Why did Qatar suddenly become the new enemy?

One of the most surprising geopolitical developments occurred recently when the tiny kingdom of Qatar suddenly became viewed as a US enemy. We have to remember that Qatar is a monarchy like many of the countries in that region that the US is allied with and yet suddenly seven nations in the region have decided to withdraw their ambassadors and stop flights to and from that country, and the US is hailing the move. The list of nations that have done so consists of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, Libya, Yemen, the United Arab Emirates, and the Maldives, a set that includes some of the most reactionary and despotic nations in the world.
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John Oliver on the Trump-Comey exchange and the British elections

In addition to reviewing James Comey’s testimony and Donald Trump’s bizarre response to it, he also gives his take on the British elections and the complicated nature of the upcoming Brexit negotiations that begin this week. Theresa May said that she called elections three years early in order to be in a stronger position to negotiate. But now May’s failed gamble makes her weaker since her loss of a majority means she will need to get the approval of the DUP for her positions. He explains the difference between what is being called ‘hard Brexit’ and a ‘soft Brexit’. We also learn a lot more about Lord Buckethead who challenged Theresa May for her seat.
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ICC Champions trophy update: India and Pakistan get into semi-finals

In the final group games, India easily beat South Africa and Pakistan beat Sri Lanka, the latter being a see-saw game in which the ever-mercurial Pakistan did well to restrict Sri Lanka to a low score of 236 and then seemed to be cruising towards a comfortable victory at 92/1 before experiencing a batting collapse that left them reeling at 162/7. But a stout rearguard action saw them reach the target.
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Fighting the Trump shock agenda

Naomi Klein is one of the most astute observers and analysts of the American political scene. She is the author of the book Shock Doctrine and has just released a new book No Is Not Enough that discusses how the newly energized protest movement can be more effective. I was glad to see that The Intercept has snapped her up as a columnist. In her recent piece she warns us that the circus-like atmosphere surrounding the Trump administration should not distract us from the fact that he will use any major event on the global scene to ram through his substantive actions.
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Another victim of the UK elections – Donald Trump’s visit

News has leaked that Donald Trump, who loves to boast about how tough he is, has decided to put his state visit to the UK on hold because of the real possibility of large-scale protests, buoyed by the Labour party’s strong showing in the elections (they got 40% of the vote to just 42% for the Conservatives) and by Jeremy Corbyn’s socialist agenda that is everything that Trump opposes.
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50th anniversary of the day Israel attacked the USS Liberty

Miriam Pensack provides new information about an event that has been sent into the media memory hole. (I wrote about this incident back in 2010.) The media loves to commemorate anniversaries of major events but the 50th anniversary of the day that Israeli warplanes attacked a US navy vessel has been ignored. The NSA continues to keep the details secret but Pensack reports on two documents that were revealed by Edward Snowden.
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Ice Cube schools Bill Maher on his use of the N-word

Bill Maher got in trouble last week for gratuitously using the N-word on his show. Ice Cube does an excellent job of explaining why it is never a good idea for people who are not black to use the word, except in very narrow circumstances, such as where there is an academic discussion about the word, its history, and its effects and even then only when its use is unavoidable. I have had long discussions about racism without ever having to use the word even though its presence hung in the air and was almost palpable. The fact that you have close friends or intimate partners or even spouses who are black does not give you a pass. Discussions about whether Maher is a racist or not obscure the important point that Ice Cube is making.
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ICC Champions Trophy: Bangladesh in, Australia out

England defeated Australia today in a rain-shortened game with the result that Australia did not make the semi-final round of the ICC Champions Trophy tournament, a shock for this perennial cricket powerhouse. As a result, Bangladesh now joins England (who had already qualified) in that round, a result that must be causing massive celebrations in that cricket-mad country. Bangladesh have shown that they are no longer capable of just the occasional win, since their first match with England was closely fought and they also beat New Zealand. They also beat England and eliminated them from the 2015 World Cup and now they have done the same for Australia. In 2015 they made it to the quarterfinal round and thus this is their best showing so far. If they and England win their semi-final games against opponents that will be determined after Sunday and Monday’s games, the final will be between them, mirroring the opening game.
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A ‘Coalition of Crackpots’ being formed in the UK

Theresa May is desperately trying to cling on to being prime minister despite having lost her parliamentary majority by running a campaign that has been widely criticized, even within her own party, for being poorly run and having a lousy message. Since her party now has only 318 seats but requires 326 to have a majority in the 650-seat parliament, she has turned for support to the Democratic Union Party that has 10 seats in her efforts to cobble together a slim majority. The Liberal Democrats who once formed a coalition with David Cameron and were severely punished by the voters in 2015 clearly were not going to make that mistake again. In fact, their leader Nick Clegg who was deputy prime minister in that coalition lost his own seat yesterday.
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