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John Chuckman


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


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.


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


“The American Mind Melts Away”

Despite being an amusing line, I am not sure that “melts away” is the right verb.

Something more along the lines of “The American Mind Was Never There,” better fits the facts.

Americans are navel-gazers. Big kids who, for the most part, find anything outside the United States boring.

They are, as a whole, about as unsuited to the role of directing or governing world affairs as any people you could find.

That being said, however, the truth is that Americans do not direct anything.

The American power establishment very much does.

A plutocracy and some major lobbies supported by the massive resources of CIA and the Pentagon.

That’s who runs the world.

And the attitudes of ordinary Americans, certainly not discouraged by the establishment running their education and politics and entertainment, have nicely served the few in America who really do matter and who really do run things.

John Chuckman


Cold War 2.0 More Dangerous Than Original – Stephen Cohen Podcast
Today’s American-Russian confrontation is developing in unprecedented ways—and the US political-media establishment seems not to care

Stephen Cohen, as always, brings a well-informed and very focused intelligence to his subject.

He is so very right in these points, and the dangers they collectively represent should deeply concern us all.

I do think there’s more than a suggestion of America’s unelected government at work here. It ain’t just politicians.

That, too, should deeply concern us all.

The CIA and its ally, the Pentagon, before Kennedy’s assassination played all kinds of dirty little tricks to defeat American-Russian rapprochement.

After all, the CIA, using pilot Gary Powers and the then-secret U-2 spy plane, sabotaged Eisenhower’s 1960 Soviet summit and effort to establish better American-Soviet relations. Such CIA efforts are always done in a fashion so that they can plausibly be interpreted in another fashion, as with the U-2 being an effort to provide the President the very latest intelligence for his talks.

In Kennedy’s case, they failed, but the very fact that they even tried, actually going against some direct orders from the President was chilling to those who understood.

Today, both these agencies are immensely more powerful than they were in the early 1960s. They are larger, better funded, and even less accountable than they were. And, the political atmosphere in which they operate is truly poisonous with American politicians seemingly blind to the dangerous consequences of their careless words, as those of Hillary Clinton since her election defeat.

Importantly, America has no strong figure like John Kennedy to stand in the way of these powerful agencies. Trump has proven himself all bluster and ranting, someone who was actually cowered by such frivolous provocations as the infamous Russia dossier, not a serious opponent.

Trump comes after eight years of Obama, who despite his boyish smile and seeming liberality, gave the CIA and the Pentagon everything they wanted. Eight years of bombing, terror, and coups. The eight years of Cheney-Rumsfeld – the pathetic Bush being only a timid and not-very-intelligent figurehead – also gave the CIA and Pentagon everything they wanted.

So, there’s been a very long period of time during which these agencies have increased their capacities, freedom-of-operation, and sheer arrogance. At the same time, and perhaps it is not merely a coincidence, the political atmosphere in America has degenerated badly.

Instead of a Kennedy, today there is a blustery, now seen-as-cowardly, Trump, who actually told the CIA that it knows best whom to kill in America’s extrajudicial killing program by drone. Obama at least went through the pretense of signing off on “kill orders” put on his desk.

Trump also pretty well gave the Pentagon a free hand in Afghanistan, a pointless war that has accomplished nothing for 15 years.

And, despite confidential understandings with Russia, clearly elements of CIA and/or the Pentagon are actively at work in Syria carrying out serious provocations.

We have the story in today’s Russia Insider of a CIA plan, which failed, to assassinate Greek Premier Karamanlis in 2008.

A dramatic recent book has revealed the CIA as the source for the assassination of several Western leaders, including Swedish Premier Olof Palme, a kind of assassination at an entirely different level than the ones we have long known the psychopaths at the CIA are engaged in. This goes far beyond just interfering in countries’ elections, something again the CIA has always done.

The United States’ establishment has gradually granted immense power to these largely unaccountable agencies, and they are now endangering the safety of everyone on the planet.

John Chuckman


If the NFL wants to recover from the anthem protests, it needs to start showing some leadership
The league needs to find a way to let players air their concerns without alienating a large portion of their viewers

Drop the stupid anthem at sports events where it has no business.

Playing it at the start of a paid entertainment has always, always been inappropriate.

And many British people may not know this, but back a decade or so ago, the NFL players stayed inside for the anthem, only appearing on the field when it was over.

The only reason they have appeared on the field during the anthem since is because the American military started paying the NFL to have the players stand there.

Why would it do that? To excite young men to join up when they see their sports heroes standing there.

So, who is it that really has been disrespectful to America’s symbols? The guys manipulating them to get recruits, the American military in need of young bodies to send off to America’s pointless colonial wars.

Of course, at a “deeper” level, one perhaps not appreciated by Trump or his trailer-park devotees, the very essence of being American is supposed to have something to do with rights and freedoms, including the right to protest injustice.

Only a couple of days ago, a police officer in Salt Lake City was released without blame after he shot a young black man in the back and killed him. The young man was running away, and a camera caught the entire sequence.

Some who saw the video say the officer literally executed the young man. Protests were immediate.

That’s what the players are kneeling about. In my sense of values, their protest is entirely fitting, and an even more demonstrative one would be.

Ironically, the players protesting have been almost overly respectful by going down on their knees, a gesture understood by most as respectful. It is only a protest because the gesture is different than the expected one.

Just think of what Trump and his pick-up truck crowd would be saying if these players instead were doing what some black American athletes did at the Mexico City Olympics of 1968. They raised their arms high in the black power salute while the anthem played.

This controversy has been ridiculous almost beyond telling. With all the terrible problems in America, from violent police to terrible ghettoes, and with all the wars and terror in the world, much of it deliberately created by America, here is the President and other major figures and commentators fiercely engaged over how football players pose during a piece of music.

The utter stupidity is comparable only with the Russo-phobia which has totally gripped the country for many months, a phenomenon comparable in every way with some primitive wave of fear over demon-possession. Yet this nonsense has engaged virtually all the country’s highest figures and its major security institutions and news organizations.

“Those whom the gods wish to destroy they first make mad.”

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


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


“Permanent Adolescence: The Epidemic That Will Destroy America”

I like the expression.

But the writer has the wrong tense of the verb.

The United States has been in a dizzying state of permanent adolescence for all of my adult life. Its effects are a significant part of what is wrong with the country today.

It leads to poor decisions and foolish pursuits.

Since the end of WWII, Americans have very much embraced “I want it all, and I want it now,” a childish, demanding attitude.

The so-called “American Dream” is just an advertising slogan dignifying that state of mind. Today, of course, the American Dream is fading fast in coming directly into conflict with a hard new realities in the world.

But Americans cannot quite give up their fantasies. Thus, Trump’s vacuous slogan about “Make America Great Again.”

And, you must always remember, advertising and marketing, one of America’s true original inventions, play an inordinate role in life. Americans are inundated with advertising of every description, none of it of course really communicating any facts or reality, all of it a close relatives to propaganda in its effects.

I’ve always related the observed state of perpetual youth with America’s revivalist tent preachers telling everyone they must be “born again.” It is a religious concept owing to the Puritans and its effects upon America have been pernicious.

Somewhere, deep inside, many Americans genuinely believe in some form of perpetual youth – whether in religion or facial and bodily beauty or other obsessions.

This is just part of why Americans are a very poor people to serve as world leaders.

John Chuckman


Mt Rushmore, Beware! Could Monument Toppling Become US National Sport?

Absolutely, and already there has been some talk of doing something about Stone Mountain, Georgia, a vast monument carved into a mountain just like Mount Rushmore. It features in huge bas relief key Confederate figures.

As for Rushmore, Jefferson was a scoundrel, almost totally.

There’s a huge number of reasons for objecting to him, but people remain influenced by his graceful written words, written self-consciously as an image-building fantasy and legacy yet reflecting virtually nothing he actually did when he had power. He broke every rule he ever set for good government and fairness.

Washington was a lifelong slave-holder and a businessman of quite sharp practices. He did things like buy up the script paid to poor revolutionary soldiers, when they badly needed funds, at a severe discount, making a handsome profit.

He was not generous in any business dealings, and all that phony stuff about not being paid while serving in the war was just that, phony. He had a cost-plus contract and submitted a truly huge bill – over $400,000 at that early time – to Congress after the war for everything right down to so many bottles of wine consumed at Valley Forge.

Yes, the same Valley Forge of legends about soldiers suffering winter terribly and being hungry. Well, old aristocrat Washington saw to it that his own needs were handsomely supplied.

When Washington first took military command, removing the arrangements of the Boston Patriots who actually got the conflict going, he instituted flogging and hanging to what became the Continental Army – he was a great admirer of British Army methods – and wrote letters home about the scum and rabble he found and had to deal with.

Roosevelt was a super-imperialist, a genuine brute in some cases, as well as a world-record slaughterer of wild animals. He’d go “hunting” and leave literally mountains of carcasses piled up. His hunting resembled that of Buffalo Bill, yet people regard him as a great defender of nature.

Lincoln is the only truly noble figure on Mount Rushmore, but even he is widely misunderstood. He did not fight to free slaves. He fought to make the central government dominant over the states, something contentious with many Americans to this day.

He also wasn’t just a humble country lawyer as is always featured but a very successful lawyer who worked for corporations like the Illinois Central and became well-enough off to build a handsome new two-story brick home in Springfield, Illinois, and become a notable politician.

By the way, none of these figures were great defenders of minority rights. They all were prejudiced if you interpret that word as some of the extreme people talking about Charlottesville do. Even Lincoln regarded blacks as somewhat less-promising material as citizens.

As was a figure such as dedicated slaveholder Andrew Jackson whose image graces the twenty-dollar bill. Jackson also was responsible for the Trail of Tears which saw thousands of long-settled native Americans, including many farmers, torn from their homes in the Southeast and sent to the then barren Oklahoma territory. Great numbers died, including women and children, in the course of that long forced-march.

Also, as late as the 1950s, we had President Harry Truman, who was a Southerner, always using the word “nigger” for black people. People then barely took note. Should his monuments and library be torn down?

Still, despite those truths, how idiotic it would be to tear it down Mount Rushmore. Better to teach visitors the facts.

And it really is no less idiotic to tear down a statue to a humble Confederate soldier.

The Civil War was America’s greatest experience with war, the deaths exceeding American losses in WWII eighty years later by about 100%, and that’s despite all the advance in weapons.

The Civil War also supplied the model for how generals would fight WWI, a terrible mistake but a historical fact nevertheless.

All monuments represent teaching opportunities. Destroying legitimate historical monuments is nothing less than the work of historical Luddites.

The whole business going on in America today over Charlottesville is a chaotic confusion with almost no coherent meaning. All sides tell incomplete stories, and all sides have prejudices.

But most important of all is that while Americans wail and gnash their teeth over a situation they do not even understand, they ignore far more terrible things their truly brutal country does.

It is busy killing and spreading horror in half a dozen lands, and the soldiers coming back from that filthy work will be treated well.

And that truly bloody symbol, the Stars and Stripes, will be saluted and honored daily despite its stripes representing the blood of millions of innocents killed abroad in colonial wars and interference in the lives of others, everywhere from Korea and Vietnam to Iraq and Libya.

John Chuckman


Assange Hammers America on Selective Outrage Over US Backing for Ukraine’s Neo-Nazis Suddenly America does not like Nazis? Who knew?

Assange has it completely right about America’s long and quiet support for Ukrainian neo-Nazis, vicious characters who’ve done some real killing, compared to all the press and noise over a few historical statues in Charlottesville.

American official hypocrisy is beyond describing.

And in this morning’s news, the Syrian Foreign Minister also tells us about how Syrian soldiers have just discovered a cache of chemical weapons – grenades and such – almost certainly supplied by the US and UK judging by their markings. The very kind of chemical weapons used as an American government excuse for attacking Syria.

Readers interested in the Ukrainian neo-Nazis supported by America may see pictures here:

And there are so many other instances of gross hypocrisy, including great patches of American history.

Thomas Jefferson – who is on Mount Rushmore, has a huge memorial in Washington, has plaques all over, and has streets and schools named after him – was one of the more reprehensible characters in America’s founding.

He was a far darker character than some of the Confederate figures they are going on about in the Charlottesville events, figures like Robert E Lee or Jefferson Davis.

Jefferson kept over two hundred slaves to his dying day, wrote openly in his “Notes on Virginia” of black inferiority, advocated states’ rights almost to the point of promoting secession long before the Confederacy, had a young black slave (starting at her age of 13, Sally Hemmings) as his mistress, had children by her, and did many terrible things during his time as president including actually supporting Napoleon’s forces fighting the slave revolt in Haiti.

If you want to read more about him:

John Chuckman


We know that where there are very high stakes for the United States government – as in covert international affairs or in matters with gigantic amounts of money at risk – there will be deception and dirty dealing of every imaginable kind.

That is just a given.

You do not have to subscribe to theories of any kind to know that a government such as America’s lies to its people regularly. It has been caught doing so many times.

The labelling of people who know they are being lied to is a kind of dirty little game. The label is intended to be an unanswerable charge, negating all credibility.

Most people do recognize and respond well to honest explanations of events, but we have a great many instances where they are not given the chance.

The term, conspiracy theory, has long been rumored to have been coined by some of CIA agit-prop guy working out of a backroom at Langley and hoping for a big promotion by inventing a good way to ridicule critics of the Kennedy Assassination story.

I think that is a reasonable assumption.

By the way, the CIA has kept the sense of contempt and ridicule alive in the term by itself seeing that some outrageous books and articles are published on subjects like the Kennedy assassination, complete with obviously-wrong facts and sometimes even poor spelling.

After all, it has the best publishing-contact list in existence, and its deep pockets can make even the stupidest publishing venture profitable.

The CIA, at one and the same time, is responsible for some “serious” books supporting the official version and for some of the most laughable attacks.

That is just the way the game is played.

It is no different to what the CIA has done in many countries where it was trying to destroy a government. That is something they have done so many times you have to wonder why anyone would doubt their bad intentions on any subject they touch.

They are inherently dishonest people because the main purpose of their organization is dishonest in nature. You don’t hire boy scouts for dirty work.

Of course, we have that old political fallback line about it being illegal for the CIA to operate in America, but if ever a statement deserved a “nudge, nudge, wink, wink,” that one does.

John Chuckman


“The abandonment of 1.8 million men, women, and children to their fate in Gaza by the so-called international community is one of the most grievous moral outrages of our time.”

I couldn’t agree more.

Our Western press and politicians go on about many relatively small troubles and grievances in our world while ignoring this huge outrage. The smallest terrorist event or violent demonstration -Charlottesville or a stabbing in London – is shouted from the rooftops in the West, yet this horror in Gaza continues, year after year, with almost no notice taken.

These poor people continue to struggle with day-to-day life in unsanitary and crumbling ruins Israel created in its onslaughts which murdered about four thousand people, including about a thousand kids. Israel hasn’t the decency to allow the import of the required building materials.

Now, Israel builds a vast underground wall to prevent the life-sustaining supplies smuggled in with immense effort through hand-dug tunnels. It also plans to build a big artificial island off the coast which would effectively give Israel complete control and keep the people of Gaza from using any of the resources in the Mediterranean, including the natural gas fields which are by international standards the property of Gaza but which Israel is stealing openly and developing.

Gaza’s fishermen cannot even go far from the shore without being shot by Israeli gunboats. Their concentration camp – for that absolutely describes what Gaza has become – is lined with fences and towers with automated, radar-operated machine guns.

Israel even sprays noxious herbicides on portions of their small land. Some vicious Israelis have dumped raw sewerage on the land. When the few settlers that used to live there left, they actually poisoned the water wells. Israel prevents proper supplies of electricity. Israel controls all assistance that might be sent. Israel won’t even permit most visitors to go to Gaza.

It is a totalitarian nightmare. Israeli politician after politician has wished the people of Gaza gone and have always treated them harshly, but in recent years, the treatment has become harsh beyond telling. All because Gaza voted in democratic elections for a party which represented their interests. Going back to Moshe Dayan, we have public statements about making the people of Gaza so miserable, they will leave. And that is just what is being done.

Many Israelis take comfort in the thought that Israel does not do what Nazi Germany did with a large group of people it hates. They are comforted morally by that idea.

But when you keep an entire people living in misery for generation after generation with no rights, no hope, no ability to better themselves, no ability to even move around, I see complete moral equivalency with mass killing

This is a gigantic, on-going crime against humanity, but because Israel is effectively a colony of the powerful United States, enjoying intimate high-level connections, most of the Western press and politicians remain silent.

Repression of the channels of communication is just another terrible weapon in such a situation. I don’t know how anyone is ever surprised by the way Nazi Germany got away with its vast crimes because Germany had, quite simply, one of the early, sophisticated total wars on truth and communication.

Yes, it is possible to keep the majority of people in ignorance, to hide your shameful acts, and to lie daily even while committing monstrous crimes. The public in the West never absorbed that harsh lesson. But Israel’s government certainly has, just as the government of Israel’s mother country, the United States, has. They both apply it daily.

John Chuckman


Trump’s Defense Secretary James Mattis makes passionate case against America withdrawing from the world
‘We ought not to forget the example of the Greatest Generation,’ former general tells young naval officer in Q&A

I’ve got news for you, General.

The Greatest Generation is long gone.

It reflected circumstances which no longer exist.

Indeed, if you read some detailed history, that phrase has been, to a considerable extent, misused even for what occurred during and immediately after WWII. It could fairly be called a self-congratulatory slap on the back by pop American historians.

In any case, what we have today in America is something quite ugly and dangerous. Greatness is not remotely associated with it.

Comparing America in, say, 1941, to America in 2017, is a bit like comparing Hitler’s life as a young boy to his life as a grown-up.

Response to another reader who wrote “I would be truly impressed with America if it made its own country a shining example of how a country should be. Should be enough for them to be getting on with.”

Well said, indeed.

But they cannot think this way.

The current slogan of the American military-security monstrosity is “full-spectrum dominance” across a range of defined matters in the world.

It is not the thinking of enlightened or democratic people, but the thinking of tyrants.

Mattis forgets one of the truest statements ever made, Lord Acton’s dictum on power corrupting and absolute power corrupting absolutely.

I very much believe America has crossed the threshold towards absolute corruption.

It is fit to lead no one.

Response to another reader who wrote “It was not the US that went to war with North Korea, it was UN that authorized the war”:

You are only technically correct.

The UN was quietly pushed into the effort, just as the US has pushed and used the UN so many times for its own purposes.

Today, this phony effort to make every American decision about intervention appear international in character more typically uses NATO, an organization which today is more pliable and which can almost not be recognized when compared to its early purposes.

Even inside the Truman government, there was at first a serious question about whether Korea was worth fighting over.

It was not on the then-current list of places of real strategic importance to the United States, but America was under the witch-like spell of anti-communism at all costs and so decided to intervene.

Words like “losing this or that to ‘the commies’ or ‘the reds’” came quickly to the lips of various Congressmen and Senators. The atmosphere was poisonous.
North Korea was trying to reunite Korea, on its terms. Reunification has been a longing of all Koreans, but the US has stood in the way always, only willing to accept reunification on its terms.

America conducted the Korean War with total ruthlessness. At the outset, there was the infamous No Gun Ri massacre in which American troops slaughtered hundreds of civilians fleeing war for the south, including women and children, claiming later they feared spies and saboteurs.

America carpet-bombed North Korean cities for three years. General Curtis LeMay – the man who fire-bombed and leveled Japan, and later at the Pentagon pushed for an overwhelming first-strike against the USSR – later bragged that American bombing wiped out twenty percent of the entire country’s population.

It was much the same American approach as that which created a holocaust in Vietnam over the existence of a rump-state run by dictators, but one friendly to US interests, being re-united with the rest of that country. So, millions died horribly for that meaningless cause.

Considering all the fall-out over the decades after the Korean War, it likely would have been better and smarter to leave it to the Koreans themselves, a good general principle, leaving it to the locals, almost invariably ignored by America in its many post-WWII wars and interventions.

Under those circumstances, a unified Korea would certainly have evolved into something new over time, as virtually all communist states have. And there’s no use talking about dictatorships here because South Korea was ruled by dictatorial government for decades after WWII.

It is America which keep North Korea as “the hermit kingdom.”

A huge well-equipped American army to the south. Ships frequently offshore. Deliberately provocative plane flights. Regular war games on a massive scale. Thermonuclear weapons stored just over in Guam.

No diplomatic recognition. No direct talks ever, even now. No peace treaty even considered for going-on 70 years.

The US has been powerful and stupid here, as it has been in so many parts of the world.

Response to a reader who said “Mattis must be one of those who simply don’t understand just how much the USA is loathed across planet earth. The vast majority of conflict, suffering and unrest is solely due to the actions of his country.”

None of America’s leaders understands that fact.

When they show up somewhere, it is all pomp and ceremony, making them feel good, no matter how twisted they or their secret mission may be.

Look at Nikki Haley.

An utterly ridiculous figure at the UN, embarrassingly preaching to and patronizing diplomats, who in many cases know far more about the matters under discussion than she does, yet of course she must be given all diplomatic courtesies.

The often highly-educated people listening to her truly ignorant speeches just have to grin and bear it, and, of course, like so many American diplomats, she actually threatens her listeners with reduced American financial support to the UN if they don’t agree with what she suggests. A thoroughgoing bully.

I should add, nor do America’s leaders really care what other people think. Remember candidate George Bush actually bragging and chuckling about how he never read the international section of his newspaper? It is a popular and widespread prejudice in America.

It is the pure arrogance of power, not really different in any detail to the attitude of great dukes in France in the early 1700s. Their carriages simply left peasants in their path as “road kill.”

John Chuckman


Kentucky to speed up relocation of Confederate monuments after Charlottesville violence
in neighboring Charlottesville, Virginia

The great irony of these matters is that the Civil War was not about slavery. Lincoln himself said that if that if he could, he would end the war and keep slavery in place.

The war was about states’ rights, a matter which had troubled American politics and affairs since the country’s founding.

Few people realize how consequential the Civil War was. An estimated 600,000 people died in the 1860s. Nearly a century later, in WWII, a war that in total killed over 50 million, American total losses were about 300,000.

The Civil War monuments are history as surely as any anywhere, but public sensibilities and politics change, and it is stupid to fight over the fact.

Response to a comment about slavery dying out:

Sorry, but you are wrong about slavery.

Slavery actually evolved into something new and more hideous near the time of the Civil War. Individual slave workers disappeared on the great estates to be replaced by gang-slavery, a system of chaining together large blocks of men who then moved through the fields much like a machine.

It was a big improvement in pure efficiency terms. Slave agriculture became more competitive.

If you read the scholarly book, Years on the Cross, you will see how slavery evolved and would have evolved more. It would have been a very long time before it died a natural death, if indeed it ever did.

Response to another comment about few Southerners having slaves:

This is not accurate.

Many comparatively modest farmers owned a slave or two.

In some cases, they were women and were used for sex. Indeed, at the slave auctions, some women were featured openly for their attractions.

The result is that there is not a single black American today without genes from European types.
Response to another reader comment:

“defeated Christian Civilization”?

Bizarre, and with the tone of some of the extreme Internet sites.

Lincoln did consciously want the central government to gain authority over the states.

In that sense, he finished the unfinished work of creating a nation.

It had nothing to do with Christianity. Many of the most prominent founders were not Christians but Deists or even atheists, very stylish beliefs of the period in Europe. This included Washington, Jefferson, Franklin, and others.
Response to another reader’s comment:

Of course, it’s obvious you cannot change history.

But our memorials and books change all the time, taking on new emphasis or indeed changing an interpretation.

By the way, it was real history, but there are not many monuments to Benedict Arnold in America. And none that I know of to the Loyalists, decent people who were terribly abused by the “Patriots.” And, there is no major monument to slavery itself. Certainly not in Washington.
Response to another reader comment about “Lee was right”:

Sorry, Lee was never a politician. He did what he saw as his duty when asked.

John Chuckman


Donald Trump says US military ‘locked and loaded’ for North Korea
Plans ‘now fully in place’ if Pyongyang ‘acts unwisely’, President tweets


Response to a reader who said: “Lets not forget the American Generals who in the past have suggested dropping nuclear weapons on Vietnam and N. Korea before…not sure if they suggested anywhere else.”

The Pentagon madmen did a great deal more than that.

President Kennedy was presented a detailed plan by the Pentagon’s Joint Chiefs for a massive first strike on the Soviet Union. He left the briefing, in his own words, feeling sick at his stomach.

They also developed plans for doing the same thing with Mao’s China.

Israel’s nuclear arsenal does not exist without all kinds of complicity, too.

And when Israel had a dirty deal with Nationalist South Africa to supply them help with their small nuclear arsenal (removed with the fall of the Nationalist government) in return for considerations in the supply of strategic materials and minerals, can anyone believe the CIA did not know?

There was even a totally secret joint Israeli-South African nuclear test in the ocean spotted by spy satellite.

Remember, before the pressure against Apartheid really developed a head of steam, the US protected and encouraged South Africa as a “bulwark against communism.”

Of course, America’s dropping two atomic bombs on civilians – with a series of a dozen cities actually on a list of planned targets – was one of the 20th century’s great atrocities.

But the bombing horrors of America go way beyond the nuclear.

At the last stages of the war with Japan, there wasn’t, by America’s own military assessments, a single primary or secondary target left standing in the country.

And much of it done with massive fire-bombings, making the final atomic bombings a gratuitous horror. Vast numbers of people died horribly without the atomic bombs.

The lessons learned by the Pentagon kept being applied. In Korea, the bombing was more horrific than we have ever been told by government. The Pentagon used carpet bombing of cities for three years. General Curtis LeMay bragged that the US killed twenty percent of the entire population of North Korea.

In Vietnam, the US killed an estimated 3 million with carpet bombing, napalm, and early cluster bombs.

Since they also bombed neutral Cambodia and destabilized it, they are surely responsible for the “killing fields” which followed and saw a million perish.

There have been dozens or smaller operations, but Iraq of course was another very large one. Cluster bombs were widely used, mangling children and others.

White phosphorus incendiaries were used, and the use of depleted uranium munitions has left the country with a cancer-inducing killer cloud of dust.

About a million died in Iraq, and after-effects are still killing, just as buried landmines and cluster bombs and a sea of Agent Orange are still killing in Vietnam.

Yes, indeed, they do love their killing at the Pentagon, but with all the media control and public relations efforts, a lot of people still do not understand how truly vicious their record is.

John Chuckman


Declassified Files Show FBI and NSA Routinely Broke Privacy Rules Under Obama

I have long suspected that Obama – who poses as an open-minded liberal – is in fact CIA.

This new information on intelligence abuses under Obama further supports a notion derived from many bits and pieces.

As very much does the fortress redoubt Obama made of a mansion in Washington, a place from which he continues to contact many different interests largely in secrecy, including some abroad we learn from time to time, advancing matters we know are on the CIA’s agenda, such as the important one of hobbling US-Russian relations.

There are many reasons for thinking Obama is CIA, including the blurry record of his birth and early life and a resume with definite holes in it.

He is certainly their type – an intelligent narcissist bordering on psychopathy – although historically CIA hires few blacks. But requirements change over time.

His record of activities as President strongly suggests this connection too.

He has launched every murderous campaign and coup abroad that CIA could possibly desire. None of it the kind of stuff a genuine political liberal would have anything to do with: Libya, Syria, Ukraine, Venezuela, Yemen.

And then there is the industrial-scale extrajudicial murder program Obama launched – a program built and run by CIA, mind you, and a program reminiscent of the old Argentine junta’s practices decades ago when they used to just make people “disappear.” They did so in the thousands, and, of course, all of it was activity the CIA was aware of and gave no objection to. After all, leftists, even suspected ones, represented a threat to American business interests in South America.

In total, Obama’s smiling boyish face gave orders to kill at least half a million people and turn millions into refugees. The scale I think is not appreciated by most Americans.

It represented a continuation of the murderous American policies of Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld for eight years – President Bush fils being a silly, nodding figurehead too dumb ever to have been recruited or used by CIA – both men well connected to CIA historical operations abroad through their companies.

Obama’s pattern of behavior reminds me closely of that of George Bush pere, whom well-read people know was CIA going back to the days of the Kennedy assassination. We have snippets in documents.

Bush Pere launched a remarkable number of violent actions in his brief term, including the First Gulf War and the invasion of Panama. Characteristically of covert operations, these were done under elaborate ruses.

The First Gulf War involved the American Ambassador in private offering no objection to Saddam’s suggestion to her that Iraq should absorb Kuwait. We saw the actual dimly-lit, secretly-recorded video of the meeting that he broadcast when the US was invading. The Panama invasion used trumped-up drug charges against Noriega – and, of course, American laws which technically had no force in another country – to remove a man that the CIA felt threatened American control of the Panama Canal and promoted a too vigorous style of Panamanian nationalism. There was also a trumped-up nonsense, much broadcast by American television networks and published by other CIA-friendly outlets like Time and Newsweek, about an American sailor having been beaten.

And the CIA named its headquarters building in Langley after Bush, the kind of thing you don’t do for a former director of just two years duration. Sometimes, the good ol’ boys just can’t help tipping their hats.

While it is technically against the law in the US for the CIA to act domestically, a long trail of evidence – everything from some Wiki-Leaks documents to the CIA’s cozy relationship with Google and other American high-tech firms and to documents around the Kennedy assassination and still other matters – tells us they in fact very much do, including a long record of subsidizing certain magazines for which they had use, planting countless stories in America’s corporate press, to, at times, actually having agents covertly work for outfits like The New York Times and Washington Post.

And of course, since they are permitted to lie under oath, as we learned years ago from former Director Richard Helms, there is no way of accounting for their obeying American laws anyway.

John Chuckman


US National Archives Reveals the Story of KGB Agent Linked to JFK Assassination

Anyone who knows some modern American history knows Soviet KGB defector, Yuri Nosenko, was an extremely controversial figure. They know also that claims he made about the Kennedy assassination were no more reliable than other claims he made. Indeed, he was controversial in part because he could not, under CIA interrogation, supply details about KGB methods and operations which his rank of Colonel meant he should have known.

There probably never has been a defector who generated such fights and hostilities and disagreements inside a major intelligence agency the way Nosenko did inside the CIA, and it went on for years.

He practically tore the CIA apart internally during his defection with one faction regarding him as a KGB plant sent to “poison the well.”

The validity of any of his claims has never been established. And we knew the general line of his claims years and years ago.

So new stuff regarding him is not new and is of virtually no value.

If this release of material about Nosenko represents the quality of the newly-released Archives material as a whole, then we have made no advance at all on the Kennedy assassination.

But I would not expect anything else. The key material, if files ever existed and if they still exist, has never been released.

Those are the files that would tell us why the CIA has always lied about the assassination, there being a number of instances, even with our very limited information, where the lying is just obvious, as in the completely wrong Cuban Embassy surveillance photo taken during Oswald’s supposed trip to Mexico City. And as in the phony excuse about embassy telephone recordings being routinely recycled. Also, files on people in Dallas, Russian speakers, who befriended Oswald and are known to have had connections to the CIA, people like George de Mohrenschildt and Ruth Paine.

We might like information on the CIA’s James Angleton and his relationship to the program which saw Oswald and several other American servicemen temporarily defect to Russia in the 1950s. Angleton, by the way, was chief of one of the two warring factions in CIA over Yuri Nosenko’s credibility years later. Angleton also had other roles to play. After the mysterious murder of Mary Pinchot, Kennedy’s lover and closest friend, he was discovered rummaging around in her studio for papers.

Those are also the files that would tell us why the FBI, led from the very top, J. Edgar himself, rushed to the judgment of a man who had absolutely no motive, and no aptitude either, and virtually instantly identified him as the assassin. All with no evidence. And the files that would explain the FBI’s relationship with Oswald because we know from a number of snippets that there was indeed a relationship, at the very least as a paid informant, which by the way is hardly what a genuine communist, as Oswald was made out to be, of that day would do. And the files that would explain why the chief of the local FBI office destroyed key evidence immediately after the assassination. He burned a letter from Oswald and then lied about its contents.

That is the evidence that would explain the utterly mysterious behavior of the Dallas police investigation in everything from mishandling evidence to allowing Jack Ruby, a known gangster, to hang around the headquarters frequently. It was close to total incompetence from beginning to end, and I just cannot believe that record does not cover much darker matters. The policeman, Tippet, said to have been killed by Oswald, a claim contradicted by better witnesses who were ignored, we know was up to some pretty dark activities, ultra-right wing stuff, but we have never had any details.

But the key evidence remains that which would tell us why, if the simple official story of Oswald’s responsibility is true, that a murder by a quite ordinary man generated immense secrecy which endures to this day. There simply is no national security matter involved in one misfit suddenly buying a gun and shooting someone, even a President. No documents should ever have been classified, and the insipid and vague nature of much that has been de-classified in several releases only adds force to the point. Why were the FBI and CIA ever even involved?

Also, why it is that not one piece of conclusive evidence has ever been provided of Oswald’s guilt. All of the so-called evidence is weak, circumstantial, and even in some cases fraudulent, starting with the true purchase and shipping and ownership of the inadequate gun which from all circumstances appears to have been a planted decoy for police. And even ownership of the postal box involved is quite blurry.

While general facts of Oswald’s background were released, they simply do not add up to what we were told they add up to. Nothing has ever been explained about how a man, a man with a security clearance for special radar work, learns Russian in the Marines, pulls an obviously phony defection to Russia, stays a while and then returns to the United States (with a Russian bride!) at the height of the Cold War, is never put on a security watch-list, is able to readily obtain documents like a passport, and quickly comes to have a circle of quite well-off and well-connected Russian speakers as friends in Dallas. If you think the anti-Russian stupidity in Washington is bad today, you should look back at what it was like in the late-1950s and early-1960s, Oswald’s time for all of this activity. It was a howling madhouse in the United States, but it never really affected Oswald.

No, the new Archives release will yield nothing really worth having. That could almost have been forecast. I don’t know where the dark agencies of government put their most damning documents or how they file them in impenetrable filing systems or even if they indeed keep such material at all (there being, after all, the discouraging historical precedent of the Nazis who kept meticulous files on their crimes), but none of the documents released in Bill Clinton’s time and others, including these, explain either the crime or the need to have ever kept such stuff secret in the first place.

John Chuckman



“Why College Degrees Are Becoming Useless”


It just ain’t so.

Some college degrees are useless for sure, but not degrees in general.

The useless ones, for the most part, are obvious, such as most BAs in English or journalism or history or education. They are useless simply because there are ten of them for every possible job, and the institutions use virtually no discretion in continuing to admit people to such programs.

Then there is that whole class of “created” subjects for which there is virtually no job market: women’s studies, black studies, aboriginal studies, film studies, etc. Perhaps, the first people “out of the gate” got jobs as some other institutions started up or experimented with such programs, but after that it is pretty much a dead end.

There is an old bit of economic analysis in education that is often forgotten. Education has both an investment component and a consumption component. Some courses and degrees are serious investments for the future (in what economists call human capital) while others are consumption, much the same as a watching a television show or reading a mystery. Perhaps enjoyable, but bringing no future returns.

American education has created an entire industry in manufacturing degrees to please young people’s egos and to fill their own coffers. The consumption component of education has been given a major role.

Grade inflation in public schools, vague parental dreams and expectations, over-generalized talk about the value of an education, truly second- and third-rate institutions created by state and local governments as political measures, and a kind of artificial democratization of the whole idea of higher education – these all contribute to the situation.

Hard-nosed academic studies have never been democratic. They are, if you will, just naturally the domain of the more able, although even our highest-quality institutions have always admitted and graduated some who do not belong,

George Bush being a perfect example. Such people are called “legacy” admissions because the whole cynical intention of admitting them is to earn the institution a nice pot of money in gratitude from a rich family. Of course, once you admit a George Bush, you must graduate him regardless of what he does. Ditto for the Royals in Britain at places like Cambridge.

Of course, the American tradition of sports being used as a financing tool by colleges is very corrupting to education. Young men with sports talent are given free places regardless of their academic ability because their contribution to the team will bring in alumni donations.

But that is a totally cynical practice. These young men should be paid money for their effort, not given admission. It is the pathetic “Hoop Dreams” phenomenon.The American military, too, plays a role with its education benefit there to entice a flow of recruits, who, in many, or even most, cases are not truly college or university material. It is a kind of force-feeding of colleges in order to fill uniforms.

Higher education today has a great deal of cynicism and corruption built into it, but it remains the responsibility of each potential student to exercise the old caution, “Buyer beware.”

Failure to do so yields a lot of debt, little or no prospects you could not have had otherwise, and a sense of frustration.


 Response to another reader’s comment:

Some good points.

Trades for now remain good opportunities.

Yes, the trades are going to fade – some far quicker than others – but then so are many of the professions and higher-end careers.

Every career from financial advisor to engineer and even to doctor and lawyer is slowly on its way out with AI.

John Chuckman



Sending more troops to Afghanistan isn’t the answer


Sending any troops to Afghanistan has never been an answer to anything. It is vicious lunacy at best.

The original invasion was a brainless response to something the country had nothing to do with.

Yes, as devout Muslims, the then-government of the country, the Taliban, had permitted bin Laden to reside there.

But when the US high-handedly demanded his extradition without providing a shred of evidence against him – quite simply, the normal procedure in all international extraditions – the Taliban refused, making it clear that they would extradite if provided evidence.

Well, the US never provided any evidence. And you know what? It has never provided any evidence to Americans either of bin Laden’s responsibility for 9/11. None. All we have is the corporate press making the same assertions that it made all those years ago without any real evidence.

So they invaded, and in truth achieved nothing.

American troops have behaved brutally there for years, creating many atrocities.

Their early approach involved going from village to village, using stun grenades, knocking down people’s doors, holding whole families at gunpoint, and taking away the men almost the way Stalin’s secret police did in the USSR. Can you imagine the fears and bad feelings this generated in an old-fashioned rural society?

That horrible behavior was compounded by a whole series of slaughters in villages as trigger-happy, nervous American kids who didn’t understand the language or the customs and who hated the heat and dust they were consigned to, kids with big guns decided they did not like something and simply blasted away. It happened dozens of times. The same for air attacks on some perfectly innocent villages by trigger-happy American pilots.

When you treat people horribly, you make enemies.

Another “benefit” of America’s shabby invasion was to release poor Afghanistan farmers from the strict prohibition the Taliban had imposed on growing poppies. Before long a flood of opium-based drugs was back on international markets. Prices fell, consumption increased, and local American street-gang violence grew. Truly wonderful result, don’t you think?

The Taliban is not and never has been a terrorist organization as it is widely misunderstood in the US.

It is simply one of the basic divisions of that society, as it were, Catholics versus Protestants. It is extremely old-fashioned and fundamentalist and unenlightened, but then so are a small host of clans or religious groups of every description in the world in many lands. You don’t invade people for that.

It is impossible to make them go away, unless of course you are prepared to slaughter people en masse.

The Northern Alliance – representing another basic tribal division in the society, it was an alliance formed long ago within the country to vie for power with the Taliban – that the US allied itself with in the original invasion, has always itself been an unattractive grouping too. It had some genuine monsters in it, including mass-murderer, General Dostum.

It never was the good guys versus the bad guys, a false idea that America’s government promoted. It always resembled a gigantic national feud between the Hatfields and McCoys in West Virginia and had nothing to do with issues Americans care about.

The Pentagon and CIA always like to promote simplistic explanations, providing sound-bite summaries for the nightly corporate news broadcasts, stuff for the soccer moms and others back home to accept readily.

In this case, it was the repression of women, something that in fact goes on still in Afghanistan as it does in every poor, rural place on earth, including Mexico, Brazil, India, Kuwait, Bangladesh, Indonesia, the Philippines, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman, Turkey, and scores of other places.

No, the reality of the great swirling mass of humanity in no way resembles, or relates to, life in Celebration, Florida, or in Ozzie and Harriet’s fantasy suburb of the 1950s. The very essence of propaganda is to fix on a truth and treat it as though it were only a truth for the place you are discussing.

America’s phony efforts even on that front achieved nothing – the Burka is still worn widely and little girls are still not educated and people remain dirt-poor – but, while all the bloody stuff was going on, talk about it put America on the side of the angels in the eyes of the uninformed. The many, many killings of women and children by Americans received little press.

But the US didn’t care, just so that it could defeat the Taliban without sending in vast numbers of its own troops. Using air power with massive bombing above with local forces doing most of the fighting below, followed by a limited number of Americans to occupy, to torture, and to terrorize into submission

This is a poor, backward country, and its customs and social structures do not resemble Celebration, Florida, and they will not do so for centuries.

To expect that bombing and occupation would alter that is the very essence of arrogance and the blind brutality we see from America’s establishment today, working away in a half-dozen places to achieve nothing beyond death and dominance. It is a one-way trip to nowhere.

Afghanistan’s people pretty much mind their business, so why on earth the US thinks it must dominate and decide who governs is beyond me, and it is beyond reason.

It’s just part of a rather sick tendency we see in America’s Deep State, the need to control everyone.



John Chuckman



“New Book About the Deep State Plot to Demonize Russia

With a strong endorsement from Oliver Stone The Plot to Scapegoat Russia”


I am always glad for new sources which confirm old beliefs, but, I must say, there is little in this review that is new to informed and critically-minded observers.

Concepts such as “humanitarian intervention” are, and have long been, of the same nature as the White Helmets in Syria, totally phony.

The US never intervenes militarily where genuine humanitarian catastrophes occur. It did not intervene in Rwanda while it understood perfectly what was happening at a very early stage. It did not in Cambodia. It did not in Indonesia.

Indeed, in the slaughters of Indonesia, after the fall of Sukarno, the State Department was on the phone submitting lists of “communists” to the new government who were best added to the hundreds of thousands getting their throats cut and having their bodies thrown into rivers.

The US militarily intervenes only where it has a geo-political goal or interest.

As far as phony front outfits like America’s Democracy Now! there are many of them in the US.

Despite formal rules against being involved in local affairs, the CIA has long used the method of such media to “get out its messages.” In the 1960s, good magazines like Saturday Review were secretly supported by CIA.

What do formal rules mean to an organization where it is accepted that lying under oath is just fine? CIA Director Helms himself established that fact for us back in the 1960s.

The Internet has many seemingly liberal or independent sites which I believe are in fact CIA zombies. In some cases, they may know it. In other cases, they may not. The CIA works both ways, just as it has paid its own employees and paid outside assets, the assets not always being aware of where their money comes from.

You can take a good guess at such sites just by the nature of the material they favor, the way they treat things, and the rules they establish.

Mother Jones magazine seems certainly one of these. Daily Kos is another. Pacific News Network is yet another. Vanity Fair belongs on the list I believe.

The American book publishing industry is filled with the same effort. Some publishing houses go along to get along, some are unwitting tools, and some are themselves just covert operations.

Remember, publishing in a country like the United States is today a very difficult business, fraught with risk. How nice to have a source of funds, whether understood or not, streaming in to steady your business.

In return, as a publisher, you still get to do some of what you always wanted to do, but perhaps not all of it, but there are a few things, here and there, that you must do or you will lose your important covert sponsor.

There has been an entire industry in advocacy books about such crucial matters as the Kennedy Assassination, the downing of TWA Flight 800, and 9/11. The manipulative nature of a good many of the books is apparent. This CIA effort, by the way, plays the game from both sides.

Books trying to reestablish the authority of the pathetic Warren Report by one route or another – authors like Gerald Posner, Priscilla Johnson, Vincent Bugliosi, Edward Epstein – clearly have CIA influence embedded one way or another into their books on the Kennedy Assassination, directly or indirectly. You cannot read their books without sensing it at many little points, as in what things are emphasized and what things are glossed over or as in over-hyped claims about the limited evidence we have.

The Agency also takes another route of attack. It actually arranges to have books attacking the Warren Commission published, but ones which are so poorly researched or written that they effectively discredit genuine critics by “the company they keep.”

It was a publicist at the Agency, decades ago, who came up with the derogatory term, “conspiracy theorist” to be used against genuine critics, and the term remains in wide use today.

America’s corporate press, always doggedly loyal to Deep State interests, keeps the term alive by regular use in articles and editorials still. Its longevity is proof of how effective such media manipulation can be.

American society is deeply penetrated by the CIA and its sister agencies, and it has been since long before the Snowden revelations about the NSA snooping on everyone.

The truth is that it was a terrible mistake to create something like CIA, and the very President who signed the legislation, Harry Truman, said so.

You simply cannot create a huge, well-financed agency whose accountability is close to non-existent, charge it with the execution of countless dirty tricks and manipulations abroad, allow its members to lie under oath, and keep financing its cancerous growth, without creating a monster, a monster which attacks decency in your society, destroys ethical considerations in your international dealings, and a monster which erodes the foundations of democratic government.

As far as what it has been done to Trump with phony Russia charges and a phony dossier, well, in the past we’ve had everything from an actual CIA President (certainly George Bush Pere whom we know from old documents was in the Agency in the 1960s, and now, I think quite likely, Obama, who has doggedly served their interests and maintains a kind of Washington fortress-office for coordinating the work on Trump) to Presidents being manipulated by CIA stunts (Jimmy Carter and Richard Nixon come to mind) to Kennedy, their one really tough opponent, who of course ended with his brain splattered across the streets of Dallas.

John Chuckman



“Special prosecutor Robert Mueller ‘will take Donald Trump from frying pan to fire’ over Russia investigation”


Then there’ll be a mighty thin meal because there is no meat here. Not a scrap. None.

Fire, hot pans, shouting, cooks sweating in a hot kitchen and absolutely nothing to prepare. That is the ridiculous spectacle we see right now in Washington.

Not everyone understands that impeachment is, in fact, a trial – a long, complicated trial involving some of the nation’s finest legal minds at work.

I know the United States does many questionable and even brutally- stupid things, but I do think bringing someone important to a trial, a guaranteed international spectacle, with absolutely no evidence of any kind, just a lot of shouting and accusations, is not one of them. It is a guaranteed formula for failure. Does any thinking person, not a rabid partisan, believe the United States or the world deserve that?

It cannot happen because even the guys doing all the shouting know that they have nothing in the prosecutor’s brief. However, the efforts and noise and groundless accusations can paralyze the government, blunt its efforts at any reasonable policy (such as, establishing a peaceful relationship with Russia). Of course, there are many other important matters, like the health of the entire Western economy, that the effort can also damage. An executive branch paralyzed by continuous and complete nonsense is dangerous for us all.

The politicians know they only have the accusations of angry partisans like Hillary Clinton, Chuck Schumer, and Nancy Pelosi plus the questionable assertions of Mr. Comey, an old Democratic Hillary partisan and a man who proved himself inept while in office if we are to believe that very same group of accusers – Hillary, Schumer, Pelosi, etc – by their own words of just months ago, all easily still found on the Internet.

Of course, the real danger here is the massive effort to undo a properly-conducted election. A great deal of that effort is coming from the security services, especially the CIA, including some former members of that dark organization.

They don’t like Trump because he, early on, disparaged their importance (as many of us feel is more than fitting) and they have willing helpers in the arrogant walking wounded of the Democratic Party who just cannot believe both that they lost the election and that they had an insider (almost certainly the late Seth Rich) leak the official secrets of their corrupt internal workings. Better to blame the Russians on all counts, and blaming the Russians does also help feed the new Cold War fires now raging in Washington, fires set alight by that smiling psychopath, Obama, with his destructive drives and policies in Europe.

After all, isn’t that the kind of thing the CIA does abroad, often work to unseat legitimate governments? It did so in Ukraine. It did so in Libya. It did so in Egypt. It is working at doing so in Syria. And it did so in many other places. Well, now, the ugly activity has come home to roost, the ultimate form of what security agencies call “blowback.”

America is in the process of tearing apart what very little legitimacy it has left as a democratic state, and millions stand around and cheer because they have been hyped day-and-night by our pathetic corporate media who never work to explain what really is happening anywhere, only passing on the re-written press releases of officialdom.

If you want an accurate perspective on the matter, we have Stephen F. Cohen, distinguished Princeton professor and a genuine expert on Russian affairs, someone who many times in past years was consulted by the American government itself, saying this:


John Chuckman



“Did you know that On June 8, 1967, the USS Liberty, a U.S. Navy intelligence ship, was attacked in international waters? The attack killed 34 U.S. servicemen and wounded at least 173. And we still give billions per year to the aggressor”

There is no question of Israel’s responsibility in attacking the USS Liberty, of course, but I’ve often wondered whether there was some kind of complicity by Lyndon Johnson.

He was a very dark and devious man. Played dirty politics his entire career, including his very first election in Texas which he won by vote fraud. And he sure wasn’t reluctant to see people killed, launching, as he did, the mindless Vietnam War in which an estimated 3 million Vietnamese were killed eventually, a true holocaust.

I’ve never understood the way he just shut everything down right after the attack – called off emergency responders and made no big diplomatic storm over the event and made no great effort to make Israel pay for what it had done, pay in any way.

It was the chance of a lifetime to put Israel in its proper place, a small nation with defined borders. Instead, his response allowed Israel to grow into a Frankenstein monster. His is a great burden of guilt for Israel’s next fifty years of brutal abuse.

It doesn’t make sense, especially considering his volatile temperament. I think his reasons have never been examined, but I know there were reasons. He had a motive, if nothing other than a huge secret effort to buy him off by the Israel Lobby.

It has been speculated that Israel’s knowledge of Johnson’s complicity in President Kennedy’s assassination was used to shut him up. This is distinctly possible, however, while we know the Warren Commission’s version of the assassination was a complete fantasy, we do not know just what really happened. Johnson was from the beginning a highly plausible suspect, but we do not have the necessary proof.

Israel’s motive for the attack is quite clear. They wanted to turn their armor in the south to head north, something they had been advised against.

So, they shut down the American intelligence ship. This, of course, also shut down reporting of Israel’s atrocities in Sinai, which the ship’s gear would have picked up.

Israel was in such a mad rush to turn the armor around, the army just machine-gunned all the Egyptian prisoners of war they had in Sinai. Hundreds of them.

But for Israel, this was from the beginning a war of conquest. It was carefully planned, and Israel knew it could win against the disorganized Arab states that it had deliberately provoked a number of times leading up to the actual conflict.

Of course, fifty years later, we all still live with the hideous results, seeing millions live with absolutely no rights, no citizenship, no votes, constant abuse, and even the degrading insult of having additional homes and farms stolen periodically.

Moshe Dayan, the victorious general of the Six Day War, made numerous statements to the effect of Israel’s having to make the Palestinians feel miserable enough, they would leave.

Well, Israel certainly has done its part in making millions miserable, but they greatly underrated the courage and stamina of the Palestinians, who are not leaving.

Here are some details of the event:


John Chuckman



“Boris Johnson Urges Russia to Stop Supporting Bashar Assad’

The UK government just keeps throwing crap everywhere, hoping some of it will stick. It is a method adopted from America, one of the world’s most hypocritical governments and one whose members actually wear hip-wader boots when they walk through the streets of Washington, so deep is the layer of crap covering it.

Remember, Britain is the country that teamed up with America for the totally illegal invasion of Iraq, killing about a million people and creating horror for a generation in what had been one of the Arab world’s most advanced societies.

I didn’t hear any criticism from Boris Johnson or Theresa May about their war-criminal prime minister, Tony Blair, did you?

This is the country, too, which under that grotesque joke of a leader, David Cameron, supported outfits like Al-Nusra and ISIS and Al-Qaeda while pretending to do just the opposite.

It’s all a kind of big, dirty private-schoolboy joke which helped kill over 300,000 people, create millions of refugees, destabilize Europe, and did much to destroy one of the region’s most beautiful and historic lands.

Ditto for Libya, a place whose leader gave his people everything from free schools to good water and peace. He was summed up by America’s leading psychopath, Hillary Clinton, with her memorable line, “We came, we saw, he died. Ha, ha, ha!

And then, after so much help in killing and creating refugees, British leaders like Boris Johnson have the gall to talk about Assad, a man respected by most of Syria’s people and a man who almost set a standard for tolerance of other religions in an intolerant region (certainly including Israel).

The Christians of Syria support Assad while the Christians in Britain and the United States try to kill him and destroy a peaceful land, throwing the Christians of Syria to the wolves of the packs of killer thugs who are supported and supplied by Britain among others.

It is all quite stunning if you think about it.

And just who are some of the other players in the British charade in Syria? Saudi Arabia, Oman, Turkey, Israel – well, there is a remarkable list of free countries with high values for tolerance indeed. A human and democratic rights gang of thugs, supported by America so that it can get what it wants.

And what does it want? To be rid of a decent leader Israel hates. Israel of course wants to hang on to the things it has stolen, like the Golan Heights. It also wants a region around it in which every country accepts its ugly values of conquest, theft, killing, and endless abuse of millions.

The US also wants to run a pipeline or two through a country that is not its own, pipelines opposed by Assad’s government. What does Saudi Arabia want? It wants what the US and Israel want, ever since 9/11, having been extremely careful that what it says and does is not offensive to America and its colony for fear of being blamed for the twin towers.

America’s other tyrant-allies in the region have similar motives. They are extremely rich and privileged and unaccountable rulers, all of them, and they do not want what they regard as the rubbish of democratic values, human rights, and religious tolerance anywhere near them – not even a hint.

Of course, critically-minded readers might note the record in the trail of wreckage America and Britain have left behind. Isn’t it shining democracy and good government we see in Iraq and Afghanistan and Libya and Somalia and Yemen and Egypt? No? Why something must have gone terribly wrong because surely that was the intention in all that killing and destruction?

Boy, that’s some cause you support there, Boris.

Wouldn’t it be hilarious if Russia could support independence for Scotland and the end of British rule in Gibraltar? It certainly would be nothing more than a parallel effort to Britain’s secret savagery in Syria.

But we’d hear the screams to high heaven about Russian interference in Western affairs. Well, that’s the kind of totally hypocritical view you marry yourself to when you join up for America’s imperial march to control the globe.  It much resembles Napoleon’s Grande Armée with stirring speeches about enlightenment while you set about conquest and pillage.

Violence for selfish ends supported by lies and abuse of every description, all in the names of peace and freedom and democracy – that’s America today. Move over, George Orwell, your brilliant stuff in 1984 has been surpassed by a new and far more shameless brute force than Big Brother and the Inner Party.

John Chuckman


“Tom Friedman has a ‘brilliant’ Syria plan for Trump: use ISIS to force Damascus into a power-sharing deal with al-Qaeda”

Friedman is one of the greatest blowhard phonies of the age, sometimes as unintentionally hilarious as a fundamentalist tent preacher, alternately bawling and beaming, trying desperately to sway souls for Christ.

He frequently trips over his own lack of logic, resembling an awkward kid tripping on his own shoelaces, while churning out his endless stream of propaganda for the Pentagon and Israel, the two entities he holds tightly to his bosom.

But churn it out he does, literally small mountains of dog shit in columns, lectures, and books.

The establishment has fittingly recognized his amazing output by giving him three Pulitzer Prizes. For those not familiar with the Pulitzer, it was created by an American newspaper baron whose name it bears. It is awarded in a number of categories each year, but journalism and books are the best known.

In general, as with all such annual prizes, certainly including the Nobel Peace Prize and Hollywood’s Oscar, it represents some mixture of annual marketing promotion for an industry or organization to gin-up its sales, self-congratulations by the members of an industry or organization, fun annual parties, and opportunities to make political statements to the world, largely propaganda statements.

The prizes all have rather dismal records, the Peace Prize frequently going to murderers and frauds, the Oscar going often to unwatchable films whose subject happens to be something Hollywood wants to crow about. Quality is only accidentally present is winners, although much of the public naively believes all such prizes inherently mean quality. That’s why we see blurbs in books or articles along the lines of, “As Pulitzer Prize winner so-and-so said.” This is always a cheap trick to inflate the authority of the writer being cited rather than letting the reader draw his or her own conclusions.

The Pulitzer is right in there with a terrible record of having been awarded in journalism several times to outright frauds for invented story series, frequently for undistinguished efforts (“It’s my turn!”), and then to someone like Friedman who represents a powerful continuing force in American journalism, the so-called Israel Lobby, members of which own America’s major broadcast networks and major old-line newspapers.

Its record in books is not a great deal more distinguished, mediocre works frequently having won while original, interesting, or highly critical work is ignored. Books about America itself and what a great history it has and what a great place it is seem to get secret bonus points at the start of the selection.

In Friedman’s case, the New York Times, a paper which likes to style itself as the nation’s paper of record, has always, always supported every war and intervention of the national government. It has a long record of cooperating with outfits like the CIA and FBI, and several times it is known to have suppressed stories some smart reporter stumbled upon – famously, the Bay of Pigs invasion preparations. Several times, members of CIA or those entangled with CIA have been discovered on staff, creating a little scandal, but one suspects most were not discovered.

The paper has also taken secret tips from a frequently blundering FBI to go after individuals with no evidence at all – famously, nuclear scientist Wen Ho Lee, wrongly accused of giving top secrets to China, but there are many other examples including the man, Richard Jewell, wrongly accused of the Atlanta Olympics bombing. And then there was the woman it went after viciously, inappropriately revealing her identity in a rape case, who was accusing a member of the Kennedy clan of the rape.  It only recently was revealed that every single story on the Middle East concerning Israel in any possible way is dutifully sent by the New York Times to be passed by the Official Israeli Censor before being published.

The best description of the impossibly-pretentious New York Times ever given is “the house organ for America’s power establishment.” It runs enough sound and interesting material on non-controversial and non-political subjects to hold a reputation for quality. It also, remarkably, in the insanely-confused morass that is American politics, is regarded as “liberal,” something impossible for a genuine liberal to even understand.

Supporting every colonial war of the post-WWII American empire is anything but liberal, but the New York Times pretty consistently supports Democrats, and in America, that is somehow regarded as liberal, the party somehow having escaped the nickname it deserves, the War Party. Johnson, Clinton, Obama, and Mrs. Clinton – mass killers every one of them.

Anyway, that provides some context to understand why Friedman has been kept aboard for what seems like ages, pounding out rat shit propaganda and periodically being awarded another “Pulitzer.”

Here are several past pieces on Friedman – despite his awards and the pretentiousness with which he is treated, his bloated nonsense actually makes him a pretty easy target.  Readers may enjoy: