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Obamacare: A Failed Experiment

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Sun, 28/08/2016 - 22:37
Obamacare: A Failed Experiment
by Stephen Lendman
Obamacare was designed as a healthcare rationing scheme to benefit drug companies, large hospital chains and insurers - instead of Medicare for all, everyone in, no one left out, everybody treated equally on a level playing field.
Healthcare in America comes at double or more the expense compared to other Western countries, millions excluded from coverage, many millions more with too little because of the high cost, making care they need unaffordable.
Young healthy Americans aren’t enrolling in state insurance exchanges in enough numbers to keep many of them viable. Signups are less than half of forecasted numbers. For everyone joining, two others aren’t.
Health insurance giant Aetna cancelled Obamacare 2017 expansion plans. Expected to lose $300 million in Affordable Care Act coverage this year, it may stop providing coverage altogether.
It currently runs Obamacare plans in 15 states, planned to join another five exchanges. According to its CEO Mark Bertolini, it’s reevaluating its “exchange footprint, as the poor performance of these products warrants such an analysis.”
Other providers are hemorrhaging cash because of rising costs, low exchange enrollments (especially among valued young healthy adults), and failing Obamacare co-ops.
According to Health Policy and Strategy Associates president Robert Laszewski, politicians have “about a year to fix” Obamacare’s problems. 
“The math is simple. These plans can’t continue the way it’s going. And that undermines the coverage that all of these people have gotten.”
The fewer the numbers of enrollees, the worse the coverage for others in exchanges as providers cut costs and offer less. 
Aetna’s losses are happening nationwide. “State after state, we are seeing the same scenario - losses (increasing), deteriorating conditions and carriers not being able to continue in the long run,” Laszewski explained .
Choice is disappearing. In many parts of the country, Obamacare enrollees and new customers have one provider, not several among which to choose what’s best for them at the lowest cost.
Last year, only 2% of eligible customers had only one choice. According to a McKinsey Center for US Health System Reform, 17% will have a single choice next year.
Things are deteriorating, not improving. Many, perhaps most, Obamacare plans resemble Medicaid with a high deductible and large co-pays, a deplorable situation.
With steadily rising costs, healthcare in America, the most fundamental human right along with food, shelter and clothing, is unaffordable for millions, getting too little coverage or none at all - especially for expensive treatments, hospitalizations, and drugs increasing in price exponentially.
Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP) promotes the only equitable system - state-sponsored single-payer Medicare for all, “letting the delivery of care remain largely in private hands,” with individuals able to choose their own providers.
Coverage should include “all medically necessary services, including doctor, hospital, preventive, long-term care, mental health, reproductive health care, dental, vision, prescription drug and medical supply costs,” PNHP explains.
Premiums, co-pays and deductibles would end. So would financial barriers to proper care. Patients “would regain free choice of doctor(s) and hospital(s). Doctors would regain autonomy over patient care.”
Obamacare was designed for profit-making, not putting patient needs first. Replacing it with universal coverage is vitally needed - excluding middlemen insurers increasing costs while providing no care.
A valued doctor, activist friend explained to me “what medicine should be all about - help(ing) a patient live a good and useful life.”
Rationing care by making it unaffordable for millions, along with letting insurers make healthcare decisions, is no way to do it.
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.

Who Are the Real Terrorists in Syria?

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Sun, 28/08/2016 - 22:16
Who Are the Real Terrorists in Syria?
by Stephen Lendman
State-sponsored and scoundrel media propaganda on Syria’s conflict is some of the worst in memory.
Most Americans and others in Western countries are sublimely ignorant about what’s going on, fed misinformation and Big Lies instead of hard truths about Obama’s dirty war - state terror against millions of defenseless Syrians, victims of imperial ruthlessness.
The real terrorists in Syria are foreign nation-states, America most of all - responsible for launching preemptive naked aggression, disguised to look like a revolutionary uprising using Islamist jihadist fighters, largely imported from scores of countries, not homegrown.
Other terrorists waging war on Syrian sovereign independence include Britain, France, Turkey, other NATO countries, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, other Gulf States, Israel, Jordan and Australia - America in the lead, others playing a supporting role.
On the phony pretext of combating ISIS, they’re waging war on the Syrian Arab Republic - raping it, massacring its people, committing gruesome atrocities, using terrorist groups (largely called moderates) to their dirty work - supplemented by US-led “coalition” bombing of government sites and infrastructure targets.
Syria’s war isn’t civil. It’s US-led naked aggression. When Obama addressed the nation on September 10, 2014, he lied, saying he ordered US warplanes to begin bombing Syrian targets to “destroy the terrorist group known as ISIL,” claiming it’s to keep America “safer.”
“(W)e continue to face a terrorist threat,” he blustered. He failed to say it’s headquartered in Washington under his leadership - the nation’s terrorist-in-chief.
Nor did he explain that ISIS and virtually all other terrorist groups operating in Syria, elsewhere in the region and beyond are US creations, that no moderates exist, that all heavily armed anti-government forces are US-sponsored death squads, that Washington wants Syria colonized, its sovereign independence replaced by pro-Western puppet governance.
Most Americans are so uninformed they believe ISIS and other terrorist groups threaten them. They’re more likely to be struck by lightning.
Death by auto accident, preventable diseases, violence at home by one family member against another, alcoholism or legal drug overdoses are infinitely higher.
Death or injury by homegrown or imported terrorism is virtually zero. Incidents in Boston, Sandy Hook, San Bernardino, Orlando and elsewhere were false flags, Americans deceived to believe otherwise.
State-sponsored terrorism is the worst kind. High-profile groups like ISIS and likeminded ones serve as imperial foot soldiers, waging war against independent nation-states, multi-world polarity, fundamental freedoms and democracy the way it should be.
America is the world’s leading terrorist, its rogue agenda threatening humanity’s survival - a scourge vital to defeat. World peace hangs in the balance.
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.

Media Scoundrels for Hillary

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Sun, 28/08/2016 - 22:02
Media Scoundrels for Hillary
by Stephen Lendman
Never before in US history was media coverage so outrageously biased for one presidential candidate over the other. It’s so bad, it’s surreal, character assassination posing as journalism. 
Veteran pollster Pat Caddell calls it a “terrifying crisis in democracy” - promoting Hillary while relentlessly bashing Trump, inventing reasons to smear him.
He was right earlier saying he’s running more “against the crooked media” than “against crooked Hillary Clinton.”
They’re protecting her, suppressing her deplorable record, her racketeering, her fealty to Wall Street, war-profiteers, Big Pharma and Monsanto, her threat to world peace.
In contrast, accusations against Trump are outrageous. Favoring better relations with Russia got former acting CIA director Michael Morell to call him an “unwitting (Putin) agent.” 
Other propaganda suggests he’s a Manchurian candidate for Putin. He’s compared to Hitler. A late July Washington Post editorial called him “a unique threat to American democracy.”
In its latest edition, WaPo compared what it called Hillary’s careful preparation for upcoming presidential debates to Trump’s “WrestleMania.”
So-called “debates,” like US elections, are farcical when held - independent candidates excluded, the format each time pre-scripted, letting Republican and Democrat presidential aspirants rant instead of holding their feet to the fire with important questions on major issues and demanding answers, not evasions.
New York Times editors bash Trump relentlessly, one of many examples from an earlier editorial saying “Republicans seem to be reeling, unable or unwilling to comprehend that a shady, bombastic liar is hardening the image of their party as a symbol of intolerance and division.”
It’s latest edition accused him of being biased against Blacks while ignoring Hillary once saying “(a)ll Black youths are super-predators.”
He’s against jobs destroying TPP. Hillary earlier called it “the gold standard in trade agreements.” Neither candidate is the type leader Americans deserve, both deplorable figures.
Hillary is by far the worst, the most ruthlessly dangerous presidential aspirant in US history.
Her administration likely means a policy agenda across the board, surpassing the high crimes of previous ones - especially her rage for endless wars on humanity with no reluctance to use nuclear weapons based on her earlier comments.
Supporting her risks the worst of all possible world’s to come - maybe its end in a mushroom-shaped cloud.
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.

The Kerry/Lavrov Show's Record of Futility

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Sun, 28/08/2016 - 02:31
The Kerry/Lavrov Show’s Record of Futility
by Stephen Lendman
Both ministers met numerous times since Kerry took over at State from Hillary on February 1, 2013.
Last March, Lavrov said both men met 18 times in the past year alone, more discussions held since then, including Friday in Geneva, focusing largely on Syria.
Like all previous meetings, nothing advanced things closer to conflict resolution. It’s perhaps more distant since Turkey invaded northern Syria, backed by US warplanes, its special forces and hundreds of terrorist fighters, intending indefinite occupation of territory seized, perhaps annexation to follow with barely a public whimper from Moscow.
Commenting after Friday’s meeting, Kerry saying talks were “productive and constructive” indicated nothing was achieved toward resolving Obama’s war - in its sixth year with no prospect for peace.
Claiming the need “to get the job done, to provide for a real ceasefire, and to meet the needs of the Syrian people” ignores US naked aggression against a sovereign independent state threatening no one.
Saying warring parties “stand on the brink (of) going back to a state of all-out war” fails to acknowledge America’s responsibility for launching and continuing it brutally, deploring peaceful conflict resolution.
Agreed on cessation of hostilities last February failed to end them. Days of futile peace talks reflected tragedy and travesty, achieving nothing. 
Millions of Syrians fear death, mutilating injuries, or other ill effects from war, related violence, untreated diseases or starvation. The fate of entire nation hangs in the balance - victims of US barbarism.
Endless US/Russian diplomatic talks reflect exercises in futility. Syria burns while both sides fiddle.
Kerry lied saying Friday “we achieved clarity on the path forward. We have completed the vast majority of (what he calls) technical discussions…primarily focused on making this cessation real and improving the level of humanitarian assistance, and thereby getting the parties to the table so we can have a serious negotiation about how to end this war.”
Fact: Ending it is simple - requiring America and its rogue allies cease military and other support for all terrorists elements waging war on sovereign Syrian independence - acknowledging no moderate rebels exist. Resolution is unattainable any other way.
Fact: Endless war continues because Washington rejects peace and stability. Conflict serves its interests, the cost in human lives and misery of no consequence.
Kerry’s comments Friday followed by Lavrov saying discussions were a step in the right direction bely dire reality on the ground. Raging conflict continues with nothing achieved toward advancing things toward resolution.
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.

Failure in Geneva to Resolve Obama's War on Syria

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Sat, 27/08/2016 - 23:05
Failure in Geneva to Resolve Obama’s War on Syria
by Stephen Lendman
When diplomats says talks were constructive they mean failure to achieve what’s most important.
Countless hours of US/Russia face-to-face and telephonic talks on Syria’s conflict preceded Friday’s Kerry/Lavrov session in Geneva - yet irreconcilable differences remain between both sides.
Endless war rages because Washington wants it continued - dangerously escalated by Turkey’s lawless invasion of northern Syria, aided by US warplanes and operatives on the ground.
Obama wants Syria transformed into another US colony, its sovereign independence destroyed, its leadership replaced with servile puppets, its resources looted, its people exploited. Friday Geneva talks changed nothing.
No progress was achieved toward resolving conflict and restoring peace to a war-torn country - raped by US imperial viciousness.
When Lavrov says he and Kerry “reduce(d) mutual levels of misunderstanding (and) the level of mutual mistrust between” Washington and Moscow, it begs the question of how many previous times similar comments were made without achieving anything toward conflict resolution. 
US imperial aims are hard-wired, immune to diplomatic efforts to change things. Bipartisan neocon hawks exert enormous influence  - believing dominion over planet earth, its resources and populations is America’s divine right, achievable through brute force.
The proof is in the pudding, as the saying goes. Endless US direct or proxy wars continue raging in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Donbass, Ukraine, Yemen, Somalia and partnered with Israel’s slow-motion genocide against Palestine.
US special forces operate covertly and overtly worldwide, creating instability and chaos. America’s empire of bases are launching pads for wars. 
Has WW III begun with no one noticing? Are Russia, China and Iran the next targets? Will America attack these countries preemptively with nuclear weapons - separately or together?
Syria, if lost, appears prelude to likely greater war on humanity, risking potential catastrophic consequences. Lavrov’s best efforts in Geneva and earlier changed nothing.
Diplomacy doesn’t work with Washington. The only language it understands is force. Conflict in Syria will be resolved on the battlefield - not in luxury hotels in Geneva or anywhere else.
Whatever America agrees on diplomatically it breaches to serve its interests. So why does Russia persist in pursuing what can’t be achieved with a duplicitous negotiating partner time and again - Friday the latest exercise in futility?
Sergey Lavrov is a world-class diplomat. Yet his consummate skills and good intentions are no match against the real evil empire - pretending diplomatic sincerity while plotting its next dark move.
All heavily armed anti-government forces in Syria are US-backed terrorists - cold-blooded killers imported from scores of countries. Yet Lavrov persists in distinguishing between good and bad elements - calling the former ones “healthy opposition forces.”
Why when he knows none exist. Pretending otherwise serves US interests for endless war. It makes regime change more possible. It betrays the interests of millions of long-suffering Syrians.
His reference to “our American partners” sounds more like surrender than advancing the cause of peace. Defeating the scourge of US imperialism should be Russia’s top priority. 
Currying favor with Washington weakens its position, leaving its sovereign independence up for grabs.
No one with any sense wants war between the world’s dominant nuclear powers. Yet the more Russia yields to US demands, the greater the chance for the unthinkable - the more likely pure evil will triumph.
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 Reinvents Obama's War on Syria

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Sat, 27/08/2016 - 22:07
NYT Reinvents Obama’s War on Syria
by Stephen Lendman
Disgracefully calling Obama’s naked aggression against a nonbelligerent nation civil war denigrates millions of long-suffering Syrians - victims of US imperial viciousness.
Headlining Syria’s Paradox: Why the War Only Ever Seems to Get Worse,” The Times reinvented one of history’s greatest crimes - besides numerous others on America’s despicable rap sheet. More on its article below.
Tim Anderson’s important book, titled “The Dirty War on Syria: Washington, Regime Change and Resistance” is the definitive account of the conflict - must reading to understand it. 
Separately, he explained Obama’s dirty war in basic terms as follows:
“Washington and its allies try another ‘regime change’ in Syria. A fake ‘revolution’ uses Islamic gangs, during an ‘Arab Spring.’ The Western media constantly lie about this covert, dirty war.”
“A political reform movement is driven off the streets by Islamic violence. (The misnamed pro-Western) ‘Free Syrian Army’ slaughters minorities and government workers.”
“Saudi and Qatari backed Islamists carry out a series of massacres, falsely blaming them on the Syrian Army and President Assad.”
“Most of Syria’s opposition backs the state and army against terrorism. Washington calls a puppet exile group ‘the Syrian opposition.’ “
“Washington (using Saudis, Qatar, Turkey and Israel) backs all the armed Islamist groups, pretending some are ‘moderate rebels.’ “
“A resistance coalition rallies to Syria. Iran, Hezbollah, Iraq and Russia join the Syrian Army in destroying western backed terrorist groups.”
Anderson’s book explains all of the above and more in detail, why it’s essential reading to understand what’s going on - polar opposite media propaganda, notably from The New York Times, Washington’s leading imperial press agent.
I’ve written scores of articles on the conflict since Obama launched it in March 2011, believing things would go like against Libya - its country raped, its leadership deposed in months.
US naked aggression against sovereign Syrian independence rages in its sixth year with no prospect for resolving things in sight.
Diplomats talk endlessly, accomplishing nothing to end war while scores, maybe hundreds more Syrians die daily, numerous others injured, millions displaced, an entire population traumatized - victims of US state terror.
A separate article today explained failure in Geneva - Sergey Lavrov and John Kerry spending hours on Friday achieving nothing toward resolving years of US naked aggression.
It’ll either be won on the battlefield or not at all. Negotiating with rogue state America wastes time, an exercise in futility every time tried.
New York Times coverage of the Syrian conflict includes some of worst rubbish in memory - shameless disinformation and Big Lies, vital truths suppressed.
Instead of explaining why war continues endlessly, its intensity increasing, The Times substituted a reinvented version of what’s ongoing, suppressing hard truths.
Saying “(i)t frustrates any attempt at resolution” fails to discuss how war began, who’s responsible, and how ending it depends on America and its rogue allies ceasing support for terrorists.
Without foreign supplied arms, munitions, funding, training, direction and other material support, terrorist groups in Syria and elsewhere wouldn’t exist.
America created them for use as imperial foot soldiers - its proxy army doing its killing and dying for it, a seemingly endless supply of Islamist extremists willing to wage war for whatever benefits they hope to achieve - for many an early grave.
The Times: “The fact that the underlying battle is multiparty rather than two-sided…works against resolution.”
Fact: War in Syria pits US imperialism against the nation’s sovereign independence. No moderate rebels exist. All anti-government forces are US created and supported terrorists.
Fact: Washington wants Assad ousted, Syria transformed into another US vassal state, isolating Iran, next in line for regime change.
Times reports explain none of the above, instead maintain the fiction of various anti-government elements vying for control. They’re pawns on America’s chessboard, used to achieve imperial aims.
The Times: “Pro-government forces have conducted by far the most attacks against civilians” - falsely accusing Syria’s military, Russia, Iran and Hezbollah, a disgraceful perversion of truth.
US-supported terrorists along with US-led so-called “coalition” terror-bombing bear full responsibility for massacring hundreds of thousands of Syrians, mostly defenseless civilians.
Syria’s only hope for restoring peace and stability is continued commitment from Russia, Iran, Hezbollah and maybe China to defeat the scourge of US imperialism. 
Otherwise endless war is likely, perhaps millions of Syrians perishing before it ends - besides other conflict theaters and new ones ahead killing millions more.
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.

Turkey Announces Indefinite Occupation of Northern Syria

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Sat, 27/08/2016 - 21:31
Turkey Announces Indefinite Occupation of Northern Syria
by Stephen Lendman
Indefinite means permanent unless redefined. After invading northern Syria on Wednesday, backed by US warplanes and hundreds of terrorist fighters, along with CIA and special forces operatives on the ground, Ankara expanded its aggression with more troops and heavy weapons - perhaps still more to come.
On Friday, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim lied, saying “(w)e are protecting our country’s territorial integrity and Syria’s unity.”
“Our army will continue the operation until terrorists are completely driven out of this region.” Turkish troops “are providing logistics support to the Free Syrian Army forces” - terrorists responsible for massacring Syrian civilians and other atrocities.
Creating what Ankara calls a “safe zone” for refugees is code language attempted annexation of Syrian territory - a flagrantly illegal act, supported and encouraged by Washington, Russia so far doing nothing to intervene responsibly.
UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric called the combined Turkish/US action “an incursion,” instead of blasting it as naked aggression in flagrant violation of UN Charter principles.
He merely added what happened wasn’t coordinated with the UN. “(W)e are not involved in the coordination of military activities by one party or another,” he said.
The UN is notoriously pro-Western, including backing its US-led wars of aggression, raging in Syria and other theaters.
On Friday, Tass reported a scheduled meeting between Russia’s Chief of General Staff Valery Gerasimov and his Turkish counterpart Hulusi Akar was postponed - without further elaboration.
Moscow is clearly concerned about the latest developments - so far without taking countermeasures.
Inaction is acquiescence, Washington to take full advantage, likely using its joint aggression with Turkey to expand conflict further - like always, blaming victims for its high crimes.
Things in Syria look heading toward greater war than already - US and Russian diplomats fiddling while an entire country burns.
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.

More on Hillary's Pay-to-Play Scandal

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Sat, 27/08/2016 - 20:55
More on Hillary’s Pay-to-Play Scandal
by Stephen Lendman
As secretary of state from January 2009 - February 2013, Hillary focused mainly on waging war and selling influence, she and husband Bill becoming super-rich by corrupt pay-to-play practices.
On August 24, AP News provided more information on how she operates, saying “(m)ore than half the people outside the government who met with (her) while she was secretary of state gave money - either personally or through companies or groups - to the Clinton Foundation.”
AP called her stewardship at State showed “possible ethics challenges if elected president,” saying:
“At least 85 of 154 people from private interests who met or had phone conversations scheduled with Clinton while she led the State Department donated to her family charity or pledged commitments to its international programs, according to a review of State Department calendars released so far to The Associated Press.” 
“Combined, the 85 donors contributed as much as $156 million. At least 40 donated more than $100,000 each, and 20 gave more than $1 million.”
It shows the price of direct contact with Hillary depends on large donations to the Clinton Foundation - classic pay-to-play corruption, criminality much more serious than ethical lapses.
Seven months after a federal judge ordered the State Department to release names of individuals Hillary met with daily throughout her tenure as agency head, only around half of the information was made public.  Likely what’s most important remains concealed.
Department lawyers indicated full release won’t be completed until yearend, perhaps further delayed until post-inauguration in January or not at all if Hillary becomes president and prevents it. 
Information from AP’s findings also shows “Clinton met with representatives of at least 16 foreign governments that donated as much as $170 to the Clinton (Foundation)” besides numerous private individual contributions.
Trump is right, days earlier calling her “totally unfit to hold public office,” adding “(i)t is impossible to figure out where the Clinton Foundation ends and the State Department begins. It is now abundantly clear that the Clintons set up a business to profit from public office.”
According to information AP obtained, “(s)ome of Clinton’s most influential visitors donated millions to the Clinton Foundation and to her and her husband’s political coffers.”
AP sought access to her calendar and schedule three years ago. Department obstruction blocked it. The news agency had to sue in federal court for what should be public information, available on demand - especially when legal or ethical issues are involved.
Instead, perhaps some of Hillary’s darkest dealings remain secret - evidence of how she’ll operate if elevated to the White House in January.
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.

European Copyright Leak Exposes Plans to Force the Internet to Subsidize Publishers

eff.org - Sat, 27/08/2016 - 05:56

A just-leaked draft impact assessment on the modernization of European copyright rules could spell the end for many online services in Europe as we know them. The document's recommendations foreshadow new a EU Directive on copyright to be introduced later this year, that will ultimately bind each of the European Union's 28 member states. If these recommendations by the European Commission are put in place, Europe's Internet will never be the same, and these impacts are likely to reverberate around the world.

The 182-page document identifies three general objectives—ensuring wider access to content, adapting copyright exceptions to the digital and cross-border environment, and achieving a well-functioning marketplace for copyright. In this initial article we examine the recommendations that fall under the third of these three objectives, which are amongst the most alarming proposals, including new obligations on Internet platforms, and new copyright-like powers for news publishers.

More specifically, this article will look at two of the proposals for what the Commission calls “upstream” problems, or difficulties faced by copyright owners in extracting value from the use of content online. We'll deal with other parts of the document in later posts.

“Sharing of Value” Proposal Exposes Rightsholder Greed

The assumption that copyright owners should be entitled to share in any value created by online platforms is never really examined by the Commission. The theory is that because online platforms are doing rather well in the digital environment, and because traditional publishing industries are doing less well, this gives the publishers some kind of claim to share in the profits of the platforms. It's a questionable starting point, and as we'll see, the recommendations that flow from it are ill-considered and harmful.

The first of the two problems that copyright owners supposedly face in extracting such value is that there is a large amount of user-generated content uploaded by users to sharing platforms, and that European law does not place an obligation on platforms to proactively police this content for possible copyright infringement, but instead relies on the latter to identify that the material has been uploaded without authorization and to request its removal. That existing law strikes a reasonable balance, similar to Section 512 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act in the U.S.

Major entertainment companies characterize this as a problem because it means that copyright owners have less ability to ask online platforms to pay licensing fees for their content. In the case of user-generated content platforms (think YouTube and Soundcloud), the platform can simply offer to remove a copyright-owner's content rather than paying for it—or, in practice, to voluntarily offer a compromise such as YouTube's Content ID that automatically scans uploaded content and shares ad revenues for content identified as the copyright owner's.

As for platforms that offer access to their own library of content (think Netflix and Spotify), rightsholders contend that they may be willing to pay less in order to remain competitive with the user-generated content platforms. In either case, major copyright holders contend that platforms should be paying them more for the content that the platforms make available online.

The European Commission's proposed solution, however, is worse than the supposed problem. The Commission is proposing that user-generated content platforms should be forced to seek, in good faith, to conclude private agreements with copyright owners and to put in place “appropriate and proportionate content identification technologies”. In short, the use of something like YouTube's Content ID system is being made compulsory.

This is a treacherous idea for many reasons, but just to give two:

  • Automated systems, no matter how technically sophisticated, can never replace human judgment about whether user generated content infringes copyright. This is because copyright exceptions that exist in the United States (such as fair use) and in various forms across Europe (such as quotation, parody, and news reporting), mean that not every act of copying is an infringement. As a result, Content ID-type systems will inevitably misflag content, and wrongly allow a copyright claimant to monetize it or take it down.
  • Content ID-type systems are extremely expensive. YouTube reportedly spent $60 million on the development of Content ID, but even if a new entrant would have to spend a small fraction of that on a similar system, that would still be an insurmountable obstacle to the majority of small and medium enterprises, and to non-profit organizations and users ranging from Wikipedia, all the way down to your brother who hosts a fanart messageboard on a desktop PC in his bedroom.

More broadly, this kind of insidious regime of private agreements pushed by government is the kind of cop-out from good lawmaking that EFF calls “Shadow Regulation”; a concept that we'll be introducing in more depth in subsequent Deeplinks posts, where we will give some other examples of the same. But in short, such agreements can embody the worst of all possible approaches, by combining the coercion of government regulation, with the lack of accountability of corporate self-regulation.

A Link Tax in Favor of News Publishers

The European Commission doesn't stop there, but also has a similarly ham-fisted proposal to address the declining revenues of news publishers from their print publications, which leaves them with fewer resources to continue to invest in journalism.

We have previously agreed that this is a real problem. But where the Commission errs is to pin responsibility for this problem on the reuse of news content by Web platforms under exceptions to copyright; and it compounds this error by seeking to limit their use of such copyright exceptions going forward.

The Commission's proposal is to award publishers a new copyright-like veto power, layered on top of the copyright that already exists in the published content, allowing them to prevent the online reuse of news content even when a copyright exception applies. This veto power may last for as little as one year, or as many as 50—the Commission leaves this open for now.

This kind of veto power has been described as a link tax—notwithstanding the Commission's protestations that it isn't one—because when the publisher controls even the use of small snippets of news text surrounding a hyperlink to the original article, it essentially amounts to a tax on that link. The result, as seen in Spain, will be the closure of online news portals, and a reduction in traffic to news publishers.

A new wrinkle on this link tax proposal is that the Commission also proposes that publishers who have received a transfer of copyright from authors should also be entitled to collect revenue from whatever copyright levies member states may impose to “compensate” authors for use of their content under copyright exceptions. The notion that “compensation” is needed for users exercising their rights under copyright is a thoroughly perverse one, as we have previously explained. This addition to the link tax proposal is a gift to copyright collecting societies that will further increase the cost and complexity of lawfully reusing content.

What Happens Now?

The impact assessment is not yet a draft law, but it is a crystal clear indication from the European Commission about the content of the law that is is proposing to develop as a draft for approval by the other European institutions, namely the European Parliament, and the Council of the European Union. Users will have further opportunities for input into the proposals when they reach that stage.

But we'll have the best chance of stopping these misguided proposals if European officials are alerted to our concerns right away. They need to understand that Internet users won't accept the “Shadow Regulation” of intermediaries by requiring them to enter into expensive and error-prone arrangements with copyright owners for the automating flagging of user content. Neither will they accept a new “link tax” for news publishers that could stifle the dissemination of news online.

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Categories: Aggregated News

Dubious UN Report Claiming Syrian Use of Chemical Weapons

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Sat, 27/08/2016 - 01:50
Dubious UN Report Claiming Syrian Use of Chemical Weapons
by Stephen Lendman
A new UN Secretary-General report on use of chemical weapons in Syria appears more like pro-Western propaganda than legitimate analysis.
Throughout years of conflict, Syria repeatedly was accused of crimes it didn’t commit - evidence later showing US-backed terrorists were responsible. 
No evidence links its government or military to use of chemical weapons. It destroyed its entire stockpile, verified by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).
US-supported terrorists used chemical weapons time and again against defenseless Syrian civilians, including Saudi Arabia-supplied toxic agents in containers marked “made in KSA.”
On August 24, Syrian UN envoy Bashar al-Jaafari told Sputnik News of French involvement in chemical weapons attacks in his country in 2013, explaining the following:
“The case with chemical weapons was initially fabricated to exert pressure on the Syrian government. After the first chemical gas attack on Khan al-Asal in Aleppo, I went to the Secretary-General to request assistance (to determine) if there actually was a chemical attack and who was behind it.”
He waffled, falsely claiming consultation with Security Council members was required - meaning America and its co-conspirators.
Hours later, he promised help while claiming he wouldn’t assist in determining responsibility - the key reason for examining incidents in question to hold responsible parties accountable. 
Al-Jaafari was bluntly honest, saying “(f)rom that moment, it became clear that (Western) UN Security Council members are interested in keeping the party behind the attacks unnamed due to certain political circumstances.”
“According to the French sources and according to the book ‘Road to Damascus,’ the famous French journalists Georges Malbruno and Christian Shesno have documented evidence to prove the involvement of the former French Foreign Minister, Laurent Fabius, in the Eastern Gouta (chemical weapons attack) near Damascus.”
Al-Jafaari said hundreds of Syrian government letters to Security Council members and the Western created UN Commission of Inquiry with documented evidence of terrorists using chemical weapons were ignored or called unreliable.
“This was (because) the party (or parties) behind these chemical attacks” are supported by Washington, NATO and their rogue Middle East partners in high crimes.
Heavily US-led Western pressured UN bodies are one-sidedly anti-Syria, turning a blind eye on aggression by America and its rogue partners, their support for ISIS and other terrorist groups.
The Secretary-General’s report on chemical weapons use in Syria lacks credibility. Russia’s UN envoy Vitaly Churkin urged not drawing “hasty conclusions” - perhaps diplomatic language debunking accusations of Syrian involvement.
What strategic advantage could its government gain by using them against defenseless civilians? US-backed terrorists benefit plenty by blaming Damascus for their own high crimes.
The UN report accused Syria of using chlorine gas after its CW stockpile was destroyed. Chlorine was retained because of its civilian use. In gaseous form, it’s a favorite US-supported terrorist weapon.
The full UN report will be released next week. It’ll be discussed at the body’s September session. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov blasted US finger-pointing, saying Washington should “look in the mirror and do what (it) promised…back in January” - separating terrorists called “moderate rebels” from Security Council designated ones.
With Hillary likely to succeed Obama next year by fair or foul means, orchestrator of US aggression on Syria, Washington appears going all-out to fabricate a case for full-blown US intervention - no matter the greater cost in human lives and suffering than already.
Falsely accusing its government of CW attacks, partnering with Turkey to invade and occupy northern Syria, plus whatever else may be planned looks like prelude for greater war.
The fate of an entire nation, its people, the region and perhaps humanity hang in the balance.
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.

Diplomats Talk While Syrians Die

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Fri, 26/08/2016 - 22:10
Diplomats Talk While Syrians Die
by Stephen Lendman
Earlier peace talks aimed at conflict resolution were stillborn - a waste of time accomplishing nothing. 
Endless Sergey Lavrov/John Kerry meetings on Syria achieved nothing substantive toward resolving intractable positions on both sides.
Both men are in Geneva for another round of talks on Friday. Pro-Western UN envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura is involved. 
Reportedly he’ll meet separately with each minister to discuss UN conflict resolution proposals. Why this way instead together with them both is one of many examples of irreconcilable US/Russian positions on the conflict.
Ahead of Friday’s meeting, US and Russian military officials met - reportedly to discuss dire Aleppo conditions and need for agreement on pauses in fighting to provide desperately needed humanitarian aid.
Will Lavrov’s latest meeting with Kerry achieve a breakthrough? Will both sides agree on what’s been unattainable before? Will chances for peace be enhanced by Friday discussions?
Syria is Obama’s war, naked aggression against a nonbelligerent state, orchestrated by Hillary Clinton as secretary of state.
Endless earlier diplomatic talks were futile, achieving nothing toward resolving conflict and restoring peace.
Will this time be different? How when Russia’s best efforts before failed, with America and Turkey partnered in Wednesday’s invasion and occupation of northern Syrian territory on the phony pretext of combating ISIS - escalating, not curbing conflict?
Chances for anything positive from Friday’s meeting are virtually nil - regardless of what both sides say at its conclusion.
Washington launched naked aggression on Syria for regime change, to transform its sovereign independence into another US vassal state, for another imperial trophy, to serve Israeli interests, to isolate Iran ahead of targeting its government the same way - continuing longstanding US permanent war policy.
Scores, maybe hundreds of Syrians die daily while endless futile diplomacy continues. The price of US imperial arrogance is paid for in Syrian blood - mostly defenseless civilian men, women, children, the elderly and infirm.
Assad’s political and media advisor Bouthiana Shaaban believes a “a third world war (began) without naming it.” US-led Western countries “promote their own way of life, their own ideology…at the expense” of countless millions of others, she said.
American exceptionalism is humanity’s scourge. Shaaban appears right. False flags launch wars. Perhaps the 9/11 mother of them all began WW III with no one noticing.
War raged in Europe from September 1939 (in Asia much earlier) to December 7, 1941 before it was called WW II.
Is global war underway now, heading for something much more serious than already - the possibility, perhaps likelihood, of nuclear confrontation if Hillary succeeds Obama?
Her anti-Russia, anti-China, anti-Iran, anti-peace extremism risks the unthinkable. Current US aggression in multiple theaters may be prelude to greater war threatening humanity’s survival.
America’s permanent war agenda threatens everyone. Friday Lavrov/Kerry talks won’t lessen the greatest risk humanity faces - possible extermination because of US imperial ambitions.
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.

Hillary's Latest Trump Bashing Speech a Vicious Ad Hominem Attack

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Fri, 26/08/2016 - 21:55
Hillary’s Latest Trump Bashing Speech a Vicious Ad Hominem Attack
by Stephen Lendman
All politicians lie. Rare exceptions prove the rule. Campaign lies are some of the worst - promising one thing, intending another if elected, betraying constituents every time.
Other than liar-in-chief Obama, perhaps no one else in memory is a more deplorable example than Hillary, a lying machine throughout her public disservice years since the 1990s. 
Her Thursday Trump bashing speech was the latest example - too painful to listen to or watch. I read the transcript instead, unsettling enough.
Addressing a handpicked Reno, NV audience, she lied claiming direct contact with ordinary people “(e)verywhere I go,” she said.
She’s entirely isolated from them, unconcerned about their interests, disdainful of their needs and welfare - clear from her agenda as me-first lady, US senator and secretary of state, serving monied interests exclusively at their expense throughout her political career, how she’ll operate as president if anointed in November, perhaps by election-rigging.
Make no mistake. Trump is no paragon of virtue. Hillary’s harangue against him was more campaign bluster than honestly assessing him.
True his comments show he’s racist. So is Hillary. Policies on her watch showed it. Accusing Trump of “paranoia” is over-the-top. So is saying “(h)e’s taking hate groups mainstream and helping a radical fringe take over one of America’s two political parties.”
Fact: America is a one-party state with two right wings - in lockstep on issues mattering most, notably on war and peace, corporate empowerment and police state crackdowns on nonbelievers.
Fact: A “radical fringe” runs America - undemocratic Democrats and Republicans, waging war on humanity at home and abroad, heading the nation toward full-blown tyranny, perhaps certain under a Hillary administration if anointed to succeed Obama.
Trump’s “disregard for the values that make our country great is profoundly dangerous,” she blustered.
Fact: So-called “values” she won’t explain include global state terror on an unprecedented level, the greatest wealth disparity in US history, the nation’s inner cities more war zones than communities, Depression-level unemployment and underemployment, along with poverty in America a growth industry, among other issues.
Trump correctly addressed the deplorable state of Black and Latino America. According to Hillary, he “misses so much” - citing “success(ful) black leaders in every field” - mindless of the vast majority of the nation’s most disadvantaged enduring dire conditions because of state-sponsored policies ignoring their needs, punishing them with neoliberal harshness instead of stimulative New Deal-type policies.
Citing no corroborating evidence, other than Trump’s rhetoric, at times disturbing, Hillary blasted what she called “(a) man with a long history of racial discrimination, who traffics in dark conspiracy theories…should never run our government or command our military.”
“If he doesn’t respect all Americans, he can’t serve all Americans.”
Fact: US duopoly governance serves wealth, power and privilege exclusively. No matter who serves as chief executive or in key congressional and judicial positions, dirty business as usual continues, getting dirtier with each new administration.
Fact: The worst of all possible November outcomes is Hillary becoming America’s 45th president - assuring greater war on humanity than already, possible, even likely, nuclear war, the ultimate threat to life on earth.
Many Trump comments are over-the-top, justifying criticism. Other times he surprises with anti-establishment-sounding remarks, addressing important issues responsibly like wanting better relations with Russia and blasting TPP as a jobs destroyer - views polar opposite outrageous duopoly ones, what Hillary supports.
The rest of her address continued an ad hominem attack devoid of substance. All her speeches are similar - comprised of a litany of lies, empty rhetoric, promises made to be broken, and avoiding discussion of her abominable public disservice record.
She and Trump are deplorable options for the nation’s highest office. She has a longstanding criminal record, reflecting pure evil, what should automatically disqualify her for any public office.
Trump can only be judged on his business dealings as they apply to how he might govern. He’s more interested in profiting from planet earth than destroying it.
Hillary’s rage for war on humanity may kill us all. I’m no Trump supporter. Given a choice between both candidates (because independents like Jill Green haven’t a chance), he’s by far the preferred choice.
I agree with Paul Craig Roberts, saying he’s “the person we want in the Oval Office…The imbecilic Americans who vote for Hillary are voting for (permanent) war and their own immiseration.”
It’s unclear how Trump would govern because he never before held public office. One thing is clear. Hillary represents the worst possible option. 
At least with Trump there’s hope for avoiding nuclear confrontation - what’s perhaps likely with war goddess Clinton in power.
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. 

Feature NYT Story Endorses Hillary's Anti-Trump Big Lies

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Fri, 26/08/2016 - 21:44
Feature NYT Story Endorses Hillary’s Anti-Trump Big Lies
by Stephen Lendman
I criticize deplorable Times reporting and opinions so often, I imagine I’m one of its leading critics - a deplorable publication featuring misinformation and Big Lies on issues mattering most, press agent for Hillary, ignoring her high crimes, bashing Trump relentlessly.
Its latest broadside featured her claiming a “radical fringe” took over the GOP under Trump. In a same-day article, I explained a “radical fringe” runs America under both wings of duopoly governance - supporting privilege exclusively at the expense of progressive politics, serving everyone equitably and fairly.
The Times: Hillary “delivered a blistering denunciation Thursday of Donald J. Trump’s personal and political history with race, arguing in her most forceful terms yet that a nationalist conservative fringe had engulfed the Republican Party.”
Fact: Hillary delivered a vicious ad hominem attack devoid of substance.
Fact: Trump has no “political history.” He never held public office.
Fact: A “nationalist conservative fringe” runs Washington under both parties, mostly indistinguishable from each other - pro-war, pro-business, anti-progressive, anti-labor, anti-what ordinary people care about most.
Fact: America’s deplorable state is excluded from Times reporting. Instead it endorses a war goddess racketeer, a woman belonging in prison, outrageously calling her “one of the most broadly and deeply qualified presidential candidates in modern history.”
The Times: Hillary’s “effort on Thursday was remarkable for its exhaustive accounting of Mr. Trump’s controversial racial history…”
Fact: Hillary’s speech was a litany of Big Lies. Trump’s racist comments on the stump deserve criticism - no reason to say he has a “controversial racial history,” claiming it is political bluster.
The Times quoted Hillary saying “(t)he de facto merger between Breitbart and the Trump campaign represents a landmark achievement for the alt-right.”
Fact: Whatever definition applies to alt-right politics, right-wing extremism runs America. Neocons infest Washington, dominating Democrat and Republican policymaking. 
The Times promotes the illusion of fundamental differences today between both wings of duopoly governance when not a dime’s worth of difference separates them.
It quoted Hillary, saying “the party of Lincoln has become the party of Trump.”
Maybe so, but the party of Jefferson, FDR and JFK became the party of Hillary - humanity’s worst nightmare.
The Times supports a ruthlessly dangerous woman perhaps intending nuclear war if anointed president - what better reason to oppose her.
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.

Israel Absolves Itself from 2014 Naked Aggression on Gaza

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Fri, 26/08/2016 - 21:25
Israel Absolves Itself from 2014 Naked Aggression on Gaza
by Stephen Lendman
Israel remains unaccountable for decades of racist ruthlessness - massacring, persecuting and otherwise collectively punishing Palestinians for not being Jewish.
Operation Protective Edge was its third war on Gaza in five-and-a-half years - premeditated naked aggression against a largely defenseless population, 1.8 million people trapped under lawless siege, no safe havens for protection.
Israel’s war had nothing to do with Hamas rockets. Claiming it was a ruse, media scoundrels reporting it like gospel.
Attacking the Strip targeted Palestine’s legitimate government, democratically elected in January 2006, the PA installed as a puppet regime serving Israeli interests.
War was about preventing Palestinian self-determination. It was to maintain occupation harshness. 
It was to keep stealing Palestinian land. It was to expand settlements exponentially. It was to control all valued parts of Judea and Samaria.
It was to keep Palestinians confined on isolated bantustans on worthless scrubland. It was to steal their resources. 
It was to assure diaspora Palestinians don’t return. It was to maintain Gaza’s blockade while pretending otherwise when hostilities ended.
It was to have Jerusalem as Israel’s exclusive capital. It was to undermine Fatah/Hamas unity.It was to let Israel commit high crimes against peace with impunity - any time against invented enemies, unrestrained by inviolable international laws.
It was to show Palestinians they’re defenseless against overwhelming Israeli might. It was to enlist popular homeland support for what demands universal condemnation.
Wars on Gaza, anywhere in Palestine or regionally can be launched at Israel’s discretion - with full US support and encouragement, most other nations turning a blind eye, supporting naked aggression, mindless of the cost in Palestinian lives and suffering.
Whenever Israel investigates its high crimes of war and against humanity, whitewash follows. On Thursday, it summarily closed 13 investigations into Operation Protective Edge criminality committed by its soldiers in summer 2014.
Over 2,100 Palestinians died, mostly civilians, including over 500 children and 300 women, over 11,000 injured, many maimed for life.
Virtually every child was traumatized by war, requiring professional help in most cases unavailable. Only three Israeli soldiers were held accountable for crimes involving looting - not mass murder and destruction, affecting residential areas most.
Dozens of entire families were wiped out, scores more lost three or more members. Promised relief following war’s end never materialized.
A UN warning about Gaza becoming uninhabitable by 2020 goes unheeded. It’s virtually this way now. 
Israeli-imposed dire conditions created a humanitarian catastrophe. Little is being done to help long-suffering people, illegally blockaded by Israel for over nine years.
Naked aggression could be launched against them any time at Israel’s discretion. Slow-motion genocide stalks Palestine - its epicenter in Gaza.
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.

Justice Department Pressed to Intervene When Police Arrest Grassroots Journalists

eff.org - Fri, 26/08/2016 - 10:11

Across the country, civilian journalists have documented government violence using cell phones to record police activities, forcing a much-needed national discourse. But in case after case after case after case, the people who face penalties in the wake of police violence are the courageous and quick-witted residents who use technology to enable transparency.

Earlier this month, the International Documentary Association launched an online petition to the Department of Justice asking the federal government to intervene when local police arrest or otherwise harass civilians who document and record police violence. EFF was proud to sign the petition, since this is an issue on which we have been increasingly active.

Led by film makers Laura Poitras and David Felix Sutcliffe, the petition also calls for an official investigation exploring "the larger pattern of abuse that has emerged on a federal, state, and local level, and the threat it poses to free speech and a free press." Finally, the petition urges "our peers in the journalistic community to investigate and report on these abuses."

Poitras' film Citizenfour, documenting the Edward Snowden revelations, won the 2015 Oscar award for Best Documentary. Sutcliffe directed (T)error, which is the first film ever to document an FBI sting operation as it unfolds (and in the interest of full disclosure, briefly features the author of this post).

While the First Amendment protects freedom of the press, and applies to grassroots journalists in addition to their professional counterparts, those protections have often been disregarded by police officers unable to accept civilian oversight and the public exposure of their violence.

Meanwhile, despite well-settled jurisprudence establishing the right to observe and record police activities, even the federal judiciary has occasionally failed to vindicate these principles.

Arrests of grassroots journalists who record police activities implicate not only the 1st and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, but also the very legitimacy of our legal system, which grounds its claim to power in impartiality. Yet, around the country, the law has subjected to penalties people pursuing constitutionally protected activities that enhance transparency, while turning a blind eye to the violence prompting residents to place themselves at risk.

At issue is not merely a fundamental constitutional right, nor the transparency on which democracy rests, but the ability for community residents to use technology to document violence endured by their neighbors.

The monitoring of public servants who have pledged to "protect and serve" should not represent a risk in a free society. That's why EFF is proud to sign and support the International Documentary Association's petition.

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Categories: Aggregated News

NYT Suppresses Escalated US/Turkish Aggression in Syria

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Fri, 26/08/2016 - 01:47
NYT Suppresses Escalated US/Turkish Aggression in Syria
by Stephen Lendman
One of the best ways to be misinformed and stay that way is by following deplorable Times propaganda - a longtime imperial mouthpiece, supporting all US wars of aggression, pretending they’re humanitarian missions.
On Wednesday, Turkish military forces supported by US warplanes and hundreds of US-backed terrorists falsely called “moderate rebels” launched naked aggression on northern Syria.
Separate articles on the Lendman blog and other sites posting my work explain what’s going on - entirely different from what The Times reported, beginning with a deceptive headline, saying “Turkey’s Military Plunges Into Syria, Enabling Rebels to Capture ISIS Stronghold.”
Fact: Washington and Turkey jointly escalated naked aggression in Syria, making peace prospects distant at best.
Fact: No so-called “rebels” exist. All anti-Syrian fighters are terrorists, most imported from scores of countries, supported by Washington and its rogue allies, including Turkey.
Fact: Turkey’s current aggression has nothing to do with combating ISIS, its ally, everything to do with battling Kurds and seizing northern Syrian territory with likely designs on annexing it.
Nothing in The Times report explains any of the above - instead falsely claiming Ankara’s invasion with US support “is a significant escalation of Turkey’s role in the fight against the Islamic State…”
Utter rubbish! Washington and Ankara support ISIS. Its fighters were informed in advance about the impending aggression, letting them leave without taking a single casualty.
Ludicrously calling Turkey’s lawless invasion an indication of its “more aggressive diplomatic role in Syria,” The Times claims its “offensive” has “two immediate goals: To clear (ISIS) from (border areas) and roll back recent advances by” Kurdish fighters.
Fact: It has nothing to do with combating ISIS as already explained. Turkey was given a green light to combat Kurdish fighters America claims to support - only while needed, then betrayed, Washington’s way of doing business.
Fact: Erdogan’s main aim is annexing northern Syrian and Iraqi territory, part of his Ottoman empire recreation scheme.
Fact: America approved his aggression and provided direct support. White House spokesman Josh Earnest lied, calling Turkish forces invading Syria “an indication of important progress” in combating ISIS.
The Times consistently misreports - pretending Turkish aggression is stepped up diplomacy. It ignores Washington’s support for ISIS and all other terrorist groups in Syria. 
It fails to explain no so-called “moderate rebels” exist. It calls US naked aggression against a sovereign independent nonbelligerent nation civil war. There’s nothing civil about it.
Throughout the conflict, some of the most despicable propaganda in memory substituted for honest accounts in all scoundrel media print and electronic reports - The Times its lead source, supporting all US wars of aggression.
Its August 24 report ended by quoting Erdogan’s Big Lie, saying “Turkey is determined for Syria to retain its territorial integrity and will take matters into its own hands if required to protect that territorial unity.” 
“We have only ever sought to help the people of Syria and have no other intentions” - by arming and otherwise aiding ISIS and other terrorist fighters massacre its people with US support and encouragement!
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.

Territorial Waters Off Iran's Coast Are Persian, Not American

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Fri, 26/08/2016 - 01:36
Territorial Waters off Iran’s Coast Are Persian, Not American
by Stephen Lendman
You’d never know it based on how Washington operates globally, seeking dominion over planet earth, its resources, populations and space - naked aggression its main strategy of choice.
On Wednesday, the USS Nitze and USS Mason guided missile destroyers provocatively entered Iranian waters in the Strait of Hormuz - admitted by US Central Command spokesman Commander Kyle Raines.
Four Iranian small vessels interdicted them, both US warships changing course to avoid confrontation. The US Navy called the incident “unsafe and unprofessional.”
What legal right have US warships to sail in Iranian waters or those of any other country like Beijing’s in the South China Sea or Russia’s in the Black Sea.
Iran’s Defense Minister Hossein Dehqan said “(i)f any foreign vessel enters our waters, we will given them a warning and it is an act of aggression, we will confront them.”
Iranian vessels monitor all movements in Persian Gulf waters. America maintains a strong naval presence there, including occasional provocative war games. Its Fifth Fleet based in Bahrain includes a formidable array of warships and support vessels - too close to Iranian waters and coastline for comfort. 
Iran’s Defense Minister Dehqan earlier said “(t)he Iranian Armed Forces are an intertwined and coherent complex that can give a decisive response to any threat at any level and any place under the command of the Commander-in-Chief.”
“The enemy can never assess and think of the range of the response given by the powerful and mighty Armed Forces of the Islamic Iran.”
He vowed a strong response to counter any US provocations. America acts irresponsibly, then blames Iran for “unsafe and unprofessional actions (risking) escalation and miscalculation” - claiming US forces “have an inherent obligation for self-defense.”
Longtime US policy calls for regime change in Iran. Perhaps a provocative action instigated by Fifth Fleet warships one day will be a Gulf of Tonkin type incident used to declare war.
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.

Reality in Syria

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Thu, 25/08/2016 - 21:38
Reality in Syria
by Stephen Lendman
As a longtime peace, stability, human and civil rights activist, I’m appalled about what’s happening in Syria.
It’s one of numerous US targeted countries, ravaged and destroyed one after another, responsible for millions of casualties gone unreported by deplorable media scoundrels - supporting America’s imperial ruthlessness.  
It’s waging naked aggression against nonbelligerent nations to transform their sovereign independence into US colonies. 
Israel’s regional agenda is served. Regime change in Syria if achieved isolates Iran, next in America’s queue to be targeted by war or color revolution.
Syria is in the eye of the storm, a hugely dangerous flashpoint risking East/West confrontation - likely anyway if Hillary succeeds Obama, a neocon lunatic wanting US-dominated NATO used aggressively “to defend our way of life,” including use of nuclear weapons.
Paul Craig Roberts believes her presidency would mean “nuclear war before her first term is over. A vote for Hillary is a vote for nuclear war,” he stresses.
Several times I’ve said US nuclear war (with Russia and perhaps China) is a coin flip with her as commander-in-chief of America’s military, her finger on the nuclear trigger.
Russia deserves credit for intervening in Syria responsibly to combat terrorism last September, though it hasn’t done enough. It continues going all-out for peaceful conflict resolution despite the futility of getting Washington to agree.
Its leaders going back to Soviet days know America can’t be trusted. It doesn’t negotiate. It demands. Its agenda is uncompromisingly ruthless.
Things it agrees to aren’t worth the paper they’re written on - principles systematically breached to achieve unchallenged global dominance.
Strategies employed include color revolutions and naked aggression, raping one country after another or in multiples.
Endless Sergey Lavrov discussions with John Kerry accomplish nothing. On Wednesday, they spoke by phone during US-supported Turkish aggression on northern Syria. 
Yet it wasn’t the main topic of concern, maybe not even discussed. Talks instead focused on fighting in Aleppo along with providing humanitarian aid for its beleaguered residents.
Russia again tried getting America to cooperate in combating terrorists in Syria it supports - to no avail.
These type discussions accomplish nothing. Washington is committed to regime change. Obama didn’t launch naked aggression using terrorists as proxy foot soldiers to quit.
It’s hard understanding what Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov had in mind, claiming progress in US/Moscow talks when nothing significant was achieved bilaterally throughout years of conflict.
It rages endlessly, perhaps permanently as long as Syrians redoubtably refuse to surrender to US imperial viciousness.
Or maybe things will end with horrific US shock-and-awe intervention if Hillary succeeds Obama. 
Or maybe nuclear denouement. When lunatics run the asylum, anything is possible - including WW III.
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 Supports Turkey's Invasion of Syria

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Thu, 25/08/2016 - 21:22
US Supports Turkey’s Invasion of Syria
by Stephen Lendman
There’s no delicate way of putting it. Throughout Obama’s rape of Syria, Turkey partnered with America for its own self-interest. 
It profits from selling stolen ISIS oil, covets annexation of northern Syrian and Iraqi territory. Erdogan’s primary aim is establishing a new Ottoman empire, naked aggression his strategy.
His meeting with Putin in St. Petersburg on August 9 achieved nothing toward resolving Syria’s conflict - just the opposite based on events since Wednesday.
Days earlier comments by Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim were duplicitous in promising to work with Russia and Iran for conflict resolution. Just the opposite is happening.
Partnered with US-supported terrorists called “moderate rebels,” Turkish forces invaded northern Syria in force on the phony pretext of combating ISIS, its ally throughout the conflict.
Its fighters left the city of Jarablus, likely notified in advance to get out of harm’s way. Turkish aggression with US-supported air cover was a walkover, no resistance encountered.
Erdogan’s dual aim was combating Kurdish YPG fighters and seizing Syrian territory - whether short-term or permanently remains to be seen. His government announced it intends taking the town of Manbij.
Joe Biden conveniently visiting Ankara expressed US support for Turkish aggression, saying “(w)e have made it clear to Kurdish forces that they must move back across the (Euphrates) river.”
“They cannot and will not get American support if they do not keep that commitment. Period.”
In other words, it’s OK for Turkey to seize and occupy northern Syrian territory - how all aggressors operate, notably America.
A Syrian Foreign Ministry statement “condemn(ed) the intrusion of Turkish tanks into Syrian territory under the cover of air support provided by the US-led international coalition. Syria regards such actions as outright violation of its sovereignty.”
Resisting terror “is not confined to driving out militants of the terrorist group calling itself Islamic State only to replace them with other extremist groups supported from Turkey.”
Russia’s response to Erdogan’s aggression was muted, its Foreign Ministry saying “Moscow is deeply worried over the ongoing events in the area of the Syrian-Turkish border.”
“First and foremost, very worrisome is the risk of a further deterioration of the situation in the zone of the conflict, including the possibility of civilian casualties it may entail and the soaring inter-ethnic contradictions between the Kurds and the Arabs.”
It added conflict resolution can only be achieved through constructive dialogue, involving all Syrian ethnic and religious groups. What’s the point. It’s not happening this way and won’t because Washington obstructs efforts toward peace.
Instead of steps toward resolution, things just escalated, Washington’s dirty hands involved - letting Erdogan pursue his territorial ambitions and war on area Kurds, allied with US-supported terrorists against the territorial integrity of Syria and its long-suffering people.
Russia’s muted response to what’s happening begs these questions. Why hasn’t Moscow unreservedly condemned Turkish aggression with US support?
Why doesn’t it forthrightly denounced all heavily armed anti-government forces as terrorists and declare henceforth it’ll attack them freely?
Turkey occupying parts of northern Syria perhaps intending to stay is a significant setback in efforts to liberate the country from US-backed foreign invaders.
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.

Trump and Others Call for Clinton Foundation to Shut Down

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Thu, 25/08/2016 - 20:54
Trump and Others Call for Clinton Foundation to Shut Down
by Stephen Lendman
Trump isn’t alone. Voices on the left and right agree. More on this below. 
The foundation is a Bill and Hillary money-laundering self-enrichment racket posing as a charitable NGO.
To make a point, Trump says it’s “the most corrupt enterprise in political history,” calling for it to cease operations immediately, stressing:
“Hillary Clinton is the defender of the corrupt and rigged status quo. The Clintons have spent decades as insiders lining their own pockets and taking care of donors instead of the American people.” 
“What they were doing during Crooked Hillary’s time as Secretary of State was wrong then, and it is wrong now. It must be shut down immediately.”
Last week, the foundation said it’ll stop accepting foreign and corporate donations if Hillary succeeds Obama. On Monday, Trump said pay-to-play donations from “a lot of countries that we shouldn't be taking and they shouldn't be taking money from” should be returned.
“Countries that influenced her totally and also countries that discriminate against women and gays and everybody else. I mean, that money - it should be given back. They should not take that money.”
On August 24, a feature Wall Street Journal story suggests Bill and Hillary intend continuing dirty business as usual regardless of how things turn out in November, saying:
“The Clinton Foundation is considering exceptions to its plan to stop accepting corporate and foreign donations and reduce family involvement” if Hillary succeeds Obama.
On Wednesday, foundation spokesman Craig Minassian said Chelsea plans to stay on its board. In other words, she’ll represent her parents’ interests so they’ll continue being served seamlessly.
The so-called Clinton Health Access Initiative, part of the foundation’s racket, will likely keep accepting foreign and corporate donations - elevating pay-to-pay to a higher level under a third Clinton co-presidency, selling influence in return for likely billions of dollars in donations, much diverted to enrich Bill and Hillary, their family members and cronies.
Chelsea’s spokeswoman fooled no one, saying she’ll stay on the board because she’s “committed to ensuring that those benefitting from the foundation’s work will…continue” being served.
Beneficiaries are largely the Clintons and co-conspirators. Racketeering enriches them hugely on phony pretext charitable do-gooding, a minor part of the racketeering operation as cover to conceal its real purpose.
Neocon Washington Post editors said if Hillary succeeds Obama, “all of the foundation’s assets should be spun off to an organization with no ties to the first family.”
USA Today editors said “the only way to eliminate the odor surrounding the foundation is to wind it down and put it in mothballs, starting today, and transfer its important charitable work to another large American charity…”
The New Yorker urged turning the foundation into an independent charity (sic) “at least for the duration of a Clinton presidency.”
Boston Globe editors called for ending donations and shutting the foundation down in November. A growing chorus of voices urge the same thing.
Will it happen? Unlikely based on developments discussed above - Bill, Hillary, Chelsea and others benefitting hugely not about to give up the gift that keeps on giving, the stuff that dreams are made of!
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.

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