Christmas in America

Stephen Lendman

Good tidings and cheer at Christmas and throughout the year are for America's privileged alone. No joy to the world for most others. Washington is the grinch that stole Christmas. Bah Humbug defines its agenda.

America's criminal class is bipartisan. Responsible for growing human misery. Unprecedented in modern times. Privileged Americans never had it better. Ordinary ones face lump of coal harshness. Hard times keep getting harder. Reflected in institutionalized inequality. Growing poverty.

High unemployment. Multiples higher than phony Labor Department numbers. An epidemic of underemployment persists. Jobs paying poverty or sub-poverty wages. With few or no benefits. Households need two or three to get by.

Growing millions face "one impossible choice after another," according to Poverty USA. "(B)etween food and medicine(s), getting to work or paying the heating bill." Census data show around half the population living in poverty or bordering it. In the world's richest country. Affecting nearly 60% of children. America has a higher percent of working poor than any other industrialized country.

Human suffering is real. Neo-liberal harshness is official policy. Force-fed austerity reflects it. Social injustice is rife. Bipartisan complicity supports it. Ordinary people are increasingly on their own out of luck. America's social contact is targeted for elimination. Disappearing when most needed. Monied interests alone are served. Inequality is appalling. A race to the bottom persists. Class warfare defines it.

Most working Americans get by from paycheck to paycheck. One missed one away from possible homelessness, hunger and despair. Inflation adjusted median household income keeps dropping. Americans have less to spend on increasingly more expensive goods and services. People [need to] eat. Drive cars. Pay rent. Service mortgages. Have medical expenses. Heat and/or air-condition residences. Have children in college. Pay transportation costs.


The CIA: Crime Without Punishment

Stephen Lendman

Longstanding US policy reflects business as usual. Ruthless and then some. With bipartisan support. Democrats and Republicans largely in lockstep. Rhetoric alone separating them. Supporting permanent wars of aggression. State terror at home and abroad. Abrogation of fundamental democratic principles. Systematic breaches of international, constitutional and US statute laws. Supporting wealth, power and privilege exclusively. Letting popular needs go begging. Burying hard truths. Substituting Big Lies. Including about torture remaining official US policy. At home and abroad. In US prisons. Federal, state and local ones. Global black sites. In dozens of countries. Authorized by Bush and Obama.

Guantanamo the tip of the iceberg. Unknown thousands brutalized worldwide. Some murdered. Others traumatized into zombies. Coverup and denial buries the worst of what remains ongoing. Sadism writ large.

The Senate Intelligence Committee torture report excluded what most needs explaining. Stopped short of demanding accountability. Punishing wrongdoers to the full extent of the law. Including CIA, Pentagon and administration officials. Congressional members supporting wrong over right. Federal courts approving indefinite detentions and torture. Official Obama administration policy.


Washington Covertly Arming Fascist Ukraine

Stephen Lendman

Repeated administration/Pentagon Big Lies claim otherwise. Saying only non-lethal aid supplied. Including communications equipment. Body armor. Night vision goggles. Humvees. Radar. Counter-mortar detection units. Binoculars. Small boats. Various other gear.

Kiev is infested with CIA, FBI, US special forces and various other so-called Washington advisors. Directly involved in aiding, abetting and directing Donbass fighting.

Pentagon spokesman Admiral John Kirby lied saying: "Nothing has changed about the non-lethal assistance that we continue to flow to Ukrainian armed forces and security forces." Washington "continue(s) to focus on non-lethal assistance…" - False! More on this below.


Systemic Injustice in America

Stephen Lendman


Killer Darren Wilson attends a city council meeting in Ferguson...

Monday's grand jury exoneration of Ferguson, MO police officer Darren Wilson didn't surprise. Injustice triumphed.

A previous article called justice in America a four-letter word. Killer cops mock it. Nearly always with impunity. A badge lets them brutalize and kill. Blacks, Latinos, ethnic minorities and Muslims suffer most. They're targets of choice.

Police violence occurs multiple times daily across America. In big cities. Small ones. Urban areas. Rural ones. Militarized police make their own rules. Operating extrajudicially. Killing with impunity.

On August 9, officer Darren Wilson murdered 18-year-old Michael Brown. In cold blood. Without probable cause. Brown was unarmed. Posed no threat. Had no criminal record. An independent autopsy showed he was shot six times.

Ferguson police lied. Claiming Brown's shooting followed an altercation he initiated. Saying he tried to grab officer Wilson's gun. He wasn't close enough to do it. No powder burns on his hands, arms or body proved it. Forensic evidence showed Brown was either walking away from officer Wilson or had his hands raised in a "don't shoot" position. Eyewitnesses confirmed the same thing.

At the time, ACLU staff attorney Nusrat Choudhury said killing Brown raised disturbing questions about how often police brutalize unarmed black and Latino men in America. "(F)ar too often," she stressed. Rarely ever are cops held accountable. More on this below.

Obama failed to express outrage. Ignored systemic police violence and brutality in America. Nearly always with impunity. Saying "we are a nation built on the rule of law. (W)e need to accept that this decision was the grand jury’s to make." "There are Americans who agree with it, and there are Americans who are deeply disappointed…"


MH17 Coverup

Stephen Lendman


Washington’s Ukrainian Stooges Shot Down The Malaysian
Airliner
: The holes in the wreckage of Malaysia Airlines flight
MH17 are believed to have come from 30mm cannon fire.

On July 17, Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 crashed near Donetsk. En route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. Killing all 283 passengers. Plus 15 crew members. At the time, Washington blamed Donbass self-defense forces. Claiming a Russian-supplied Buk surface-to-air missile fired from territory they controlled. Moscow blamed Ukraine. The Dutch Safety Board launched an investigation. Issuing a preliminary September 9 report. A final one to come later.

Initially saying MH17 "broke up in the air probably as the result of structural damage caused by a large number of high-energy objects that penetrated the aircraft from outside." Voice and flight data recorders as well as air traffic control data suggest MH17 operated normally until 13:20:03 GMT. No emergency call was made. Ukrainian air traffic control communications between 13:20 and 13:22:02 GMT were unanswered.

Ukraine's Security Service (SBU) lied. Claiming Donbass "terrorists" targeted a Russian Aeroflot airliner. Downed MH17 by mistake. Media scoundrel reporting ended. Having accused Russia of direct involvement. Big Lies only go so far. Not daring to blame Moscow for downing its own aircraft. Killing hundreds of passengers. Claiming a botched false flag. Blaming Ukraine for what happened.

A missile didn't down MH17. No credible evidence suggests it. Shrapnel marks indicate a 30 millimeter caliber projectile. Fired at close range. From a military aircraft. Eyewitnesses reported a Ukrainian one flying close to MH17 when downed.

The New York Times and other Western media falsely blamed Russia and Donbass self-defense forces. Kiev in collusion with Washington bore full responsibility. The obvious went unreported.


US-Led NATO Risks Global War

Stephen Lendman

Washington operates extrajudicially. Threatening world peace. The world's global outlaw. Russia its moral leader. Vilified for doing the right thing. For defying America's hegemonic ambitions. Forthrightly. Courageously. Honorably. Responsibly. Supporting nation-state sovereign independence inviolability. Holding firm against America's rage to dominate. Especially over Russia. Never, according to Vladimir Putin. Not now. Earlier. Or ever. For sure not with him in charge.

On Tuesday, he spoke at the all-Russia People's Front. Responding to film director Yuri Kara. Asking if America wants to humiliate Russia.

"(N)ot so," said Putin. "The United States is not trying to humiliate us. It wants to subdue us, to settle its own problems at our expense." "To make us succumb to its influence. No one has ever managed to achieve this aim in relations with Russia or ever will," he stressed.

At the same time, Washington dominates other states. Bullying and pressuring them to go along. At the expense of their own self-interest.

"Try(ing) to defend (what benefits America). (F)or obscure reasons and with very hazy prospects." "I sometimes feel utter confusion,"Putin said. Protection of the so-called pan-European, Western influence to the detriment of one’s own national interests as a rule is fraught with several problems."

Universally defined common interests don't exist, Putin believes. Geopolitical ones vary from country to country.


Institutionalized Israeli State Terror

Stephen Lendman

Just when you think things can't get worse, they do. Israel finds new ways to surprise. Couched in Big Lies. A daily litany burying hard truths. Many too outrageous too ignore. Wrongdoing writ large. Terrorism is what they do, not us.

On November 11, the Silwan, East Jerusalem-based Wadi Hilweh Information Center (WHIC) reported an IDF arrest warrant for two-year-old Hamza. Saying he's wanted for questioning. Confirming it when showing up to detain him. Raiding the family home. An Israeli intelligence officer demanding to see the boy. Told he lived next door. Leaving without comment. According to WHIC, "Israeli forces seized three computers from the Zidani family's home after arresting their 16-year-old son Mohammed."

Earlier, soldiers kidnapped four Silwan Palestinians. After ransacking their home. On Monday, Israeli security forces attacked Deir Abu Mashaal female Palestinian students. Dozens suffered temporary asphyxiation. Needing medical treatment for injuries sustained. West Bank communities and East Jerusalem remain on the boil.

Israeli live fire wounded two Nablus teenagers. Military forces invaded. Clashes with local youths followed. Ali Najeh Hanani and Moayyad Khatatba required hospitalization. Many residents suffered from tear gas inhalation.

On Monday, Israeli police kidnapped five dozen Palestinians. Including 10 children. In Kafr an Tur'an. During overnight clashes. For protesting Israeli ruthlessness. Unjustly accused of "causing violence." Peaceful protests called rioting. Numerous other clashes occurred in other West Bank cities, towns and villages.


NATO Wants More Troops to Counter Nonexistent Russian Threat

Stephen Lendman

Russia prioritizes cooperative relations with all countries. Washington provocatively seeks confrontations, threatening world peace.

New NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg mimics his predecessor. A convenient US stooge. A CIA asset. Beholden to America's imperial interests. Mindless of rule of law principles.

Repeating one Big Lie after another. Wrongfully claiming Donbass democratic elections were unlawful. Shamelessly accusing Russia of threatening Ukraine's border. Groundlessly saying it "continues to support, train and equip" Donbass self-defense forces. Ludicrously "call(ing) on Russia to make genuine efforts toward a peaceful solution."

No country anywhere did more for it responsibly since conflict erupted in Ukraine. None exerted more genuine efforts tirelessly.

Polar opposite Washington's rage for war. Along with its rogue NATO partners. What Stoltenberg didn't explain. Washington's man at NATO. A convenient US stooge. Chosen for that reason. For sure not for world peace.


Irresponsibly Targeting Russia

Stephen Lendman

Russia is geopolitical enemy No. 1. Not for wrongdoing. Or posing an existential threat. Or acting irresponsibly in any way. For defending its sovereign independence responsibly. Lawfully. Wanting other nations respecting it. Believing rule of law principles are inviolable. For Vladimir Putin, Sergey Lavrov and other officials telling it like it is. Expressing important views candidly, forthrightly and unambiguously.

Polar opposite duplicitous Western politicians. Especially Obama. A caricature of a leader. Arguably America's worst ever. A serial liar. A moral coward. A war criminal multiple times over. A shameless head of state. A deplorable one. A dangerous one. A lawless one. A ruthless one. Neo-liberal, reactionary, belligerent, pro-war, pro-monied interests, anti-democratic, anti-progressive, anti-populist, anti-labor and anti-social justice. A world-class thug. A threat to global peace at the most perilous time in world history.

Russia's Deputy Defense Minister Dmitry Rogozin commented. He explained Moscow's response to real existential threats. It's proud independence. Able to defend its interests effectively. Not about to roll over for Washington or other rogue Western partners. More on his remarks below.

Welcome to Cold War 2.0. The first one never ended. Since Soviet Russia's 1991 dissolution, Western policy remained hard-wired in place. Russia bashing persists. Intensely. Raging daily. Exceeding the worst of Soviet era levels. Daily vilifying a maliciously reinvented Evil Empire. It's back to the future. Unsurprisingly. Neocons infest Washington. Other Western capitals. Business as usual continues. At stake is world peace.


Lavrov on Ukraine

Stephen Lendman

Ukraine's so-called government is a US-installed fascist dictatorship. It has no legitimacy whatever. Tyranny masquerades as democracy. None exists. Ordinary people have no say. Like in America. Monied interests run things in both countries. One fascist regime supports another. Sunday's snap parliamentary elections were farcical. Expect worse than ever business as usual going forward.

Sergey Lavrov is a world class diplomat. He combines candor and statesmanship with tactfulness, discretion, thoughtfulness and prudence. His comments warrant highlighting. He addressed post-electoral Ukraine. He did so for Moscow's Life News television and Izvestia. He believes Russia will recognize Ukraine's election results. Even though they fell short of international standards nationwide.

It's "critically important for Ukraine to obtain, at long last, a leadership that will not engage in petty infighting and drag the country from east to west and back again, but one that will address real Ukrainian problems, Lavrov said.

"Ukraine needs a government that will think how the nation should regain unity. It needs a government to guarantee an equal status to all Ukrainian citizens irrespective of the language they speak and political convictions they have." "No one should be victimised on political and other grounds, as has been the case until recently."


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