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Kansas Teacher Barred from Employment for Supporting BDS

October 19th, 2017

Stephen Lendman

Barring longtime math teacher Esther Koontz from renewing her teaching contract, solely for her political beliefs, is a flagrant First Amendment violation.

She righteously supports BDS activism, wanting Israel held accountable for its high crimes against Palestinians.

Kansas House Bill 2409 prohibits state contracts with individuals critical of Israel’s agenda. In NAACP v. Claiborne Hardware Co. (1982), the Supreme Court unanimously ruled for the plaintiff against state authorities, cracking down on boycotts of white businesses, saying authority over economic relations doesn’t limit or deny political speech.

Koontz is a member of the Mennonite Church USA. In July, it voted to divest from US companies, profiting from Israel’s illegal occupation.

She supports Palestinian rights. Her employment papers require a declaration in writing of no support for BDS. She declined and was denied the right to train other teachers.

The Kansas law is unconstitutional. The ACLU supports Koontz. Last week on its web site, she headlined “Kansas Won’t Let Me Train Math Teachers Because I Boycott Israel,” saying:

“Because of my political views, the state of Kansas has decided that I can’t help it train other math teachers.”

Full story »

States Sue Trump for Cutting Off Healthcare Subsidies

October 18th, 2017

Stephen Lendman

If America had universal healthcare like all other developed nations and many others, the only issue would be improving it, making it the world’s best.

Instead, it’s a national disgrace, by far the world’s most expensive, increasingly unaffordable for tens of millions of households - forced to go uninsured or way underinsured, leaving them vulnerable in case of serious illnesses or injuries.

Medicaid is bare bones, woefully inadequate and unacceptable. So are the actions of the world’s richest nation waging class war, eroding social justice, devoting its resources increasingly for militarism, endless wars of aggression, and corporate favoritism - the country thirdworldized to pursue this agenda.

Monied interests never had things better, the system rigged to serve them at the expense of most others, a deplorable system worsening, not improving.

Trump’s ending healthcare subsidies for low-income households was a contemptible act, a scheme to pressure Congress to repeal and replace Obamacare with a more dysfunctional system than already, freeing up billions in federal revenues for greater warmaking and tax cuts for the rich.

States are outraged, 19 attorneys general suing in federal court to reverse his action. Maybe others will join them.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said “(h)undreds of thousands of New York families rely on the Affordable Care Act’s subsidies for their health care.” Cutting them off is “unacceptable.”

Full story »

America and France Reject Democratic Venezuelan Regional Election Results

October 18th, 2017

Stephen Lendman

It’s no surprise. Venezuela is the hemisphere’s leading democracy. America and France are fascist police states, partnering in imperial wars of aggression, serving their privileged class exclusively, repressing nonbelievers.

On Monday, the Latin American Council of Electoral Experts (CEELA) said Venezuela’s October 15 gubernatorial elections were open, free and fair.

“The vote took place peacefully and without problem. (It) reflects the will of (Venezuelan) citizens,” CEELA President Nicanor Moscoso explained.

Over 1,300 national and international observers monitored Sunday voting, saying it took place under conditions of “total normality,” no irregularities found, some minor technical glitches only, not affecting the process.

Opposition fascists illegitimately cried foul, how they always react to losing. CEELA said it received no formal complaints about Sunday’s process. No evidence shows any, just groundless opposition complaints through the media.

Full story »

North Korean UN Envoy Warns of Possible Nuclear War

October 18th, 2017

Stephen Lendman

The danger of Washington launching it is real, not Pyongyang. Trump’s rage for warmaking threatens everyone.

Addressing the General Assembly’s disarmament committee on Monday, DPRK UN envoy Kim In-ryong said things “reached the touch-and-go point and a nuclear war may break out any moment.”

North Korea is the world’s only country facing “an extreme and direct nuclear threat” from America, he explained, adding his nation has the right to possess nuclear weapons for self-defense.

He condemned provocative US military exercises near its territory, jointly with South Korea and/or Japan, using “nuclear assets,” he claimed - highlighting the danger of Washington perhaps staging a “secret operation aimed at the removal of our supreme leadership.”

Pyongyang completed its “nuclear force and thus became the full-fledged nuclear power which possesses the delivery means of various ranges, including the atomic bomb, H-bomb and intercontinental ballistic rockets,” he claimed.

North Korea indeed is a nuclear power, heading toward thermonuclear capability, not likely having achieved it, nor ICBMs in its arsenal yet.

Full story »

Deplorable US Public Ignorance

October 17th, 2017

Stephen Lendman

Americans are the most over-entertained, uninformed people on the planet - despite 84% of households having a computer, 73% with broadband Internet access, according to Pew Research.

Instead of relying on credible information sources easily available online, too many Americans apparently follow mainstream television - providing disinformation, Big Lies and fake news, masquerading as the real thing.

A mid-September Gallup poll showed 58% of US adults surveyed favor military action against North Korea if (nonexistent) diplomacy fails.

Support varied by party affiliation - 82% of Republicans favoring war, 56% of independents, only 37% of (undemocratic) Democrats.

A new Quinnipiac University poll showed 46% of Republicans support a preemptive strike on the DPRK, 41% against - 1% for is unacceptable.

Full story »

Neocon Nikki Haley the Dark Force Behind Trump’s Decertification of Iran Nuclear Deal?

October 16th, 2017

Stephen Lendman

Haley reportedly was Trump’s first choice for secretary of state, a war goddess Hillary clone, a Ziofascist, a recklessly dangerous neocon.

Her extremism makes her unqualified for any public position. She uses her UN envoy platform to maliciously vilify sovereign independent states - notably Russia, North Korea and Iran.

Earlier she claimed she was offered the secretary of state position, turned it down, telling Trump he could find someone better. Perhaps she’s Trump’s top choice now to replace Rex Tillerson, clearly frustrated about being left out of the loop on key geopolitical decision-making.

A previous article suggested Trump may choose CIA director Mike Pompeo, ideologically like Haley, a recklessly dangerous extremist heading an agency responsible for high crimes globally since the 1940s.

On Saturday, Sputnik News said Haley “prepared the ground” for Trump’s decertification of the Iran nuclear deal, citing Politico, saying she was his “favorite internal voice” on Iran.

Full story »

Trump EOs Aim to Undermine Obamacare

October 16th, 2017

Stephen Lendman

On Wednesday and Thursday, Trump signed two anti-consumer executive orders, aiming to wreck Obamacare instead of seeking to improve affordable coverage for all Americans.

His actions made dysfunctional Obamacare much worse if they stick. One EO permits buying health insurance across state lines.

It’ll expand association health plans (AHPs) written by trade associations, small businesses and other groups. It’ll only lower insurance premiums by limiting coverage. Otherwise, they’ll keep increasing.

According to American Academy of Actuaries’ Cori Uccello, it’s “a step in the wrong direction” for millions of people with preexisting conditions.

Healthy individuals could go without coverage, creating a high risk pool, making insurance premiums more unaffordable than already.

Wyoming, Maine and Georgia tried cross-state purchases of coverage unsuccessfully. Insurers lacked interest, in part because they had no customer base outside their marketplace.

Full story »

Remarks by Russia’s Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman

October 16th, 2017

Stephen Lendman

On Thursday, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said 92% of Syrian territory was freed from (US-supported) ISIS control.

In the past week alone, Russian airpower conducted 517 sorties, destroying over 1,260 facilities controlled by terrorists.

Its operations along with Syria’s continue smashing US-supported terrorists, defeating Washington’s imperial aims in the country.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova explained Russian, Syrian and allied forces continue smashing ISIS terrorists in Deir Ezzor.

Much of its Al-Mayadeen stronghold was liberated, including the strategic Al-Rashadeh District and nearby Taybeh Farms, cutting a vital ISIS supply line.

Deescalation zones’ ceasefire violations were “substantially reduced.” Thousands of US-supported al-Nusra terrorists continue “trying to wreck the effort to normalize the situation and establish durable peace in Syria,” Zakharova explained.

Full story »

Putin on Eroding International Law

October 16th, 2017

Stephen Lendman

On Saturday, he addressed the Inter-Parliamentary Union Assembly (IPU) in St. Petersburg - where Russia’s first parliament, the State Duma, was established in 1906, the body a contributing factor in the 1917 revolution, abolishing czarist rule.

The IPU is the world’s oldest international parliamentary organization, established in 1889. Its membership includes parliaments of 173 nations. Annual conferences are held in cities worldwide - last year in Dhaka, Bangladesh, next year in Geneva, Switzerland. Putin noted Russia’s post-Soviet Constitution will mark its 25th anniversary next year, explaining the nation continues developing its “democratic, representative institutions of power and enhancing the legislative branch’s authority and importance.”

World parliaments are involved in “searching for efficient answers to modern challenges and threats that are common to all of us,” he noted.

Full story »

Trump Withdraws America from UNESCO

October 16th, 2017

Stephen Lendman

UNESCO is the UN’s educational, scientific and cultural organization. It stresses “building peace in the minds of men and women.”

It “works to create the conditions for dialogue among civilizations, cultures and peoples, based upon respect for commonly shared values.”

Through dialogue it hopes the “world can achieve global visions of sustainable development encompassing observance of human rights, mutual respect and the alleviation of poverty, all of which are at the heart of UNESCO’S mission and activities.”

In October 2011, it granted Palestinians full membership in the organization, applied for by the PA weeks earlier. Israel called the decision a “tragedy.”

Full story »

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