Friday, February 24, 2017

Ending Obamacare's Nightmare Promises a Worse One

Ending Obamacare’s Nightmare Promises a Worse One

by Stephen Lendman

Addressing the Conservative Political Action Conference on Thursday, Vice President Pence said “America’s Obamacare nightmare is about to end.”

He lied saying he and Trump are committed to giving every American “access to quality, affordable health insurance,” vowing an “orderly transition” from current policy to Trumpcare.

The only responsible solution is government-sponsored, single-payer, universal coverage - ruled off the table by both wings of America’s duopoly system. 

Everyone in, no one left out, equal benefits for everyone, not more for some, less for others.

House Speaker Paul Ryan wants tax credits replacing Obamacare subsidies, a boon for well-off households, disastrous for low-income ones and millions of unemployed Americans, paying little or no taxes - unable to benefit from credits.

He favors “mini-med” plans, offering minimal coverage, way too little in cases of serious illnesses, diseases or expensive hospitalizations and surgeries.

He wants inadequate block grants to states in lieu of Washington’s commitment to match their Medicaid spending.

He wants Medicare benefits beginning at age 67, instead of as early as age 62 currently, along with guaranteed benefits for seniors replaced by vouchers to purchase insurance - adjusted to inflation changes artificially kept low, ignoring soaring healthcare costs.

He and Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, an orthopedic surgeon turned politician, want healthcare coverage for low-income and unemployed Americans reduced, while maintaining top quality coverage for the nation’s privileged class.

They want Washington’s obligation shifted to states. Martin Luther King once said “(o)f all the forms of inequality, injustice in healthcare is the most shocking and inhumane.”

Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP) advocates universal coverage as the only responsible policy. Their report titled “Beyond the Affordable Care Act: A Physicians’ Proposal for Single-Payer Health Care Reform” addresses fundamental reform vitally needed.

America spends double the amount on healthcare compared to other developed countries, while providing inadequate or no coverage for most of its citizens. Trumpcare looks like a scheme to make a bad system worse, not better. 

PNHP’s proposal corrects systemic deficiencies, most of all “high cost sharing, limitations of coverage, and subcontracting to wasteful private plans.”

It focuses heavily on dramatically reducing administrative costs and other inefficiencies. It aims to eliminate underinsurance and lack of coverage affecting millions.

Though publicly financed, it relies on private providers. It reduces billing and paperwork costs - eliminating hundreds of billions of dollars in exorbitant insurance costs. 

Federal bargaining with drug companies would assure much lower-priced prescription drugs. Hospitalization costs would go down.

Overall healthcare costs in other developed nations are around half what they are in America. Trumpcare will do nothing to address this.

Under Obamacare, around 26 million Americans have no coverage. Underinsurance endangers millions more. High deductibles and co-pays add greater burdens for low-income households.

Trumpcare threatens to replace a bad system with something worse. Marketplace medicine works well for insurers, drug companies and large hospital chains.

Single-payer universal coverage is the only equitable system for millions of ordinary people, struggling daily to get by. It’s a fundamental human right.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 


Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

Geneva IV Peace Talks on Syria Off to a Rocky Start

Geneva IV Peace Talks on Syria Off to a Rocky Start

by Stephen Lendman

On Thursday, Syria’s delegation faced off against US-supported terrorist groups wanting its legitimate government toppled. 

Both sides are nowhere near resolving differences between them after three previous failed rounds. Two sessions in Astana, Kazakhstan this year achieved little.

Geneva IV may turn out no better. It’s unclear whether Trump wants continued war or resolution. Israel abhors the latter, wanting Assad toppled. 

NATO countries remain hostile to his government. So do Turkey, Saudi Arabia, other Gulf states and Jordan - not a prescription for ending six devastating years of conflict.

On Thursday, Saudi cobbled together opposition terrorist delegates called for Assad’s immediate resignation - a nonstarter, a hostile demand getting talks off to a rocky start.

Russia’s envoy to Geneva negotiations Alexey Borodavkin called the opposition’s demand absurd, an unacceptable precondition. 

He called Trump’s security zone scheme unclear, adding “it is necessary to address the Syrian government and to ask whether it agrees to have some security zones organized in its territory.”

He cited “an endless list of questions (and) problems,” adding he’s seen no concrete proposal.

Last week in Bonn, Germany, Sergey Lavrov discussed this topic with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on the sidelines of the G20 meeting, saying:

“We await further clarification. We believe that such initiatives should take into account the situation on the ground in Syria, where many players are at work, so to speak, with their ground forces, as well as in the Syrian airspace.” 

“Naturally, our position is that any such initiatives regarding Syria’s territory should be coordinated with (its) government. Otherwise it will be difficult to implement these steps.” 

Russia opposes foreign interference in Syria’s internal affairs. Lavrov awaits clarity on whether Washington intends cooperating with Russia in combating terrorism and resolving Syria’s conflict.

So far, indications aren’t encouraging. Washington’s Mosul, Iraq and Raqqa, Syria operations have nothing to with liberating these cities from ISIS control.

Their aim is mass slaughter and destruction of vital infrastructure, civilians mostly harmed, countless numbers killed or injured, similar operations going on in other parts of both countries, ignored by media scoundrels.

So-called Mosul and Raqqa “liberating” battles are US deceptions, discussed in previous articles. At the same time, reports suggest Trump ordered the CIA to stop arming so-called rebels in Syria.

No explanation was given. Is it a temporary or permanent halt? Is it only for some terrorists, not others? Are weapons and other support still flowing to ISIS and al-Nusra? 

All these groups are US-led NATO foot soldiers, created and armed to serve its imperial agenda, supported throughout years of conflict in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere.

Until more information is known, it’s unclear what Washington is up to. Obama’s wars continue raging, Trump giving no indication of halting them.

Appointing hawkish generals to run America’s defense, national and homeland security suggests a continuation of earlier policies - not an encouraging sign.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 


Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

Police State Viciousness Against Native American Water Protectors

Police State Viciousness Against Native American Water Protectors

by Stephen Lendman

On Thursday, militarized police, National Park Service Rangers, Bureau of Indian Affairs law enforcers, and National Guard troops using armored vehicles removed remaining Standing Rock Sioux Tribe members and supporters from their Oceti Sakowin encampment.

Dozens of arrests were made, the operation an example of police state viciousness.

Indigenous Environmental Network executive director Tom Goldtooth issued a statement, saying: 

“We are appalled by today’s forced evacuations of indigenous people at the Camp at Standing Rock, they are a violent and unnecessary infringement on the constitutional right of water protectors to peacefully protest and exercise their freedom of speech.” 

“It hinders the camp cleanup process and creates confusion and chaos that puts the Missouri River at risk of pollution from construction and camping debris.

“Today’s expulsion is a continuation of a centuries old practice, where the US Government forcefully removes Indigenous people from our lands and territories.” 

“We urge supporters of the water protectors to continue to resist this travesty by organizing mass mobilizations, distributed actions, speaking out against the violations of the Treaty rights of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and the Seven Council Fires of the Great Sioux Nation, and continuing to source up the capacity for litigation and grassroots organizing against the Dakota Access pipeline.

“Our hearts are not defeated. The closing of the camp is not the end of a movement or fight, it is a new beginning. They cannot extinguish the fire that Standing Rock started. It burns within each of us.” 

“We will rise, we will resist, and we will thrive. We are sending loving thoughts to the water protectors along the banks of the Cannonball River, today. May everyone be as safe as can be. #noDAPL”

The struggle to prevent contamination of ancestral land and water continues in court, upcoming hearing scheduled.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 


Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

John McCain Again Meets with Terrorists in Syria

John McCain Again Meets with Terrorists in Syria

by Stephen Lendman

In May 2013, ISIS elements posted photos they took with neocon John McCain, during his Syria visit to meet with anti-government terrorists.

On return, he said “it was a very moving experience to meet these fighters who have been struggling now for over two years.” 

He called cutthroat killers moderate rebels. “I know who they are. I was in Syria and I met with them,” he said - explaining nothing about America’s war of aggression against a sovereign independent country threatening no one, using imported terrorists as imperial foot soldiers.

Last weekend, McCain returned to Syria, showing support for US-backed death squads, committing gruesome atrocities, wanting regime change. A statement by his spokeswoman said:

He “traveled to northern Syria…to visit with US forces…and to discuss the (so-called) counter-ISIL campaign…(His) visit was a valuable opportunity to assess dynamic conditions on the ground in Syria and Iraq.”

H “looks forward to working with the administration and military leaders to optimize our approach for accomplishing ISIL’s lasting defeat.

He met with Saudi King Salman, UAE crown prince Al Nahyan, and Turkish President Erdogan on the same trip, saying discussions focused on Syria and defeating ISIS.

Obama earlier pledged to defeat ISIS without putting US boots on the ground. His actions were polar opposite - supporting ISIS, not combating it, sending 1000s of US troops to Iraq, at least hundreds of special forces to Syria. Their duties include engaging in combat, against whom is uncertain.

Trump promised to defeat international terrorism. He may deploy more US troops to Syria, Afghanistan and perhaps elsewhere.

So far, it’s unknown whether he’ll combat terrorist groups or support them like his predecessors.

Given how much he backtracked on promises so far, chances for cooperating with Russia in combating terrorism looks like another pledge to be broken.

All politicians lie. Believe nothing they say. Follow only what they do, the only way to judge them.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 


Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

Arizona Bill Threatens Protesters

Arizona Bill Threatens Protesters

by Stephen Lendman

Tyranny stalks Americans at the federal, state and local levels - fundamental freedoms fast disappearing.

On Wednesday, Arizona’s Senate passed legislation targeting anyone orchestrating or participating in legitimate protests turned violent, even if through no fault of their own.

The measure expands state racketeering laws to including rioting - defining it as actions resulting in damage or destruction of property.

The measure authorizes RICO criminal prosecution and asset seizures from anyone involved, including peaceful protestors. Police may arrest protest organizers even if they didn’t commit violence.

According to State Senator John Kavanagh, “(y)ou now have a situation where you have full-time, almost professional agent-provocateurs that attempt to create public disorder.

Asking “(w)ouldn’t you rather stop a riot before it starts” sounds like the bill’s intend is to abolish First Amendment free speech, assembly, and right to petition government for redress of grievance.

If the measure passes Arizona’s House, it remains to be seen if Republican Governor Doug Ducey supports it. In 2010, then Governor Jan Brewer signed controversial legislation, requiring police to determine if people are in America illegally.

The measure legalizes unchecked racial profiling of anyone suspected of being undocumented, largely by their skin color.

It criminalizes undocumented immigrants as “trespassers,” subjecting them to misdemeanor or felony charges.

Police can stop anyone for any reason, question their residency right, and demand proof of legal entry or citizenship. Without it, they may be arrested, fined, jailed, and/or deported without cause, including US citizens.

Immigrants must carry authorization papers at all times. Failure to do so is a criminal offense. Fourth Amendment protections against “unreasonable searches and seizures” are null and void in the state, Latinos looking like possible undocumented immigrants especially vulnerable.

Police may make warrantless arrests without just cause. Anyone may be challenged to prove citizenship, right of residence and identity. 

Aliens must proved they’re in the country legally. Anyone transporting or in any way aiding undocumented immigrants are in violation of state law.

Employers are prohibited from hiring them. Landlords are forbidden from renting them apartments or rooms. Systematic abuse is commonplace in Arizona and elsewhere nationwide - at all levels of government.

Trump’s war on immigrants promises to make things worse.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 


Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

War on Digital Democracy

War on Digital Democracy

by Stephen Lendman

Powerful interests are waging war to control our minds. Online freedom is threatened.

I’ve been hacked and banished from Facebook for truth-telling. Google is suppressing content - removing sites from its search engine, censoring others, actions violating First Amendment rights.

Google and Facebook changed their advertising policy to counter what they call “fake news.” They’re at war with digital democracy, increasingly wanting media scoundrel managed news misinformation and Big Lies featured over alternative content.

During the US presidential election campaign, Google supported Hillary, rigged searches for her with positive news to sway undecided voters in her favor.

Trump’s new FCC chairman Ajit Pai said Net Neutrality’s days are “numbered.” He’s taking steps to undermine digital democracy, letting users access all content without restrictions, limitations, or discrimination, an online level playing field for everyone. 

What’s ongoing began before Trump’s ascension to power. Obama was obsessed with secrecy. Famed journalist Helen Thomas blasted what she called his press-controlling efforts, saying his actions were “blatant.”

Net Neutrality is the last frontier of press freedom. Obama prioritized secret monitoring, targeted dissent, aimed to suppress truth and full disclosure, wanted digital democracy curbed.

He elevated information control to an unprecedented level, targeted more whistleblowers than all his predecessors combined, and shunned transparency he pledged to prioritize if elected.

He monitored journalists, accessed their phone records, read their emails, tracked their personal movements, sought to assure nothing he wanted suppressed was made public.

The war on digital freedom continues. Efforts are being made to silence Infowars, the Alex Jones web site. The ad agency AdRoll providing a major source of its revenue pulled the plug on him, jeopardizing the operation’s viability.

Its web site blasted online censorship, saying “(i)n an attempt to damage the power of our message, they have tried to hit us where it hurts by removing an important pillar of our income that keeps the Infowar funded.”

The Mike Adams Natural News (NS) web site in being attacked for promoting alternative ways of staying healthy.

Blacklisted by Google, 140,000 pages were removed from its search index, including material on harmful vaccines, “pharma corruption, and fraudulent science,” NS saying:

Google’s delisting “instantly wip(ed) out a treasure trove of truly lifesaving knowledge about disease prevention, nutritional therapies, avoidance of toxins and the dangers of chemical medications (among other topics that also include opinion pieces, political analysis, health warnings and more).”

Google, Facebook and other online gatekeepers are part of a modern-day Orwellian ministry of truth, featuring mainstream fake news, filtering out alternative sources of the real thing.

Free societies depend on speech, press and academic freedoms. Without them all other rights are endangered.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 


Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

Geneva IV Peace Talks on Syria Begin

Geneva IV Peace Talks on Syria Begin

by Stephen Lendman

Three previous rounds failed because Washington undermined them. Will this time be different?

Pro-Western UN envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura said he’s “not expecting a breakthrough” - not a good sign as new peace talks begin after six years of devastating war, launched by Obama for regime change.

Nor was opposition delegation spokesman Salem al-Muslet encouraging, saying Syrian representatives aren’t “here to negotiate about a political transition, but they're here to buy time and commit more crimes…There's no trust” in Damascus.

According to opposition Syrian National Coalition head Anas al-Abdah “(w)e cannot address the profound security threats…while Assad remains in power.”

Opposition High Negotiations Committee representative Munzar Mahus wants “transition of power (regime change)” discussed “first and foremost,” calling what’s off the table except for open, free and fair elections “the main issue.”

UN Secretary-General Antonio Gutteres struck an added note of pessimism, saying “(p)eace is only possible when none of the parties to the conflict think they can win. I’m not sure we are yet there.”

Geneva talks will focus on political issues, de Mistura believes for two weeks - guided by Security Council Resolution 2254, calling for ceasefire and diplomatic conflict resolution. 

More rounds of Astana, Kazakhstan talks will deal with cessation of hostilities and related humanitarian issues. How Geneva discussions will proceed is unclear - whether face-to-face or both sides in separate rooms, UN officials shuttling between them.

One or more low-level US representatives are in Geneva as observers, another negative sign. De Mistura downplayed it, saying the “new administration requires some time before devising a new strategy.”

Does Trump intend combating ISIS (and by inference other terrorist groups) as promised or will US support continue? Pentagon warplanes continue bombing Syrian infrastructure, massacring civilians at the same time. 

Reports suggest unknown numbers of US combat troops may be deployed to northern Syria, besides hundreds of special forces already there - operating illegally.

Trump wants so-called safe zones established. Damascus opposes them. So does Russia without Assad’s permission. 

Resolving Syria’s conflict depends on Trump. His actions so far suggest support for continued war, not resolving it diplomatically.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 


Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

NYT Editors Promote Hazardous Vaccines

NYT Editors Promote Hazardous Vaccines

by Stephen Lendman

Global vaccines are big business - estimated to reach nearly $60 billion in annual revenue by 2020, because of widespread use and escalating prices, a boon for Big Phama’s bottom line performance at the expense of human health.

Vaccines contain toxic mercury and other heavy metals well above environmental safety levels, risking neurological damage.

Distinguished vaccine expert Viera Scheibner calls them biological weapons. They can damage internal organs and leave children or adults vulnerable to severe autoimmune diseases - including diabetes, arthritis, hepatitis, multiple sclerosis, osteoporosis, polio and numerous others.

Vaccines are dangerous and unreliable. Thousands of severe adverse reactions occur annually - including permanent disabilities, at times deaths. 

None of this gets reported. Instead, the myth of safe vaccines and importance of getting them persists.

Scheibner minced no words, saying “there is no evidence whatsoever of the ability of vaccines to prevent any diseases. To the contrary, there is a great wealth of evidence that they cause serious side effects,” harming human health.

Government promotion of vaccines is driven by politics, not science, not public welfare. Big Pharma urges their use because they’re so profitable. All countries are potential buyers.

Health and safety concerns are ignored for the sake of a profit bonanza increasing annually. In January, Trump appointed Robert F. Kennedy Jr as head of a new commission to study vaccine safety.

He’s not anti-vaccine. He wants them to be safe. He’s against thiomersal, a preservative, containing toxic mercury, Kennedy saying: 

“(T)he evidence of thimerosal’s neurotoxicity is so overwhelming and the lack of any safety data so complete that anyone who is willing to read science and who believes in the capacity for scientific methods to determine empirical truths must conclude that thimerosal causes serious brain damage.”

NYT editors ridiculed clear proof of vaccine hazards. They lied claiming “there is no evidence whatsoever that vaccines or a preservative (thirerosal) cause autism.”

They blasted what they called Kennedy’s “pseudoscience about immunizations.” They cited industry sponsored studies claiming vaccine safety. What else would they say?

They noted scores of so-called industry affiliated “health groups” touting them. They called clear concerns about vaccine hazards “antiscience.”

It’s fair to ask: Is Big Pharma subsidizing The Times to promote its toxic vaccines?

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 


Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

Russia Foiled America's Middle East Strategy

Russia Foiled America’s Middle East Strategy

by Stephen Lendman

After US-led NATO’s rape and destruction of Libya in 2011, Syria’s fall was supposed to be next.

Things didn’t turn out this way. Not so far at least. Russia’s intervention on September 30, 2015 turned the tide of battle in favor of government and allied forces.

On Tuesday, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said “(t)he deployment of our group (to) the Syrian Arab Republic helped solve the geopolitical task of breaking the chain of (US instigated) ‘color revolutions’ replicated in the Middle East and Africa.”

At the same time, he warned of the high likelihood that this regime change strategy will continue, explaining:

“Their implementation allows for a minimal cost of resources and the limited use of own weapons and armed forces to crush regional powers while achieving political and economic goals.”

“Relations between states are becoming increasingly strained. The struggle for resources and control of the routes of their transportation intensifies. Attempts by the West, led by the United States, to slow down the process of establishing a new and more just world order lead to growing chaos, anarchy and encounter rejection on the part of many states.”

Military force is the main tool Washington uses to advance its agenda, he stressed - state-sponsored terror, far worse than what’s carried out by various groups.

On Wednesday, Vladimir Putin promoted a number of generals involved in combating terrorism in Syria for a job well, the task continuing until these elements are defeated.

Defense Minister Shoigu praised the performance of Russia’s Syria mission, saying “(s)pecial operations forces have demonstrated their high efficiency.” 

“They have played a key role in liquidating the terrorists, destroying critically important enemy facilities and directing airstrikes.”

Russia tested 162 new weapons, including air and sea-based long-range cruise missiles. So far, its aircraft flew 1,760 sorties and conducted 5,682 airstrikes.

Shoigu said over 3,100 terrorists were killed, many more wounded. Its warplanes destroyed 40 training camps, 475 command posts and 45 ammunition plants.

Nearly 90% of Russian pilots gained combat experience during ongoing operations. Moscow’s intervention preserved Syria’s territorial integrity, gave government and allied forces a distinct advantage.

Still the struggle against ISIS, al-Nusra and other terrorist groups continues. Shoigu indicated Moscow awaits US proposals for cooperating with Russia in combating this scourge.

“(W)e are ready to talk,” he said. (W)e are waiting for clarification from Washington. We are ready to review any other proposals on” resolving conflict in Syria. 

On Thursday, another round of peace talks began in Geneva. Previous ones failed. It’s unclear if this time will fare better.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 


Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Trump: America's Latest Warrior President


Trump: America’s Latest Warrior President

by Stephen Lendman

Trump’s first month in office proved nothing he said campaigning holds water. All politicians lie, saying whatever it takes to get elected, doing whatever they please once in office.

In short order, America’s 45th president surrendered to Wall Street and war-profiteers, gorging at the public trough - at the expense of humanity at home and abroad.

The hoped for antidote to Hillary appears no different on policymaking - both subservient to monied interests at the expense of popular ones, both warriors, not peacemakers, both intolerant of challenges to America’s hegemonic aims, both hostile to all sovereign independent states, a deplorable situation, a dangerous one risking possible nuclear war.

Hillary’s defeat didn’t dodge a nuclear bullet. It gave Trump the trigger, perhaps as willing to squeeze it to prove his machismo. 

Both aspirants appear near two sides of the same coin, much alike on issues mattering most. It’s a tough judgment this soon into Trump’s tenure. Things sometimes change, though rarely, except for the worst, not better.

Trump calling NATO “obsolete” on the stump proved deceptive hyperbole. He fully supports the alliance, according to Vice President Pence, Defense Secretary Mattis, for sure hawkish National Security Advisor McMaster, and UK Prime Minister Theresa May.

Trump’s South China Sea saber-rattling risks confrontation with Beijing. Other administration figures speaking for him, demanding Russia end Kiev’s war on Donbass and relinquish its Crimea territory, is a prescription for no change in hostile US policy toward Moscow.

Threats made against Iran, North Korea and Venezuela risk more trouble, thinly veiled ones for regime change. All this going on in a few short weeks into Trump’s tenure is breathtaking and disturbing for a White House aspirant promising a different way.

There’s more. Additional US combat troops may be sent to Afghanistan to continue America’s longest war - instead of ending what never should have been waged in the first place.

Bipartisan members of Congress want a new Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) to wage phony war on terrorism - instead of demanding recision of the September 14, 2001 measure, three days post-9/11.

US Central Command head General Joseph Votel wants more US combat troops for Syria - not to fight terrorism, to support it.

The way to defeat ISIS and likeminded groups is by no longer providing them with weapons, funding, training and direction. They exist because of foreign backing. Without it, they’re a spent force once exhausting their supplies.

Trump directing “mad dog” Mattis to develop a preliminary plan on how to defeat ISIS appears more about designing a way to use these foot soldiers more effectively - continuing America’s war OF terror on humanity, not waging peace instead.

His campaign hoopla about draining the swamp was deceptive hyperbole. His agenda continues serving privileged interests at the expense of most others. 

US imperial madness remains unchanged - world peace and stability as threatened as ever.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

US Hostility Toward China

US Hostility Toward China

by Stephen Lendman

America is hostile toward all sovereign independent states, especially Russia, China and all resource rich ones.

On Wednesday, Reuters reported information provided by two unnamed US officials, saying Beijing nearly finished building “almost two dozen structures” on islands on man-made islands in its own waters.

Trump officials believe they may be for long-range surface-to-air missiles. Reuters failed to explain China threatens no one. International law affirms its right of self-defense on its islands or mainland territory.

Obama and Trump administration officials unjustifiably consider its island development illegal.

According to an unnamed US intelligence official, “(i)t is not like the Chinese to build anything in the South China Sea just to build it, and these structures resemble others that house SAM batteries, so the logical conclusion is that's what they are for.”

A Pentagon spokesman ignored US militarization on every continent, outrageously saying Washington is committed to “non-militarization in the South China Sea” - other than what it does to threaten or pressure other countries to be subservient to its wishes.

China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said his government is “carrying out normal construction activities on its own territory, including deploying necessary and appropriate territorial defense facilities, is a normal right under international law for sovereign nations.”

During his Senate confirmation hearing, Secretary of state Rex Tillerson provocatively told Senate Foreign Relations Committee members “(w)e are going to have to send China a clear signal that, first, the island-building stops and second, your access to those islands also is not going to be allowed.”

He unjustifiably accused China of “declaring control of territories …not rightfully” its own. He called Moscow “danger(ous),” saying “(o)ur allies are right to be alarmed at a resurgent Russia.”

Last month, Defense Secretary James (“mad dog”) Mattis said “I think (the world order) is under the biggest attack since world war two…and that is from Russia, from terrorist groups, and with what China is doing in the South China Sea.”

America consistently meddles in parts of the world not its own. In response to its latest provocative South China Sea incursion,  Beijing’s Foreign Ministry spokesman said “China always respects the freedom of navigation and overflight all countries enjoy under international law.”

“But we are consistently opposed to relevant countries threatening and damaging the sovereignty and security of littoral countries under the flag of freedom of navigation and overflight. We hope relevant countries can do more to safeguard regional peace and stability.”

Separately, Beijing warned Washington to stay out of its waters, saying it “has indisputable sovereignty over the South China Sea islands and their adjacent waters.”

Relations between both countries are strained. Trump earlier said he’ll “instruct the US trade representative to bring trade cases against China, both in this country and at the World Trade Organization.”

What he may intend militarily is of far greater concern.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 


Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

Warriors Running Defense, National and Homeland Security Assure No End of US Phony War on Terror


Warriors Running Defense, National and Homeland Security Assure No End of US Phony War on Terror

by Stephen Lendman

So-called Israeli/Palestinian peace talks and America’s global war on terror are the two greatest hoaxes in modern times. 

Washington’s scheme is all about advancing its hegemonic agenda, benefitting privileged interests at the expense of most others, along with replacing fundamental freedoms with police state rule - tyranny by any standard.

Trump so far seems bent on continuing deplorable policies of his predecessors, wanting a more muscular military, a stronger nuclear capability, increased use of combat troops in US war theaters, greater domestic police state toughness, mass deportations of unwanted people, and who knows what else.

Instead of draining the swamp, he’s filling it. Putting generals in charge of key defense and national security posts is cause for alarm. Warriors earned stars by being hawks, not doves, benefitting from endless wars of aggression, hostile toward peace and stability.

Unknown numbers of US special forces operate in northern Syria illegally, aiding anti-government terrorists. Reports indicate Trump may deploy conventional forces - escalating conflict, not defusing it.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif called sending US combat troops to Syria “a recipe” for fueling greater conflict, adding:

The same people who armed ISIS, armed (other) terrorist groups, were the same people who armed Saddam Hussein (in the 1980s), were the same people who created and armed al-Qaeda.”

“We should not continue to repeat history and then blame people who were on the right side.”

It’s unclear if Washington intends participating in Syria peace talks, a new round beginning in Geneva on Thursday. US commitment for peace is essential to have any hope for achieving it.

Last Sunday, UN special envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura questioned Washington’s role in resolving the conflict, asking “(w)here is the US in all this? I can’t tell you because I don’t know.”

US combat troops are on the front lines of conflict in Syria and Iraq - on the phony pretext of combating terrorism, elements America created and supports.

Saudi Arabia said it’s ready to send troops to Syria, according to its foreign minister Adel al-Jubeir, saying consultations were held with Washington regarding joint operations.

Other Gulf countries are “ready to allocate forces to fight on the US side,” he added - with no further elaboration.

These nations actively support ISIS and other terrorist groups. They’re part of the problem, not the solution. Their involvement would assure escalated war, not resolving it diplomatically.

Upcoming Geneva talks look shaky, Jubeir saying they’re to agree on establishing a “new Syria without Assad.”

It’s unclear where Trump stands on this other than wanting US combat troops involved and illegal safe zones established Damascus rejects. So does Russia without Assad’s authorization, not forthcoming.

At home, Trump’s executive orders on fight(ing) crime, gangs, and drugs; restor(ing) law and order; and support(ing) the dedicated men and women of law enforcement” sound ominously like increasing police state toughness.

US communities may become more battlegrounds than already. His mass deportations scheme leaves millions of immigrants vulnerable.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents have sweeping authority to round up, detain and deport aliens for being in America illegally, abusing public benefits, or committing offenses as minor as traffic violations.

Latinos are most vulnerable. So are Haitian asylum-seekers and immigrants, Institute for Democracy & Justice in Haiti director Brian Concannon explained. Hundreds are being deported weekly, their fundamental rights violated.

In office less than five weeks in office, Trump’s agenda looks different from his predecessors largely in style, not substance. Dirty business as usual appears safe in his hands.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

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