March 29th, 2017
By Stephen Lendman.
French presidential candidate Le Pen’s far-right agenda warrants plenty of criticism.
Le Pen’s meeting with Putin in Moscow deserves praise, not criticism, despite her political motive for coming.
She hopes her advocacy for improved relations with Russia, along with wanting sanctions she calls “unfair…silly (and) counterproductive” lifted will boost her popularity in the eyes of large numbers of undecided French voters.
First round voting is scheduled for April 23. Polls show Le Pen ahead of her two main rivals, though unlikely to win a May runoff.
Media scoundrels wants her vilified for meeting with a leader Washington and rogue NATO allies consider public enemy No. 1. More on this below.
During their meeting, Putin explained she came at the invitation of Russia’s lower house State Duma.
“We value highly our relations with France and try to maintain good relations with incumbent government and the opposition,” Putin explained.
“I am, of course, aware of the ongoing election campaign in France. In no case do we want to influence the events as they unfold, but we reserve the right to communicate with all representatives of all political forces in France, just like our partners in Europe and the United States are doing.”
“Of course, it would be very interesting to exchange opinions with you on our bilateral relations and the situation in Europe.”
“I know that you represent a European political force that is growing quickly. I am very pleased to see you.”
Le Pen: “Thank you, Mr. President. As you know, I have long been urging the restoration of cultural, economic and strategic ties between Russia and France, which is especially important now when we face a serious terrorist threat.”
“The fight against terrorism can only be truly effective if the largest nations stand side by side and join forces.”
Scoundrel media criticism of Le Pen’s followed her visit. The New York Times said it came “at a time (Putin was) accused of meddling in Western elections through computer hacking and…promot(ing) fake news,” – despite no credible evidence proving spurious accusations.
The Washington Post published an AP report unjustifiably claiming Trump’s triumph “emboldened the Kremlin,” adding:
“Embracing Le Pen is part of (its) efforts to reach out to nationalist and anti-globalist forces to build up its influence in the West and help overcome the strains in relations with the US and the European Union.”
“Le Pen’s anti-immigration and anti-EU platform appeals to the Kremlin.” Vilifying her aims to prevent her chance of becoming France’s next president. Portraying her as a “Putin stooge” may or may not work.
Fox News called her meeting with Putin part of Moscow’s effort to court “far-right parties in Europe in an influence-building campaign (to counter) friction between Russia and the West.”
CNN criticized her anti-EU, anti-NATO, pro-Russia views. “Controversial presidential candidate meets with Putin,” headlined one of its reports.”
Reuters quoted French broadsheet Le Monde, saying Putin “anointed” Le Pen.
London’s Guardian said “a surprise (Putin/Le Pen meeting in Moscow will) likely reignite fears in Europe about Russian support for the European far right.”
Last year, French satirical publication Le Canard Enchaine urged US intelligence agencies to investigate Le Pen’s Russia connections.
She publicly acknowledged receiving a $9.8 million loan from a Russian bank because French ones refused financial help – nothing improper about what she did.
Trump, Le Pen, and other so-called right-wing populist politicians are considered incompatible with “Western values.”
Mainstream parties in Western countries are responsible for endless wars of aggression, crushing neoliberal pain and suffering, along with police state harshness targeting nonbelievers.
Nothing in prospect in America or Europe suggests any change for the better ahead regardless of what parties and leaders govern.
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March 21st, 2017
By Stephen Lendman.
Ahead of Scotland’s September 2014 independence referendum, most UK and independent polls showed the outcome was too close to call.
In the run-up to the vote, pro-independence supporters gained strength. Some analysts believed enough to win. Instead they lost by a 55 – 45% margin.
Critics claimed vote-tampering. Registered voters found their names stricken from rolls, disenfranchising them.
Observers were confined to perimeter areas, unable to monitor vote counting.
Whitehall and Downing Street oppose separatism. One issue is North Sea oil. Scotland is home to Britain’s HMNB Clyde and HMS naval bases. The UK’s nuclear weapons are maintained there.
Was Scotland’s referendum rigged to keep Britain intact? Election rigging is longstanding practice in America. Maybe Brits operate the same way.
Suspecting fraud, thousands of Scottish voters wanted referendum results recounted. It never happened.
Will a second time around turn out any differently than the first vote? On March 18, addressing the Scottish National Party, SNP leader/first Scotland minister Nicola Sturgeon announced another independence referendum.
Resounding applause followed, not in Whitehall and Downing Street. Prime Minister Theresa May wants it blocked, saying “now is not the time.”
“To be talking about an independence referendum would, I think, make it more difficult for us to be able to get the right deal for Scotland and the right deal for the UK.”
“And, more than that, I think it would not be fair to the people of Scotland because they’d be asked to take a crucial decision without the necessary information, without knowing what the future partnership will be or what the alternative of an independent Scotland would look like.”
Sturgeon stressed “Scotland’s future must be Scotland’s,” saying a second referendum vote would come after Brexit terms are clear.
She blasted May for refusing to fairly address Scotland’s future. She needs prime ministerial and parliamentary permission to hold the referendum.
So far, an online petition has over 30,000 pro-referendum signatures. If 100,000 or more are collected, a UK parliamentary debate must follow.
According to London’s Guardian
, polls suggest suggest a tight race if another referendum is held. The Guardian says it’s “likely. The question is when.”
Instead of staying out of Scottish affairs, NYT editors
said its “independence can wait,” calling another vote “(im)prudent.”
Saying “until the Brexit negotiations end, there are too many unknowns for voters to make an informed decision” amounts to wanting them denied the right to decide their future whenever they wish.
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March 16th, 2017
By Stephen Lendman.
Once favored to succeed current French President Francois Hollande, Francois Fillion’s campaign may be over.
Instead of heading for the Elysee Palace where French presidents reside and work, he could face prison time if prosecuted, convicted, and sentenced for what amounts to grand theft if proved – for allegedly providing highly-paid fake jobs for his wife and children.
According to his attorney Antonin Levy, “(h)e was charged this morning. The hearing was brought forward so that it could take place in a calm manner.”
He’s also charged with misuse of corporate assets. Le Canard Enchaine newspaper claims he used public funds to pay his wife, Penelope, at least 680,000 euros ($720,000) for years as a parliamentary aide.
It’s legal for French parliamentarians to employ family members provided they perform actual duties. Mrs. Fillon allegedly did not.
Earlier, Fillon expressed confidence about being exonerated on all charges.
Le Canard Enchaine also alleges Mrs. Fillon was paid tens of thousands of euros by Revue des Deux Mondes, a monthly literary and cultural affairs magazine, owned by billionaire Fillon friend Marc Ladreit de Lacharriere.
Investigations continue on whether this amounts to a misappropriation of corporate assets.
Two of Fillon’s children’s were paid for alleged fictitious jobs. He claims otherwise, including about funds paid his wife.
Before the scandal broke, he was heavily favored to become France’s next president. Whether or not tried and convicted, he’s damaged goods in the eyes of most French voters, according to poll numbers.
First round voting is scheduled for April 23. If Fillon is still in the race at that time, he’ll likely be eliminated from contention for round two in May, featuring the top two vote getters – almost certain to be Emmanual Macron and Marine Le Pen.
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February 18th, 2017
By Stephen Lendman.
He’s right calling them “the most dishonest human beings on earth.” Well, almost.
The same goes for most US and other Western politicians. They lie and deceive. They betray their constituents.
They serve privileged interests exclusively at the expense of ordinary people. They support endless wars of aggression responsible for millions of casualties.
Trump campaigned as anti-establishment. So far, he looks like all the rest, differing largely in style, on display during his February 16 press conference.
“I’m keeping my promises to the American people,” he said. What’s initiated and proposed so far largely helps monied interests. He’s done more to fill the swamp than drain it, though in fairness he’s only been in office 30 days.
He blasted leaks, likely from Obama administration holdovers, calling them “absolutely real,” adding “(t)he news is fake because so much of the news is fake.”
“I can handle a bad story…as long as it’s true,” he said, “not…when it is fake. I mean, I watch CNN. It’s so much anger and hatred.”
Media “have a lower approval rating than Congress.” With reliable sources available online, millions get their news and information this way – the only way to stay informed.
Trump’s first press conference as president ran about 90 minutes. It was unlike any previous one held by a US leader in memory. His free-wheeling style pleases supporters, irritates opponents.
NYT editors mocked him, calling him “an inept White House…celebrity apprentice.” They lied, saying he “did not inherit ‘a mess’ “ – claiming the “nation recovered from recession,” ignoring protracted Main Street Depression conditions affecting most Americans.
Around 100 million working-age ones have no jobs. Millions more are way underemployed, many earning poverty wages, countless numbers one missed paycheck away from destitution, homelessness and despair – in the world’s richest country ignoring their needs, prioritizing warmaking and corporate favoritism.
Times editors claimed Trump’s “creating a mess of his own.” Most examples cited are fake news – like “cozying up to Moscow” and blaming him for congressional failure to approve his officials expeditiously.
Justifiable criticism of Trump’s policies is warranted. The Times is part of a media campaign to delegitimize and undermine him – perhaps ahead of an effort to remove him from office or force his resignation.
This is what US-style democracy looks like – a deplorable perversion of the real thing.
His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”
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February 18th, 2017
By Stephen Lendman.
Washington largely determines NATO policy. It remains provocatively anti-Russia based on policies it’s pursuing.
In December at an OSCE Ministerial Council meeting in Hamburg, Germany, Sergey Lavrov accused NATO of “creat(ing) a new military reality,” provocatively building up forces near Russia’s borders.
The Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) is comprised of Russia, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgystan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
At yearend, it Secretary-General Nikolay Bordyuzha said “(w)e must clearly grasp what is happening around our borders, why NATO is building up arms and infrastructure.”
“It deploys four additional battalions to alliance member states in Eastern Europe. Why are they doing it?”
“We cannot remain silent and do nothing, looking at how countries around us are being crammed with weapons, and troops being moved” close to our borders.
NATO’s Black Sea buildup adds more cause for concern. US-installed NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said the alliance will continue enhancing its regional military capabilities, including its naval presence.
Former Russian Black Sea commander Vladimir Komoyedov explained NATO actions violate the 1936 Montreux Convention, restricting how much time foreign warships may patrol its waters.
It’s limited to 21 days. America routinely violates international agreements and laws unaccountably. Russia will take “all necessary measures” to protect its national security, its envoy to NATO Alexander Grushko stressed.
He said increased military budgets among alliance member states could spark a new arms race. Cold War history proved it, a counterproductive policy instead of focusing on improved relations.
Anti-Russia policies don’t promote bilateral cooperation. In April 2014, NATO suspended it with Russia following Washington’s February coup in Kiev, ousting its democratically elected government, replacing it with Nazi-infested putschists.
Meeting in Warsaw last July, Stoltenberg said “(w)e will deploy four robust, multinational battalions to Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland. I welcome Canada’s recent announcement that it will lead one of these four battalions.”
“We will also agree to develop a tailored presence in the southeast, based on a multinational brigade in Romania.”
Russia’s Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu warned about NATO “more than doubl(ing)” its provocative actions near Russia’s border – “deploy(ing) about 1,200 pieces of military equipment, including 30 combat jets, as well as more than 1,000 soldiers on the territories of the Eastern European countries on a rotational basis.”
“US navy ships as well as military vessels of other NATO members regularly enter the Baltic and Black Seas,” threatening Russian security.
At the time, Putin stressed a national commitment to “be ready to respond quickly and adequately to any potential threats…provocation(s) (or) aggressive actions.”
US-dominated NATO threatens world peace and stability. As long as the alliance exists, imperial wars will continue, Russia a likely eventual target.
His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”
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February 1st, 2017
By Stephen Lendman.
Cable television’s first news network, founded in 1980 by media mogul Ted Turner, is now its least reputable, its credibility in tatters, its ratings way down since Trump’s election.
MSNBC also lost viewership. Fox News gained it at the expense of its rival cable news networks.
It’s clear what’s happening. Trump supporters are boycotting CNN and MSNBC for one-sidedly supporting Hillary, denigrating the candidate emerging triumphant in November.
It may get worse for CNN, according to a Politico report, quoting an unnamed White House official, likely press secretary Sean Spicer, saying “(w)e’re sending surrogates to places where we think it makes sense to promote our agenda” – acknowledging a CNN boycott, adding it’s not permanent.
Spicer and senior Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway haven’t appeared on CNN in weeks. Spicer said he’s answering the networks questions during press briefings, adding he won’t “engage with people who have no desire to actually get something right.”
After his inauguration, Trump blasted CNN, calling it “fake news.” Since then, top administration officials appear on cable and broadcast Sunday shows regularly, CNN excluded.
The network’s State of the Union host Jake Tapper, said “(w)e invited the Trump White House to offer us a guest to provide clarity and an explanation of what the president just did, especially given so much confusion, even within its own government by those who are supposed to carry out this order, (but it) declined our invitation.”
The Obama administration “treat(ed) (Fox News as) an opponent,” according to its 2009 communications director Anita Dunn. Still, his White House officials occasionally appeared on the network.
Politico said “Fox News did not immediately respond to a request for comment. A CNN spokeswoman declined to comment.”
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January 23rd, 2017
By Stephen Lendman.
Throughout his campaign and post-election triumph, media scoundrels bashed him relentlessly – an unprecedented war, aimed at delegitimizing and undermining him, continuing post-inauguration.
Earlier The New York Times claimed his candidacy caused “serious damage…to the country (and) its reputation overseas” – ignoring 24 horrific Clinton co-presidency, Bush/Cheney and Obama years, their relentless war on humanity at home and abroad harming millions.
Trump antagonists aren’t about to go quietly and gently into the good night. Rage against him is unrelenting, uncompromising, hugely emotional, furious over Hillary’s political demise, hopefully once and for all – her war crimes, racketing and perjury unpunished, ignored by supportive media scoundrels.
On Saturday, incoming Trump press secretary Sean Spicer briefed the White House press corp, blasting them for “egregious” and “deliberately false reporting” of Trump’s inauguration, his straight talk powerful address, and first day in office.
Spicer: “Some members of the media were engaged in deliberately false reporting.” One reporter “falsely tweeted out that the bust of Martin Luther King, Jr. had been removed form the Oval Office…This was just plain wrong.”
Separately, Spicer tweeted “(a) reminder of the media danger of tweet first check facts later”
Continuing during his press briefing, he said “(p)hotographs of the Inauguration proceeding were intentionally framed in a way to minimize the enormous support it had gathered on the National Mall.”
“Inaccurate numbers regarding crowd size were also tweeted. No one had numbers, because the National Park Service, which controls the National Mall does not put any out.”
The same goes for Saturday’s women’s march. “There’s been a lot of talk in the media about holding President Trump accountable. Well, I’m here to tell you that it goes two ways,” Spicer roared.
“We’re going to hold the press accountable as well. The American people deserve better. And as long as he serves as the messenger of this incredible movement, he will take this message directly to the American people where his focus will always be.”
How refreshing to have the White House (Trump and Spicer) bash America’s deplorable media scoundrels, proliferators of fake news, presstitution, not what journalism is supposed to be. Keep bashing!
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January 10th, 2017
By Stephen Lendman.
Russia, Turkey and Iran formed a trilateral alliance for achieving cessation of hostilities and conflict resolution in Syria – Washington excluded from participation for obvious reasons.
Russian and Iranian goals are clear. Turkish President Erdogan has lots of proving to do. He may be playing the Russian and US cards simultaneously like earlier.
Throughout years of conflict in Syria, he actively aided ISIS, al-Nusra and other terrorist groups. He’s long sought annexation of northern Syrian and Iraqi territory, the latter for its huge oil reserves.
Does a warrior president now support peace? It remains to be seen what he’s up to. He continues waging war on Turkish, Syrian and Iraqi Kurds.
His rapprochement with Putin could go the other way at any time like earlier. Working with him cooperatively is one thing, trusting him another matter entirely. He’ll have to earn it to be accepted as a legitimate partner for regional peace.
His relationship with Washington in recent weeks has been frosty. Senior ministers in his government hinted at denying Washington use of its key Incirlik air base for aerial operations on northern Syria and Iraq – because of US refusal to provide air support for Turkish forces near Al Bab, Syria.
On Sunday, Turkey’s energy minister Berat Albayrak said “(y)esterday, we faced an intense, US-originated cyber attack. These attacks have been carried out systematically on different parts of the Energy Ministry, but we have repelled them all.”
Underground power lines were sabotaged, causing power outages in parts of Istanbul and other areas, he said. If the reports are accurate, it’s clear why Erdogan turned to Russia – Putin eager for cooperative relations provided they’re well-intended, not duplicitous the way Erdogan usually operates.
The NYT is frantic about growing Russian/Turkish ties – excluding Washington while Obama remains in office. Putin very much hopes things will change under Trump – eager to work with him cooperatively on geopolitical issues provided he’s serious about improving ties and combating terrorism, not supporting it like the current US administration.
The Times: “(T)he Obama administration’s efforts to forge a common political and military strategy with the Kremlin on Syria collapsed after Russia supported Syrian forces and Iranian-backed fighters with its air power in the brutal retaking of Aleppo.”
Fact: Geneva I, II, and III good faith Russian initiatives for cessation of hostilities and conflict resolution failed because the Obama administration undermined them – wanting endless war and regime change, not peace and respect for a sovereign independent state.
The Times is frantic about Russian/Iranian/Turkish ties defeating America’s imperial ambitions in Syria and perhaps the region.
Its dismissive about preemptive US wars of aggression against countries threatening no one, considering them humanitarian intervention and democracy building.
Russia fosters global peace and stability. America is the mortal enemy of both.
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December 10th, 2016
By Stephen Lendman.
People should only be concerned about government and media scoundrels’ news, information and opinion – all fake, all the time, Big Lies and deception, toxic stuff on issues mattering most.
Reliable sources were denigrated on the PropOrNot hit list, considered fake news sites or Kremlin agents, disgracefully hyped by the neocon/CIA connected Washington Post, a leading proliferator of fake news, a disgrace to professional journalism – banned at WaPo, banned at the NYT, banned by other leading broadsheets and magazines, banned on mainstream TV and radio news.
There’s a war on against the most fundamental of fundamental rights in America and Europe. Speech, media and academic freedoms are being attacked. They’re too vital to lose, yet are slipping away with too few people noticing, way too few acting to stop it.
Yesterday on Capitol Hill, Hillary was back, an exposed war criminal, racketeer, pathological liar – railing against what she called “epidemic of malicious fake news and false propaganda that flooded social media over the past year” – hers excluded, of course. “It’s now clear the so-called fake news can have real-world consequences,”she added.
“This is not about politics or partisanship. Lives are at risk, lives of ordinary people just trying to go about their days to do their jobs, contribute to their communities. It is a danger that must be addressed and addressed quickly.”
Omitted was her support for all US wars of aggression since the 1990s, including direct involvement in the rape of Yugoslavia, Libya and Syria, along with drone wars on Yemen, Somalia and elsewhere, as well as backing Israeli high crimes.
She urged protecting nonexistent “American democracy and innocent lives” it massacres in one war theater after another from truth-telling, found only through alternative media sources, including social media.
The scourge she and husband Bill represent still hasn’t gone away. Maybe the only way is by locking them both up longterm.
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December 7th, 2016
By Stephen Lendman.
Powerful interests in America threaten alternative sources of news, information and opinion.
Microsoft, Facebook, Twitter and You Tube announced plans for a joint Internet censorship database on the phony pretext of eliminating “extremist content.”
Their scheme threatens media and speech freedom, likely aiming for sanitized online content only, independent views censored, threatening writers like myself and many others.
Reporting and opinions diverging from mainstream views risk being labeled “fake news” or “extremist content,” a slippery slope toward undermining First Amendment rights altogether.
The above companies and other IT ones agreed on a code of conduct, pledging they’ll work with the European Commission (the EU executive body) to “sanction (and) criminalized individual perpetrators (of) hate speech” online.
The EU threatened “non-legislative” action if online “fake news” and “hate speech” aren’t removed in 24 hours – censorship legislation to follow if the “non-legislative approach” fails.
The new database is expected to be operating by early 2017 – complicit IT companies collaborating against online speech and media freedom.
On Tuesday, tech giants involved said they “hope this collaboration will lead to greater efficiency as we continue to enforce our policies to help curb the pressing global issue of terrorist content online” – meaning whatever America’s deep state wants censored.
Pre-WW II Louisiana governor, senator and presidential aspirant Huey Long said fascism will arrive here “wrapped in the American flag.” In his book “Friendly Fascism,” Bertram Gross described a slow, powerful, “drift toward greater concentration of power and wealth in a repressive Big Business-Big Government,” Big Brother alliance.
In the 1930s, famed investigative journalist George Seldes saw it coming, expressing concern over “merchants of death” weapons and munitions makers, saying the “healthfulness of the(ir) business depends on slaughter. The more wars,” the more profits.
Novelist Sinclair Lewis said it’ll come during hard times, led by a charismatic, self-styled populist champion exploiting human misery.
Norwegian sociologist/mathematician Johan Galtung correctly predicted the 1979 Iranian revolution, the Soviet Union’s dissolution, various economic crises and the 9/11 attacks.
He now anticipates the demise of America’s imperial project by 2020, its global preeminence ended, fascism taking hold, resulting from endless US wars, along with unsustainable economic, social, military and political contradictions, its government headed for collapse, led by a “strong leader” – Trump.
Yet “(i)f he manages to apologize deeply to all the groups he has insulted and turns foreign policy (away) from US interventions (and endless) wars, a major revitalization” is possible…We’ll see,” said Galtung.
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December 6th, 2016
By Stephen Lendman.
Syrian and allied forces are advancing steadily, liberating one neighborhood and district after another.
US-supported terrorists are surrounded, trapped and weakening, including the will of many to keep fighting battles they can’t win.
According to the Arabic-language al-Hadas news web site, unnamed sources said CIA operatives are trapped in eastern Aleppo, there helping US-supported terrorists, Kerry’s negotiations with Lavrov aiming to free them.
Yet he reneged on his Rome proposal, presenting an alternative one meant to buy time for US death squads.
The Arabic-language al-Watan broadsheet reported continued defeats at the hands of government and allied forces left eastern Aleppo terrorists reeling and desperate, various groups attacking each other, compounding a hopeless situation.
They fired rockets on the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNWRA) in eastern Aleppo’s al-Nairab camp, causing injuries and extensive damage.
Sergey Lavrov and Syria’s military said terrorists refusing to leave Aleppo will be crushed. Various terrorist elements are negotiating with government officials to surrender and leave the city.
According to Middle East analyst Israel Shamir, “(r)ight now in Aleppo there is a kind of situation in which is very hard to try and predict anything. But there is a feeling that those fighting in East Aleppo have begun to understand that they won’t succeed.”
“Over the last two days, reports have begun to appear in media outlets which support the rebels, saying ‘this is not the end, we are losing Aleppo but it’s not that bad. We will fight in other places.’ “
“The(se) are kind of consoling messages. This is, in principle, a sign that they are ready to surrender Aleppo,” taking their fight to other parts of the country.
Things could come to a head soon, but the struggle to liberate Syria is far from over. What’s ahead largely depends on what Trump intends.
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November 27th, 2016
By Stephen Lendman.
He’s gone. His revolutionary spirit lives. He redoubtably resisted yankee imperialism for half a century, surviving hundreds of US attempts to kill him and the revolution he led.
He withstood the machinations of 11 US administrations, from Dwight Eisenhower to Obama – leading Cuba from January 1959 to his February 2008 retirement for health reasons, passing the baton to brother Raul while remaining intellectually active and influential to the end.
Washington dominated Cuba from the William McKinley era to the Eisenhower administration. Fidel liberated it, transformed it from a mafia-infested brothel to a populist state serving all its people, providing benefits most Americans can’t imagine.
Article 50 of Cuba’s Constitution mandates “the right to health protection and care” for everyone.
By “providing free medical and hospital care by means of the installations of the rural medical service network, polyclinics, hospitals, preventative and specialized treatment centers.”
“(F)ree dental care. Promoting the health publicity campaigns, health education, regular medical examinations, general vaccination and other measures to prevent the outbreak of disease.”
“All the population cooperates in these activities and plans through the social and mass organizations.”
Cuban healthcare is among the world’s best, shaming America’s pay or die system, with double the number of physicians per 1,000 population as its northern neighbor.
Article 51 guarantees free universal education to the highest levels – for children, youths and adults. Cuba’s Constitution states:
“Everybody has a right to education. This right is guaranteed by the extensive and free system of schools, part-time boarding schools, boarding schools and scholarships in all types and at all levels of education, by the free provision of school materials to every child and young person regardless of the economic situation of the family, and by the provision of courses suited to the student’s aptitude, the requirements of society and the needs of economic and social development.”
Castro virtually eliminated illiteracy. Students learn math, reading, the sciences, arts, humanities, social responsibility, civics and participatory citizenship.
They’re taught skills to make them productive citizens – able to contribute to national development.
In one of his “reflections,” Fidel said “(w)e have a powerful…adversary, our closest neighbor: the United States…There is no greater price than capitulating to an enemy…(I)ts relegation to the dustbin of history will not be delayed.”
“Would it not be preferable to struggle to produce food and industrial products; build hospitals and schools for billions of human beings who desperately need them; promote art and culture; struggle against epidemics which lead to the death of half of the sick, health workers and technicians, as can be seen; or finally eliminate illnesses like cancer, Ebola, malaria, dengue, chikungunya, diabetes and others which affect the vital systems of human beings?”
“Just ideas will triumph, or disaster will triumph,” he stressed. Gone at age 90, an earlier article said his intellect remained keen, his judgment sound and passion for keeping Cuba free from US dominance uncompromising to the end.
Last March, he said “(w)e don’t need the empire to give us anything. Our efforts will be legal and peaceful, because our commitment is to peace and fraternity among all human beings who live on this planet” – anathema to America’s ruling class.
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November 17th, 2016
By Stephen Lendman.
We’ll never know despite lots of guesswork suggesting it. He’s a footnote in the sordid history of US presidential politics – part of the dirty system like all other duopoly power candidates.
In return for disgracefully supporting Hillary after campaigning against what she represents, Democrats rewarded him with a low-ranking leadership position, choosing him as outreach chairman in charge of winning over blue-collar Trump supporters.
He lied calling it a “heavy responsibility to help shape the priorities of the United States government.”
He lied again, saying he’ll do “everything (he) can to make sure that the budget that leaves the United States Congress is a budget that represents the needs of working families and a shrinking middle class and not billionaires.”
How when his self-styled independent socialist credentials are phony. His congressional voting record proves it.
He supports deplorable Democrat party policies 98% of the time – including imperial wars; economic policies resulting in an unprecedented wealth disparity, high unemployment and underemployment, and an unaddressed protracted Main Street Depression; along with police state laws reflecting growing tyranny, as well as other disturbing policies.
Among the leading candidates to succeed Obama, Sanders was worst in my judgment – and here’s why.
Like Obama, he’s a longstanding con man, winning support with empty promises, breaching them consistently in office. Rhetorically endorsing progressive change, most often he’s for dirty business as usual in practice.
GW Bush left office with a near-record low approval rating. Obama exceeded his worst policies, yet enjoys support from 56% of the electorate, based on early November polling, most backers ignoring his betrayal, his war on humanity and other high crimes.
Sanders is Obama with a white face. His phony populism matches the president’s, their blackguard agenda concealed, backing what they claim to oppose – representing hypocrisy, not progressive change.
Washington’s criminal class is bipartisan, Sanders like all the rest, pretending to be different.
His disturbing record speaks for itself – supporting phony war on terror, devastating imperial wars, drone killings, Israel’s war on Palestine, along with no criticism of Saudi Arabia, Turkey and other tyrannical regimes responsible politicians would denounce.
He’s more opportunist than populist – the only Senate member publicly supporting universal healthcare – then voted with Democrats for Obamacare. His no vote would have killed what Ralph Nader at the time called a “pay or die” system – a rationing scheme benefitting insurers, drug companies and large hospital chains.
His idea of revolutionary change is business as usual with a facelift, old wine in new bottles, phony lofty mumbo jumbo – sham democracy, not the real thing.
If he meant what he said, he’d renounce money-controlled duopoly power politics, leave the Democrat party, and run as a true progressive independent.
Instead, he’s a populist in name only, profiting from pretense, part of a debauched system, power brokers intend keeping unchanged.
Like Obama, a Sanders presidency would likely fool most people most of the time – instead of widespread disapproval, maybe erupting in unrest, a similar reaction awaiting Trump if he fails to deliver for supporters, aside from orchestrated street protests now.
In hindsight, maybe Democrats regret not choosing Sanders, easily controlled to do their bidding – maybe president-elect today if they hadn’t gone for Hillary.
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November 14th, 2016
By Stephen Lendman.
Soros is one of the world’s most infamous figures, an international con man profiting from human misery, supporting color revolutions and wars to serve his interests.
He menaces fundamental freedoms worldwide, supports anything that smells money, once saying “(w)e need a global sheriff,” perhaps with himself in mind.
As a market participant, he’s unconcerned about the consequences of his actions. He supported war goddess/Wall Street favorite Hillary for president, contributing millions of dollars to her campaign.
At the same time, he’s militantly anti-Trump, earlier involved in financing hooligans disrupting some of his campaign events, using violence and other dirty tricks to turn voters against him – unsuccessfully as things turned out.
Moscow’s Prosecutor General earlier called his Open Society Institute and Open Society Institute Assistance Foundations “threat(s) to Russian national security and constitutional order.”
He’s now financing Kiev Euromaidan-style anti-Trump protests in US cities, including laying siege to Trump Tower in Manhattan.
MoveOn.org is a Soros front group, involved with other dubious NGOs in what’s happening, issuing a disruptive post-election press release, saying:
“Americans to Come Together in Hundreds Peaceful Gatherings of Solidarity, Resistance, and Resolve Following Election Results”
“Hundreds of Americans, dozens of organizations to gather peacefully outside the White House and in cities and towns nationwide to take a continued stand against misogyny, racism, Islamophobia, and xenophobia.”
“Tonight, thousands of Americans will come together at hundreds of peaceful gatherings in cities and towns across the nation, including outside the White House, following the results of Tuesday’s presidential election.
The gatherings – organized by MoveOn.org and allies – will affirm a continued rejection of Donald Trump’s bigotry, xenophobia, Islamophobia, and misogyny and demonstrate our resolve to fight together for the America we still believe is possible.”
Its call mobilized scores of nationwide protests, continuing over the weekend, its email to staff, calling Tuesday’s election a “disaster,” adding:
“The new president-elect and many of his most prominent supporters have targeted, demeaned, and threatened millions of us – and millions of our friends, family, and loved ones.”
“Both chambers of Congress remain in Republican hands. We are entering an era of profound and unprecedented challenge, a time of danger for our communities and our country.”
“In this moment, we have to take care of ourselves, our families, and our friends – especially those of us who are on the front lines facing hate, including Latinos, women, immigrants, refugees, Black people, Muslims, LGBT Americans, and so many others. And we need to make it clear that we will continue to stand together.”
Seattle-based Washington Community Action Network ran the following Craigslist.org ad, saying:
“Fight the Trump Agenda! We’re hiring Full-Time Organizers 15/hr! (Seattle)”
“Washington CAN! is our state’s oldest and largest Grassroots Non-Profit. We’ve been organizing and winning on the local and national level for over 35 years on issues such as Racial, Social, and Economic Justice, Health Care, Immigration Reform, Tax Fairness, and a Living Wage for all workers.”
“We are looking for motivated individuals who are seeking Full-Time, Part-Time, and Permanent positions.”
“Our Paid-Training Program is the best around. We will teach you the skills you need to succeed. The combined experience of our management team is over 50 years.”
“At Washington CAN! you will work at our Home Office here in Seattle. You will regularly meet with our Organizers, Lobbyists, and Executive Director, and have a real sense of being directly involved in our work.”
“We provide benefits in Medical, Dental, Vision, 401(k), Paid Vacation, Paid Sick Days, Holidays, and Leave of Absence. Advancement and Travel Opportunities are available as well. Staff average pay is $15-20 an hour.”
It added phone numbers to call and names of individuals to ask for.
Soros funding is likely behind all or most anti-Trump protests nationwide, using Move.On and other dubious NGOs, profiting from disruption – perhaps wanting election results annulled, Hillary installed as president.
Like him or not, he won. Hillary lost. All the Soros billions and all his mischief won’t put her in the White House instead of him. On January 20, he’ll succeed Obama. How he’ll govern remains to be seen.
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October 26th, 2016
By Stephen Lendman.
Times editors changed the rules on debating, assuring views they support get featured, others at most given short shrift – maintaining its mind manipulation practice, excluding free and open discussion on vital world and national issues.
Matthew Rojansky directs the establishment Wilson Center Kennan Institute. Kathryn Stoner is a Stanford University Spogli Institute for International Studies senior fellow.
Both were negative on Putin. So are Times editors and their presidential choice, Hillary Clinton. So fair and balanced views on him were excluded as expected. One-sided non-debate substituted.
Stoner lied claiming “(t)he US tried working with Putin. It didn’t work,” saying US/Russian relations deteriorated after his 2012 re-eelection.
Washington undermined ties. Putin was wrongfully blamed. US administrations tolerate no sovereign independent states, wanting puppet regimes it controls replacing them, how things were during the lost Boris Yeltsin decade – ending on December 31, 1999 when Putin succeeded him.
With US encouragement and coaching, Yeltsin introduced “shock therapy.” Economic genocide followed. GDP plunged 50%. Life expectancy fell. Democratic freedoms died.
An oligarch class accumulated enormous wealth at the expense of millions of harmed Russians.
Contemptuously ignoring essential needs, human rights and civil liberties, Yeltsin let corruption and criminality flourish. One scandal followed another. Money-laundering became sport. Billions in stolen wealth were hidden in Western banks or offshore tax havens.
Western governments and media scoundrels loved him. Putin rejects US imperialism, deplores foreign intervention. In 2007, he condemned Washington’s quest for unipolar global dominance “through a system which has nothing to do with democracy.”
Spurning international norms and principles, it’s “plunging the world into an abyss of permanent conflicts. (It) overstep(s) its national borders in almost all sphere,” he explained.
These and similar comments don’t set well in Washington – nor with imperial supporters like Stoner. False accusations dog Putin – including:
- nonexistent “Russian aggression” in Ukraine;
- nonexistent seizure of Crimea;
- nonexistent war crimes in Syria;
- nonexistent hacking of DNC emails or attempts to influence America’s November presidential election;
- baseless claims of billions of dollars stashed in offshore tax havens;
- phony accusations of cracking down on government opponents;
- bashing Russian democracy under his leadership; and
- fabricated allegations of murder, among other relentless attacks against him.
He’s denigrated for opposing America’s quest for global dominance, urging multi-world polarity, supporting Russian sovereign independence and believing international laws, norms and standards are inviolable.
According to anti-Russia extremists like Stoner, “(t)he next US president will inherit…a Putin problem,” calling Trump’s support for him “dangerous.”
Rojansky is no Putin fan, at the same time saying sanctions on Russia under his leadership accomplished nothing, other than heightening tensions.
Instead of explaining Washington consistently undermines his all-out efforts to resolve conflicts in Syria and Ukraine diplomatically, he accused him of “escalating and broadening (things) via nuclear saber rattling, cyber attacks and misinformation warfare” – along with seeking greater influence “throughout the Middle East” and elsewhere.
America is a warrior state, notably since the first Bill and Hillary Clinton co-presidency – waging endless wars of aggression for unchallenged global dominance.
Russia isn’t revanchist, Putin the world’s preeminent peacemaker. Instead of praising his efforts, extremists like Rojanky denigrate him.
“What is to be done,” he asked? “Our problem is with Russia,” he claims. “(W)e need to stop pursuing policies with the expectation either that Russia will change into a friendly democracy or that it can be fully defeated and sidelined. Neither is remotely likely…”
“(R)e-establish dialogue (to) advanc(e) our national interests…Most of all, we need coordination and consistency on our side.”
Views serving US interests at the expense of Russia and other countries can’t work longer-term. Smaller, weaker countries can be bullied or battered into compliance, given Washington’s penchant for endless conflicts.
Relations with Russia are another matter entirely. Each country’s destructive power matches the other’s. War if initiated assures losers, not winners – maybe ending life on earth at the same time.
Given today’s super-weapons, either we get along or we’ll perish. Why doesn’t The Times debate this most vital of all issues – with distinguished independent anti-war activists participating?
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October 20th, 2016
By Stephen Lendman.
Campaigning yesterday in Colorado, Trump called media scoundrels “more crooked than crooked Hillary” – again saying November’s election is “rigged.”
Ignore mainstream reports, he urged. “(R)ead the Internet” instead. In North Carolina, Trump running mate Mike Pence explained this year’s presidential election isn’t “a fair fight (because major) media (are) doing half of Hillary Clinton’s work for her every day.”
A previous article explained Google support for Hillary. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg one-sidedly backs her, deleting negative comments about her – claiming they don’t “follow the Facebook Community Standards,” part of its war on free expression.
According to CPI, more than 96% of individuals identified as journalists in federal campaign finance filings contributed $396,000 to Hillary’s campaign – compared to about $14,000 for Trump.
Federal candidates only need disclose contributions exceeding $200 during each electoral cycle, including names of donors. It’s likely many more journalists contributed to the Clinton and Trump campaigns below the radar, their names and amounts unknown.
Supporting one presidential candidate over another assures biased coverage. The New York Times is a virtual Hillary press agent.
Yet its ethics handbook prohibits political donations, saying “(a)ny political giving by a Times staff member would carry a great risk of feeding a false impression that the paper is taking sides” – stated with tongue in cheek when it comes to Hillary.
Journalists contributing to campaigns of political candidates they’re covering reveal a clear conflict of interest – an unacceptable ethical breach, compromising their integrity – a quality sorely absent in mainstream reporting.
Trump spokesman Jason Miller told CPI “we’re witnessing the single biggest coordinated media attack in political history…”
He called its anti-Trump “biased hit pieces…in-kind contributions, (far) exceed(ing) their maximum allowable gift limits a long time ago.”
It’s hard disagreeing, this year’s presidential coverage overwhelmingly one-sided – an unprecedented display of deplorable media bias for Hillary, a woman physically, ethically, morally and emotionally unfit to serve.
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October 16th, 2016
By Stephen Lendman.
Trump and Clinton represent dirty business as usual. She’s far more ruthless and dangerous, world peace threatened under her leadership, an emotionally unstable war goddess/she devil.
Jill Stein is the only people’s candidate, a true anti-war progressive, supporting democratic governance of, by and for everyone equitably – entirely absent under duopoly rule, serving privileged interests exclusively.
Hillary is ruthlessly pro-war, pro-Wall Street, pro-corporate predation, anti-democratic, anti-rule of law principles, anti-labor, anti-fundamental freedoms.
Her deplorable public record speaks for itself. Trump can only be judged by his rhetoric and business history as an indication of how he’d govern.
At a time of protracted Main Street Depression, neither duopoly candidate offers a program resembling badly needed progressive policies.
FDR’s first 100 days were historic, a unique post-electoral period in America. Landmark laws were passed, including the Bank Act of 1933 – Glass-Steagall, insuring deposits up to $5,000 and separating commercial from investment banks and insurance companies, among other provisions to curb speculation.
The Homeowners Refinancing Act stopped most foreclosures, preventing the loss of over a million homes.
The Emergency Conservation Work Act put unemployed people to work building roads, bridges, dams, state parks and various other projects.
The Civil Works Administration, Works Progress Administration and Public Works Administration created millions of full and part-time jobs.
Roosevelt called the National Recovery Administration “the most important and far-reaching (measure) ever” established in America – an initiative to revive economic growth, encourage collective bargaining, set maximum work hours, minimum wages, at times prices, and forbid child labor in industry.
The Tennessee Valley Authority provided navigation, flood control, electricity generation, economic development, and promoted agriculture in the depression-impacted Tennessee Valley area, covering most of Tennessee as well as parts of Alabama, Mississippi, Kentucky, Georgia, North Carolina, and Virginia.
The Agricultural Adjustment Act restricted production by paying farmers to reduce or destroy crops and livestock – a plan to raise prices at the worst time, when people were impoverished and hungry.
The Farm Credit Act let farmers refinance mortgages over an extended period at below-market rates. The Emergency Farm Mortgage Act provided refinancing for farmers facing foreclosure.
Despite its flaws and failures, New Deal measures helped millions of desperate Americans in need. Post-100 days included the Wagner Act letting labor bargain collectively on equal terms with management for the first time.
The Social Security Act to this day remains the most important federal program helping retirees and other eligible recipients financially.
Other social legislation throughout the decade helped millions of Americans in need – polar opposite bipartisan anti-populist policies today.
Militarism, corporate favoritism and the greatest ever wealth transfer from most people to its privileged few reflects how the nation is now run.
Trump’s 8-point first 100 days plan includes:
1. Appointing judges who’ll “uphold the Constitution” – code language for supporting conservative, anti-progressive policies.
2. Restricting immigration on the phony pretext of helping Americans get “good-paying jobs.”
3. Holding countries “cheat(ing) on trade” accountable – how isn’t explained, if by imposing stiff tariffs, they’ll be countered by similar ones on US products, the way trade wars begin.
4. “Cancel(ing) rules and regulations that send jobs overseas.” Companies need incentives to keep jobs at home. As private enterprises, they’re free to operate anywhere.
5. Lifting restrictions on energy production – nothing in his plan shifts from greenhouse-producing fossil fuels and dangerous nuclear power to renewable green sources.
6. “Repeal(ing) and replac(ing) jobs-killing Obamacare.” What’s vitally needed Trump and Hillary oppose – universal healthcare, everyone in, no one left out, assuring all Americans have the most important human right along with food, shelter, clothing and true democratic governance at peace with all other nations.
7. “Passing massive tax reform to create millions of new jobs and lower taxes for everyone.” Economic growth creates jobs, not tax cuts, largely benefitting high-income earners, most ordinary people getting little or nothing.
8. “Impos(ing) tough new ethics rules…to the office of Secretary of State.”
Trump said nothing about strictly observing international laws, nor ending illegal US wars of aggression. Stressing “America first” ignores its responsibility to respect the sovereign rights of all other nations.
On November 8, Americans get to choose between the two most widely reviled presidential aspirants in US history.
Trump’s most redeeming feature is he’s unlikely to attack Russia. He’d rather normalize relations than disrupt them further – based on what he’s said.
Hillary’s ascension to power makes nuclear war on Russia possible, even likely – a risk too great to permit.
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September 20th, 2016
By Stephen Lendman.
Rogue president Erdogan wants northern Syria annexed, expanding Turkey’s border south by seizing its territory on the phony pretext of combating ISIS, his ally.
On Monday, he said Turkish forces control 900 square km. “We may extend this area to 5,000 square km,” he added, on the phony pretext of establishing a “safe zone” for Syrian civilians he’s complicit with ISIS and other terrorist groups in murdering in cold blood, supplying them with weapons, munitions and other material support.
His forces control Jarablus and al-Rai, advancing toward al-Bab in Aleppo province with likely greater territorial aims in mind. At the same time, he’s waging war on Kurdish YPG fighters, Washington abandoned to support Turkey after earlier backing them.
Turkish chief of general staff general Hulusi Akar lied, claiming government forces “have no eye on any other countries’ territory.”
Ankara’s operation constitutes naked aggression, flagrantly violating international law, with full US support and encouragement, making conflict resolution less attainable, precisely what US strategy is all about – endless wars and instability, peace ruled out entirely.
A Final Comment
On Monday, Syria’s military declared an end to Russia/US brokered ceasefire, saying terrorist fighters violated it over 300 times in seven days – killing civilians and military personnel in cold blood.
They took full advantage of Syrian forces standing down by mobilizing for continued conflict. Operating as US foot soldiers, they want war, not peace.
Government forces observed Geneva terms scrupulously to no avail. They’ll now resume combating terrorism responsibly “to restore security and stability to the territory of the Syrian Arab Republic,” Syrian media reported.
How Russia and Washington respond remains to be seen. Clearly, prospects for cessation of hostilities and conflict resolution are nil.
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September 14th, 2016
By Stephen Lendman.
Rodrigo Duterte is unlike previous Philippine leaders, subservient to US interests, going along to get along.
Earlier this month, he called Obama a “son-of-a-bitch,” warning him not to criticize his extrajudicial killing policy, aimed at eliminating drug kingpins and dealers – reminding him of America’s longstanding deplorable record of unaccountable assassinations at home and abroad.
On Monday, he challenged Washington again, calling for removal of US forces from Jolo and Basilan islands, saying:
“These special forces…have to go. I do not want a rift with America, but they have to go.” They’ve been in the southern Philippines since 2002, supposedly to train and advise government forces during Operation Enduring Freedom – Philippines.
Around 1,200 US forces were originally deployed, small numbers remaining for so-called logistics and technical support after the operation ended in 2015.
The 1987 Philippine Constitution prohibits foreign military bases on its territory. Article XVIII, Section 25 states:
“(F)oreign military bases, troops, or facilities shall not be allowed in the Philippines except under a treaty duly concurred in by the Senate and, when the Congress so requires, ratified by a majority of the votes cast by the people in a national referendum held for that purpose, and recognized as a treaty by the other contracting State.”
In 1991, US forces were withdrawn from Clark Air Base. Subic Bay withdrawal in late 1992 followed. Under a longstanding Mutual Defense Treaty, both nations agreed to defend each other against armed attack – a sort of bilateral NATO-type arrangement, Washington controlling things, continuing to treat the Philippines like a colony.
In 1999, its Senate ratified the Visiting Forces Agreement, permitting US forces on Philippine territory for joint military exercises and so-called defense cooperation.
Duterte blamed Washington’s military presence for inflaming Muslim population tensions. (A)s long as we stay with America, we will never have peace,” he said, adding he’s reorienting the country’s foreign policy.
According to State Department spokesman admiral John Kirby, Washington is “not aware of any official communication” to remove US special forces.
Saying he’s “not fighting with America,” is Duterte’s get tough policy rhetorical or a new approach to dealing with Washington?
It’s not easy challenging its hegemonic power, especially for smaller nations unable to stop whatever it intends to do.
A Final Comment
In response to US War Secretary Ashton Carter’s Big Lie, claiming Russia undermines the international order, its Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu, blasted US imperial policy, saying:
“It is the United States, alongside their Western partners, who have consistently destroyed the basic foundations of the existing world, starting with” the rape of Yugoslavia to all its post-9/11 wars still raging.
Instead of admitting responsibility and mending its ways, it “blam(es) everything on Russia, China and other countries with an independent outlook.”
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September 7th, 2016
By Stephen Lendman.
Some new polls show both candidates virtually tied. Others still show Clinton ahead. With two months to go before the November 8 elections, momentum may swing back and forth several times or more.
Poll results depend on their sponsors and how they’re conducted. Most important is America’s debauched political system, giving voters no say on how they’re governed or by whom.
Power brokers decide everything. Things looked rigged for Hillary. The most scandalous media reporting in US history one-sidedly backs her, turning “press freedom” into a disgraceful laughing stock on its electoral coverage and virtually everything else of major importance.
Corporate controlled touch-screen voting machines can decide November’s result with electronic ease, aided by massive voter roll purging and other shenanigans, ignored by media scoundrels.
Democracy in America is pure fantasy, nonexistent from the republic’s inception, not a whiff of it today. Now in the final weeks of this year’s presidential race, the outcome is likely predetermined, voting on November 8 a meaningless exercise in theater.
For what it’s worth, likely little, a new CNN/ORC poll shows Trump topping Clinton by a 45 – 43% margin in a four-way race including Green Party candidate Jill Stein and Libertarian Gary Johnson.
On the one hand, all polls suggest popular results in the current time frame, not necessarily Electoral College totals. The latest Reuters/Ipsos
States of the Nation poll out days earlier showed Hillary winning 332 Electoral College votes to Trump’s 206 – while its national poll showed them virtually tied.
Three pre-scripted presidential debates (sic) are upcoming, the first on September 26 – controlled by duopoly power brokers, Stein and Johnson prohibited from participating.
Independent candidates are shut out of America’s debauched system, virtually ignored, denied the right to compete on a level playing – what democracy is supposed to be all about, not in America, not as long as monied interests control things.
In January, a new leader will succeed Obama. Dirty business as usual triumphs every time, continuing unimpeded next year under new management. Though alike in most respects, their rhetoric aside, differences between Trump and Hillary matter.
WW III is less likely on his watch. He’d rather exploit planet earth for profit. She’ll likely attack Russia, China and Iran, perhaps with nuclear weapons, risking its destruction – plenty reason enough to oppose her.
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