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Trump Threatens Escalated Aggression on Syria

June 28th, 2017

Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org (Home - Stephen Lendman)

Trump escalated Obama’s war on Syria, naked aggression against a sovereign independent country threatening no others - based on a litany of Big Lies.

According to his press secretary Sean Spicer on Monday, further escalation may be coming, saying:

“The United States has identified potential preparations for another chemical weapons attack by the Assad regime that would result in mass murder of civilians, including innocent children.”“The activities are similar to preparations the regime made before its April 4, 2017 chemical weapons attack.”

“As we have previously stated, the United States is in Syria to eliminate (ISIS). If…Assad conducts another mass murder using chemical weapons, he and his military will pay a heavy price.”

Neocon US UN envoy Nikki Haley outrageously tweeted “(a)ny further attacks done to the people of Syria will be blamed on Assad, but also on Russia & Iran who support him killing his own people.

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Health Insurance Vital to Life and Well-Being

June 28th, 2017

Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org (Home - Stephen Lendman)

House and Senate versions of Trumpcare are nightmarish for most Americans.

It’s worst of all for millions to be left uninsured or way underinsured under either bill, along with others dependent on Medicaid, the elderly, infirm, and individuals with preexisting conditions.

Most Americans fall into one or more of these categories. Trumpcare threatens their health and well-being.

According to CBO scoring of the so-called Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017, 28 million Americans will be left uninsured under the House plan, 49 million by 2026.

The Senate measure leaves 22 million more uninsured by 2026 on top of millions without coverage under Obamacare.

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Trump Plays Nuclear ‘Chicken’ with Putin over Syria

June 28th, 2017

Eric Zuesse

U.S. President Donald Trump is playing a game of nuclear “chicken” with Russian President Vladimir Putin, regarding Putin’s threat on June 19th to go to war against the United States if the U.S. again shoots down, inside Syria — in the sovereign territory of the internationally-recognized-as-legal sovereign Syrian government — Syrian aircraft, or the aircraft of any of the foreign governments that have allied with Syria: Russia, Iran, and China.

After the U.S. had shot down a Syrian government plane on June 19th, which was bombing jihadists whom the U.S. government backs in order to overthrow the Syrian government, Russia announced:

“In areas where Russian aviation is conducting combat missions in the Syrian skies, any flying objects, including jets and unmanned aerial vehicles of the international coalition discovered west of the Euphrates River, will be followed by Russian air and ground defenses as air targets” — meaning ordered out, or else immediately shot down.

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High Stakes Middle East Poker

June 28th, 2017

Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org (Home - Stephen Lendman)

Multiple US-instigated regional conflicts rage, more potential trouble brewing.

Two weekend Israeli acts of aggression against Syria risk possible conflict escalation. Other battles in the country rage - America and its rogue allies opposing Russian-led efforts to resolve years of US-launched war diplomatically.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt gave Qatar an unacceptable 13-point ultimatum - designed to be refused.

Will hostile relations escalate to conflict? Will what Washington calls a family squabble erupt into another regional war - possibly pitting Qatar, Iran, Turkey, and maybe Russia against the other Gulf states, Egypt and US-dominated NATO?

Things aren’t likely to go this far, but given escalated regional tensions, anything is possible by accident or design. Small wars become big ones this way.

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Irreconcilable Differences Between US and Russia

June 28th, 2017

Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org (Home - Stephen Lendman)

Despite good faith Russian efforts, squaring the circle with Washington remains an unachievable goal.

The geopolitical agendas of both countries are world’s apart. Russia pursues world peace, stability, mutual cooperation among all nations, and multi-world polarity.

America seeks unchallenged global dominance, wars of aggression and color revolutions its main strategies.

Talks between both countries accomplish nothing. Russia’s word is its bond. America breaches all agreements it makes.

Yet Moscow continues diplomatic outreach, knowing the futility of its efforts. On Monday, Sergey Lavrov and Rex Tillerson spoke by phone.

A Russian Foreign Ministry statement said both “diplomats discussed problems related to the settlement of the Syrian crisis, including the necessity to strengthen the ceasefire, in particular via the Astana process, to step up efforts in the fight against terrorist groups and preventing attempts to use chemical poisonous agents.”

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Elections: Absenteeism, Boycotts and the Class Struggle

June 28th, 2017

James Petras

Introduction

The most striking feature of recent elections is not ‘who won or who lost’, nor is it the personalities, parties and programs. The dominant characteristic of the elections is the widespread repudiation of the electoral system, political campaigns, parties and candidates.

Across the world, majorities and pluralities of citizens of voting age refuse to even register to vote (unless obligated by law), refuse to turn out to vote (voter abstention), or vote against all the candidates (boycott by empty ballot and ballot spoilage).

If we add the many citizen activists who are too young to vote, citizens denied voting rights because of past criminal (often minor) convictions, impoverished citizens and minorities denied voting rights through manipulation and gerrymandering, we find that the actual ‘voting public’ shrivel to a small minority.

As a result, present day elections have been reduced to a theatrical competition among the elite for the votes of a minority. This situation describes an oligarchy - not a healthy democracy.

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Vitally Needed Medicare for All

June 27th, 2017

Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org (Home - Stephen Lendman)

Thousands of US Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP) support the only equitable system - government-sponsored single-payer coverage, Medicare for all, everyone in, no one left out.

PNHP co-founder Dr. Steffie Woolhandler discussed Obamacare, Trumpcare and single-payer coverage in a recent interview. Here are the highlights.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA-Obamacare) “was never a good bill. It left 28 million Americans completely uninsured and tens of millions more with…unaffordable gaps in their coverage, like (unacceptably high) copayments and deductibles and uncovered services.”

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Israeli Aggression Against Syrian Tanks

June 25th, 2017

Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org (Home - Stephen Lendman)

Israeli warplanes attack Syrian targets at its discretion, each time unaccountably - the latest incident on Saturday.

Whenever its acts of aggression occur, Israel tries justifying the unjustifiable, a statement following Saturday’s attack saying:

“The IDF will not allow any attempt to harm Israel’s sovereignty and the security of its people, and sees the Syrian regime as responsible for what transpires in its territory.”Israel claimed errant fire landed in illegally occupied Golan. The IDF struck the “origin of launches and two Syrian tanks,” it said.

No Syrian military “projectiles” were fired cross-border, not Saturday or earlier. Any landing in occupied Golan likely came from US and Israeli-supported terrorists - Syria’s military wrongfully blamed for what happened.

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Bernie and Jane Sanders Under Investigation for Possible Bank Fraud

June 25th, 2017

Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org (Home - Stephen Lendman)

The Department of Justice (DOJ), FBI, and FDIC are investigating whether Jane Sanders committed bank fraud while serving as president of the now-defunct Burlington College (from 2004 - 2011). Bernie Sanders is a person of interest, explained below.

Under her leadership, enrollment and donations dropped. In 2010, she bought 33 acres of land to expand the school. The strategy failed to increase enrollments.

In 2014, Burlington College was placed under probation. In 2016, it declared bankruptcy and closed down.

Mrs. Sanders allegedly falsified loan application documents for financing to expand the campus, claiming Corinne Bove Maietta pledged $1 million to the school over a five-year period.

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Latin America in Search of an Alternative

June 25th, 2017

James Petras

“You can’t build socialism with dollar signs in your eyes”
Fidel Castro

Introduction

Many experts and commentators describe the political process in Latin America as one of ‘alternating right and left governments’. Journalists focus on the abrupt regime changes from democratic to authoritarian; from neo-liberal to progressive programs; and from oligarchs to populists.

The financial media present the ‘right’s’ socially regressive policies and strategies as ‘reforms’, a euphemism for the re-concentration of wealth, profits and property into the hands of foreign and domestic oligarchs.

Leftwing intellectuals and journalists paint an image of socio-economic transformations under Latin America’s ‘left’ regimes where ‘the people’ take power, income is redistributed and growth flourishes.

The rise and demise of left and right regimes are typically attributed to ‘economic mismanagement, social crisis, political manipulation and erroneous strategic policies’.

Full story »

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