Archive for the ‘JOHN CHUCKMAN’ Tag

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: THE TEMPLE SLAUGHTER IN PITTSBURGH AND SHAMEFUL EFFORTS TO EXPLOIT IT – IDEA OF “WIDESPREAD ANTI-SEMITISM” GROSSLY ABUSED – V.P. MIKE PENCE’S COLOSSAL BLUNDER BRINGING A “CHRISTIAN RABBI” TO PITTSBURGH TO PRAY FOR REPUBLICANS TO WIN

John Chuckman

EXPANSION OF COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN BREITBART

 

“British Baroness Tonge Blames Israel, Netanyahu for ‘Reigniting’ Hatred Against Jews”

 

She may well be right. Her statement is not something to be casually dismissed. It does seem to me that you cannot assert increased anti-Semitism in the world while at the same time instantly rejecting a quite plausible explanation for its rise.

Yet, that is just what we see being done in article after article and speech after speech. Yes, they say, anti-Semitism is growing fiercely, but, no, Israel’s often-appalling behavior could not possibly have contributed, and for anyone to say that it did, just represents more anti-Semitism.

I don’t know how anyone can see Israel’s horrors in Gaza and not think they would exert influence on the attitudes and perceptions of many people. It could not be otherwise.

Of course, it is important to keep in mind that Jews are not the same as Israelis. Most of the world’s Jews do not live in Israel, but it is Israel itself which insists on blurring the distinction in so many matters, including its latest racist-tinged laws, its efforts to inject itself into Jewish affairs in other countries, and in its incessant pressure on Western governments to pass unjust laws equating criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism.

But I still question the whole idea of appreciably increased anti-Semitism in the world. I read a good deal of the press every day, and I see very little credible support for the notion.

It is unproved, being supported only by “stats” generated by diligently pro-Israeli organizations, the idea of widespread anti-Semitism being a founding principle for Israel and a key element in its defense by all supporters.

We have some very revealing events in the recent long and terrible campaign against Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the British Labour Party. It was a campaign marked by all the ugly features of the late Senator Joseph McCarthy’s campaigns in 1950’s America against “commies in government.”

The campaign against Corbyn was nothing less than a witch hunt by a minority who regularly hurled accusations of anti-Semitism against a thoroughly decent and fair-minded man, all without ever a piece of supporting evidence. Indeed, a couple of times, what proved to be embarrassingly spurious “evidence” was produced. Someone actually busied themselves producing such things.

The pressure was so intense, Corbyn was forced to win his leadership a second time, which he handily succeeded in doing. We even saw the Prime Minister of Israel join the attacks (directly interfering in another county’s politics) with statements which proved he did not know what he was talking about. So, important recent experience demonstrates how readily charges of anti-Semitism are used as a tool for political advantage.

Why was Corbyn, a man with a lifelong record of decent and fair behavior, so viciously attacked? Because his views on Israel and Palestine are also decent and fair, and that really isn’t allowed by some.

In today’s political environment, when we hear charges of anti-Semitism or blanket statements about rising anti-Semitism, we have every reason to remain skeptical. We have a number of ugly examples of the words being unconscionably used for political advantage.

The inconsistencies and the effort at cheap exploitation of the terrible crime in Pittsburgh are simply appalling.

I am always distressed by senseless killings. We have far too many, a sad reflection on the human condition.

But just because one obviously sick man said something about Jewish people has nothing to do with the assertion of increased anti-Semitism.

When Anders Breivik slaughtered about 70 children in Norway, one of the most terrible crimes of our lifetime, did people immediately start talking about a rise in hatred for children? The talk about Pittsburgh and anti-Semitism really does make as much sense as doing that would have made.

I could cite many instances of hideous crimes by sick people – Columbine, Las Vegas concert shooting – but it should be obvious that generalizing from any of them about numbers of people is completely wrong-headed.

I feel fairly confident in saying that talk here about rising anti-Semitism exploits the crime in Pittsburgh to provide cover for other, even larger, crimes – in particular, Israel’s ongoing military ambushes in Gaza, shooting literally thousands and slaughtering about two hundred unarmed people. It is just utterly unethical.

Readers may enjoy:

https://chuckmanwordsincomments.wordpress.com/2018/10/01/john-chuckman-comment-my-definitive-points-against-the-ongoing-shabby-effort-to-conflate-criticism-of-israels-behavior-with-the-prejudice-of-anti-semitism-those-two-things-are-no-more-the-same-th/

 

AFTERWARD

Mike Pence, in his appearance at Pittsburgh, brought with him a Rabbi from the organization, Jews for Jesus, an organization many American Jews regard as offensive and as merely a gimmick for evangelizing Jews. It was an exercise in bad taste by both Pence and the Rabbi.

The Rabbi managed to offend even further by invoking prayers for the Republicans Party in upcoming midterm elections. It was the trashiest injection of politics and personal views into a terrible event that I recall.

Clearly, the fact is that there are always people ready to politically exploit tragedy. Here was the Vice-president of the country doing just that.

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JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: THE ISRAELI-SAUDI DE FACTO ALLIANCE – WHAT THE MURDEROUS CROWN PRINCE REPRESENTS FOR AMERICA – RE-MAKING THE PLANET AND HITLER’S WILLING HELPERS

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN MONDOWEISS

 

“The US mainstream media is ignoring the Israel-Saudi Arabia de facto alliance”

 

Yes, and it’s all part of American effort to reshape the entire Middle East, an effort which so far has cost about 2 million lives.

The Crown Prince is regarded as a key part of the future of that effort.

He serves the hyper-aggressive new American drive for empire worldwide.

And, of course, Israel really is a de facto American colony in the Mideast.

Actually, the Saudis and Israelis have always had a lot in common, contrary to popular notions.

Both represent privilege in the region, extreme privilege.

Both represent forms of wealth. The Saudis, oil. The Israelis, American and British dual-citizen investors.

Both want to have a lot of “clout” in the region. That’s the problem with Iran for both of them. Its size – about the population of Germany – and oil wealth make it the “natural” dominant country in the region.

Israel’s problems with Iran have nothing to do with anti-Semitism. That accusation is just another weapon for beating down an unwelcome competitor for influence.

Importantly, both represent outsider interests. The House of Saud only goes back a little while, a decade or so, before re-created Israel. It is not an ancient kingdom, although they like to create that impression.

Israel was re-created and is run by Ashkenazim, a group of Germanic origin whose native language is Yiddish, a derivative of German. The word Ashkenazi means “German.” Nothing Middle Eastern about it, except a sentimental attachment to the land of the Bible for believers, but belief gives you no legitimate real estate claims. If it did, the world would be an even bigger mess than it is.

After 9/11, the Saudis were desperately looking for ways to improve their standing in Washington’s eyes.

They did not “do” 9/11 but there were lots of shady matters that made them look bad. Payments to Osama intended only to keep him out of Saudi Arabia. Saudi citizens in the hijack crowd.

After all, from almost any point of view, America’s invading Saudi Arabia, even though they weren’t guilty, would have made immensely more sense than the pointless invasion of Afghanistan. So, the Saudis felt keenly the need to please.

Cozying up to Israel was one of their main methods of attacking the problem. They’ve been working on it now for years. The tone of all press and publicity coming out of Saudi Arabia is unrecognizable from, say, 15 years ago.

And the Crown “usurper” Prince takes things even further, just what Washington wants.

Washington loves men with highly flexible morals and principles. They are useful to the cause of empire. A version of Hitler’s willing helpers, if you will.

The Saudis won creds for covertly supporting the slaughter in Syria, a pet project of Israel’s.

Bombing the crap out of Yemen gave them some gold stars too.

As did their internal assaults on a small Shia minority, Shia Islam being identified with some of Israel’s most hated states.

The Khashoggi Affair is an embarrassment, but they’re doing their best to work around it.

The extra couple of days Pompeo gave them for a “thorough” investigation is for them to get their story straight and decide on the fall guys.

Interestingly, Turkey keeps revealing grisly details to pressure for things they want. They do know exactly what happened.

 

Here is some additional information on the Saudi-Israeli alliance:

https://chuckmanwordsincomments.wordpress.com/2018/10/19/john-chuckman-comment-is-something-big-about-to-break-in-saudi-arabia-we-have-the-most-fascinating-bit-of-dirty-work-in-years-revealing-flat-footed-lies-and-hypocrisy-from-the-united-states-it/

Readers may enjoy:

https://chuckmanwordsincomments.wordpress.com/2018/10/17/john-chuckman-comment-here-is-what-the-turks-know-about-the-khashoggi-murder-there-really-cannot-be-a-doubt-that-this-was-planned-to-happen-exactly-as-it-did-and-no-doubt-authority-came-from-the-to/

 

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: THE DISAPPEARANCE OF A SAUDI JOURNALIST WHO WORKED FOR THE WASHINGTON POST WHILE VISITING A SAUDI CONSULATE IN TURKEY TELLS US SOMETHING IMPORTANT ABOUT THE BRAVE NEW WORLD AMERICA IS BUSY CREATING

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN MOON OF ALABAMA

 

“U.S. Intelligence Had A ‘Duty To Warn’ Khashoggi – Why Didn’t That Happen?”

 

An excellent piece which covers many aspects of this dark affair in which a well-known Saudi figure, a critic of the Crown Prince, was simply “disappeared” while visiting Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul to get some papers.

And you are right, no one even questions the Saudi Usurper over mass killing in Yemen. Or his dark work in Syria. Or his abuse of Shia Muslims in Saudi Arabia. So, why expect a lot of to-do over journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, Washington Post connection or not?

It does appear that we increasingly live in a world where the right kind of people can get away with murder, more or less in broad daylight.

To my mind, it’s all just part of the damage done by American hyper-aggressive efforts to assert Washington’s authority in every corner of the world.

Saudi Arabia is important because of the new relationship it has formed with America’s privileged imperial colony, Israel. The United States is using the murderous Crown Prince as part of its campaign to re-make the Middle East, an effort which has already cost about two million lives.

After all, Israel doesn’t have to account for its savage line-ups of soldiers behind fences shooting into unarmed crowds at Gaza, people who are only demonstrating for basic human rights.

These big-game hunting parties with human beings as targets make the old days of Bull Connor in Alabama look almost gentle by comparison.

Yet our press and politicians say almost nothing.

Well, not quite.

The savages are actually publicly praised for their “restraint” in an increasingly-bizarre America.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: A WRITER SAYS WE CAN BE HOPEFUL ABOUT PALESTINE – I WISH IT WERE SO – BUT I SEE NO REASON FOR OPTIMISM – QUITE THE OPPOSITE WHEN YOU APPRECIATE THE ACTUAL BEHAVIOR OF ISRAEL AND AREN’T BLINDED BY IDEOLOGY AND FANCIFUL MYTHS

John Chuckman

EXPANSION OF COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY PETER F COHEN IN MONDOWEISS

 

“Why we can be hopeful on Palestine”

 

I very much wish the title represented something more than a new version of Candide’s optimism.

The single state solution is an idea that has been around a long time.

If I’m not mistaken, the late Edward Said embraced it many years ago.

It’s perfectly rational, but that is part of the reason that the bitter, brutal men running Israel will never accept it.

They are harsh ideologues, embracing a dark fantasy, the re-creation of an ancient land based on doubtful religious texts of 2,500 years, or more, ago. Texts in which people are stoned for doing things we do every day. Texts in which certain kinds of cloth and certain kinds of food, things we all use, are forbidden. Texts in which a great many events are either fantasies – Jonah and the whale or Lot’s wife as a pillar of salt or the Tower of Babel or Noah’s Ark – or things which never occurred – Israel’s captivity in Egypt and the reign of King David.

Those are hardly a sound basis for modern political affairs and the founding of a state which is heavily armed. But the truth is they provide only the start of a grim list of problems associated with today’s Israel.

Jews in fact flourish in a number of places in far better situations than they do in Israel. It seems to me that there is something in the Israeli temperament resembling the reclusive religious institutions of the Middle Ages, the ones where self-flagellation and other extremes were the norm – not the kind of people ready to embrace large numbers of outsiders with different ways. We find the same qualities in cults sometimes, the desire for separateness and unwillingness to mingle with others.

If Zionists had taken Albert Einstein’s advice, embracing the native people and living among them without iron walls, there could have been something harmonious and peaceful and constructive for everyone over the last 70 years.

But they did not embrace that vision. They embraced instead a bitter and hostile vision of iron walls and racial segregation. And militarism and police and security forces everywhere.

Moreover, Israel is the most heavily subsidized entity on earth, counting both government and private subsidies, and we all know the highly debilitating effects of subsidy over time. And subsidies cannot continue indefinitely. People do not endlessly give away money and resources, particularly when they see the recipient makes absolutely no progress at creating an improved situation.

It would be wise to seriously start making peace with the neighbors and cooperating because what we see today in Israel simply is not a situation which can be sustained long term, that is, without the kind of endless harshness we see, much the same kind of harshness we saw in the old Soviet Union, a state whose circumstances also were not sustainable. But fanatics, like the men who run Israel, do not look at hard realities.

Israel deliberately maintains an embattled situation, making life far more difficult for most there than in, say, Canada or the US or France or many other places.

Israel’s open abuse of millions causes its citizens to be greatly disliked in the world, too, and I don’t really think most people enjoy being disliked.

The place is an armed camp, a crusader fortress. The level of military and security services make it in many ways resemble the old USSR. A state top-heavy with military and police and spies is not a healthy one for the long term. A recent book revealed that Israel’s security services have conducted 2,700 assassinations. Serial murder, then, is a founding value of the nation.

The cost of living in Israel is very high, houses are hard to buy, and career opportunities are quite limited. It is a small place, with about half the population of Ecuador. It can never enjoy great economies of scale, and its international trade literally is force-fed by American subsidies and pressures on others.

People only voluntarily live that way – having actually gone out of their way to create the circumstances – when a fantasy or a fanatical belief dominates rational thinking. Fanatical beliefs provide no sound foundation for anything.

I wouldn’t care if Israelis wanted to indulge their fantasies, providing they could do so without hurting and abusing millions of others.

But they are hurting and abusing millions of others. That fact is at the heart of the matter.

It is not a matter of a war or conflict, as it is so often inaccurately and lopsidedly presented in our press and by our politicians, when you have a situation where other people’s farms and houses are regularly stolen. It represents a state where the rule of law does not apply, a kind of ongoing criminal enterprise with no justice for its victims.

The rule of law simply is not to be found in Israel and the territories it occupies. Something called the law exists, but it is the same kind of law we saw in places like the American Confederacy and in Nationalist South Africa. It is law to protect only a specific group of residents, and it is law which oppresses all others.

You simply cannot have a viable country in the long term without the stability of the rule of law, yet the people running Israel appear to believe that you can.

You know, it is impossible to look at images of Gaza and not immediately think of a giant concentration camp. And what we see there is Israel’s doing completely. Penning people in with fences and guard towers, including towers with automated, radar-activated machine guns. Bombing them frequently, invading them periodically, blockading their imports, even the materials required for repairs and rebuilding. Curtailing all their natural rights such as how far fishermen can go out in their boats and whether people can travel anywhere, even for medical care or education.

Just imagine how Israel would thrive treated the same way. Of course, it wouldn’t. It couldn’t. It would stagnate and begin to rot. In a way, Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians provides a self-fulfilling prophecy for them. Many Israelis really do believe it is only themselves capable of making a thriving place. You can very much see that notion on display in propaganda films and lobbying efforts. It surely represents a form of racism which just jumps out at us periodically.

And when peaceful, desperate people protest for rights to which they are entitled by all the reckonings of Western tradition, Israel can only think of lining up firing squads of soldiers to shoot into the crowds from behind fences. Where in God’s name does such behavior take you? It is a one-way trip to nowhere.

The idea of a mixed state is abhorrent to a great many Israelis because it violates the confused dream that dominated the founders’ thinking.

It would only be possible if the United States used its inordinate power and authority to push for justice. Indeed, that is the reality for any settlement, whether two states or one. But how likely is that? It is not only unlikely, it is impossible given the political realities of America with its money-driven elections and its tolerance for powerful lobbies to supply money along with other assistance such as favorable press treatment.

The lobby for Israel in the United States is one of the most powerful and well-run in the country. It is for many a political death sentence to oppose it. It will maintain the status quo so long as the leaders in Israel want it to be so. There is a kind of vicious circle involved in all discussions of Israel-Palestinian peace.

Only in the remote case of American Jews becoming convinced that Israel should no longer be supported so vigorously, or in the equally remote case of America changing its terrible laws around money in politics and the governance of political lobbies, would there be a possibility for America to use its strength and influence for justice. Well, it’s gone on the way it is for seventy years, and there seems little reason to expect change in either of those American circumstances which support Israel.

Further contributing to Israel’s distaste for a single-state solution is the fact that, in general, Arab birth rates are higher, considerably, than Israeli ones. Of course, keeping Palestinians in relative poverty only helps to extend that reality since we know birth rates invariably drop with prosperity. So, how long would it be before Jews became a minority? I know Israel’s leadership is keenly aware of this reality and greatly fears it.

Israel plays an intellectual game around the concept of democracy, always trying to gain plaudits as the “only democracy in the Middle East.” But what kind of democracy is it where only certain people can immigrate, become full citizens, and vote? Yes, there is a minority population of Palestinians who are citizens (now about 20% of total population), but their status was an accident of history, of events around 1948.

It was never intended to be so, and many Israelis would like to change their status. Prominent people have addressed that very subject. Netanyahu once described them as a “demographic bomb,” such are his fair-minded views.

And this minority is treated unfairly with specialized laws against their interests. It is even spoken out against and threatened by some Israeli politicians, men of the caliber of Avigdor Lieberman, of which Israel has considerable numbers, their presence being consistently required in the formation of governments under Israel’s political system.

In effect, some of the darkest voices in Israel always have a seat at the table of government. They provide the required margin to form a government, and they employ that margin to maintain disproportionate influence.

As well, whenever Israel meets democracy in the Arab world around it, it treats it with open hostility. It loved the long-term dictator of Egypt, Mubarak, hated and worked against Egypt’s one brief democratic government, and now embraces the new Egyptian dictator, el-Sisi. It embraces the bloody tyrant in Saudi Arabia. It embraces the King of Jordan.

It tried to totally destroy democratically-elected Hamas in Gaza, whose original non-corrupt and democratic ways only got it labelled as “terrorist.” It somewhat supports the so-called President of Palestine, Abbas, a man whose legitimate mandate ended many years ago and who has not faced an election since. Its tepid tolerance for Abbas is based only on his relative ineffectiveness and his opposition to Hamas in Gaza.

Israel has little prospect for healthy future in-migration of Jews. Indeed, it experiences some years with net out-migration. Jews are a relatively small group in the world, and not many would trade their prosperity and opportunity and freedom for the intense stress and unpleasant realities of Israel.

The Russians were the world’s last remaining large source for serious immigration, and now that’s used up.

It is important for understanding Israel’s political psychology to realize that many of its leaders and leading economic citizens have dual citizenships, as American or British, and they are secure in the backs of their minds that they can always pack-up and leave should the situation become too nasty. That is not the case for many ordinary citizens now born there. They are stuck.

Israel’s prospects, with relatively low birth rates and limited in-migration are for population decline and a whole lot more of the same grief and violence, given the extreme ideologue beliefs of its leaders and the inherent instability of its situation.

It’s a bleak long-term outlook.

But accept Palestinians? Whew, that’s like telling devout, old-fashioned Catholics they should accept abortion and married priests and stop reciting the Rosary.

Modern Israel, by all objective evidence, is, in fact, a pretty racist society, too. We’ve seen ugly controversy and manipulation at every turn involving race. Black refugees were treated terribly. Black Jews from Africa, too, were not even allowed to live in some neighborhoods. Of course, the same is true for Arabs who cannot rent or buy in many places and face open hostility. Some national laws, too, are different for Jews versus non-Jews.

I just do not see how a hopeful future can come from that.

It really was a hopeless enterprise from the beginning, creating a nation based on ancient myths and mumbo-jumbo texts, an enterprise based on anger and desperation with no larger guiding vision. But, again, if it could have been done without hurting millions of others, that would be only Israel’s’ business. But it cannot be done without hurting millions of others, and things continues along that path without any signs of let-up.

There can be no repeat of the Holocaust. It was a unique event under unique circumstances, not to be repeated, which is indeed the case with all truly terrible events. New horrors will happen somewhere to someone, but they won’t be a repeat of the Holocaust. A brilliant ancient Greek compared history to a flowing river into which you could never step into the same place twice.

Yet the Holocaust is used almost as raison d’etre for Israel. It truly is not since most of the world’s Jews do not live there. Of course, this also ignores the fact that the Holocaust was an event in another continent, involving one group of Germans against another. The Ashkenazim who created Zionism and who dominate Israel are a Germanic, Eastern European people. The word Ashkenazi means German.

So, what are they doing in the Middle East generating misery for still another people, people who had nothing to do with the Holocaust? Well, again, who would care about them being in the Middle East so long as they respected their neighbors and lived in peace. But they do not.

It’s nonsense to believe that the Holocaust could be repeated, but holding it over people’s heads serves much like the threat of hell does in American Christian fundamentalism or did in the Catholic Church for centuries of the Dark Ages.

The phrase “never again” contains no hint of reality, both because history never repeats itself and because the very people uttering it have demonstrated insincerity and hypocrisy in their efforts. Again, just look at images of Gaza and see what Israel has consciously created while uttering the words. It’s beyond shameful.

I regret to say that I see virtually nothing in the entire situation about which to be optimistic.

 

 

 

 

Posted October 11, 2018 by JOHN CHUCKMAN in Uncategorized

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JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: AMERICAN POLITICS’ CONSTANT TOYING WITH ADVERTISING SLOGANS AVOIDS DEALING WITH REALITY – AMERICAN DREAM AND MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN ARE FANTASIES – HERE’S A FEW HARD REALITIES – A NEW GREAT DEPRESSION?

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN INVESTMENTWATCH

 

“Middle Class Erosion: 33 Million Americans Will Not Travel During The Holidays Because They Can’t Afford To Do So”

 

You are crying, as my mother used to say, over spilt milk.

The American Middle Class has been on the decline for decades.

The truth is that it was artificially fattened up in the glory days following WWII when the US had virtually no competition on the planet.

That was the fantasy time of “the American Dream.”

It was unique. It is gone, and forever.

Now, there are many countries vying for their place in the sun, and the truth is that in many things America cannot compete with them.

Subsidies, whether direct or indirect, and special temporary privileged position, vis-a-vis others, does not breed competitive abilities and skills.

I think we all know that from our everyday lives.

So, why does anyone think it should be any different for a nation? It’s not.

“The American Dream,” always reflected a temporary special privileged position. It was never possible that it should be sustained indefinitely.

Trouble is that someone like Trump is playing politics with the nonsense of saying that it is possible.

“Make America Great Again” is just a new slogan for a tired, inaccurate, and out-of-date notion.

It much resembles the blind faith of a religion or cult.

There is absolutely no substance to it because it reflects fantasy notions in a changed reality, a world immensely different than that of, say, 1959.

The danger with it is that it will generate a permanent state of the kind of combative economic policies pursued by Trump. They lead nowhere but ruin for everyone.

The notion that you can enrich your own nation at the expense of others derives from centuries ago with Mercantilism and Imperialism.

It simply cannot work in a modern world, except to help destroy global economic and trade foundations, ultimately making everyone poorer.

Trump’s approach rather resembles – given America’s vast and irresponsible accumulated debt and the weaknesses we see in many economies – a deliberate effort to bring on a new Great Depression.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: PUTIN’S CHARMING CUSTOM OF HAVING VERY LARGE FAMILIES TO DINNER – BUT THE INEVITABILITY OF POPULATION DECLINE IN ADVANCING NATIONS – LONG-TERM REALITIES OF DEMOGRAPHIC TRANSITION

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN RUSSIA INSIDER

 

“Want To Have Dinner With Putin? Have 7 Kids and Become a Russian Citizen and You’re In!

“Let Western media label these photos as “creepy”; we find Putin’s personal interest in traditional families–and the families themselves–downright charming. What do you think?”

 

I find this charming.

However, I do not really believe such practices can turn around birth rates.

As societies advance, births decline, always.

It is a universal experience.

Declining births represent real economic incentives.

With better medicine and food, people come to understand that most babies will survive.

That, of course, was not always the case.

Babies died in large numbers, so people responded by having more of them.

Rural farmers also saw a large family as a kind of guarantee for their old age and decline, young people with strong backs to keep the farm going.

But part of modernity, a big part, is people leaving farms for cities. Farms become consolidated and run as huge corporate enterprises, with lots of the best machinery and with limited need for workers.

Except at picking time, a time in most places where migrant labor comes in temporarily to do the job.

But technology may even end that because new kinds of harvesting and picking machines are invented regularly.

Also, traditional family farms cannot compete with vast corporate farm systems. Their costs are too high.

So traditional incentives for large farm families, over time, disappear. Of course, there are always little pockets here and there, but overall, that is the story.

New specialty crops can affect this somewhat for a time, as the organic farming in North America requires more intense labor and commands premium prices for crops and encourages some smaller farms.

But the effects of that cannot last as technology continues to do new tasks.

In cities, people want to pursue careers, including women, and having too many children is a serious barrier. Costs go up. work opportunity, especially for women, goes down.

And urban careers require a good deal of preparation too in the way of education, again an incentive against having children in any numbers.

So, young urban people generally do not want more than two kids.

Well, it is just a fact that if every couple in any country has only two kids, population will decline. Any degree of infant mortality, and there is always some, means the total couples have less than replaced themselves. And not everyone marries either.

Then, of course, given an increasingly good life with careers in cities and two incomes, there are many couples who will choose not to have children at all.

This whole phenomenon has a name in economics. It’s part of what is called Demographic Transition.

It is not a fanciful idea, but a reality, a concept proved in every advanced society.

When incentives for changed behavior are real – real as in “the real economy” economists speak of – then they can only ever be effectively countered by real counter-incentives.

That’s why many states give money to families with children, but it generally cannot be enough to compensate for the lost economic gains of having more children. It in fact costs many tens of thousands of dollars to raise just one child to adulthood, and if you add parents’ paying for higher education, a phenomenon of the late 20th century, you can add tens of thousands more. And then there is the lost income of a spouse who can’t work.

So, monetary incentives in general are not too helpful, simply because governments cannot afford to hand out sizeable incomes for those having children.

In the long term, and we see this in every advanced society in the world, only immigration can make up for declining births.

So, such celebrations as President Putin does are pleasant, and they communicate a certain sense of values, but they cannot make a really big difference in the long term.

The recent history of every modern North American, European, and Asian Rim country demonstrates it convincingly.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: WHY MODERN PRESIDENTS CANNOT SET AMERICAN FOREIGN POLICY EVEN IF THEY WANT TO DO SO – FOUNDING OF AMERICAN EMPIRE AFTER WW II – THE NEEDS ALL EMPIRES SHARE WHETHER AMERICAN OR SOVIET – CREATION OF CIA – IMPORTANT NOTE ON KENNEDY ASSASSINATION

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN FRN

 

“The United States has, in short, moved beyond a mere imperial presidency to a bifurcated system—a structure of double government—in which even the President now exercises little substantive control over the overall direction of U.S. national security policy”

 

That is a pretty accurate assessment of the situation.

I believe the change is owing directly to America’s embracing the role of world empire following the end of WWII.

The very concept of world empire is a dark one when you include all the controls and pressures over others that necessarily come with it, and the role comes associated with a host of dark consequences. The loss of true civilian democratic control of government at home is just one of them. Much the same forces were at work in the Soviet empire.

I don’t know why anyone would think differently, just because good old America is running the empire as opposed to the Soviets or the Germans or the British. Empires simply are not either ethical or wholesome creations. And they all have certain basic requirements to operate.

They are about power and privilege and profit for elites, involve the suppression of rights for large numbers of people, and the rules for running one cannot be found in the American Constitution or in any other ethical and enlightened documents. Lip service is paid, but it truly is only lip service.

If you study the life of someone like Winston Churchill, always held up as a great democratic leader, you will easily discover how this quite ruthless proponent of British Empire was, in fact, anything but.

There is also a basic notion around something such as a world empire that it is just too complicated and too important to “leave it to the amateurs to run,” and in the sense intended by that, all elected American presidents are amateurs.

So, we have almost an industry, a covert one, of people regarded as experts in running empire – from those who study and work to manipulate various political parties and countries to those who study the required overall changing needs and strategies of empire and to those who study and practice how to bend people to your will.

These people, while nominally serving an elected president, regard themselves, and are regarded by others, as too important and expert to ignore.  It takes considerable independence and strength of will even to disagree with them on one consequential matter.

And they are not ignored. It does not matter which party, Democrat or Republican, is elected, the winner will change little or nothing in this regard. Obama and Trump, while having great differences in style and even couth, are indistinguishable in the nitty-gritty of most of foreign policy.

When Truman signed off on the legislation creating CIA, the associated advertising was all about the need for organized expert intelligence to inform presidents in their decisions. All very plausible, but quite deceptive when you consider the essential nature of such institutions.

A true, pure information and consultative agency could have been created, but it was not.

The advertising claims around CIA’s birth do not represent what can possibly happen when you create an immense, well-financed, secret organization and task it with all kinds of dark responsibilities, such as examining whether certain leaders in certain countries are acceptable.

The CIA had a long boom period under Eisenhower, a popular former general who did not want the military to be seen as running everything abroad. The Allen Dulles’ CIA took care of all that in a shadowy world of influence, pay-offs, election manipulations, secret arrangements, coups, and, as required, assassinations.

And the agency grew very headstrong with the way it was permitted to run under Eisenhower. With the growing sense of threat from the Soviet Union, and to a lesser extent from China – a sense of threat constantly stoked up and exaggerated by the CIA itself in its various highly inaccurate national estimates each year. It was all offered, of course, in the good cause of fattening budgets and expanding responsibilities.

No organization better illustrates the old wisdom about institutions being self-perpetuating and seeking growth and aggrandizement than does the CIA. The wisdom is even truer for secretive institutions. And is truer still for institutions lacking any powerful direction from outside.

There were many successful operations – successful from the point of view of CIA – over the Eisenhower years, including coups against disliked democratic governments such as those in Iran and Guatemala. And there were assassinations, as with the Congo’s Lumumba and, it is thought by some, the UN’s Dag Hammarskjöld. Kennedy came to the presidency as intense and costly efforts against Fidel Castro were underway.

Having such a free hand for so long meant certain conflict with a new President such as Kennedy. Kennedy wanted to use the powers of the presidency, not to be used by others. Having a freehand also, of course, contributed to growing CIA arrogance and a sense that only it knew what was best.

The last president, actually the only president, who seriously challenged the Truman-Eisenhower arrangements was John Kennedy, and he left half his head splattered in the streets of Dallas. You don’t have to be someone who loves dabbling with secrets and conspiracies to see the tremendous significance of that assassination.

Both in matters of cooperation with Russia and rapprochement with Cuba, Kennedy strayed much too far from the script.

No president since has done so. Indeed, the example was set by Kennedy’s successor, Lyndon Johnson, of complete submission to the desires of the CIA. He was also a great and loyal servant for the FBI.

On the Kennedy assassination and the likelihood that elements of CIA were involved, readers may enjoy:

https://chuckmanwordsincomments.wordpress.com/2018/07/13/john-chuckman-comment-the-first-genuine-information-in-the-kennedy-assassination-records-release-to-give-us-some-genuine-information-about-what-happened/

 

Posted October 2, 2018 by JOHN CHUCKMAN in Uncategorized

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