Posts by StephenLendman:

    Oprah Winfrey for President in 2020?

    January 10th, 2018



    By Stephen Lendman.


    For undemocratic Dems, it makes as much sense as nominating Bozo the Clown.

    At the same time, given America’s deplorable state, why not? Qualifications for the job aren’t necessary.

    She and Trump share two attributes. They’re both billionaire entertainers, media celebrities.

    Forbes estimates her net worth at $2.8 billion, Trump’s at $3.1 billion – both a lot richer ahead from the GOP tax cut heist.

    They’re connected to America’s rich and powerful. They’re establishment figures, notably Trump by serving in the nation’s highest office – Oprah as a longtime media celebrity.

    Ahead of the 2003 Iraq war, she disgracefully promoted it on air, including with video clips featuring “experts.”

    They included hawkish neocons Richard Perle, Douglas Feith and others, claiming America was “morally” obligated to remove Saddam.

    She called his removal a humanitarian mission, omitting vital facts, selling naked aggression to millions of viewers based on bald-faced lies.

    She lied for powerful interests she supports. It wasn’t the first or last time. She’s deplorable, one-dimensional, more infomercial than real.

    She’s criticized for promoting self-help. Her dubious message to middle-aged women is “(y)ou’re special. You have some flaws, but it’s nothing some luxury lifestyle can’t fix.”

    To her credit, she succeeded against long odds, yet uses her celebrity irresponsibly.

    She campaigned for Obama, uninformed Amercans sold false promises. She lied saying “(l)ong before it was the popular thing to do, (Obama) stood with clarity and conviction against the war in Iraq.”

    He supported it all along, in office terror-bombed seven countries in eight years, exceeding the worst of Bush/Cheney.

    She’s concerned about money-making, getting more super-rich than already. On major world and national issues, she plays fast and loose with facts, banishing truth-telling on them from her airwaves.

    She didn’t become a billionaire by speaking truth to power. Her skill is reaching and influencing vast audiences on behalf of her corporate sponsors.

    She’s orchestrated to stay on script, a manipulator, a made-for-television communicator, delivering wrong messages to dumbed-down viewers, unable to distinguish between facts and fiction, brainwashed to accept rubbish fed them on air.

    She’s well-connected, supports imperial wars and force-fed neoliberal harshness, uncaring about human and civil rights for the nation’s disadvantaged most harmed by failure to enforce them.

    Reportedly she’s intrigued by the idea of running for president. Maybe she could win. Professor of Entertainment, Media and Society Martin Kaplan said “(t)he name of the game in elections is name recognition, and you get that from celebrity.”

    Pollster Ann Selzer explained “(y)ou have to want to do it, because it’s an enormous challenge, an enormous trial, an enormous test of your soul.”

    It’s a daily physical ordeal, demanding the willingness to sacrifice all aspects of privacy, only the most committed willing to accept the great sacrifices for a chance to grab the brass ring.

    In 2016, Americans elected a billionaire entertainer to the nation’s top job. Would they want to dump Trump for another one in 2020 – getting more of the same with a gender difference?

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    Kim Jong-Un’s New Year’s Address

    January 2nd, 2018


    By Stephen Lendman.


    Trump disgracefully calls Kim a “madman,” a characterization applying to him, not North Korea’s leader, his country’s security gravely threatened by possible US aggression.

    In a New Year’s address, Kim showed he wants peace, not war. He’s “open to dialogue” with Seoul, a willingness to participate in the February Olympics, saying:

    “North Korea’s participation in the Winter Games will be a good opportunity to show the unity of the people, and we hope the Games will be a success.”

    Officials from both countries may meet to discuss DPRK participation.

    Kim stressed the importance of his country’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs, deterrents against possible US aggression, not to wage war he opposes.

    His address was a diplomatic message of outreach and peace. South Korean President Moon Jae-in said Pyongyang’s participation in the winter games would help insure their safety.

    He urged postponing last month’s joint military exercises with Pentagon force, held as schedule because Washington remains hardline.

    The DPRK denounces what it calls provocative rehearsals for war, fearing it could come in the new year after the winter Olympics.

    Kim said his military will focus on mass producing nuclear warheads and ballistic missiles for operational deployment” in 2018, adding:

    “The entire US is within range of our nuclear weapons, and a nuclear button is always on my desk.”

    “This is reality, not a threat,” stressing “these weapons will be used only if our security is threatened.”

    North Korean nuclear and ballistic missiles capabilities don’t threaten continental America so far. Yet technological advances continue being made.

    Asia/Pacific countries already are threatened if Washington attacks the DPRK, devastating nuclear war likely following – South Korea, Japan, and US regional forces likely targets in response to an attack on North Korean territory.

    Kim stressed the importance of “bolster(ing)” the nation’s “military capabilities for self-defense,” not offense.

    A South Korean government spokesman said its leadership views Kim’s address positively, suggesting a ministerial-level dialogue with Pyongyang to discuss ways of improving relations.

    An uneasy armistice since the 1950s, along with America’s rage for war prevent resolving crisis conditions on the Korean peninsula.

    The problem lies squarely in Washington, not Pyongyang.

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    UN Armed Conflict Report Downplays Saudi Atrocities in Yemen

    October 9th, 2017

    By Stephen Lendman.

    Over two-and-a-half years of US-orchestrated/Saudi aggression in Yemen created the world’s most severe humanitarian crisis.

    Millions of lives are threatened by war, untreated diseases including the worst cholera epidemic expected to affect up to one millions Yemenis this year, severe malnutrition, starvation, and overall deprivation.

    The world community failed to intervene to stop the carnage, along with holding Washington and Riyadh fully responsible for devastating war.

    Genocide haunts the country, the region’s poorest, the suffering of its people largely ignored. Most countries and Western media barely notice.

    Months earlier, UNICEF said a Yemeni child under age five dies every 10 minutes from starvation alone, countless numbers more from war-related violence and untreated diseases.

    Since March 2015, many thousands of Yemenis perished, maybe tens of thousands. The death toll mounts daily, children in harm’s way devastated like adults.

    Unaddressed famine stalks the country. Humanitarian crisis conditions affect over 80% of the population, war and blockade responsible.

    If not halted, the death toll could reached staggering proportions. It’s already claimed far more lives than a disgraceful UN report admits.

    On Thursday, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres submitted the world body’s annual report on Children and Armed Conflict (CAAC) to Security Council members.

    While blacklisting Riyadh and rogue partners for killing and maiming Yemeni children, it downplayed the carnage – disgracefully claiming only 683 child deaths in 2016.

    The true number is multiples more than this sanitized figure – even though the CAAC report verified 38 attacks on schools and hospitals.

    Countless others targeted residential areas, mosques, marketplaces, food storage facilities and other civilian sites – massacring noncombatants, including children, cluster bombs and other banned weapons used.

    In 2015, Saudi Arabia was included in the CAAC report, Ban Ki-moon disgracefully removing it, caving to Western and Riyadh pressure.

    Saudi Arabia is the Arab world’s leading terror state, brutalizing its own people, committing egregious human rights abuses – public beheadings, whippings, and imprisoning regime critics among them.

    The 2017 CAAC report included the country in a new category, disgracefully claiming it instituted “measures during the reporting period to improve the protection of children” – a deplorable perversion of truth.

    Amnesty International’s Sherine Tadros said “(w)orld powers should do everything possible to keep the pressure on states that blatantly disregard children’s lives.”

    “The USA and other states that supply arms for use by the Saudi Arabia-led coalition in Yemen must stop doing so and the United Nations Security Council should impose an arms embargo to bring an end to such horrific abuses.”

    Why hasn’t AI condemned ongoing US high crimes in multiple theaters including in Yemen, along with its rogue partners, responsible for millions of casualties post-9/11!

    Like Ban Ki-moon and his predecessors, Guterres serves Western interests, betraying fundamental UN Charter principles.

    Instead of working to restore peace and security worldwide, he’s an imperial tool, part of the problem, not the solution.

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    Putin Warns of War on the Korean Peninsula

    September 1st, 2017


    By Stephen Lendman.


    In an article ahead of the September 3 – 5 BRICS summit in Xiamen, China, titled “BRICS: Toward New Horizons of Strategic Partnership,” he stressed the importance of continuing the battle against terrorists in Syria and other countries, stressing:

    “Russia calls for going over from debates to the practical creation of a broad counterterrorism front based on international law and led by the UN. Naturally, we highly appreciate the support and assistance of our BRICS partners in this respect.”

    The risk of potentially catastrophic war on the Korean peninsula weighed on his mind, saying:

    “I have to say a few words about the situation on the Korean Peninsula, where tensions have grown recently and the situation is balancing on the brink of a large-scale conflict.”

    “Russia believes that the policy of putting pressure on Pyongyang to stop its nuclear missile program is misguided and futile.”

    “The region’s problems should only be settled through a direct dialogue of all the parties concerned without any preconditions. Provocations, pressure and militarist and insulting rhetoric are a dead-end road.”

    Russia and China created a “roadmap” for resolving contentious issues on the peninsula, he explained – a way to ease tension and create an environment for peace and stability.

    Provocative US, South Korean and Japanese military exercises heighten tensions. Pyongyang believes its nuclear and ballistic missile programs are essential for self-defense.

    Multiple rounds of harsh sanctions accomplished nothing toward resolving things. Nor will more sanctions.

    Pyongyang genuinely fears possible US aggression – why it won’t abandon its most effective deterrent.

    Russia and China are right. The only solution is diplomatic resolution. Washington rejects it, choosing saber rattling and threats instead – risking possible catastrophic nuclear war on the peninsula, devastating for the region if launched.

    Would Trump risk the unthinkable? Given his rage for endless wars, anything is possible.

    A Final Comment

    In response to the latest Security Council criticism of its ballistic missile tests, along with provocative US/South Korean military exercises just concluded, the DPRK’s UN envoy in Geneva, Han Tae Song said:

    “Now that the US has openly declared its hostile intention towards the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea…my country has every reason to respond with tough countermeasures as an exercise of its right to self-defense.”

    North Korea’s KCNA news agency said its military intends more ballistic missile tests, citing its right of self-defense against possible US aggression.

    China’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said resolving issues peacefully on the peninsula “lie in the hands of Pyongyang and Washington, and also Pyongyang and Seoul.”

    Diplomacy is the only solution. Sanctions and harsh rhetoric don’t work. Was is unthinkable. What’s coming is anyone’s guess.

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    Iran on Trump’s Target List?

    August 16th, 2017

    By Stephen Lendman.


    Trump directed a White House team to examine ways of withholding certification of the Iran nuclear deal when the administration’s next 90-day review is due to Congress.

    National Security Council officials, along with chief White House strategist Steve Bannon and deputy Trump assistant Sebastian Gorka, are involved in reviewing the deal, directed by Trump to find a way to decertify Iran.

    Tillerson, McMaster and Joint Chiefs Chairman Dunford oppose the idea. So do other P5+1 countries. If America unilaterally pulls out, the deal remains in force. It’s an international treaty.

    Israel and AIPAC support decertification. So does neocon US UN envoy Haley – outrageously saying Iran shouldn’t be allowed “to use the nuclear deal to hold the world hostage.”

    It shouldn’t “become too big to fail. “Iran, under no circumstances, can ever be allowed to have nuclear weapons” – it abhors, doesn’t want and supports a nuclear-free Middle East.

    Haley’s remarks followed Iranian President Rouhani saying the Trump administration “should know that the failed experience of threats and sanctions forced their predecessors to come to the negotiating table.”

    “If they prefer to return to those times, Iran will definitely return to a situation much more advanced than the start of the (nuclear) negotiations, not within months and weeks, but in a matter of hours and days.”

    “Those who seek to go back to the language of threats and sanctions are captives of their past self-made delusions. They merely deprive themselves of the benefits of peace by creating antagonism and phobia.”

    “(T)he world has clearly witnessed that it is the US, particularly under the presidency of Mr. Trump, which is ignoring this international agreement.”

    The nuclear deal is a “model for peace.” It’s “not and will not be the only option for” Iran.

    Rouhani commented after Trump lied, irresponsibly accusing Tehran of not “living up to the spirit (of the) horrible agreement.”

    In late July, Trump said he expects “detailed studies” to show Iranian noncompliance – only if conclusions are fabricated, apparently what’s coming in the weeks ahead.

    Tehran is in full compliance with Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) terms – certified multiple times by the IAEA.

    Iranian sovereign independence, its opposition to US imperial wars, its support for Palestinian rights, along with its existence standing in the way of Israeli regional dominance partnered with Washington and Big Oil wanting control of its vast hydrocarbon resources are reasons for longstanding US hostility toward the country.

    Regime change remains America’s objective by color revolution or naked aggression.

    Does Trump have more US aggression in mind – along with belligerent threats against North Korea and Venezuela?

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    Senate Bill Limits Trump’s Power to Lift Sanctions on Russia

    June 14th, 2017

    By Stephen Lendman.

    Republican and Democrat Senate leaders agreed to tough new sanctions on Russia – including limiting Trump’s power to lift them. More on this below.
    The measure will be attached to legislation imposing new sanctions on Iran, targeting individuals involved in its legitimate ballistic missile program, US businesses and individuals aiding it, along with the country’s Revolutionary Guard Corps.
    In late May, bipartisan Banking Committee members announced their intention to strengthen US sanctions on Russia for its (legal) actions in Ukraine and Syria, as well as (nonexistent) interference in last year’s presidential election.
    The Senate measure sure to pass both houses by a veto-proof margin was agreed to Monday night.
    Foreign Relations Committee chairman Bob Corker (R. TN) said “(i)t really touches all the components” – targeting Russia’s intelligence and defense  apparatus, its energy, mining, railways and shipping industries, along with Russian officials wrongfully accused of corruption and human rights abuses.
    Asked if Trump intends supporting the new measure, Corker said “I have to believe that the administration has to at least strongly consider” it – adding he’s sure it’ll be veto-proof.
    A bipartisan statement said “(t)he amendment to the underlying Iran sanctions bill maintains and substantially expands sanctions against the government of Russia in response to the violation of the territorial integrity of the Ukraine and Crimea, its brazen cyberattacks and interference in elections, and its continuing aggression in Syria.”
    Fact: There’s not a shred of truth in any of these accusations. Targeting Russia and Iran irresponsibly is part of longstanding US bashing of both countries – for their sovereign independence and resistance to Washington’s imperial agenda.
    Last week, deputy White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the Trump administration “is committed to existing sanctions against Russia.” They’ll remain “until Moscow fully honors its commitments to resolve the crisis in Ukraine.”
    The new Senate measure greatly constrains Trump’s power to lift sanctions on Russia – by executive order or other presidential actions.
    It empowers Congress to review and block any future administration decision to remove any or all sanctions – making it virtually impossible to happen.
    It gives Congress 30 days to respond to any executive actions pertaining to lifting them – 60 days when its members are in recess.
    It codifies sanctions on Russia imposed by Obama’s executive orders, while letting Trump impose new ones on its economy.
    The measure hardens US hostility toward Russia and Iran. Last month, White House National Economic Council director Gary Cohn said “we could probably look to get tougher” on Russia.
    What a difference an election made. Candidate Trump’s outreach to Moscow vanished once in office as president.

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    Pence Heading to Seoul, Possible US Aggression on Hold

    April 17th, 2017

    By Stephen Lendman.


    On Sunday, Vice President Mike Pence heads to Seoul, part of a 10-day Asia trip to include Japan, Indonesia and Australia visits. A White House statement said he’ll “arrive in Seoul…on April 16,” return home on April 25.
    Trump launching aggression on North Korea risking nuclear war while his vice-president is in East Asia seems unlikely.
    For now, he’ll most likely continue tough talk, saber rattle off North Korea’s coastline, pressure China and impose more sanctions. What comes later remains to be seen.
    An unnamed White House foreign policy advisor said Pence will meet with South Korea officials on Pyongyang’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs, arriving the day after the DPRK’s Day of the Sun national holiday, commemorating Kim Il-sung’s 105th birthday, the country’s founder.
    The White House has contingency plans in case Pence’s trip coincides with Pyongyang’s sixth nuclear test, the White House added without further elaboration.
    According to the US official, the DPRK continues developing its nuclear and ballistic missile capabilities, expecting further tests, saying:
    “With the regime, it’s not a matter of if. It’s when. We are well prepared to counter that,” adding:
    “We are fully committed to our security alliances, especially in the face of our evolving security challenges.”
    “And you’ve seen the nuclear threat of North Korea, and we’ll reinforce those security alliances,” suggesting a possible military response.
    On Saturday, Pyongyang showcased its ICBMs during a military parade, commemorating Kim Il-sung’s birthday. Seoul said they appeared to be a new type – longer than the existing KN-08 or KN-14 ICBMs.
    Submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) were publicly displayed for the first time. On State television, a male voiceover said “(t)oday’s parade will provide a chance to display our powerful military might” – a clear message to Trump, the West, Seoul, Tokyo and Beijing.
    Senior DPRK official Choe Ryong-hae said his country is ready to challenge any US-initiated aggression, accusing Trump of “creating a war situation” by hostile rhetoric and positioning US warships off North Korea’s coastline.
    “We will respond to an all-out war with an all-out war and a nuclear war with our style of a nuclear attack,” he said.
    On Friday, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi warned “conflict could break out at any moment.” Pyongyang considers Trump “unpredictable.”
    Perhaps its leadership chose a saber-rattling military parade in lieu of an expected Saturday nuclear test, maybe postponed, not cancelled.
    China is Pyongyang’s key ally. In 1961, both countries signed the Sino-North Korean Mutual Aid and Cooperation Friendship Treaty.
    It obligates both nations to provide military and other aid if either one is attacked by a foreign power. The treaty remains in force until 2021.
    Beijing wants conflict avoided for obvious reasons. It shares a border with North Korea. Hordes of refugees would seek safe haven in China if war erupts.
    Nuclear war fallout would affect the entire region. South Korea and Japan want things resolved diplomatically. Everyone loses in case of war.
    Trump said the North Korean problem “will be taken care of.” If China doesn’t help, he’ll go it alone.
    Pyongyang’s General Staff urged Washington “to come to its senses and make a proper option for the solution (to) the problem.”
    Vice Foreign Minister Han Song Ryol warned “we will go to war if they choose. If the US comes with reckless military maneuvers, then we will confront it with the DPRK’s preemptive strike.”
    China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi “call(ed) on all parties to refrain from provoking and threatening each other, whether in words or actions, and not let the situation get to an irreversible and unmanageable stage.”
    Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov made similar comments. Possible Korean war with nukes should terrify everyone.
    It’s Trump’s call. His belligerence over diplomacy is great cause for concern.

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    Marine Le Pen in Moscow

    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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    Scotland Independence Referendum 2.0?

    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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    French Presidential Candidate Fillon Charged with Misuse of Public Funds

    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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    Trump at War with Media Scoundrels

    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.
    Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at
    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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    NATO’s Provocative Anti-Russia Buildup

    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.
    Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at
    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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    Trump Versus CNN

    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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    Relentless Media War on Trump

    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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    NYT Frantic Over Growing Russian/Turkish Ties

    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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    She’s Back: Hillary Hyping Fake News

    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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    Microsoft, Facebook, Twitter and You Tube Conspire to Censor Online Content

    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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    US-Backed Terrorists in Aleppo Near Collapse

    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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    Fidel Castro Ruz Passes, An Era Ends

    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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    Could Sanders Have Beaten Trump?

    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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