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White House Talking Points on Las Vegas

October 6th, 2017

Stephen Lendman

NBC News and the Washington Examiner obtained them. Were they written ahead of Sunday’s incident, knowing what was coming?

The talking points aim to quell arguments for gun control, useless against state-sponsored gun violence.

They stress “gather(ing) facts before…mak(ing) sweeping policy arguments for curtailing the Second Amendment.”

They state Trump welcomes “a reasoned and well-informed debate on public safety” while affirming supporting the Second Amendment, calling gun ownership a constitutional right “meant to protect people’s freedoms.”

“The President believes that our founding principles, like freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and the right to bear arms must be protected while maintaining public safety.”

Full story »

General Strike and Mass Protest in Catalonia

October 6th, 2017

Stephen Lendman

On Tuesday, strike action along with hundreds of thousands of Catalans taking to the streets in Barcelona, protesting against police state viciousness last Sunday made headlines.

Normal activity in the city ground to a halt, people chanting “Independence!” and “The streets will be ours!” Thousands gathered outside PM Mariano Rajoy’s People’s Party Barcelona office.

Supportive firemen played bagpipes, crowds cheering them on. A huge banner was displayed saying “Catalonia is NOT Spain” in English.

Dozens of roads were blocked, local transportation affected including ports. Many businesses closed for the day. So were schools and tourist areas. Medical centers operated at minimal levels.

Catalan President Carles Puigdemont said “I am convinced this strike will be widely followed.” Rajoy greatly misjudged the spirit of Catalan residents.

Full story »

Sergey Lavrov on War in Syria

October 6th, 2017

Stephen Lendman

Interviewed by the Asharq Al-Awsat pan-Arab newspaper, Lavrov highlighted Russia’s key role in combating US-supported terrorist invaders.

He stressed the importance resolving things diplomatically, Astana peace talks moving things incrementally in this direction, de-escalation zones established, others to come.

He blasted Arab states for denying Assad’s legitimacy, “practically usurp(ing) the right of the Syrian people to decide who will govern Syria and in what form. We strongly disagree with this approach.”

Syrians alone must decide who’ll lead them and how they’re to be governed, free from outside interference.

Russia believes combating ISIS and other terrorists “should be accompanied by the search for a political solution. To that end – continuing to fight against terrorist groups – we are enhancing our efforts to stop bloodshed, provide humanitarian assistance to the population, and intensify the political process as provided for in the UNSC Resolution 2254,” Lavrov explained.

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Gallup: Trump Has Record-Low Approval Ratings: What are the implications, nationally and internationally?

October 6th, 2017

Eric Zuesse

U.S. President Donald Trump’s latest job-approval rating in Gallup’s latest poll (which was taken during “Sep 18-24, 2017”), is 38%.

Gallup also posts there the relevant comparisons with the 9 other U.S. Presidents, since the time of Eisenhower:

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How Billionaires become Billionaires

October 5th, 2017

James Petras

America has the greatest inequalities, highest mortality rate, most regressive taxes, and largest public subsidies for bankers and billionaires of any developed capitalist country.

In this essay we will discuss the socio-economic roots of inequalities and the relation between the concentration of wealth and the downward mobility of the working and salaried classes.

How the Billionaires become Billionaires

One of the most likely sources of billionaire wealth is through tax evasion in all of its guises and forms.

Contrary to the propaganda pushed by the business press, between 67% and 72% percent of corporations had zero tax liabilities after credits and exemptions … while their workers and employees paid between 25 – 30% in taxes. The rate for the minority of corporations, which paid any tax, was 14%.

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Madrid Vows to Block Catalan Independence

October 4th, 2017

Stephen Lendman

State-sponsored street violence tried preventing Sunday’s referendum from taking place. It may have been prelude for harsher measures ahead.

Fascist PM Mariano Rajoy announced his intention, saying “(i)f anyone plans to declare the independence of part of the territory of Spain, as he can’t since he does not have the power to do so, we would have to do everything within the law to impede this.”The “law” apparently is whatever he says it is, including unleashing thuggish police in virtual combat gear against nonviolent Catalans exercising their right to vote, injuring hundreds, some seriously.

Full story »

Catalan Voters Face Police State Violence

October 4th, 2017

Stephen Lendman

Self-determination is a universal right, affirmed by the UN Charter and other international law - rejected by despotic states like Spain, masquerading as democratic.

On Sunday, Catalans trying to vote in their independence referendum are being assaulted by thuggish police - smashing glass panels of polling stations, bursting in violently, forcibly removing ballot boxes and voters, attacking them with batons and rubber-coated steel bullets, women as violently as men, the elderly treated the same way.

Spain’s Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria lied, claiming police “acted with professionalism in an appropriate way.” Images show otherwise, including women battered and bloodied by police violence.

Catalonia is a battleground in Barcelona and elsewhere. War in the streets rages against its people, trying to exercise their right to vote.

Full story »

Putin Calls for Improved Relations with US: An Unattainable Goal

October 4th, 2017

Stephen Lendman

US/Russia relations are deplorable, things worsening, not improving.

Nothing in prospect suggests positive change. Russia’s future is East, not West. Its good faith efforts for normalized bilateral relations are consistently rebuffed.

US hostility remains unrelenting. Bipartisan neocons infesting Washington intend keeping things this way.

Nothing significantly positive between both countries happened since the Reagan/Gorbachev era. Obama’s brief reset was head-fake deception. No meaningful US outreach followed.

Hoped for improved ties when Trump entered office failed to materialize. Reckless Russia bashing persists.

Putin’s latest call for “predictable, constructive, mutually beneficial cooperation” with Washington will prove no more successful than earlier attempts to improve relations.

Full story »

Slaughter in Las Vegas

October 4th, 2017

Stephen Lendman

On Sunday, reportedly at least 59 people were killed, another 527 injured in a mass shooting incident during a concert near the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.

Police blamed a lone gunman, 64-year-old Stephen Paddock, called a “local resident,” reportedly firing from a window on the Mandalay hotel’s 32nd floor. Raw video footage from a taxi driver showed muzzle flashes from the 4th floor. The Harvest Music Festival took place across the street.

Did he take his own life as Las Vegas police claimed or did SWAT team members lethally shoot him? His brother, Eric, said “(t)here is no reason we can imagine why Stephen would do something like this.”

“We have no idea how this happened. It’s like an asteroid just fell on top of our family.” Stephen was “not an avid gun guy at all…He ha(d) no military background or anything like that.”

Full story »

Russian Foreign Ministry on Syria and US Threats Against RT and Sputnik News

October 4th, 2017

Stephen Lendman

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova’s weekly press briefings are refreshingly straightforward and candid - polar opposite State Department baloney, ducking tough questions, suppressing hard truths.

Despite significant progress in freeing Syria from US-supported terrorists, they remain disruptive, why combating them will continue until they’re eliminated. Russia is committed to the task. In contrast, America supports the scourge it pretends to oppose, terror-bombing civilian targets, destroying vital infrastructure, seeking regime change, Russia committed to prevent it.

Zakharova blasted Washington’s meddling in Russia’s internal affairs, while falsely claiming Moscow interferes in America’s. “(I)t is hard to understand why the United States believes it possible to meddle in the life of other states,” she said.

Full story »

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