peculiar local set of circumstances, an event which will be jumped on by the establishment press as showing that things still work for the little guy in America. But such events are almost meaningless because their numbers are necessarily so small. They do not characterize the system because they cannot.

An individual little hero here or there, as a Bernie Sanders, means nothing in the big picture. Its just like a nice little bookstore trying to compete with Amazon or a local specialty soft drink maker trying to compete with Coca-Cola.

They can have their tiny local business, but they cannot dream of seriously competing with the monster corporation. And the truth is often that the monster corporation can put them out of business at any time it decides to do so, or it can buy them out, but it is usually not worth the effort.

Many people do not understand that marketing products has become a monstrous effort which includes everything from research and nonstop advertising to literally buying the shelf space for products from the local grocery store chains. You, as a small producer of anything, can often barely get space on the store shelves, will certainly not be able to get the favorable paid-for space at eye-level and easy-reach, and may indeed in some cases be closed out completely from getting space. That’s just part of the way corporate marketing works.

America has taken these proven practices from corporate business and applied them to politics. Every step in a modern political election campaign reflects the same kinds of efforts as Coca-Cola or Frito-Lay pushing their products, and it all costs a great deal of money. You need money just to recover from money spent on a tactic that proves not to work. And money itself acts as what economists call “a barrier to entry” against potential competitors. You are, in effect, not even allowed to play cards at the table without a very large stake.

The only way to stop this behavior in politics, so that candidates could have a fairer opportunity to talk about their actual ideas and views, would be to choke off the money, but no one with power is willing to do that because everyone of them benefits from the way things are run.

Note also that money not only closes off honest campaigning and exchange of ideas, it serves to discourage from running those who have sincerely-held independent views and a desire for changing something that is wrong. This way of doing things is responsible for pre-packaged candidates and lists of campaign phrases out of manuals. In those senses, too, it is closed system.

But the people putting up the large amounts of political campaign money – literally billions in every major American election – want things to be exactly that way. They don’t want surprises or significant change. They want what they want and what they pay for. It is easy to see the tendency for government to become plutocracy, no matter what nice words are written on pieces of parchment kept in museums.

When a country has become an international imperial force, such as the United States very much has, it is just not the money people who want things to remain as they are. It is the powerful groups running massive agencies like the Pentagon and CIA. They, too, spend vast amounts of money, most of it serving the interests of those same money people, and they do not want change.

Great bureaucracies always have a tendency to protect and perpetuate themselves. The values and intentions of huge forces like the Pentagon and CIA are not friendly to democratic principles, no matter what their charters may say. They are intrinsically authoritarian organizations, and the more they grow and influence a society, the less it becomes a free place, again no matter what the old words on parchment say.

They are, of course, the natural allies of the money people. They serve them abroad in the workings of empire and have a common interest in minimizing political change at home. It is easy to see why ordinary citizens come to feel politics is useless and unresponsive to them. It is.

Whether you vote for Democrats or Republicans, you get the Pentagon, the CIA, the money people, and a ruthless empire abroad, with just some differences in rhetoric. Here again the system operates much like great corporations with their promotional and marketing wars for McDonald’s or Burger King, Coke or Pepsi. Huge amounts of money are spent, and the result is a choice between products similar in most essential respects. Both corporations prosper and their vast walls of spending make it mighty hard for any new competitors to enter against them. That is pretty much what American politics is reduced to.

And this way of operating applies not only to political campaigns in America but to matters like major foreign policy. Take the example of the bizarre relationship America has with Israel, a country with a population the size of Ecuador’s. It is a relationship which causes great amounts of war and trouble in the world and truly works against the long-term interests of ordinary Americans, to say nothing of its spurning of all ethical principles.

The relationship is based on the same money-drenched methods which govern American politics. Israel, despite its insignificant size and greatly troubling behavior, is able to stay right at the forefront of things, to be on every politician’s lips, to be constantly mentioned (favorably) in the press, and to heavily influence American foreign policy through exactly the same mechanisms.

Some of its demands today are even going beyond foreign policy and into the internal affairs of the United States, as with the constant advocacy for laws making support for peaceful boycotts to influence Israel’s awful behavior illegal or the advocacy for laws in every state equating criticism of a powerful state actor like Israel with hate-speech. Just nasty, self-serving nonsense, but it goes on day after day with little attention paid.

Well, Washington’s establishment today just goes on and on about supposed Russian influence in America. It is unproved stuff serving powerful imperial establishment interests, but, even were there some bit of truth in the accusations, the underlying reality of Russian influence in America is a bad joke. Russia cannot even get a good word in the press and is treated unfairly in countless serious matters.

When I saw the silly Facebook stuff, about so many insignificant ads having been bought during the election by a few people in Russia, offered as evidence of influence, I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. Out of countless billions of dollars in advertising and advocacy on Facebook, the claim represented national concern about someone spitting into an ocean.

But here is Israel and its domestic advocates waging a vast and ongoing campaign to influence a great many matters inside America – from freedom of speech and peaceful protest action to foreign affairs and every national political campaign held – and we hear no complaints or concerns at all. And Israel’s influence in foreign affairs has been deadly, tumbling America into pointless wars time and again.

And it is doing so again, right now. Only recently, we have a recording leaked in Israel of Netanyahu bragging about how he is personally responsible for Trump’s destroying the Iran Nuclear Accord, an act opposed by every expert and most countries on earth, and an act causing dangerous tensions and threats of instability and hostilities.

Israel doesn’t have to worry because it is protected. But what about everyone else? The results of deliberately destroying a peaceful, smoothly-working international accord could be truly catastrophic.

A small country is able to leverage the United States in this unacceptable and dangerous way, against the wishes of almost every statesman and expert in the world, precisely because of the way America runs its national politics. Trump is looking to assure the success of his 2020 campaign, and everyone else on the planet is taxed with fear and threats so that he can feel secure politically. I think nothing better demonstrates the insanity of America’s laws about money in politics.

But we keep getting the silly distraction of what a threat to American democracy Russia is, simply an idiotic and unsupported idea. Meanwhile, Israel’s direct meddling in American politics threatens to bring an economic and military calamity down on our heads, and you will not find a word of criticism from politicians or the press.

Israel’s lobby in the United States is one of the best organized, best financed, and feared in existence. If you go along with it, you benefit with campaign money and good press and perhaps assistance from various experts and professionals. If you oppose it, those same resources will be applied to working against you and making you look bad in one way or another. It undoubtedly has information systems for tracking all political activities and attitudes that would be the envy of many large corporations.

It is easy to see that if the rules governing lobbies and campaign donations were changed, this would all come screeching to a halt. American policy in the Mideast could reflect fairness and decency and even most of America’s long-term interests. Wars and threats and terrible things like millions of desperate refugees created by those same wars would disappear.

But you will not see it changing any time soon in a country whose hideous Supreme Court – each member appointed by politicians benefiting from things just as they are – has ruled that money is “free speech,” just as it once ruled in favor of the rules governing slavery. No one with power in Washington wants change, just as the various estates (the great lords and churchmen) of the Ancien Régime in 18th century France wanted no change affecting their personal situations and privileges. And their unblinking selfishness ultimately brought catastrophe to France.

The model for Israel’s influence in American politics is the model for the general operation of the American government. The same elements are at work in every important matter. And that’s why there is continuous war, massive security and spying systems, gigantic corporations with no limits on their size and influence, and no attention paid to the pitiful rot and poverty so easy to find in a thousand places in America.

Men like Assange – and there are few of them, just as there are always relatively few brave and intelligent people who work to change what is wrong in the world (after all, gifted people can make a whole lot more money by going with the flow of things and working for a corporation) – become effectively “the enemies of the people” under the system. His work shed light on the rot and served as real investigative reporting, while the corporate press just functions as part of the system, defending it, avoiding investigating it, and almost never publishing anything adverse about it.

The corrupt nature of America’s national politics is nicely symbolized by Obama, a man so often regarded (wrongly) as liberal and principled. He came to politics as a second-rate lecturer in constitutional law, the kind of work that earns a moderate middle-class income and maybe a pension. Yet, he just left the presidency as a man worth literally tens of millions of dollars. His new home alone cost more than eight million dollars.

Doing the establishment’s work – which in Obama’s case involved killing hundreds of thousands of people abroad and supporting massive new intrusions into the privacy of Americans – is very rewarding. And that is pretty well the story of every major American politician.

Posted July 22, 2018 by JOHN CHUCKMAN in Uncategorized

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JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: ANOTHER ATTACK ON TRUMP IN THE GUARDIAN – THIS ONE AT LEAST LIGHT-HEARTED – SOME FACTS ABOUT OTHER KEY CANDIDATES NOT WIDELY KNOWN   Leave a comment

John Chuckman

EXPANSION OF COMMENTS POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE GUARDIAN

 

This is silly, but then everything written about Trump at The Guardian is silly, when it isn’t full of hate.

Your list, “Five more terrifying would-be presidents,” is almost beyond comprehension.

Please, just look at some of the current candidates. You simply could not find a more questionable group of people. It is a regular Madame Tussaud Chamber of Horrors.

Cruz is a scary right-wing religious wacko. There is a video of him on-line sitting at breakfast holding hands with his perfect little suburban family praying over the Sugar Pops. And if you are religious, isn’t prayer for your closet, not your campaign publicity? Staff working for Cruz include neo-cons and CIA-types, and his wife is associated with Goldman Sachs.  He is intellectually gifted, but many of his old associates say he is an extremely unpleasant man with which to work, extremely arrogant, and one not to be trusted, being given to treacherous turns. This man, who would have the nuclear code box at his disposal, is a believer in the Second Coming, and that is hardly reassuring. And, as he showed in Iowa, he is quite capable of truly underhanded behavior.

Then we have Carson, a narcissistic megalomaniac, and that’s apart from his genuinely bizarre beliefs about things like the Pyramids of Egypt. It is actually difficult to listen to him, his words are so strange at times. His house apparently is heavily decorated with pictures of himself. Again, a believer in the Second Coming. Also a man demonstrated as given to self-embellishing falsehoods.

Jeb Bush is insipid in appearance, and extremely dishonest in behavior. He was, after all, Governor of Florida when the 2000 election involving his brother was thrown into the Supreme Court over very questionable treatment of ballots. That election was essentially stolen, but Al Gore, who received the most votes by a good measure, didn’t have the heart to fight it. Jeb also made a lot of money out of companies doing business with Florida, very much in the fashion of your typical third-world leader. His campaign has recently been paying (yes, paying!) people off the street to attend his speaking events with their thin attendance. He even recently was caught moaning to his paid crowd that they could at least applaud.

Hillary Clinton has been caught in so many lies, you can’t keep track. Everything from the Benghazi fiasco to her former campaign fairy tale about coming under sniper fire in Bosnia where actual news film showed her being greeted warmly by a lovely little girl with flowers, proof which caused her to say she “misspoke.” Misspoke about being under sniper fire? Ridiculous. And ridiculous, too, is her long list of confrontations with former lovers of her husband, some saying they were threatened or some bribed with job offers to shut up. She has, however, no history of confrontation with billionaire and convicted pedophile, Jeffrey Epstein, who lives on a private island where he keeps underage girls at his disposal and at the disposal of guests. Bill has visited the island many times, and Mr. Epstein has contributed handsomely to the Clinton Foundation. The hundreds of millions in that Foundation come from many questionable sources, from foreign powers looking to do business with the U.S. when she was Secretary of State to rich scoundrels looking for a Presidential pardon. The Foundation, not noted for any real charitable work, has served as a slush fund for political efforts and as a place for her daughter to work as an executive at an extravagant salary. Hillary’s whole record of behavior easily qualifies her as a contemporary American Borgia.

Perhaps most depressing of all, she always votes for war. Of course she supported her husband’s nasty little war in Serbia. And she had a front-row seat for destroying Libya. I just love her sick, psychopathic comment made with laughter at the time of Gadhafi’s assassination: “We came, we saw, he died.” Clinton is one of Israel’s favored candidates precisely because she is a relentless war-monger. Israel never wants America looking towards peace or decreased involvement in the world.

And that’s just part of the ugly crew running. Only Bernie Sanders stands out for integrity and traditional progressive beliefs, but he has the proverbial “snowball’s chance in hell” of winning. Imagine a brutal, world imperial power like America, engaged in almost non-stop warfare and interference in the affairs of others, electing a self-declared socialist? It is literally impossible.

Trump definitely has some unpleasant characteristics and views, but there is a part of him that is solid with something to offer. His views on America’s wars and stupid involvements in places like Syria are sound. Maybe in a place like America, you have to take some bad stuff to gain some good in at least one crucial area. He is very a successful businessman and an independent thinker, and those are both things Americans like.

I think compared to some of the alternatives, he is nothing quite like the hateful figure The Guardian keeps saying he is, and I suspect undeclared special interests in The Guardian’s treatment of him, likely having to do with its ongoing bias towards Israel, whose government we know dislikes Trump’s independent views.