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PBC News & Comment: Will Syrian Conflict Become World War III?

Second shoot-down by US in 2 days increases tensions as all sides scramble for advantage in Syria, and Russia-bashers embolden Trump…--Robert Parry warns that US media and Neocons are “spoiling for wider war in Syria”

--NSA whistleblower Tom Drake, scheduled to be interviewed here this week, decries hysteria aimed at Russia

--in our latest in-depth interview, CIA whistleblower Mel Goodman says the anti-Russia attitudes risk cooperation in critical areas

--Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor of The Nation, notes that the media’s obsession with Russia is obscuring the gains of Trump’s Wrecking Crew

--at the same time, reporters are being excluded from Trump and members of Congress

--European human rights court rules that Russia’s “gay propaganda” laws are illegal

--Senate Dems are using proven GOP tactics to obstruct the secret bill to dismantle Obamacare

--minor leaks on GOP health bill show that it’s worse than House version in some ways

--in op-ed, Ross Barkan points out that Dems have no bold vision for healthcare, just defending the status quo

--new figures show major spike in ER, hospitalization and deaths from opioid abuse

--in showdown over abortion rights, Louisiana’s 7 restrictive laws are challenged

--Otto Warmbier, American student returned from North Korea last week, dies, triggering strong, judgmental responses, like this Facebook post:

"I'm angry about the young US citizen who suffered neurological problems, was finally released, only to die two days later. (probably beaten to death by the North Koreans), but one of my friends said you can't feel that sorry for him.
Unless he was an incredible idiot, he knew how bad that country is. NOBODY in their right mind goes to North Korea. And if it really was a school trip, well then, that school is at fault for sending him there. Young dumb males always try to do stupid stuff no matter where they are."

--black NRA defender criticizes exoneration of cop who killed Philando Castile

--setting grisly new record, UN stats show 65 million people displaced worldwide