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Military Coup in Zimbabwe

November 16th, 2017

Stephen Lendman

Robert Mugabe ruled Zimbabwe since 1980, heading the nation’s ZANU-PF party, earlier as prime minister, for the last 30 years as president. He’s now aged-93 in poor health.

On Wednesday, Zimbabwe’s military took control of the country’s state-run ZBC television.

Addressing the nation, spokesman General SB Moyo said criminals “committing crimes that are causing social and economic suffering in the country” were targeted “in order to bring them to justice,” adding:

The military is seeking to “pacify a degenerating, social, and economic situation.” He ludicrously denied a coup occurred, saying “Mugabe and his family are safe and sound and their safety is guaranteed.”

On November 14, ZANU-PF accused the army chief of “treasonable conduct” after he challenged Mugabe’s sacking of Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa for disloyalty, a former intelligence chief, seen as his successor.

Ruling party members believe a “bloodless transition” of power is underway, Mubabe heavily guarded under house arrest, preparing to announce his resignation.

Full story »

China and the US: Comparing Leadership Selection

November 15th, 2017

James Petras

The US selection of leaders has virtually nothing to do with democratic processes and outcomes. It is useful to contrast this with the process in China. In most instances, China’s selection of leaders is far more meritocratic, successful and performance-based. In both the US and China, the process lacks transparency.

US Economic, Political and Cultural Leadership

The selection of US economic, political and cultural leaders is based on several undemocratic procedures.

1. Inheritance via family ties

2. Personal access to credit and financing

3. Political patronage

4. Lobby and elite sale and purchase of office and favors

5. Media links

6. Political repression and manipulation of electoral procedures

7. Incumbency and use of state resources

8. Ethno-religious nepotism

9. Internal party hierarchy

10. Closed party decisions (opacity)

11. Ability to keep secrets

Leaders, whether appointed, self-appointed and selected through money, media, elite networks, turn the electoral process into virtual afterthoughts in the US system. US economic leaders have increased the flow from productive profits and investments upward to the financial sector and/or outwardly overseas to tax havens.

Full story »

Theresa May’s Anti-Russia Rant

November 15th, 2017

Stephen Lendman

Addressing a Monday lord mayor’s banquet, May shamefully bashed Russia viciously, falsely accusing the Kremlin of “weaponiz(ing) information,” saying it’s “threatening the international order on which we all depend.”

She provided no evidence backing her claims because there is none, adding:

“I have a very simple message for Russia. We know what you are doing. And you will not succeed.”

“Because you underestimate the resilience of our democracies (sic), the enduring attraction of free and open societies, and the commitment of western nations to the alliances that bind us.”

“The UK will do what is necessary to protect ourselves, and work with our allies to do likewise.”

What’s going on? Britain partners with Washington’s imperial agenda. It’s allied with its wars of aggression and anti-Russia propaganda.

May is in trouble politically, her tenure as prime minister faltering. Reportedly, 40 Tory MPs prepared a letter of no confidence in her leadership, calling for her to step down - eight short of the number needed to trigger a contest to replace her.

Full story »

How Runaway Inequality Creates Runaway Global Warming

November 15th, 2017

Eric Zuesse

The bottom half of humans own next to nothing, but they own as much as the world’s richest 80 individuals do, because though the bottom half are poor, there are 3.79 billion of them.

The average person among the richest 80 owns 45,750,000 times as much as does the average person among the lower half. In other words: in terms of wealth, the typical one of those hyper-rich equals nearly 46 million of those poor people.

The richest person among the poor half of humanity owns approximately $5,000, but billions of people in the lower half own less than nothing — they’re negative net worth: owing more than they own. However, whatever they own is visible, and easily seizable, either by creditors, or by thieves.

By contrast, the wealth of all billionaires, including of the top 80, is largely secret, lots of it being in shell companies, many offshore, untraceable. Consequently, estimates of the wealth of the richest 80 individuals are probably unrealistically low. This secretiveness is a major reason why the public tolerates being ruled by an aristocracy: they don’t even recognize that they are — they think they live in a democracy, even if they don’t.

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China and the US: Rational Planning and ‘Lumpen’ Capitalism

November 6th, 2017

James Petras

Introduction

US journalists and commentators, politicians and Sinologists spend considerable time and space speculating on the personality of China’s President Xi Jinping and his appointments to the leading bodies of the Chinese government, as if these were the most important aspects of the entire 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (October 18-24, 2017)[2].

Mired down in gossip, idle speculation and petty denigration of its leaders, the Western press has once again failed to take account of the world-historical changes which are currently taking place in China and throughout the world.

World historical changes, as articulated by Chinese President Xi Jinping, are present in the vision, strategy and program of the Congress. These are based on a rigorous survey of China’s past, present and future accomplishments.

Full story »

Trump’s Latest Warning

October 19th, 2017

Stephen Lendman

His rage for war makes any announced warnings sound especially ominous - even if they’re only bluster.

With him it’s hard to tell, the latest one coming after discussing Iran and North Korea with Pentagon officials.

During a photo-op with them assembled before dinner, he asked: “You guys know what this represents? Maybe it’s the “calm before the storm. Could be the calm before the storm.”

What storm, he was asked: “ISIS? North Korea? Iran?”

“You’ll find out,” he responded, adding “(w)e have the world’s great military people in this room, I will tell you that.”

He denounced Iran, said the country won’t be allowed to have nuclear weapons it deplores and doesn’t want, Trump likely ignorant of its longterm position.

Maybe he doesn’t care. Talking tough is his preferred way of operating, making threats and enemies at the same time.

On North Korea, he roared “(w)e cannot allow this dictatorship to threaten our nation or allies with unimaginable loss of life,” vowing to “do what we must do to prevent that from happening and it will be done, if necessary. Believe me.”

Hawkish generals running administration policy prepared “a broad range of military options,” he added. Earlier he threatened total destruction on the country.

Full story »

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 »

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