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25 Ways the Canadian Health Care System is Better than Obamacare for the 2020 Elections

By Ralph Nader | September 18, 2019

Dear America:

Costly complexity is baked into Obamacare, and although it has improved access to healthcare for some, tens of millions of Americans still cannot afford basic medical care for their family. No healthcare system is without problems but Canadian-style single-payer — full Medicare for all — is simple, affordable, comprehensive and universal for all basic and emergency medical and hospital services.

In the mid-1960s, President Lyndon Johnson enrolled 20 million elderly Americans into Medicare in six months. There were no websites. They did it with index cards!

Below please find 25 ways the Canadian health care system — and the resulting quality of life in Canada — is better than the chaotic, wasteful and often cruel U.S. system.

Replace it with the much more efficient Medicare-for-all: everybody in, nobody out, free choice of doctor and hospital. It will produce far less anxiety, dread, and fear. Hear that, Congress and the White House!

Number 25:

In Canada, everyone is covered automatically at birth – everybody in, nobody out. A human right.

In the United States, under Obamacare, 28 million Americans (9 percent) are still uninsured and 85 million Americans (26 percent) are underinsured. Obamacare is made even worse by Trumpcare restrictions. (See Trumpcare by John Geyman MD (2019)).

Number 24:

In Canada, the health system is designed to put people, not profits, first.

In the United States, Obamacare has done little to curb insurance industry profits and in fact has increased the concentrated insurance industry’s massive profits.

Number 23:

In Canada, coverage is not tied to a job or dependent on your income – rich and poor are in the same system, the best guaranty of quality.

In the United States, under Obamacare, much still depends on your job or income. Lose your job or lose your income, and you might lose your existing health insurance or have to settle for lesser coverage.

Number 22:

In Canada, health care coverage stays with you for your entire life.

In the United States, under Obamacare, for tens of millions of Americans, health care coverage stays with you only for as long as you can afford your insurance.

Number 21:

In Canada, you can freely choose your doctors and hospitals and keep them.

In the United States, under Obamacare, the in-network list of places where you can get treated is shrinking – thus restricting freedom of choice – and if you want to go out of network, you pay dearly for it.

Number 20:

In Canada, the health care system is funded by income, sales and corporate taxes that, combined, are much lower than what Americans pay in insurance premiums directly and indirectly per employer.

In the United States, under Obamacare, for thousands of Americans, it’s pay or die – if you can’t pay, you die. That’s why many thousands will still die every year under Obamacare from lack of health insurance to get diagnosed and treated in time. The survivors are confronted with very high, often unregulated drug prices.

Number 19:

In Canada, there are no complex hospital or doctor bills. In fact, usually you don’t even see a bill.

In the United States, under Obamacare, hospital and doctor bills are terribly complex, replete with massive billing fraud estimated to be at least $350 billion a year by Harvard Professor Malcolm Sparrow.

Number 18:

In Canada, costs are controlled. Canada pays 10 percent of its GDP for its health care system, covering everyone.

In the United States, under Obamacare, costs continue to skyrocket. The U.S. currently pays 17.9 percent of its GDP and still doesn’t cover tens of millions of people.

Number 17:

In Canada, it is unheard of for anyone to go bankrupt due to health care costs.

In the United States, health-care-driven bankruptcy will continue to plague Americans.

Number 16:

In Canada, simplicity leads to major savings in administrative costs and overhead.

In the United States, under Obamacare, often staggering complexity ratchets up huge administrative costs and overhead.

Number 15:

In Canada, when you go to a doctor or hospital the first thing they ask you is: “What’s wrong?”

In the United States, the first thing they ask you is: “What kind of insurance do you have?”

Number 14:

In Canada, the government negotiates drug prices so they are more affordable.

In the United States, under Obamacare, Congress made it specifically illegal for the government to negotiate drug prices for volume purchases. As a result, drug prices remain exorbitant and continue to  skyrocket.

Number 13:

In Canada, the government health care funds are not profitably diverted to the top one percent.

In the United States, under Obamacare, health care funds will continue to flow to the top. In 2017, the CEO of Aetna alone made a whopping $59 million.

Number 12:

In Canada, there are no required co-pays or deductibles in inscrutable contracts.

In the United States, under Obamacare, the deductibles and co-pays will continue to be unaffordable for many millions of Americans. Fine print traps are everywhere.

Number 11:

In Canada, the health care system contributes to social solidarity and national pride.

In the United States, Obamacare is divisive, with rich and poor in different systems and tens of millions left out or with sorely limited benefits.

Number 10:

In Canada, delays in health care are not due to the cost of insurance.

In the United States, under Obamacare, patients without health insurance or who are underinsured delay or forgo care and put their lives at risk.

Number 9:

In Canada, nobody dies due to lack of health insurance.

In the United States, tens of thousands of Americans will continue to die every year because they lack health insurance or can’t pay much higher prices for drugs, medical devices, and health care itself.

Number 8:

In Canada, health care on average costs half as much, per person, as in the United States. And in Canada, unlike in the United States, everyone is covered.

In the United States, a majority support Medicare-for-all. But they are being blocked by lawmakers and their corporate paymasters.

Number 7:

In Canada, the tax payments to fund the health care system are modestly progressive – the lowest 20 percent pays 6 percent of income into the system while the highest 20 percent pays 8 percent.

In the United States, under Obamacare, the poor pay a larger share of their income for health care than the affluent.

Number 6:

In Canada, people use GoFundMe to start new businesses.

In the United States, fully one in three GoFundMe fundraisers are now to raise money to pay medical bills. Recently, one American was rejected for a heart transplant because she couldn’t afford the follow-up care. Her insurance company suggested she raise the money through GoFundMe.

Number 5:

In Canada, people avoid prison at all costs.

In the United States, some Americans commit minor crimes so that they can get to prison and receive free health care.

Number 4:

In Canada, people look forward to the benefits of early retirement.

In the United States, people delay retirement to 65 to avoid being uninsured.

Number 3:

In Canada, Nobel Prize winners hold on to their medal and pass it down to their children and grandchildren.

In the United States, a Nobel Prize winner sold his medal to help pay for his medical bills.

Leon Lederman won a Nobel Prize in 1988 for his pioneering physics research. But in 2015, the physicist, who passed away in November 2018, sold his Nobel Prize medal for $765,000 to pay his mounting medical bills.

Number 2:

In Canada, the system is simple. You get a health care card when you are born. And you swipe it when you go to a doctor or hospital. End of story.

In the United States, Obamacare’s 954 pages plus regulations (the Canadian Medicare Bill was 13 pages) is so complex that then Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said before passage “we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it, away from the fog of the controversy.”

Number 1:

In Canada, the majority of citizens love their health care system.

In the United States, a growing majority of citizens, physicians, and nurses prefer the Canadian type system – Medicare-for-all, free choice of doctor and hospital , everybody in, nobody out and far less expensive with better outcomes overall.

It’s decision time, America!

For more information, see Single Payer Action.


Ralph Nader is a leading consumer advocate, the author of Unstoppable The Emerging Left Right Alliance to Dismantle the Corporate State (2014), among many other books, and a four-time candidate for US President.

September 18, 2019 Posted by | Economics, Malthusian Ideology, Phony Scarcity, Timeless or most popular | , | 1 Comment

Israelis Have Made their Verdict Clear: Benjamin Netanyahu’s Time is Up

There looms the possibility of weeks of horse-trading and the Joint List of Arab legislators becoming the official opposition

By Jonathan Cook | The National | September 18, 2019

For most Israelis, the general election on Tuesday was about one thing and one thing only. Not the economy, nor the occupation, nor even corruption scandals. It was about Benjamin Netanyahu. Should he head yet another far-right government, or should his 10-year divisive rule come to an end?

Barring a last-minute upset as the final ballot papers are counted, Israelis have made their verdict clear: Netanyahu’s time is up.

In April’s inconclusive election, which led to this re-run, Netanyahu’s Likud party tied with its main opponent in the Blue and White party, led by retired general Benny Gantz. This time Gantz appears to have nudged ahead, with 32 seats to Netanyahu’s 31 in the 120-member parliament. Both parties fared worse than they did in April, when they each secured 35 seats.

But much more significantly, Netanyahu appears to have fallen short of the 61-seat majority he needs to form yet another far-right government comprising settler and religious parties.

His failure is all the more glaring, given that he conducted by far the ugliest – and most reckless – campaign in Israeli history. That was because the stakes were sky-high.

Only a government of the far-right – one entirely beholden to Netanyahu – could be relied on to pass legislation guaranteeing him immunity from a legal process due to begin next month. Without it, he is likely to be indicted on multiple charges of fraud and breach of trust.

So desperate was Netanyahu to avoid that fate, according to reports published in the Israeli media on election day, that he was only a hair’s breadth away from launching a war on Gaza last week as a way to postpone the election.

Israel’s chief law officer, attorney general Avichai Mendelblit, stepped in to halt the attack when he discovered the security cabinet had approved it only after Netanyahu concealed the army command’s major reservations.

Netanyahu also tried to bribe right-wing voters by promising last week that he would annex much of the West Bank immediately after the election – a stunt that blatantly violated campaigning laws, according to Mendelblit.

Facebook was forced to shut down Netanyahu’s page on two occasions for hate speech – in one case after it sent out a message that “Arabs want to annihilate us all – women, children and men”. That sentiment appeared to include the 20 per cent of the Israeli population who are Palestinian citizens.

Netanyahu incited against the country’s Palestinian minority in other ways, not least by constantly suggesting that their votes constituted fraud and that they were trying to “steal the election”.

He even tried to force through a law allowing his Likud party activists to film in Arab polling stations – as they covertly did in April’s election – in an unconcealed attempt at voter intimidation.

The move appeared to have backfired, with Palestinian citizens turning out in larger numbers than they did in April.

US President Donald Trump, meanwhile, intervened on Netanyahu’s behalf by announcing the possibility of a defence pact requiring the US to come to Israel’s aid in the event of a regional confrontation.

None of it helped.

Netanayhu’s only hope of political survival – and possible avoidance of jail time – depends on his working the political magic he is famed for.

That may prove a tall order. To pass the 61-seat threshold, he must persuade Avigdor Lieberman and his ultra-nationalist Yisrael Beiteinu party to support him.

Netanyahu and Lieberman, who is a settler, are normally ideological allies. But these are not normal times. Netanyahu had to restage the election this week after Lieberman, sensing the prime minister’s weakness, refused in April to sit alongside religious parties in a Netanyahu-led government.

Netanyahu might try to lure the fickle Lieberman back with an irresistible offer, such as the two of them rotating the prime ministership.

But Lieberman risks huge public opprobrium if, after putting the country through a deeply unpopular re-run election, he now does what he refused on principle to do five months ago.

Lieberman has nearly doubled his party’s seats to nine, by insisting that he is the champion of the secular Israeli public.

Most importantly for Lieberman, he finds himself once again in the role of kingmaker. It is almost certain he will shape the character of the next government. And whoever he anoints as prime minister will be indebted to him.

The deadlock that blocked the formation of a government in April still stands. Israel faces the likelihood of weeks of frantic horse-trading and even the possibility of a third election.

Nonetheless, from the perspective of Palestinians – whether those under occupation or those living in Israel as third-class citizens – the next Israeli government is going to be a hardline right one.

On paper, Gantz is best placed to form a government of what is preposterously labelled the “centre-left”. But given that its backbone will comprise Blue and White, led by a bevy of hawkish generals, and Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu, it would, in practice, be nearly as right wing as Netanyahu’s.

Gantz even accused Netanyahu of stealing his idea in announcing last week that he would annex large parts of the West Bank.

The difficulty is that such a coalition would depend on the support of the 13 Joint List legislators representing Israel’s large Palestinian minority. That is something Lieberman has rejected out of hand, calling the idea “absurd” early on Wednesday as results were filtering in. Gantz appears only a little more accommodating.

The solution could be a national unity government comprising much of the right: Gantz’s Blue and White teamed up with Likud and Lieberman. Both Gantz and Lieberman indicated that was their preferred choice on Wednesday.

The question then would be whether Netanyahu can worm his way into such a government, or whether Gantz demands his ousting as a price for Likud’s inclusion.

Netanyahu’s hand in such circumstances would not be strong, especially if he is immersed in a protracted legal battle on corruption charges. There are already rumblings of an uprising in Likud to depose him.

One interesting outcome of a unity government is that it could provoke a constitutional crisis by making the Joint List, the third-largest party, the official opposition. That is the same Joint List described by Netanyahu as a “dangerous anti-Zionist” party.

Ayman Odeh would become the first leader of the Palestinian minority to attend regular briefings by the prime minister and security chiefs.

Netanyahu will continue as caretaker prime minister for several more weeks – until a new government is formed. If he stays true to form, there is plenty of mischief he can instigate in the meantime.

September 18, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , | 4 Comments

UK minister vows to pressure councils and universities to adopt IHRA definition of anti-Semitism

MEMO | September 18, 2019

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s newly appointed Communities and Local Government Secretary, Robert Jenrick, has pledged to come down hard on local councils and universities that fail to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism.

Jenrick made the pledge in a speech to the British Board of Deputies on Sunday, while also promising over $100,000 from the government to tackle anti-Semitism on social media and to go after supporters of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

He said he will come down heavily on both local councils and universities that did not adopt the IHRA definition, which has been the source of controversy in the UK. Critics say the definition conflates criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism and undermines free speech. Jenrick dismissed these concerns. He insisted that the “suggestions that the IHRA definition curtails legitimate criticism of the Israeli government is wrong and must be countered.”

The Representative for Newark said that he “will be writing to all councils insisting that they adopt the IHRA at the earliest opportunity and use it at all appropriate occasions — including in their disciplinary proceedings.”

In his comments regarding BDS, Jenrick alleged that the global non-violent movement was “divisive” and promised not to tolerate supporters of the movement on his watch. He expressed unease about the annual Israel Apartheid Week on campuses, and said he would look at the issue in his department.

Jenrick assured the Board of Deputies that he can be relied on to contact local councils as well as vice-chancellors of Britain’s universities who should expect to get a phone call from him to oblige them to adopt the IHRA definition.

September 18, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , | 1 Comment

Exhibition of Houthi military-industrial achievements

The Saker | July 8, 2019

Exhibition of the achievements of the Houthi military industry (with a heavy Iranian accent).

New ballistic and cruise missiles, as well as new reconnaissance drones were presented.

It is expected that these weapons, including new ones, will be used by the Houthis both on the territory of Yemen against the interventionist troops and local collaborators, as well as against infrastructure facilities in Saudi Arabia and the UAE (airports, military bases, ports, oil pipelines).

For Iran, the entire Yemeni war has become an excellent training ground, where in real combat conditions (via the hands of the Houthis) the latest samples of Iranian ballistic missiles, adjustable artillery shells, and reconnaissance and attack drone vehicles are being tested.

It is worth remembering that in the event of the start of a fully-fledged war against Iran, all of this can be used against tankers in the Red Sea in order to block oil exports through Jizan.

Translated by Ollie Richardson and Angelina Siard
Source: https://colonelcassad.livejournal.com/5118206.html

September 18, 2019 Posted by | Aletho News | , | 2 Comments

If Iran behind attack, ‘US military worthless’ – Tehran prof

RT America | September 18, 2019

Prof. Mohammed Marandi of the University of Tehran joins Michele Greenstein (in for Rick Sanchez) to discuss Washington’s claim that Iran is behind the recent Saudi oil attack. He said that if Iran is truly behind the attack then it means that the US military presence in the region is “worthless.” He also argues that Iran’s response to a US attack would cause the US to “lose its key client regimes.”

September 18, 2019 Posted by | Illegal Occupation | , , , | 3 Comments

Trump says attacking Iran would be too ‘EASY,’ calls restraint a ‘sign of strength’ as others drum up WAR

RT | September 18, 2019

As American and Saudi Arabian officials blame Iran for attacking Saudi oil refineries, President Donald Trump has remained noncommittal about a US response, calling his prior restraint a “sign of strength.”

Speaking to reporters in Los Angeles on Wednesday, the US president said that he would outline new sanctions on Iran within 48 hours, after announcing them via Twitter earlier in the day. While it would be “very easy” to attack Iran, his reluctance to do so is “a sign of strength,” Trump added.

That statement echoed his reply on Tuesday to Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), who called Trump’s cancelation of military strikes on Iran in June a “sign of weakness.”

Graham, the former wingman of the hawkish Senator John McCain, has emerged as one of the loudest proponents of retaliatory strikes in recent days, declaring the oil refinery attack an “act of war,” and calling for an “unequivocal” response. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also described the attack as an “act of war,” while Vice President Mike Pence said on Tuesday that America is “locked and loaded” to defend her Saudi allies.

Trump, on the other hand, has been more ambivalent. Stopping short of outright pointing the finger at Iran the president said on Monday that it was “certainly looking” like Iran was behind the attack, adding that “we pretty much already know” Tehran is to blame.

Regarding a response, Trump has boasted of the US military’s readiness to strike, but said that he would “certainly like to avoid” war.

While Trump’s response may seem unduly measured, the president had signaled something of a softer attitude towards Iran in the days before the weekend’s attacks. After saying last week that he would have “no problem,” meeting Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, Trump even gave a “we’ll see what happens” when asked if he’d consider lifting sanctions to get Rouhani to the table. The attacks on Saudi oil facilities, however, seem to have put paid to that.

Houthi rebels in Yemen – against whom Saudi Arabia has been waging war since 2015 –  claimed responsibility for the strike, and Iran denies all connection with it. However, Saudi officials claimed at a press conference on Wednesday that it was “unquestionably sponsored by Iran,” and presented the wreckage of Iranian missiles and drones as proof.

Yet the Saudis could not pinpoint a launch site, nor prove that the Houthis did not launch the supposed Iranian projectiles of their own accord. Likewise, Hesameddin Ashena, an adviser to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, asked why the Saudis’ air defenses “failed to thwart the attack.”

September 18, 2019 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism | , , , | 2 Comments

Here is How China-US Trade War Impacts Iran

By Salman Rafi Sheikh – New Eastern Outlook – 18.09.2019

In the last week of August, China added crude oil imports from the US to its tariff list for the first time in a retaliatory decision against the US decision to impose fresh tariffs on Chinese products. China imports about 6 per cent of its crude oil from the US. For an economy that increasingly relies on crude oil imports, this decision carries a lot of significance. While China is also preparing to impose high tariffs on import of US cars and the trade-war is likely to continue in the days to come, the all-important question is: why would China impose tariffs on import of oil, the life-line of its economy? According to some latest figures, China’s reliance on imported crude oil has already jumped to 70 per cent and gas moving towards 50 per cent. Most certainly, China would never have taken such a decision unless its leadership had first secured an alternative source of supply of oil. Here is where Iran and cheap/tariff free Iranian oil comes into play and the larger geo-political chessboard becomes active, allowing China to counter the US on three levels.

First, in terms of trade war, Chinese tariffs on oil imports from the US will undermine the US position as the world’s ‘new champion oil producer.’ Second, in terms of regional geo-politics, import of oil from Iran will boost Iran’s economy in the face of US sanctions and help the Iranian economy keep afloat. Needless to say, Iran is a key territorial link for China’s Belt and Road Initiative to expand beyond Asia. Third, if the US and China fail to reach a compromise on trade disputes and their bi-lateral economic and political relations remain cold, China’s continuous reliance on US oil would become a big disadvantage. Therefore, by ridding itself of the US oil, China is preparing for a long-term war with the US, or at least doesn’t see the current dispute resolving any time soon; hence, the move towards diversification through defiance.

Although China has recently decided to increase its domestic production of gas in Sichuan province, increasing from roughly 20 per cent at present to about 33 per cent of the country’s needs, this isn’t going to be enough for a huge economy that China is; hence, China’s increasing investment in Iran’s huge and sanctioned energy sector.

According to reports, China is set to invest about 280 billion dollars in Iran’s oil, gas and petrochemical sectors. This investment will in turn allow China to buy energy products from Iran at discounted prices, certainly a lot cheaper than the US oil. Although there will be a risk of the US sanctioning Chinese companies involved in buying Iranian oil, China is ready to tackle this. Entering the deal with Iran, China announced that it is not intimidated by the `secondary sanctions` the US has threatened to impose on companies and countries which continue to have economic ties with Iran.

China’s decision has massive geo-political ramifications. China can expand the use of Turkmenistan-China gas pipeline to import oil and gas from Iran and can even build new pipelines, allowing it to not only conveniently meet its energy needs but also massively reduce its reliance on a number of US-friendly oil and gas suppliers from the Middle East i.e., UAE and Saudi Arabia.

China, accordingly, is also investing about 120 billion dollars in Iran’s transport and manufacturing infrastructure. Significantly enough, this Chinese-built infrastructure in Iran, which includes high-speed rail on several routes, will provide China with additional avenues for its overland trade through Iran and Turkey to and from Europe and maritime trade through Iranian ports to the Middle East, Africa and beyond. Interestingly enough, one of the ports that China is eyeing is the Indian built port of Chabahar. Due to India’s full compliance with the US directive to bring oil imports from Iran to zero, Iran’s relations with India have gone down massively, allowing China to move in and grab the space.

China’s investment also comes with Chinese troops on the ground in Iran. Sending a clear message to the US, about 5,000 Chinese security personnel will be placed in Iran to protect Chinese projects from possible sabotage attempts by rival countries through their sponsored non-state actors, or even directly. Importantly enough, this security presence in Iran will be as big as the US has in today’s Iraq or what the Pentagon aims to leave in Afghanistan in 2020. Also, it intends to deter any US adventurism (visible in Iraq and Afghanistan), inasmuch as any major US military strike on or action against Iran would risk hitting Chinese army personnel and spiking tensions with a nuclear power that has the ability to hit the US both militarily and economically; hence, the increasing emphasis on materialising a true strategic partnership between Iran and China. A binding force will, of course, be US sanctions on Iran and its trade war with China.

Emphasising the same point, Iran’s foreign minister wrote in an Op-Ed for Global Times and said, “China has become an indispensable economic partner of Iran and the two countries are strategic partners on many fronts…’” and that both China and Iran “ favor multilateralism in global affairs but that has come under attack now more than ever.” Hitting the US directly, Zarif noted, “China and Iran support fair and balanced commercial ties around the world and we both face overseas [US] hostility by populist unilateralist bigotry.”

A deep Chinese presence in Iran and a willingness to defy the US is a big boost to the countries, including Russia, Turkey, Syria, and Pakistan, which are trying to build an ‘Asian order’ around Chinese Belt and Road Initiative and other regional connectivity programs i.e., Eurasian Economic Union and even the SCO. As the saying goes, for a new order to emerge, the old must dismantle. Chinese defiance signifies a major step towards the new order.

Salman Rafi Sheikh is a research-analyst of International Relations and Pakistan’s foreign and domestic affairs.

September 18, 2019 Posted by | Economics | , , , | 1 Comment

India pressing US for resumed oil imports from Iran: Report

Press TV – September 18, 2019

Indian authorities have renewed their efforts to persuade the United States to lift sanctions on imports of oil from Iran amid disruptions caused to supplies from Saudi Arabia following attacks last week that hit oil installations east of the kingdom.

A Tuesday report on the website of The Mint, an Indian financial newspaper, showed that India had held fresh talks with the government of US President Donald Trump on renewed energy imports from Iran.

India stopped crude imports from Iran on May 2 after the White House toughened its sanctions on Iran and removed waivers granted to India and several other countries.

New Delhi used to be Iran’s second top buyer of oil before American sanctions were imposed in November with imports exceeding 20 million tons a year.

India’s External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said on Tuesday that resuming oil imports from Iran had never turned into a “static” issue and authorities were trying to find a solution to the problem.

“We are in dialogue with all suppliers including Iran,” said Jaishankar, adding that India wanted to ensure that supplies of energy into the country would remain predictable and affordable.

The remarks come after attacks on Saturday on key oil installations in Saudi Arabia’s Abqaiq cut the kingdom’s production in half.

The attacks, claimed by Yemen’s ruling Ansarullah movement, sent shockwaves across the global markets and caused a historic surge in prices while sparking serious concerns in energy-thirsty countries like India about the future of oil supplies.

While trying to revive imports from Iran, India has said it would seek a contract with Russia to secure a long-term supply of oil from the country.

September 18, 2019 Posted by | Economics | , , | 1 Comment

Putin’s Multipolar Offer to Saudi Arabian Exceptionalism

By Tim Kirby | Strategic Culture Foundation | September 18, 2019

Global Islamic Terrorism is universally recognized as today’s big threat and has been the justification for all sorts of changes, especially to life in the West after 9/11. The Islamic terrorists whom we are supposed to fear on a daily basis more or less believe in some form of Wahhabism, which grew up in and is spread from Saudi Arabia. Surprisingly the US and the Saudis have been and still are staunch allies. This makes little sense on the surface but Saudi exceptionalism extends to Russia as well. Russia and former parts of its territory have been some of the biggest victims of Wahhabism and still fight it to this day and yet President Putin just vowed to protect them from air threats via Russia’s top of the line equipment. So this raises the question by what logic would Russia want work with the Saudis who prop up the ideas that murder their citizens? The short answer is Multipolarity.

During the Cold War we saw two great powers with massive spheres of influence dividing the planet between themselves. This Bipolar (in the literal sense) structure forced everyone on America’s side to be Capitalist / Western-style Democratic and everyone on the USSR’s side to be Communist. So for every Communist revolution that succeeded Moscow’s sphere of influence grew while Washington’s shrank.

Now in the 21st century this dynamic is much different as the sole Hyperpower is fighting against any upstarts who challenge its status, which means that every nation that succumbs to the Washington status quo is a victory for Monopolarity, while any nation that begins to act on its own or under the influence of anyone besides the US/NATO/The West is a victory for Multipolarity.

This is why today, unlike during the Cold War Russia has a policy of being open to working with anyone who is willing to work with them regardless of ideology. Of course during the Cold War the US and the Soviet Union would work with countries outside their political theory of preference to some degree, but now Russia is free from the burdens of Communist ideology and is thus free to associate with anyone and Moscow is willing to work with anyone because any nation that rises up to a high level of sovereignty creates another crack in the monolith of Monopolarity.

This is why Moscow has been cooperating with Turkey who at times has been very aggressive towards them, shooting down a Russian plane, forcing their way into Syria and working against Assad’s and Russia’s interests in the region, and opening Turkish Universities across parts of the Former USSR challenging Russian cultural influence. These all sound bad, but Moscow has bigger fish to fry and the upstart Turks, despite being in NATO are beginning to push for a more powerful sovereign pro-Turkish foreign policy, which is bad for Russia in doses, but on the whole is a huge stride towards a Multipolar World that Russia so desperately needs.

And this is the logic that applies to the Saudis. True the Saudi Wahhabism and loud inaction in terms of containing Wahhabism have lead to the deaths of many Russian-speaking people the world over, but the Multipolar mission takes precedence, thus Putin offered the Saudis to buy Russian S-400 systems because “Our (Russian) air defenses can protect you, like they do Turkey and Iran” and that “These kinds of systems are capable of defending any kind of infrastructure in Saudi Arabia from any kind of attack.”

Syria and Turkey are both major Multipolar victories so perhaps in Putin’s words there is a hint that Saudi Arabia could jump on the Other World Order’s boat by buying these defense systems. The S-400s in question could be used to defend against a local neighbor, but we could suppose that a massive surface-to-air set up would best be used to defend against NATO, who is the only serious missile launching threat.

To an extent it is very possible that this offer by President Putin to the parties indirectly responsible for a great deal of suffering in Russia could actually be an invitation to the Multipolar World.

Saudi Arabia has been very much the exceptional Arab nation in the Middle East when it comes to NATO’s actions, but nothing lasts forever. The Saudis have oil and little means to defend it, while at the same time maintaining an ideology that has been demonized by the Mainstream Media for almost 20 years, prepping the West with a casus belli when the time comes. The fear of Monopolar aggression could force the Saudis to buy into team Multipolarity.

September 18, 2019 Posted by | Timeless or most popular | , , , , | Leave a comment

Yemeni Killer Blow to House of Saud

By Finian Cunningham | Strategic Culture Foundation | September 18, 2019

The Yemeni rebels’ drone blitz on the “nerve center” of Saudi Arabia’s oil industry was a devastating counter-offensive which potentially could end the four-year war in short order. What is even more catastrophic for the Saudi monarchy – especially the ambitious Crown Prince – is that the Houthi rebels have wielded the ultimate power to crash the kingdom’s oil economy.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS) was the main architect of the disastrous Saudi war on Yemen. His military hard-man display was meant to consolidate his rise to power as heir to the Saudi throne. It was a calculation based on the blood of the Yemeni people. But now the war has gone from a callous game to a far-more dangerous threat to the House of Saud’s seat of power. If the Saudi oil economy is put at severe risk, then the lifeline for the monarchy is liable to be cut.

After last weekend’s spectacular air strike on the main oil processing plant in Saudi Arabia – northeast of the capital Riyadh, some 1,000 kms from Yemen – the Houthi military leadership is warning that more deeply-penetrating aerial attacks are on the way. The Yemeni rebels have demonstrated that nowhere in Saudi Arabia is safe.

Saudi air defenses and their multi-billion-dollar US Patriot anti-missile systems have been rendered useless against an-ever increasing arsenal of more sophisticated unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) operated out of Yemen. UN experts reckon that the Houthis’ UAV-X drone has a range of up to 1,500 kms, which means that all of the Saudi oil infrastructure located in the Eastern Province near the Persian Gulf is a viable target.

Last weekend’s air strikes carried out with 10 drones, according to the Houthis, caused Saudi oil output to shut down by nearly half. The main target – the Abqaiq refinery – processes some 70 per cent of all Saudi crude destined for export. It is not clear when the processing plant can be restored to normal function. It may take weeks or even months. But if the Yemeni rebels can inflict that extent of damage in one air raid, it is not hard to foresee how the Saudi oil-dependent economy could conceivably be brought to a crippling standstill.

“The only option for the Saudi government is to stop attacking us,” said a Houthi military spokesman following the drone strikes. The rebels also warned foreign workers in Saudi Arabia associated with the country’s oil industry to vacate.

The Yemenis have a gun to the House of Saud’s head. It must give the rebels great satisfaction to finally have the Saudi monarchy in their cross-hairs after four years of Yemen suffering relentless aerial bombardment and siege by the US-backed Saudi military. The Saudi-led war on its southern neighbor – the poorest country in the Arab region – was always an outrageous aggression under the guise of supporting the return of a corrupt crony who had been ousted by the Yemenis in early 2015. Up to 100,000 people have been killed – most of them from the indiscriminate bombing campaign by Saudi (and Emirati) warplanes supplied and armed by the US, Britain and France. Millions face starvation in what the UN calls the worst humanitarian crisis for many years.

The Saudi rulers, Western governments and media have tried to obscure the genocidal war on Yemen as a “proxy war” involving Iran, as if Tehran is the instigator of subverting Saudi Arabia from the south. Iran backs the Houthis politically, and perhaps also militarily more recently, but any involvement by Tehran is a reaction to the initial Western-backed Saudi aggression against Yemen.

Claims by US and Saudi officials that Iran is responsible for the latest air strikes on Saudi Arabia’s vital oil industry are more of the same obfuscation. Such muddying of the waters is an attempt to distract from the central point that the Houthis are retaliating with the legitimate right of self-defense after years of merciless slaughter inflicted on their people by the Western-backed Saudi coalition.

There’s another urgent reason for why the Saudi rulers and the US are trying to blame Iran for the latest drone attacks on the Saudi oil industry. If admitted that the air raids were carried out primarily by the Houthis – perhaps even with Iranian drone technology – then that admission points to the complete vulnerability of the Saudi oil economy and the very power structure of the monarchic rulers.

A hint of the trepidation being felt in Riyadh are reports that the latest air strikes have rattled stock markets for Saudi petrochemical companies. Worse, it is also reported that the attacks may delay the planned stock market listing of Saudi Aramco, the state-owned oil company. Worse still, the valuation of the company may be slashed due to the perceived risk from further Yemeni air strikes.

The planned Initial Public Offering (IPO) of Aramco – whereby the Saudi state is selling a portion of the company to private investors – has been one of the most talked about events in recent years among international business. The IPO which is due to be launched next year has been called the “biggest-ever” stock market sell-off.

In an extensive interview with Bloomberg in October last year, the Saudi Crown Prince, MbS, boasted that it was the “biggest IPO in human history”. He claimed then that Aramco’s total valuation was worth $2 trillion. If the Saudis sell off a 5 per cent share in the company, they are expecting to raise $100 billion in cash. The Aramco IPO is central to MbS’ ambitious diversification master plan for the entire Saudi economy, known as Vision 2030. The capital raised from the Aramco sell-off is intended to catalyze private sector employment and technological innovation in the oil-dependent kingdom whose budget is unsustainably propping up government-sector jobs and welfare largesse to prevent the young population of Saudis rebelling against the sclerotic House of Saud.

After the Houthis’ devastating air attacks on the Saudi oil heartland – the crown jewels of the kingdom – potential investors are now reportedly looking warily at the future risk of Aramco. Valuation of the company in the aftermath of the Yemeni drone strikes has been slashed by some estimates to $300 billion – that’s down by 85 per cent from the previous aspired-for $2,000 billion. If that downgrade holds or worsens with future Houthi attacks on Saudi oil infrastructure, then the capital raised from an IPO could shrink from the $100 billion projected by the Crown Prince to $15 billion. In short, his Vision 2030 plan is down the pan.

It must be alarming to the young Saudi potentate that US President Donald Trump has begun to play down any retaliation against Iran, saying that he doesn’t want to be drawn into a war.

That means the Saudi monarchs are on their own and at the mercy of the Houthis and what they do next. The downfall of the scheming Crown Prince evokes a Shakespearian drama of treachery.

September 18, 2019 Posted by | Illegal Occupation | , , | 3 Comments

Saudi Arabia accuses Iran of sponsoring oil-plant attack, says it ‘couldn’t have originated in Yemen’

RT | September 18, 2019

Saudi Arabia has claimed that Iran was the sponsor of attacks on its oil treatment facilities, presenting wreckage of drones and missiles as “definitive proof” of Tehran’s involvement.

Speaking to the press on Wednesday, a spokesman for the Saudi Ministry of Defense displayed what he said was wreckage from the projectiles used in the strikes on petrol plants in Abqaiq and Khurais last weekend.

The type of weapons used proved that the assault “could not have originated in Yemen,” Colonel Turki al-Malki claimed. He said the capabilities of the drones and the cruise missiles have been known to Riyadh from previous attacks.

Accusing Iran of sponsoring the attack, the spokesman called on other countries to “acknowledge Iran’s malign activities in the region.”

“The attack was launched from the north and unquestionably sponsored by Iran.”

He also presented surveillance footage from one of the oil facilities, claiming it depicted a drone in flight, though the UAV was difficult to make out in the video.

It wasn’t clear where precisely the attack originated, al-Malki admitted. He said the government was “working to know exactly the launch point.”

The press conference came just as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo landed in Jeddah, where he is scheduled to meet with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to discuss the attacks.

Yemen’s Houthi rebels claimed responsibility for the drone and missile strikes on Saturday, which caused a severe disruption in global oil markets and sent prices soaring upward by nearly 20 percent. The damaged refinery in Abqaiq was among the world’s largest oil processing facilities, while the Khurais plant sits on the country’s second largest oil field.

Does missile type prove anything?

The missile used in the attack could be a copy of the Soviet-designed cruise missile Kh-55, which Iran acquired from Ukraine and then developed into its own weapon, a military analyst and retired army officer Viktor Murakhovsky told RT.

However, this does not qualify as definitive proof that Iran launched such an attack, Murakhovsky said. It is “hardly a secret” that Iran sells weapons to the Yemeni Houthi rebels, he explained, adding that Tehran has spoken in support of Yemen’s right of self-defense.

Moreover, it is not difficult for Houthi forces to launch a cruise missile, so their responsibility cannot be ruled out.

“You do not need a narrow-focus specialist in order to use this missile. You need to input the launch mission data and carry out the launch, that’s all,” Murakhovsky said.

September 18, 2019 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | 6 Comments

Iran issues sober warning to US: Action will be met with counteraction

Press TV – September 18, 2019

Iran has warned the United States via Switzerland that any action taken against the country over the false accusation that Tehran was behind the recent attacks on Saudi Arabian oil facilities will be met with an immediate response.

In an official note passed to the Swiss Embassy in Tehran, which represents American interests, Iran reiterated that it was not behind the Saturday attacks on Saudi Arabian oil facilities.

It condemned and rejected claims by US President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that Iran had been involved.

The note was handed to the Swiss Embassy on Monday evening, shortly after the US accused Iran of involvement in the attacks, IRNA reported on Wednesday.

In the note, Iran said that any action taken against the country would be met with immediate counteraction, which would not be limited to the source of the act of aggression.

Last Saturday, Yemeni armed forces conducted a large-scale operation against Saudi Arabia’s Aramco oil installations in response to the Saudi-led war on their country, causing a partial halt in crude and gas production from the world’s top oil exporter.

The Yemeni Houthi Ansarullah movement immediately took credit for the attacks.

Yet, Pompeo swiftly blamed Iran.

A short while later, Trump said the US was “locked and loaded” for a response at the behest of Saudi Arabia, although he later said that he wanted no conflict with any country. Still later, the Pentagon reportedly prepared “response” options for the US president.

Tensions have significantly risen as a result of the accusations, which Iran has denied, and there has been speculation that the US may take military or other forms of action against Iran or Iranian interests.

Iran’s defense minister warns of decisive response

In another development, Iran’s Defense Minister Brigadier General Amir Hatami on Wednesday also dismissed the US accusations about Iran’s involvement in the attacks in Saudi Arabia.

“If a threat is posed to Iran, there will be the same decisiveness with which we responded to the American drone’s minimal incursion [into Iranian skies],” he said, referring to the shooting down of a US drone that had intruded into Iranian airspace on June 20.

Hatami also reiterated Iran’s position that the Yemeni attacks on the Saudi oil facilities were a legitimate act of self-defense.

“It’s pretty clear: there has been a conflict between two countries (Yemen and Saudi Arabia). One party to the conflict is the Yemenis, who have said explicitly that they have done this.”

September 18, 2019 Posted by | Wars for Israel | , , , | 1 Comment