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YEAR END REVIEW 2016 PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Barry Kowal   
Dec 23, 2016 at 09:50 AM
YEAR END REVIEW 2016











Hello Everyone!!!! 

   This is one of those group e-mails that are shot out at the last minute to wish everyone a MERRY XMAS or whatever you celebrate (or If you celebrate at all) and a HAPPY NEW 2017!!! Sort of just realised that Xmas is this SUNDAY!! For those of you who are new to my mailing list I do this year-end review every year.I have been doing this for every year since 2004.These reviews are fairly lengthy so I reckon most of you probably don't even read it.
  Those of you who do thank you. The review is available all year round on my website at: http://hitsofalldecades.com/chart_hits/
This year like last year and the year before I have images that shaped 2016.Each one of these images will be addressed in my year-end review.
Now I will begin the year-end review. Every year I start with the news and first discuss issues related to the USA and then I will discuss issues regarding other parts of the world. Some issues are intertwined as they involve more than one country.Then I do the obituaries,then sports,then entertainment and the c;osing.The topics look at several events of the past year.So hold your breath now and let's begin by looking at what has transpired in this world that we live in over the past 365 days.

 

NEWS

 

USA PAST,PRESENT AND FUTURE

    To understand the USA today you have to go back to 1953 when US Secretary of State John Foster Dulles created what people now know as the military-industrial complex.On January 17,1961 when US President Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower in his farewell speech warns the world to be aware of the military-industrial complex.He knew exactly what he was talking about because his Secretary of State from 1953-1959 created the monster. He was basically saying when the military and big business go to bed together wars will be fought and many people will die for unjust causes. Ever since World War II the USA has always been involved in war (Cold War,Vietnam.Wat on Drugs,War On Terror,Iraq, Afghanistan,Nicaragua and many more) or creating wars. The USA spends ten times as much on defense as Russia but considers Russia a threat. The US spends more on propaganda for the military defense than it spends on education.

  The war machine works like this.Defense contractors build factories all over the USA.This means jobs.Jobs equal votes. So if a bill comes up in Congress advocating war a politician will more than likely vote for it. To do otherwise may result in people losing jobs who the voters will blame it on the politician at the ballot box.After all,the military and defense contractors only care about the bottom line.

  In the 1980s the USA openly supported Iraq in the Iran-Iraq War. However, covertly the USA supported Iran.Remember,Oliver North in the Iran Contra Scandal. Years later when the US invaded Iraq then these same weapons which were sold to Iraq would be pointed at US soldiers. Defense contractors don't care.

  Now the USA is instilling fear into the Europeans about Russian aggression, advising them to buy weapons to protect themselves.

  Now we have Donald Trump becoming our 45th president on January 20th. He wants a more conciliatory relationship with Russia. He has flip flopped on his position on many issues. But,he has remained rather consistent on his position for better USA-Russian relations. He is more than certain to receive (he already has) fierce opposition on this issue from the CIA, military and many members of Congress.

  Most presidents succumb to the arm twisting of those in the shadows.Obama I believe was sincere in his desire to close GITMO but he was pressured into changing his position.JFK refused to start a war in Vietnam and we all know what the CIA did to him. Then the CIA told LBJ to gives us a war in Vietnam or you;ll wind up like Kennedy.

    There have been US Presidents who have successfully stood up to the rich & powerful like Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Theodore Roosevelt. Both Roosevelts were themselves rich and powerful. Sometimes it takes a rich person to bring another rich person down. Teddy Roosevelt was known for saying "walk softly and carry a big stick". He busted up the monopolies of many corporations. Like FDR and Teddy Roosevelt,Donald Trump is a rich New Yorker. American broadcaster and film maker Max Keiser predicts Donald Trump to be a president like Teddy Roosevelt.

  However,American University in Washington Professor Allan Lichtman

the man dubbed "Prediction Professor" for accurately calling almost every presidential election since 1984, including the 2016 election, now forecasts the impeachment of President-elect Donald Trump. Lichtman says "The Republicans are nervous about Donald Trump,".He is a loose cannon. Nobody knows what he really believes or really where he stands. He can't be controlled. The Republicans would vastly prefer to have Mike Pence, an absolutely predictable down-the-pipe conservative Republican."

  As for me.I am not as optimistic as Max Keiser or as pessimistic as Allan Lichtman. I notice the people Trump has already recruited to work around him. Trump will have the wealthiest cabinet in US history.I think he's a pragmatist so probably US-Russian relations will improve. He has not waivered on this issue nor does he stand to gain any political points by expressing d'tente with Russia.I know he will get strong opposition for maintaining this position. They say Trump is crazy.But I say he is crazy like a fox.He defeated 16 candidates in the Republican primaries and then defeated Hillary against all odds.So I think he will get what he wants.He and Obama may also be playing good cop-bad cop with Russia in an effort or trying to put a wedge between Russia and China.I also believe,like Bush and Obama,the rich will get richer and the poor will get poorer. Not much difference between him,Hillary and Obama.Like the "Who" said in 1971 "Meet the new boss,same as the old boss".

 

WOLF BLITZER OF CNN THINKS MAKING BOMBS IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN SPARING HUMAN LIFE

 

On the afternoon of Thursday,September 8,2016,when US Senator Rand Paul expressed opposition to a $1.1 billion U.S. arms sale to Saudi Arabia (which has been brutally bombing civilian targets in Yemen using U.S made weapons for more than a year now) alarmed CNN's Wolf Blitzer.

     Blitzer's concern:That stopping the sale could result in fewer jobs for arms manufacturers."So for you this is a moral issue," Blitzer told Rand Paul during the Kentucky Republican's appearance on CNN. "Because you know, there's a lot of jobs at stake. Certainly if a lot of these defense contractors stop selling war planes,other sophisticated equipment to Saudi Arabia, there's going to be a significant loss of jobs,of revenue here in the United States. That's secondary from your standpoint."

   Paul stayed on message. "Well not only is it a moral question, its a constitutional question," Paul said. "Our founding fathers very directly and specifically did not give the president the power to go to war. They gave it to Congress. So Congress needs to step up and this is what I'm doing."

   Saudi Arabia began bombing Yemen in March 2015,and has since been responsible for the majority of the 10,000 deaths in the war so far.The U.S.-backed bombing coalition has been accused of intentionally targeting civilians,hospitals,factories,markets,schools and homes. The situation is so bad that the Red Cross has started donating morgue units to Yemeni hospitals.

      The war's incredible humanitarian toll has generated an increasing outcry in the United States. Earlier in September,more than 60 members of Congress signed a letter asking the administration to delay the most recent arms shipment.Ordinarily,under the Arms Export Control Act,Congress has 30 days to block arms sales proposed by the administration -but by announcing the arms sale in August,most of those 30 days fell during Congress's August recess. That 30-day window expired on Thursday,September 8 and the White House had not granted the request for extra time.

    The Obama administration has sold more weapons to the Saudis than any other administration,pledging more than $115 billion worth of small arms,tanks, helicopters, missiles, and aircraft.

     So yes,it's a legitimate moral issue.What it's not is a legitimate economic issue. If you're worried about jobs,military spending is not where you look.It's an inefficient way to create jobs, because it has a lower multiplier effect (meaning how much it ripples in the wider economy). One study from 2011 found that $1 billion put into military spending would create approximately 11,200 jobs,but that same amount of money put into education creates 26,700 jobs.

HILLARY CLINTON BELIEVES AMERICAN EXCEPTIONALISM IS ABOVE ALL ELSE


 While Secretary of State in 2011 after Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi was murdered.In an interview Hillary Clinton said "We came,we saw and he died",then she bursted out with a huge giggle.American-born television presenter and producer Stacy Herbert and others have said that "Hillary Clinton should have been disqualified from running for president just for that behavior".

 Unfortunately,the US media strongly supported Hillary. Democrats and Hillary Clinton were delighted in attacking Donald Trump from the right, employing McCarthyistic tactics and embracing the imperialist notion of "American exceptionalism," says Daniel Lazare.

 Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who's the most right-wing presidential candidate of all? The answer used to be Donald Trump,famous for his naked bigotry toward Mexicans and Muslims. But that was before Hillary Clinton supporters took a page from the old Joe McCarthy handbook and began denouncing their Republican opponent as "an unwitting agent of the Russian Federation" or arguing that criticism of Clinton and NATO somehow emanates out of Moscow.  

   Now comes Clinton's speech at an American Legion convention in Cincinnati, her most bellicose to date,in which she savages Trump for failing to embrace the ultra-imperialist doctrine of "American exceptionalism."

   "My opponent in this race has said very clearly that he thinks American exceptionalism is insulting to the rest of the world," she said Wednesday. "In fact, when Vladimir Putin, of all people, criticized American exceptionalism, my opponent agreed with him, saying, and I quote, "if you're in Russia, you don't want to hear that America is exceptional." Well maybe you don't want to hear it, but that doesn't mean it's not true."

Good people, she went on, do not take exception to the doctrine only enemies do::When we say America is exceptional,it doesn't mean that people from other places don;t feel deep national pride, just like we do. It means that we recognize America;s unique and unparalleled ability to be a force for peace and progress,a champion for freedom and opportunity.Our power comes with a responsibility to lead, humbly, thoughtfully, and with a fierce commitment to our values. Because,when America fails to lead,we leave a vacuum that either causes chaos or other countries or networks rush in to fill the void."

  It's either American tutelage or Armageddon,in other words,which is why countries that are smart and sensible know better than to resist. To round out her pro-war package, Clinton also promised to respond to foreign cyberattacks with military means " perhaps sending out drones to bomb Wikileaks:" and promised to deal with the world's bullies as well."I know that we can't cozy up to dictators," she said. "We have to stand up to them."All this from a woman whose family foundation has received up to $25 million from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, perhaps the most repressive government on earth, plus up to $50 million from other Persian Gulf sources. (The Saudis also donated $10-million to the construction of the Bill Clinton presidential library.)

 

VOTER SUPPRESSION AND VOTE RIGGING IN 2016


 

  The biggest topic in 2016 was the US Presidential election.The Democratic National Committee (DNC) clearly had the cards stacked against Bernie Sanders to anoint Hillary. Bernie really won the primaries according to Wiki Leaks.Then in the general election due to cross-referencing and voter suppression may have helped Donald Trump win. If there had been no voter suppression or vote rigging Bernie Sanders would now be the US President-elect.

  Wiki Leaks claims by biasing its internal electoral market the DNC selected the less competitive candidate defeating the purpose of running a primary.WikiLeaks' discussion of "biasing its internal electoral market" appears to be a reference to the allegations that people at the top of the Democrat party backed Ms Clinton in the primaries, and so helped her go on to win the nomination. It was leaked emails from WikiLeaks that led to party Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz resigning in July, after being forced to step aside because of the emails. 

The embarrassing cache of messages showed that Ms Wasserman Schultz and other officials appeared to be leading coordinated efforts to have Ms Clinton elected. She stepped down after the site published those messages and it became clear that the process may not have been as open and fair as had been claimed.

    Further after Hillary lost the election she kept accusing the Russians of sabotaging the election.This is blatantly false. For one you can not hack a voting booth.They also claim the Russians hacked into the DNC.This too is fake.If the Russians hacked into the DNC,the NSA would know it.More than likely the most plausible explanation for Wiki-Leaks obtaining John Podesta's emails is a leak. Someone close to Hillary probably fed the info to wiki-leaks.But the Clinton team will never admit this.It is much better to accuse Russia,because if people buy this it will delegitimize Donald Trump's victory.Further,the newspaper pushes this fictitious story.Then the main stream media has the audacity to complain about fake news.

 Still after the liberation of Aleppo CNN had a journalist interview a suicide bomber who was going to fight the Syrian army with explosive devices he was provided by the US government. And CNN is going to establish a fact checking committee to decide what is real news and what is fake news.LMFAO!!!!


 THE 2016 US PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION

  The 2016 US Presidential probably the biggest news story of the year saw Donald Trump elected as the 45th US President. Upsetting pollsters who over 80% of them were predicting a Hillary victory.

  However,Hillary Clinton and the Democrats have no one to blame but themselves for Donald Trump winning. The mainstream media couldn't have helped Clinton anymore than they did,and Trump couldn't have tried any harder to lose.

   Because Clinton would have easily lost to a moderate Republican,her campaign coordinated with the DNC to elevate Trump as a legitimate candidate,and declared war on anyone who opposed Clinton's coronation.

   Bernie Sanders,the most popular politician in the United States,would have easily defeated Trump. But the Democratic Party, with super delegates rallying behind Clinton and corrupt DNC staff working for Clinton behind the scenes, ensured Sanders came up short in the Democratic primaries. Hillary Clinton's performance-enhancing steroids were Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Donna Brazile, and an army of Clinton partisans more than willing to forgo their autonomy as journalists to propel Clinton's candidacy. The only problem with this strategy was it could only work in the Democratic primaries' not the general election. If Bernie would have carried the flag for the Democrats,today the US Senator from Vermont would be the president-elect.

   In a period of growing resentment toward gridlock in government, increasing corporate and wealthy influence coupled with corruption, the Democratic Party's endorsement the embodiment of the status quo was a sure fire way to lose a general election,even against an inept demagogue like Trump.

  But the Democratic Party won't learn from these mistakes. Rather,they will blame everyone but themselves. Green Party candidate Jill Stein will be a likely scapegoat,despite the fact that if all of the votes for Stein went to Hillary Clinton,Clinton still would have lost the election just as badly.

    The most loyal Clinton supporters will predictably attack Sanders and his supporters for Clinton's loss. They will do so without acknowledging that Clinton did nothing to extend an olive branch to Sanders supporters. Tim Kaine was the exact opposite of a progressive, and Clinton immediately hired Debbie Wasserman Schultz after she resigned in disgrace from her position as DNC chair after WikiLeaks revealed she helped Clinton cheat in the Democratic primaries. Wasserman Schultz's replacement, Donna Brazile, was just as much a corrupt Clinton loyalist.

   As for policies, the only one Clinton even somewhat adopted from Sanders was the half-hearted promise to make public colleges tuition free.But Hillary will say anything to get your vote.Both Russia and WikiLeaks will be blamed for Clinton's defeat:but they didn't write the emails from the DNC and Clinton Campaign Chair John Podesta, which served to confirm and vindicate criticisms of Clinton,rather than develop new narratives. The DNC knew Clinton was a weak candidate and relied on Machiavellian tactics and an elitist circle of mainstream media insiders to manufacture consent for her candidacy. Their strategy backfired, and there is no one else to blame for Clinton's loss and Donald Trump's win.

DAKOTA ACCESS PIPELINE PROTESTS


    The Dakota Access Pipeline protests,also known by hashtags such as #NoDAPL, are grassroots movements that began this Spring in reaction to the approved construction of Energy Transfer Partners' Dakota Access Pipeline. The approved pipeline would run from the Bakken oil fields in western North Dakota to southern Illinois,crossing beneath the Missouri and Mississippi rivers,as well as part of Lake Oahe near the Standing Rock Indian Reservation.In April,LaDonna Brave Bull Allard,a Standing Rock Sioux elder,established a camp as a center for cultural preservation and spiritual resistance to the pipeline.Over the summer the camp grew to thousands of people. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers conducted a limited review of the route and issued a finding of no significant impact.They have not conducted an area-wide full environmental impact assessment.In March and April the Environmental Protection Agency,the Department of Interior and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation asked the Army Corps of Engineers to conduct a formal Environmental Impact Assessment and issue an Environmental Impact Statement.In July,the Army Corps of Engineers approved the water crossing permits for the Dakota Access Pipeline under a "fast track" option,and construction of the disputed section of pipeline continued.The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe filed suit against the Corps of Engineers,accusing the agency of violating the National Historic Preservation Act and other laws.On November 14,the The Army Corps of Engineers said it needed more time to study the impact of the plan.In a news release they said: "The Army has determined that additional discussion and analysis are warranted in light of the history of the Great Sioux Nation's dispossessions of lands,the importance of Lake Oahe to the Tribe,our government-to-government relationship and the statute governing easements through government property."

While the protests have drawn international attention and have been said to be "reshaping the national conversation for any environmental project that would cross the Native American land",there was limited mainstream media coverage of the events in the United States until early September.On September 3, construction workers bulldozed a section of land the tribe had identified as sacred ground in an amendment to the federal injunction a day earlier. When protesters entered the area,security workers used attack dogs,which bit at least six of the protesters and one horse.The incident was filmed and viewed by several million people on YouTube and other social media.In late October,armed soldiers and police with riot gear and military equipment cleared an encampment that was directly in the proposed pipeline's path.

   According to Reuters,on the night of November 21st hundreds of protesters made attempts to force their way through the barricades. They were met with water cannons,pepper spray,tear gas and rubber bullets,resulting in dozens of injuries.

       On December 4, 2016, under President Barack Obama's administration the Army Corps of Engineers denied the easement through Lake Oahe and will begin "undertaking an environmental impact statement to look at possible alternative routes"


JULY 6-8,2016 BARACK OBAMA THE WHITE MAN'S DUPE

 

   Within  48 hours beginning on July 6th,2016 two cops in the USA were captured on video shooting 2 unarmed black men to death. One incident occurred in Baton Rouge,Louisiana which was the murder of  37 year old Alton Sterling.The second occurred a day later near St.Paul,Minnesota involving the murder of 32 year old Philando Castile.On September 20 two more unarmed black men were shot to death by police in Charlotte and Tulsa.

  While at a NATO summit in Warsaw.Poland on July 8th,2016 US President Barack Obama addresses the issue regarding these two murders,asking citizens in the USA to remain calm,not to rush to judgment and to get get all the facts first.He added there would be an investigation. But he expressed no outrage. 

  I have a feeling with what happened with Michael Brown and Freddie Gray. Obama will do shit.

  In contrast on July 8th,2016 five police officers were shot to death in Dallas. Now,Obama expresses extreme outrage.He does not say keep calm and get all the facts first. He calls this act despicable and wants the perpetrators brought to justice.

  At the same at the NATO summit on July 8,2016 he does fear mongering with NATO members about Russia. He was saber rattling the other NATO members. But what he is really doing is just like what he is doing in the USA when he supports white cops and doesn't heed the calls from the African-American community.He is being the white man's dupe.

  The military industrial complex love to sell weapons. They don't sell weapons.They don't make profits. So the white man's dupe "Obama" instills fear into the NATO nations inducing them into buying more weapons.

 Frank Sinatra once said "What is a man.What has he got.If not himself.Then he has not!!!"

 

JULY 17,2016-OBAMA THE COWARD HAS BLOOD ON HIS HANDS


 

  Did you know that the police in the USA have killed more people in 24 days than the police in the UK have killed in 100 years.In the USA your chances of getting killed by a police officer are much greater than getting killed by a terrorist.

See:http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/us-police-shot-more-people-dead-last-month-than-british-officers-did-in-95-years-a6769316.html

  Within 48 hours beginning July 5th,2016,two cops in the USA were captured on video shooting 2 unarmed black men to death. One incident occurred in Baton Rouge,Louisiana which was the murder of 37 year old Alton Sterling,a father of five.The second occurred a day later near St.Paul,Minnesota,involving the murder of 32 year old Philando Castile.

  Then on July 7th,2016 in retaliation,Micah Xavier Johnson ambushed and fired upon a group of police officers in Dallas,Texas,killing five officers and injuring nine others. Two bystanders were also wounded. Johnson was a US Army Reserve Afghan War veteran who the Dallas police allege was angry over police shootings of black men and stated that he wanted to kill white people,especially white police officers.The shooting happened at the end of a peaceful Black Lives Matter-organized protest against the police killings of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge,Louisiana and Philando Castile in Falcon Heights, Minnesota.US President Barack Obama called Micah's actions despicable.

  Then on Sunday morning,July 17th,2016 three police officers were fatally shot in Baton Rouge and three others were wounded, according to officials,in what one witness described as a fusillade of dozens of shots shattering the calm of a Sunday morning.The gunman,who was African-American,was killed at the scene.A law enforcement official identified the gunman as Gavin E. Long,29 an ex-marine.Speaking from the White House,Obama said there was no justification for Sunday's "cowardly and reprehensible" violence against law enforcement."Regardless of motive, the death of these three brave officers underscores the danger that police across the country confront every single day," Obama said.

   If you notice Obama didn't call the actions committed by the police officers who murdered Sterling and Castille as cowardly,reprehensible or despicable. When you consider Sterling was pinned to the ground by several police officers and then shot at point blank range.While Johnson and Long committed their murders knowing damn well they would die as a result of their actions. They both put their lives on the line for a cause.Then Obama considers them cowards while a cop who kills an unarmed citizen with impunity is not.

   In 2014 when 18 year old unarmed Michael Brown from Ferguson,Missouri and unarmed Eric Gardener from Staten Island,New York were murdered by the police.Obama also did not describe their actions as cowardly,reprehensible or despicable.

   As a matter of fact 18 year old Michael Brown laid dead on the ground for four hours before any one decided to cover him up. Never does President Obama even bother to mention this fact. Instead after the racist prosecutor declined to file charges against the murderer Darren Wilson,Obama defended the prosecutor's decision.

   I don't fancy George Bush.But in April,1992 when four police officers were acquitted for battering Rodney King,Bush called the acquittal despicable. He got the Attorney General to file federal charges against those LA cops and two of them were convicted and went to prison.Bush at least had spine and was not a suck up like Obama.

   Further,Obama is very quick to condemn Johnson and Long and even calling Long a "coward". Perhaps Obama is the "coward" and Long and Johnson are products or victims or a corrupt,unjust and repressive social system. In other words a martyr. Let's have a closer look.

   The US since the 1970s has had a very conservative Supreme Court expanding the probative values to law enforcement officers. Police kill over 300 people a year in the line of duty with impunity. 

   You have a Republican congress that disenfranchises many citizens. In the 1990s Bill Clinton got many laws passed that increased the incarceration rate rather significantly.

   In 1970 the average corporate exec of a big corporation earned 40 times as much as the average joe at the same company. Today that same corporate exec earns over 700 times as much as that person in that same entry level position. 

   Even those who manage to get student loans,after graduating they are in so much debt they can't afford to buy a house or a car.

   Then you have the military. During the Vietnam War only one member of the US Congress had their offspring engage in combat in Vietnam.Today,many members of the US Congress are very quick to start wars and send US soldiers to foreign countries to get shot at and perhaps die. However, none of their kids will be engaging in combat. Then when these soldiers do return the government is quick to screw them out of their entitlements. It is no wonder that every day 22 US vets commit suicide. 

See:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_military_veteran_suicide

   So what we have here is 2 black men returning home from serving in the US armed forces. Fighting in wars to defend the interests of the rich and powerful corporations. Then they get no respect when they come home. The Congress screws them out of their benefits and legislatures try to restrict their voting rights.

  The economic situation is so bad that the American Dream becomes exactly what it is "a dream".It also doesn't help having an NRA that supports an individual's rights to carry machine guns.

  Then you have police killing people with impunity and a US attorney general who doesn't prosecute these cops who murder unarmed US citizens and a President who defends the actions of the police and supporting prosecutors' decisions not to prosecute these police officers. This makes these military veterans feel devastated. As I said earlier it is no surprise that every day 22 military veterans commit suicide. Feeling suicidal what better thing to do then take out some of the bastards who made you feel suicidal.

   Johnson and Long should not be perceived as culprits for slaying these police officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge.They are just products of a corrupt social and political system. The real culprit is the coward Barack Obama. If two years ago when Michael Brown and Eric Garner were murdered at the hands of white racist cops. Had Obama spoken out or had his black attorney general taken some action against the police in Ferguson and New York City, those cops in Dallas and Baton Rouge would probably still be alive today.

  On July 5 and July 6 in 2016 had Obama condemned the actions of the police who killed Alton Sterling and Philando Castile those five police officers in Dallas and three cops in Baton Rouge may still be alive.

  Obama's actions of not criticizing the murders committed by police and supporting the system that protects these bastards,only creates an image in many Americans brains that they are less than human. It is no surprise there is such a result as what happened on July 7 and July 17 in 2016.Obama is the real coward and is the real murderer. OBAMA HAS BLOOD ON HIS HANDS.

 

UPWARDS OF 100,000 PEOPLE HELD IN SOLITARY CONFINEMENT IN THE USA

 

 

"I hold this slow and daily tampering with the mysteries of the brain, to be immeasurably worse than any torture of the body: and because its ghastly signs and tokens are not so palpable to the eye and sense of touch as scars upon the flesh; because its wounds are not upon the surface, and it extorts few cries that human ears can hear; therefore I the more denounce it, as a secret punishment which slumbering humanity is not roused up to stay."

"Charles Dickens, "Philadelphia, and its Solitary Prison," Ch.7 in American Notes (1842)

 

  These words,written over 170 years ago, describe the horrific conditions witnessed by Dickens at Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia, the first American prison to incorporate solitary confinement cells. Since then, the US Supreme Court has never ruled the practice unconstitutional, despite its clear violation of the Eighth Amendment's ban on "cruel and unusual punishments." Today, Dickens' words accurately describe the daily torture inflicted upon upwards of 100,000 prisoners presently held in solitary confinement across the American gulag system.

A recent report,"Time-in-Cell: The Liman-ASCA 2014 National Survey of Administrative Segregation in Prison," conducted by the Liman Program of Yale Law School and the Association of State Correctional Administrators, found that in 2014 between 80,000 and 100,000 prisoners languished in solitary confinement in US state and federal prisons.

     This figure amounts to between 5 and 7 percent of the prison population of approximately 1.5 million, significantly higher than any previous estimate. The range was calculated based on surveys conducted at jurisdictions holding about 73 percent of the prison population, which excludes local jails, juvenile facilities and immigration and military detention centers.

     With the entire US incarcerated population estimated at 2.4 million, and solitary confinement routinely practiced at every level, the total population currently held in isolation undoubtedly surpasses 100,000, more than the total incarcerated population of the United Kingdom, the European country with the highest level of incarceration.

     The study found that in most jurisdictions, prisoners are confined to their cell for at least 23 hours on weekdays and 24 hours on weekends, so that the permitted time out-of-cell typically ranged between a mere three to seven hours each week.

     Only two states,Colorado and Georgiam,impose any time limitation on solitary confinement, while the rest have no fixed time limits whatsoever. A jurisdiction in Texas reported that 44 percent of its 6,491 inmates held in solitary confinement have been housed that way for at least three years. Many of the jurisdictions surveyed fail to track the number of continuous days a person has been held in solitary confinement.

    "In virtually all jurisdictions,the possessions that prisoners can keep in their cells, the programs, visits, and telephone calls they might be able to have access to could be cut back or stopped as sanctions for misbehavior," the report notes.

Many jurisdictions confine prisoners to cells of merely 45 square feet, with some even placing two prisoners into these cage-sized cells for upwards of 23 hours per day. Several jurisdictions located in hot, humid climatesincluding Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana and Texas"reported that they do not provide air conditioning in their solitary confinement units.

 A previous study conducted in 2013 by the Liman Program found that the reasons given by authorities for placing prisoners in solitary confinement are often highly arbitrary. The report found that guards would claim that prisoners posed "a threat" to "the life, property, security, or orderly operation of the institution," were seen as posing a danger to "self, staff, or other inmates" or were confined as a means to "protect the public." The researchers found that guards often placed prisoners in solitary confinement when "mad" at them, noting that "a wide net of authority permits institutions to place prisoners into segregation."

This most recent report on solitary confinement comes amid a series of exposures of the barbaric practice, as well as broader public awareness of the issue following the suicide of Kalief Browder last June. Browder was imprisoned at Rikers Island in New York for three years for a crime he did not commit, spending much of the time in solitary confinement.Browder's attorney and friend, Paul V. Prestia, highlighted the role that solitary confinement played in his friend's decision to commit suicide, telling the Los Angeles Times, "I think what caused the suicide was his incarceration and those hundreds and hundreds of nights in solitary confinement, where there were mice crawling up his sheets in that little cell " Being starved " That was the pain and sadness that he had to deal with every day, and I think it was too much for him."

       The practice of solitary confinement was largely abandoned during the Progressive Era at the turn of the 20th century. In an 1890 opinion, US Supreme Court Justice Samuel Freeman Miller noted, "A considerable number of the prisoners fell, after even a short confinement, into a semi-fatuous condition, from which it was next to impossible to arouse them, and others became violently insane; others still, committed suicide; while those who stood the ordeal better were not generally reformed, and in most cases did not recover sufficient mental activity to be of any subsequent service to the community."

     However,the court chose not to rule the practice unconstitutional, and it later became associated with the notorious Alcatraz prison located in San Francisco Bay. In 1983, two correctional officers were killed by inmates at a Marion, Illinois prison, prompting a "permanent lockdown" and the imposition of 23-hour-a-day cell isolation conditions. Similar measures were adopted at prisons in other states throughout the 1980s.

In 1989 California constructed the Pelican Bay State Prison, the country's first prison dedicated solely to solitary confinement, known colloquially as a Supermax facility. During the 1990s, Supermax facilities were built in states across the US, so that by 2005, 40 states operated Supermax or control-unit prisons, collectively holding more than 25,000 isolated prisoners.

      Throughout the history of solitary confinement, the Supreme Court and the federal court system have been largely inactive on the issue, ensuring that its legality is determined on a state-by-state basis.

     The most recent court action,which reforms solitary confinement policies in California prisons,only came about due to the tenacious efforts of a group of prisoners held at Pelican Bay for over 10 years, who demanded an end to their inhumane treatment. On Tuesday, a federal court ruled that prisoners in the state would no longer be sent to solitary confinement based solely on their gang affiliation, the most common justification employed by prison officials in California.

 Nevertheless,the court decision still enables prison authorities to hold inmates in solitary confinement for up to 10 years, at which point a magistrate judge will determine whether they should continue to languish in isolation. An estimated 4,600 prisoners will remain in isolation for shorter terms, while nearly 1,000 others, including hundreds of mentally ill prisoners, will remain in isolation for 10 years or more.

The widespread use of solitary confinement in the US exposes the nature of the US prison system as one based on vengeance and retribution, not rehabilitation. A society that relegates upwards of 100,000 people into cramped cells, often for decades on end, enduring psychological damage "immeasurably worse than any torture of the body," is clearly in a state of terminal decline.

AUGUST 26,2016;COLIN  KAEPERNICK UNLIKE RUSH LIMBAUGH,BILLY O'REILLY AND OTHER RIGHT WING WACKOS IS A PATRIOT


  

     One of the things that sticks most with me from my university life is the remark made to me by my Sociology Professor. He was a retired soldier who said "pride and ignorance work hand and hand".

 On Friday August 26th,2016 Colin Kaepernick at the beginning of a football game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Green Bay Packers refused to stand for the national anthem out of support for African Americans and other minorities. In response to his sitting down during the "Star Spangled Banner" he said "I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder."

  Before we dissect  this action the "Star Spangled Banner"  itself is somewhat suspect. During the War of 1812 author of the national anthem Francis Scott Key during the Battle of Baltimore he was unable to do anything but watch the bombarding of the American forces at Fort McHenry during the on the night of Monday,September 13-14 in 1814.

The fact that the Americans defended the fort and were not defeated inspired his writing of the song.But there are some facts that are not known by many about Francis Scott Key and the "Star Spangled Banner". From the original draft of the song there are many lyrics rhat had to be deleted.Here are some of the omitted lyrics:

 And where is that band who so vauntingly swore,
   That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion
   A home and a Country should leave us no more,
   Their blood has wash'd out their foul footstep's pollution.
   No refuge could save the hireling and slave
   From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,

 Francis Scott Key was a slave owner and a staunch anti-abolitionist. The British inducted many runaway slaves into their army with the promise that if they fought for the British they would be free at the end of the war. This infuriated Francis Scott Key. It is no surprise that Colin Kaepernick may want to sit down for a song that somewhat glorifies anti-abolitionists hindering runaway slaves hopes of being emancipated.

  Rush Limbaugh,Glenn Beck,Sean Hannity,Bill O'Reilly and other right-wing wackos were quick to call Kaepernick unpatriotic and insulting to US Armed Forces.

  First of all when right wing wackos protest in front of abortion clinics because they oppose a woman being allowed to do with her own body as she so choses. These right wing wackos are able to do so because US troops are defending their right to protest.

  When right wing wackos protest in front of government buildings because they wish to discriminate and vilify LGBT people.  Again,they are able to do so because US troops are defending them 0f their right to do so.

  So,when with impunity the police murder US citizens in the street and have their actions supported by everyone right up to the President.Colin Kaepernick is protesting this behavior by refusing to stand for the National Anthem.He is doing so because the US troops are defending him of his right to do so.

   Kaepernick's refusal to stand for the "Star Spangled Banner" is the latest lightning rod.Kaepernick said he was trying to raise awareness about the fact that this country isn't living up to the motto of "liberty and justice for all." He also said that he would continue to sit through the national anthem "until there's significant change" and the "flag represents what it's  supposed to represent."

       Along with the reactions I previously mentioned, Kaepernick's protest sparked a firestorm of outrage, quite literally so in the case of one 49ers fan,who burned the QB's jersey and then put a video of it on Facebook.

   According to other conservatives,Kaepernick's decision to sit during the national anthem is deeply unpatriotic because it's disrespectful to the military and the police who've given their lives to keep us safe. Former presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson gave a version of this argument during an appearance on Fox so called news.

This is the standard conservative argument that comes up every time someone disrespects' the flag or "insults" the military and it's just as wrong as now as it was the hundreds  of other times someone used it to condemn a legitimate protest.

   Right-wingers would never admit it,but what Colin Kaepernick did is actually the most patriotic thing you can do.The USA  was founded in protest and on egalitarian ideals and using our constitutional protest right to take a stand for something you believe in is as American (and as patriotic) as it gets. It's quite literally the type of thing the USA was founded on and for.You'd think conservatives would understand this,given how they're always going on about the Constitution and "personal liberty," but apparently they only mean that for white people.

    Unnoticed in most of the media is the ultimate irony of all this: Levi's,the clothing company that bought naming rights for the 49ers' stadium,is way more unpatriotic than Colin Kaepernick  will ever be.Even though it likes to portray itself as a salt-of-the-earth American company,Levis's,like most of corporate America,has taken advantage of the so-called free trade era to send  most of its manufacturing jobs overseas.Only one line of Levi's jeans, the 501 classics, is now made here in the U.S.A. Meanwhile, the company's finance, customer relations, and IT departments  are now also all handled abroad,mostly in India.The outsourcing of Levi's financial department alone cost 500 jobs.And, according to Citizens for Tax Justice,Levi Strauss is sitting on over $100 million overseas to avoid paying US income taxes on the money. Very patriotic!

   In other words, while Colin Kaepernick risks his career (and possibly his life) to take a stand for people who live and work here in America,Levi's exploits its reputation to participate in and contribute to the death of the middle class while enriching its executives and shareholders.But you won't hear anything about that from Republicans.They've been on Levi's side all along.They've supported so-called free trade deal after so-called free trade deal,all while talking tough about God, country, and the flag.For conservatives,patriotism is just a slogan, and their crocodile tears about Colin Kaepernick prove it.

 The United States Supreme Court in Texas v. Johnson, 491 U.S. 397 (1989),and reaffirmed in U.S. v. Eichman, 496 U.S. 310 (1990),has ruled that due to the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, it is unconstitutional for a government (whether federal, state, or municipality) to prohibit the desecration of a flag, due to its status as "symbolic speech."  

  Just like one person has a right to wave it another person has a right to burn it.

 

U.S. Soldiers Told To Repay Thousands In Signing Bonuses From Height Of War Effort

 In most cases, when an employer pays a signing bonus to attract new workers, that payment is understood to be essentially unrecoverable. But the Pentagon has a different understanding, and it's ordering the California National Guard to claw back thousands of dollars paid to soldiers who re-enlisted to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan.

     And in many cases, an employer would also have a tough time arguing that decade-old lapses in its own oversight should trigger wage garnishments and tax liens against its workers. But again, this is the U.S. military, and its officials say the law requires them to reclaim the overpayments.That's the gist of a report by The Los Angeles Times, which says nearly 10,000 soldiers are now scrambling to pay back signing bonuses that helped the Pentagon cope with the task of using an all-volunteer service to fight two prolonged international conflicts.

   In addition to doling out cash for re-enlistment,the Pentagon offered student loan repayments. The incentives were seen as crucial to the military's effort to keep its ranks flush, but auditors say the rules should have limited the largest payments to certain skill areas, and that in the rush to staff the war effort, the bonuses were given out too liberally, the L.A. Times reports.Responding to the newspaper's story Sunday, the California National Guard points out that the repayments are part of a federal program run by the National Guard Bureau and the Department of the Army.The state military service says:"The California National Guard does not have the authority to unilaterally waive these debts. However, the California National Guard welcomes any law passed by Congress to waive these debts."Until that time, our priority is to advocate for our Soldiers through this difficult process."

  In its statement, the service adds that its adjutant general, Maj. Gen. David S. Baldwin, created an assistance center that has helped some of its soldiers retain $37 million "of original bonus payments."

    The problem of improper use of military troop-level incentives isn't limited to California,but the state has emerged as a focal point because of two factors: the large size of its guard force, and a history of overpayments.A scandal over the California National Guard's use of bonus money was first unearthed in 2010, when the Sacramento Bee reported that its incentive program had misspent as much as $100 million. The program's onetime leader, former Master Sgt. Toni Jaffe, was later sentenced to 30 months in prison, after pleading guilty to making $15 million in false claims.

    When it was first discovered, that scandal was deemed "war profiteering" and was said to have benefited guard members who hadn't logged any combat duty; high-ranking officers were mentioned. But in the years since, lower-ranking service members have complained about garnished checks and a prolonged review process, saying they've done nothing wrong.

   With the work of 42 auditors who reviewed the California cases now complete, the repayments are back in the spotlight  and service members and veterans, as well as members of the public, have been venting their anger.

    On the California guard's Facebook page, several people hijacked a post about training to comment on the bonus repayments, with one man writing, "The officials who screwed over our service members need to do the right thing and pay back the money. DISGUSTING."

   And after the guard responded to the Times story Monday, a commenter criticized its stance, writing, "Meanwhile vets are suffering while one bureaucracy waits to 'welcome' another bureaucracy to take responsibility and force it to do the right thing. Pathetic."

   Revelations about fraud and mismanagement in the Pentagon's retention program emerged after the program's budget swelled between 2000 and 2008,when the Defense Department went from spending $891 million for selective re-enlistment bonuses to spending $1.4 billion on them, according to a 2010 research paper by the RAND defense institute. By the end of that period, the military was also spending $625 million yearly to pay enlistment bonuses.

  It's not unusual for signing bonuses to have strings attached. But in the civilian world, conditions for repayment are often limited to cases where an employee spends less than a year in their new job. In the case of the California National Guard, soldiers who say they held up their end of the contract  "serving the required three- or six-year re-enlistment period " are being told to repay a key incentive.

     One of them is Robert Richmond, who has begun an online petition that calls for the Army to "stop stealing back signing bonuses 10 years later." Richmond says he signed the contract in good faith, and in his petition, he describes a scenario that's reminiscent of the recent Wells Fargo cross-selling scandal, saying that a lower-ranking figure has been punished for committing fraud that was motivated at least in part by a need to meet targets set by her superiors.Richmond also appears in the L.A. Times story;here's a sample from his petition:

 "Like many other soldiers, I honorably completed my contract in 2012 and two years later they sent me a letter stating I had to pay the money back. Each contract has a different excuse. They stated the reason I was not eligible for the contract was because I had over 20 years of service at the time. I had originally signed up more than 20 years prior, but had breaks in service and only had 15 credible years of service, not 20. Although at the time, they informed me I was eligible for a bonus, now they are saying I was not."Like other veterans who are refusing to pay up, Richmond is now incurring interest on the repayment amount.

    In its General Rules about the recovery of pay and bonuses, the Department of Defense states, "As a general rule, repayment will not be sought if the member's inability to fulfill the eligibility requirements is due to circumstances determined reasonably beyond the member's control."

    But after dozens of auditors reviewed its system that had paid soldiers bonuses without determining their eligibility, the California National Guard's veterans started getting repayment notices.

    "People like me just got screwed," a 42-year-old veteran tells the Times.That veteran, former Army Capt. Christopher Van Meter, fought in Iraq. He tells the newspaper he refinanced his mortgage to repay $25,000 in re-enlistment bonuses and $21,000 in student loan repayments.

   Another veteran.former Army Master Sgt. Susan Haley, who served in Afghanistan and spent more than 25 years in the service,tells the newspaper that she's now sending the Pentagon $650 each month to repay $20,500 in bonuses.

   "I feel totally betrayed," Haley says.To put those dollar figures in perspective,we can look at the Army's payment and retention policy " specifically, a summary of its Selective Reenlistment Bonus program that was laid out early in 2006:

 "The objective of the SRB program is to increase the number of reenlistments in critical MOSs [Military Occupational Specialty] that do not have adequate retention levels to man the career force. Although Department of Defense policy permits SRB payments of up to $45,000.00, soldiers may be paid bonuses up to six times their monthly basic pay at discharge, times the number of years of additional obligated service, or $20,000.00, whichever is less."

 While some veterans are working to repay the money, others are filing appeals, engaging in what's likely to be a prolonged fight against the service to which they once belonged. California National Guard officials tell the Times that they've been helping veterans through the appeals process."We'd be more than happy to absolve these people of their debts," Maj. Gen. Matthew Beevers, deputy commander of the California National Guard, tells the Times. "We just can't do it. We'd be breaking the law."

      One of the earliest reviews of the Army's post-Iraq invasion bonus system came in 2007, when the Defense Department's inspector general examined the program called the Reenlistment, Reclassification, and Assignment System (RETAIN). But at the time, the central issue wasn't whether too much money was being paid, but rather whether the service was paying out bonuses quickly enough.

 

Occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge




 On Saturday,January 2,2015,armed men broke into the desolate headquarters of a federally owned wildlife refuge in Oregon and said they weren't going to leave until the government stops its tyranny."

.Read:http://edition.cnn.com/2016/01/04/us/oregon-wildlife-refuge-what-bundy-wants.

   It just gets more crazy from there.That is the backdrop against which a very complicated,confusing and tense situation continued with Ammon Bundy and dozens of supporters who have answered his call on social media to join him at the remote outpost about 30 miles from Burn,Oregon.

  In a press conference in which a few followers rambled for a long time about Constitutional rights and against the federal government,Bundy said the group had decided to call themselves the Citizens for Constitutional Freedom.

     In a tweet "150 armed white men take over a federal building and threaten violence if removed" Not a single shot is fired at them" followed by a photo ofTamir Rice with the caption, "12-year-old black boy plays with a toy gun'is gunned down in less than two seconds without as much as a warning."

  In any case,why won't they shoot at armed white fanatics isn't just the wrong question;it's a bad one.Not only does it hold lethal violence as a fair response to the Bundy militia,but it opens a path to legitimizing the same violence against more marginalized groups. As long as the government is an equal opportunity killer,goes the argument,violence is acceptable.

 But that's perverse.If there's a question to ask on this score,it's not why don't they use violence,it's why aren't they more cautious with unarmed suspects and common criminals.If we're outraged, it shouldn't be because law enforcement isn't rushing to violently confront Bundy and his group.We should be outraged because that restraint isn't extended to all Americans.

    Citizens for Constitutional Freedom are all white males. If blacks or Muslims would have done what these right-wing wackos are doing,they would all be dead now.

    The police would have called in SWAT teams and the national guard by now.Surprisingly only white people can taunt the federal government with weapons in the USA. 

  On January 26, 2016,several leaders were arrested by the Oregon State Police (OSP) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) while en route to a public meeting in a neighboring county.One of them, Robert "LaVoy" Finicum, was shot and killed while resisting arrest and appearing to reach his hands towards a jacket pocket later found to contain his semi-automatic handgun.[29][30][31] Afterwards, most of the other militants withdrew from the occupation,peacefully returning to their homes.

    By January 28,only four militants remained in occupation of the site,and the last of them surrendered peacefully on February 11, 2016.More than two dozen of the militants have been charged with federal offenses including conspiracy to obstruct federal officers, firearms violations, theft and depredation of federal property. As of August 15,twelve have pleaded guilty,while others were awaiting trial.

 On October 27, 2016, a federal jury acquitted seven of the defendants,including Ammon and Ryan Bundy, of all federal charges. 

Learn More About The Use Of Artificial Intelligence In Military Systems

   In the constant race to maintain the military advantage,defense research is often at the forefront of cutting-edge research across a wide variety of fields.This can have longstanding impacts even outside of the armed forces. From radar systems to microwaves, many inventions had their roots in military applications.One field of interest to the military is artificial intelligence (AI), especially in regards to fully autonomous systems.

     Military technology has utilized autonomous weapons since World War II with guided munitions, however recent developments in technology have brought autonomous systems into the public eye. Drones and remote-controlled vehicles are regularly assigned tasks often considered too mundane or dangerous for humans,such as operating in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, and assessing and repairing the damage caused by the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill off the Gulf of Mexico.Military drone systems, such as the MQ-9 Reaper, have been in broad operation by the CIA for intelligence gathering since 2000. The same drones were armed for military operations following the September 11 attacks. An armed unmanned Predator drone performed a targeted killing for the first time on February 4, 2002.Research and usage of unmanned vehicles surged in the early part of this century with the United States military deploying 7,000 unmanned aerial vehicles and 8,000 unmanned ground vehicles by 2012. While unmanned and capable of autonomous flight, there is a key distinction in that current drone systems operated by the U.S. are not fully autonomous. Drones are capable of independently patrolling routes and performing general information, however, platforms like the MQ-9 Reaper still require human authorization for certain actions such as tracking a suspect beyond the prescribed path or applications of lethal force.

     Recent trends, however, are moving towards fully autonomous systems that eliminate human involvement. Many nations, in addition to the U.S., have already implemented automated weapons capable of tracking and, if authorized, firing on a target. These include South Korea's Samsung SGR-A1 "Intelligent Surveillance and Security Guard Robot" deployed for perimeter defense at military installations, and Israel's See-Shoot border defense system capable of establishing a mile-deep kill zone along the Palestinian border.

     Integrating AI weapon systems into military platforms has a broad range of applications, but numerous concerns, both practical and ethical.Autonomous weapon platforms have the potential to significantly reduce the manpower required to performing a myriad of tasks. This is important given that some of these tasks like patrolling and mine clearing, are exceptionally dirty, dull, or dangerous. Autonomous weapon systems can perform the same task for longer durations more reliably. They lack human limitations such as fatigue, boredom and injury. Furthermore, when placed in a combat situation, an autonomous system would have the ability to rapidly analyze data and react, without human limitations, including panic and injury.

    Paradoxically, many of the same benefits can be interpreted as causes of concern. War is financially expensive and imposes a significant human cost upon all parties involved. There are concerns that by using autonomous weapon systems that reduce the human cost of war, war becomes an increasingly more viable option instead of a choice of last resort. Furthermore, there are concerns about responsibility in the case of an accident. Traditionally,there is a chain of command in which all actions, especially regarding usage of lethal force, are given strict guidelines or are explicitly approved by the person in charge. Failure to adhere to these military laws are punishable by the military justice system. However, AI operates outside of this command structure by design. An artificially controlled weapon analyzes a situation and, based on existing data available to the computer, responds as it best sees fit. If an AI-controlled platform acts disproportionately, there is a lack of oversight, as the platform does not seek external validation for its behavior. The issue of responsibility is further exacerbated when a fully autonomous weapon platform has jurisdiction over the applications of lethal force. In Iraq, there have been cases where insurgents crouched in an alleyway were assessed as a threat until closer investigation showed they were either tending to the wounded or the deceased. The distinctions available to define a target as dangerous by AI are not always clear. While a person might realize something was different, which would cause them to hold fire, there are concerns whether a computer would be as discriminating, especially when it comes to lethal force.

   Artificial intelligence can empower our automated platforms, simultaneously reducing the human costs of operation, and expanding the capabilities and tasks these systems are qualified to perform. However, with the numerous legal and ethical concerns about the impact of AI on warfare,is the military benefit gained from AI worth replacing the human behind the trigger."

ARE CIA-BACKED SYRIAN REBELS REALLY FIGHTING PENTAGON-BACKED SYRIAN REBELS?

     This is complicated, but bear with me. The Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) are not a monolithic force. Like nearly every other faction in Syria,they're spread across an archipelago of enclaves nationwide. The SDF units clashing with Syrian rebels reportedly supported by the CIA are not supported by the Pentagon "they're from a different enclave. The U.S. military is exclusively supporting the SDF in northeastern Syria on the other side of the Euphrates River.The Pentagon-backed SDF east of the Euphrates is fighting the self-proclaimed Islamic State,not rebels with or without U.S. backing.

    Allow me to explain.The confusion around this news story is a result of wartime Syria's jigsaw-like map of control. The Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) and the SDF umbrella under which they operate are primarily active in northeastern Syria east of the Euphrates River, where they've linked what had been two isolated Kurdish enclaves to form a zone of control along much of Turkey's southern border. But they also control a still-isolated enclave west of the Euphrates River in northwestern Aleppo province called Afrin, as well as a single neighborhood in Aleppo city. Afrin remains separated from YPG/SDF territory east of the Euphrates by a long stretch of Islamic State territory that the U.S. government calls the "Manbij Pocket."

   Before February, SDF units in Afrin had periodically clashed with Arab and Turkmen rebels in northern Aleppo province, including some that reportedly receive arms via a combined intelligence cell in Turkey that includes the CIA. Then, in February, the SDF in Afrin took advantage of the chaos caused by a Russian-backed regime offensive around Aleppo city to attack the rebels from the west and grab large sections of the northern Aleppo countryside.The Afrin SDF allegedly enjoyed Russian close air support against these rebels, although they have publicly denied these reports. Some clashes have since then, but the new SDF-drawn lines have mostly held.

    Thus, the implication is that the SDF drove west from northeastern Syria (east of the Euphrates) to the outskirts of Aleppo city is misleading.

 At first, the two different sets of fighters were primarily operating in widely separated areas of Syria "the Pentagon-backed Syrian Democratic Forces in the northeastern part of the country and the CIA-backed groups farther west. But over the last several months, Russian airstrikes  against anti-Assad fighters in northwestern Syria have weakened them. That  created an opening which allowed the Kurdish-led groups to expand their zone of control to the outskirts of Aleppo, bringing them into more frequent conflict with the CIA-backed outfits.

       In reality, the Kurdish SDF actually pushed east from Afrin in the northwest, where they had been all along. SDF presence east of the Euphrates largely remains static, although they have established a beachhead west of the Tishrin Dam that spans the river.

    All this is relevant because the Pentagon has only supported the SDF east of the Euphrates in its battles with the Islamic State.The Afrin SDF is not Pentagon-backed, this sounds sort of ridiculous, but it's true.

    So yes, it is technically true that the SDF receives U.S. Department of Defense support and one of its components is fighting Arab and Turkmen rebels,some of whom received CIA backing. But the factions of the SDF that are fighting these rebels are not Pentagon-backed, so we're not seeing the sort of interagency warfare the story implies.

   Beyond the eastern SDF, some elements of the non-SDF, northern Aleppo Arab and Turkmen rebels have received arms and close air support from the U.S. DoD and the broader coalition. This has received essentially no media coverage, but the non-SDF northern Aleppo rebels are seeded with several units that graduated from the Department of Defense "train and equip" program and are conspicuously equipped with the arms stocks procured for that program.

    One train-and-equip unit, the 30th Division, was very publicly destroyed by Syrian al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra when it was infiltrated via northern Aleppo, an embarrassing failure for the program. (Some members of the 30th Division actually fled to Afrin and joined a part of the non-U.S.-backed Afrin SDF.)

     But the 30th Division was just one cohort from the Pentagon's train-and-equip program. Others' including Liwa al-Hamzah, Liwa al-Mu'tasem, and the 99th Division,are now fighting alongside CIA-backed rebels with coalition close air support against the Islamic State in northern Aleppo. These U.S.-backed forces have consciously avoided the rebel-SDF fighting, instead focusing exclusively on fighting the Islamic State. Elsewhere, another train-and-equip unit,the New Syrian Army, recently collaborated with other rebels to seize Syria's southern al-Tanaf border crossing with Iraq from the Islamic State.

     So,to sum up: The non-Pentagon-backed SDF are fighting the CIA-backed northern Aleppo rebels, who are fighting alongside Pentagon-backed train-and-equip rebels against the Islamic State. The CIA-backed rebels are not fighting the Pentagon-backed SDF. They are fighting a different faction that does not enjoy U.S. support (and may have actually recently enjoyed Russian support). And the Pentagon-backed SDF is fighting the Islamic State in eastern Syria, half a country away.

 Orlando Nightclub Shooting


 

    On June 12, 2016, Omar Mateen,a 29-year-old security guard,killed 49 people and wounded 53 others in a terrorist attack/hate crime inside "Pulse",a gay nightclub in Orlando,Florida,United States. He was shot and killed by Orlando Police Department (OPD) officers after a three-hour standoff. "Pulse" was hosting Latin Night and most of the victims were Latino. It was both the deadliest mass shooting by a single shooter and the deadliest incident of violence against LGBT people in United States history. It was also the deadliest terrorist attack in the United States since the September 11 attacks in 2001.

   In a 9-1-1 call shortly after the shooting began, Mateen swore allegiance to the leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi,and said the shooting was "triggered" by the U.S. killing of Abu Waheeb in Iraq the previous month. He later told a negotiator he was "out here right now" becauseof the American-led interventions in Iraq and in Syria, and that the negotiator should tell the United States to stop bombing ISIL.

    Initial reports said Mateen may have been a patron of the nightclub and used gay dating websites and apps, but Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) officials said they have not found any credible evidence to substantiate these claims. The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) also conducted an investigation and said it found no links between ISIL and Mateen.

 Nice Terrorist Attack

 A little more than a month after the Orlando massacre a bigger terrorist attack occurred in France.

   On the evening of July 14,2016,a 19 tonne cargo truck was deliberately driven into crowds celebrating Bastille Day on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice,France,resulting in the deaths of 86 people and injuring 434.The driver was Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel,a Tunisian resident of France.The attack ended following an exchange of gunfire,during which Lahouaiej-Bouhlel was shot and killed by police.

    Five hours after the attack,French President Francois Hollande announced an extension of the state of emergency (which had been declared following the November 2015 Paris attacks) for a further three months, announced an intensification of the French military attacks on ISIL in Syria and Iraq and suggested the attack might have been Islamic terrorism.France later extended the state of emergency until 26 January 2017.

   Later on July 15,the French government declared three days of national mourning starting 16 July. On July 16, thousands of extra police and soldiers were deployed while the government called on citizens to join the reserve forces.On the same day,two agencies linked to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) claimed that the attack was inspired by the organisation.

   On July 21, Paris prosecutor Francois Molins said that Lahouaiej-Bouhlel planned the attack for months and had help from accomplices.By August 1,six suspects had been taken into custody on charges of "criminal terrorist conspiracy",three of whom were also charged for complicity in murder connected to a terrorist organization.

 46 MILLION PEOPLE LIVING AS SLAVES,LATEST GLOBAL INDEX REVEALS

In June,an Australian human rights group,founded by billionaire business magnate Andrew Forrest and backed by Hollywood actor Russell Crowe,has released research estimating that almost 46 million people are living as slaves.

    The 2016 global slavery index, funded by Forrest's Walk Free Foundation, says 45.8 million people are trapped in some form of slavery.

    The report ranks incidences of slavery in 167 countries, with India having the highest number of slaves while North Korea has the highest percentage of slaves per capita. This year's estimates are nearly 30% higher than in the previous report, which estimated 35.8 million people living in slavery in 2014.

   Forrest says the rise is partially due to more accurate methodology but he also believes the number of people trapped in slavery is increasing year on year.

   "It is time to draw a line and say, no more," he said. "This isn't Aids or malaria, it is a man-made problem that can be solved, and it's time to take real action to free the world from slavery once and for all."

   The index was launched in 2013 after Bill Gates, another billionaire philanthropist, challenged Forrest to quantify the scale of modern slavery. This year's index was launched in London on Tuesday by Crowe with video messages of support from Tony Blair, Bono, supermodel Karlie Kloss and Richard Branson.

    Forrest, who says he found and addressed slavery in his own supply chains, warned businesses that they must step up their efforts to address slavery or face the consequences. He also called on consumers to question their buying habits.

   "At one point, it was common to see Australian truck drivers throwing litter out of the windows of their cars because everyone else was doing it. Now, there has been a huge public outcry against this behavior and it has stopped. The same can be done for slavery," he said.

   "We need to make it unacceptable for people to buy something without asking the company where it was made and who made it and if they can't answer that question clearly then the next question must be,how do you know it wasn't made with slave labor".

    Walk Free said slavery is found in all 167 countries in the index, with India home to 18.4 million slaves. This year's index also claims that over half of the 45.8 million people living in modern slavery are in five countries: India, China, Pakistan,Bangladesh and Uzbekistan.

   It calculated that more than 4% of North Korea's population is enslaved, with Uzbekistan and Qatar the other countries with the highest prevalence of modern slavery per capita.

    The index has faced criticism for its methodology and rankings system since it launched. Despite naming 167 countries, this year's index was based on interviews conducted by pollster Gallup with more than 42,000 people in 25 countries. In some cases, rankings and prevalence estimates are calculated using data from surveys conducted in other countries deemed to have an equivalent "risk profile".

    Kevin Bales,an anti-slavery campaigner who worked on collecting data for this year's report,said he is "very confident" the estimations were an accurate reflection.

   "Over the last few years we have really honed our methodology and have build a solid framework to build on year on year," he said. "Measuring the problem is a hugely important factor in beginning to effectively tackle this enormous problem."

     Although modern slavery constitutes a huge illegal industry, deemed the third most profitable criminal industry behind drug and arms trafficking by the UN,data remains patchy.

   The International Labour Organisation (ILO) estimates that 21 million people are trapped in forced labor and other forms of modern slavery. The index says it hopes to work with the ILO to provide a single set of global estimates.

NORTH KOREA'S JANUARY 7, 2016,NUCLEAR TEST

     "North Korea announced that it successfully tested a 'hydrogen bomb' (its fourth nuclear test) on January 6, 2016. The official statement also called the device an experimental or 'pilot H-bomb.' It emphasized that North Korea would continue its policy of both building up its nuclear weapons program and developing its economy in parallel, and said that North Korea would not proliferate nuclear weapons to others. The statement reiterated that North Korea would not suspend or dismantle its nuclear weapons program unless the United States changed its 'hostile policy' toward the country. Observers have been anticipating a new nuclear test by North Korea since a December 2015 statement by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un claimed that the country had a hydrogen bomb. Earlier statements by North Korean scientists cited fusion technology development, the basis for a hydrogen bomb, in the country. The U.S. Geological Survey detected a non-earthquake seismic event with a magnitude of 5.1 near the Punggye-ri nuclear test site in North Korea. The Comprehensive Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) said in a January 6 statement and press briefing that its monitors had detected a seismic event at the same North Korean location as the February 2013 nuclear test,and that the 'seismic signals are largely consistent with those picked up during the last announced nuclear test on February 12,2013.' The U.S. government has said that it was a nuclear test, but a White House spokesman said that initial data was 'not consistent' with North Korean claims of detonating a hydrogen bomb."

  North Korea should continue with nuclear testing.It is the nuclear testing that is keeping the imperialistic pig at bay. If North Korea were to abandon nuclear weapons the USA would invade the country,destroy their history,destroy their culture and leave their country as a basket case like Libya and Iraq.

ASH CARTER TALKS ABOUT "FREEDOM OF NAVIGATION" TO STOP CHINESE AGRESSION-REALLY!!!!!!!!


    On May 25 US Defense Secretary Ash Carter said "The rebalance is a lot more than freedom-of-navigation operations," Carter said during a media availability at Naval Submarine Base New London in Groton,Connecticut, as part of a short trip to several locations in New England.

   The efforts encompass political,economic and military efforts, including modernization of forces, he explained.

   "It is the enormous pattern of bilateral and multilateral exercising we do [and the] partnerships with militaries in the region who are very eager to work increasingly with the United States," Carter said.

    The United States supports freedom of navigation around the world, not just in the South China Sea, he said, noting that the department's concern is "not just about any one country, including China."

   Claims in the South China Sea need to be "settled in a peaceful way, not by militarizing them, not coercion, but settlement in a peaceful [way]," he said. That is a principle the United States stands for all over the world, Carter added. Peaceful resolution of territorial disputes is important around the globe,from "the South China Sea to the Arctic," the defense secretary said.

      The defense secretary said the United States and other countries have been standing up for freedom of navigation for hundreds of years. The United States will continue to enforce that freedom all around the world, he added.

    In previous speeches, Carter has said the United States will fly, sail and operate anywhere that international law allows. He has previously expressed concern about a China that is "behaving aggressively," listing it among the top five global security challenges facing the United States.

    Really-"Chinese aggression" Up until 1893 the USA ended its borders at the coast of California.Then suddenly the USA expands to Hawaii. Then comes the Spanish American War and Samoa,Guam and the Philippines become part of the USA. By 1898 the USA has a colony right on China's door step. Then during the 20th century the USA establishes military bases in Japan, South Korea,Australia,south-east and sub-continent Asia,pretty much surrounding China with US Military bases. Now the USA is trying to get SHAFTA (Southern Hemisphere Asia Free Trade Agreement) passed which does not include China in the treaty because it is designed to economically cripple China. Then the imperialistic pig has audacity to complain about China establishing a few landing sites on a few islands located just off the cost of their country. Who is really the aggressor!!!

   You know China does not have the restraint or patience like Russia. One day the USA is going to provoke China just a bit too far and the dragon will put a foot dead up Ronald McDonald's ass.

MARCH 19 AIRLINE CRASH IN RUSSIA

  Flydubai Flight 981 (FZ981/FDB981)[a] was a scheduled international passenger flight that crashed during an aborted landing at Rostov-on-Don Airport in Rostov-on-Don, Russia, at 03:42 local time (00:42 UTC) on March 19,2016 resulting in the death of all 55 passengers and seven crew.

  The flight,operated with a Boeing 737-800 aircraft,originated from Dubai International Airport in Dubai,United Arab Emirates. Rostov Airport was experiencing inclement weather at the time Flight 981 approached. Flight 981 aborted its first landing attempt and went into a holding pattern nearby for nearly two hours before making a second landing attempt. After aborting the second landing attempt, the aircraft climbed to 4,000 feet (1,200 m), then descended rapidly and crashed near the threshold of Runway 22.

  This plane crash brought back memories of the Malaysian Airliner Flight MH 17 plane crash over the Ukraine on July 17,2014. Before investigators even arrived on the scene the US & UK were pointing fingers at Russia with Putin's face posted on newspapers all over the UK.

  After this March 19 crash the US was rather cavalier and acted like Russia deserved this to happen.

  Russia could have reacted just as immaturely as the US & UK by saying "This is the work of the CIA" or "This is the work of US backed terrorists".But Russia didn't do this and reacted more maturely.

 FAKE NEWS CREATED BY AL-JAZEERA JOURNALISTS LONG BEFORE WESTERN JOURNALISTS BEGAN ATTACKING IT

  In January there were a flurry of new stories surrounding mass starvation in the besieged Syrian town of Madaya,once a popular resort destination,have included some shocking images of starving children, and reports of people surviving on grass and tree leaves.

  Even the editors at Antiwar.com were briefly taken in,posting a story from the normally dependable al-Jazeera which used photographic "evidence" which turned out to be recycled photos from previous incidents.

  Al-Jazeera is located in Qatar.A gulf state which along with Saudi Arabia and the USA are backing terrorists try to overthrow the government of Syria.

   Al-Jazeera's top image of a starving child in that story,for instance,is the same child from a YouTube video in Derna,Syria,way back in May,months before the Madaya siege even began.

  His isn't the only image falsely attributed to the current crisis, with el-Akhbar News identifying many of the other most high-profile pictures as having previous origins,one as far back as a 2009 picture of a refugee arriving in Europe and a photo of a starving infant "in Madaya" dating from early 2014, and the infant shown is trapped in the ISIS-occupied Palestinian refugee camp or Yarmouk.The shocking nature of the images makes for great press and many are trying to parlay that into a chance to condemn the Syrian government,their Russian allies and Hezbollah. While there are crises all over Syria and well-documented suffering that has produced millions of refugees,one would think there would not be a need to manufacture phony stories surrounding recycled pictures. For those looking to hype the crisis-du-jour,however, it seems that asking for real photos of the real situation is just too inconvenient, and it's easier to just re-brand the first starving child you see.

  When I look at the USA and Russia I think of two ships passing in the night.Russia is heading toward democracy and freedom like what the USA had in the 1950s and 1960s. While the USA is heading toward what the Soviet Union was like in the 1950s.

 

FOOTAGE OF LITTLE 5 YEAR OLD OMRAN DAQNEESH IN ALEPPO IS OPPORTUNISTIC PROPAGANDA FROM MAINSTREAM MEDIA

         In August,the Western mainstream press was parading yet another injured child in front of a population of normally uncompassionate audiences in order to drum up support for some type of NATO military action against the secular government of Bashar al-Assad in Syria.

    The picture of a little boy,seemingly injured in some type of bombing incident, sitting alone in an orange chair in the back of an ambulance,blood stains on his face and covered in dust from cracked concrete also comes in video form, footage that lasts for about two minutes, showing the boy being carried to a well-equipped ambulance (with English writing on some of the equipment). The boy's story is also accompanied by "heart wrenching" stories from "activists" in east Aleppo alleging the crimes of the Syrian government and the horrific situation in the area.

The story as presented in the Western press goes as follows:

   The video shows a child after he was pulled from rubble in Aleppo,a Syrian city that has been devastated by constant bombardment.A man carried the boy away from the rubble after a suspected Russian or Syrian regime airstrike in the neighborhood of rebel-held Qaterji.He placed him in an orange seat and the boy brushed his eye and face after the man walked away.Looking dazed, he then wiped the blood and debris on the seat.After the airstrike, which reportedly shook the northern Syrian city Wednesday night during a call to prayer, the boy was rescued from the rubble that was once his home.

Mahmoud Raslan, a photojournalist who captured the image, told the Associated Press that emergency workers and journalists tried to help the child,identified as 5-year-old Omran Daqneesh, along with his parents and his three siblings, who are 1, 6 and 11 years old."We were passing them from one balcony to the other," Raslan said, adding: "We sent the younger children immediately to the ambulance,but the 11-year-old girl waited for her mother to be rescued. Her ankle was pinned beneath the rubble." Omran was taken to a hospital for a wound on his head.

. . . . .

"This picture of a wounded Syrian boy captures just a fragment of the horrors of Aleppo," read a Telegraph headline about the picture.The International Business Times said: "Heartbreaking video of little boy dragged from Aleppo rubble shows Syrian children's suffering."

. . . . .

The haunting image was also shared by David Miliband, former British foreign secretary and now president and chief executive of the International Rescue Committee.At least 400,000 people have died and millions have been displaced as the Syrian conflict has stretched on for years.

   It is rather clear that the child is being used as a stage prop. After being passed to the medical "attendants," little Omran is placed in an orange chair facing the camera and immediately left alone. He is not treated,no one else is being lifted into the ambulance, and no one is even in the vehicle with him. Instead, he is left to face the "activists" outside the vehicle and their cameras for what seems like too long a time to be anything other than a photo op for the "activists" videotaping him.

   While some more discerning alternative media outlets are questioning the credibility of the footage "suggesting that the entire affair was simply staged by"(meaning terrorists and terrorist supporters like the White Helmets) for propaganda purposes " one need not go so far in order to destroy the narrative being pushed by Western outlets. It is, of course, quite possible that the footage was simply created from beginning to end by propagandists but there is also no shortage of injured and dying children in Syria. Thus, the possibility that this footage is completely real and merely seized upon by the propagandists is incredibly real as well. It is even possible that the child was injured as a result of errant bombs dropped by Syrian or Russian planes. Generally, however,when children are killed or injured by American bombs or by bearded freaks receiving a paycheck from the U.S. government, those children are simply labeled "collateral damage" or "unfortunate realities of war." Even if the bombing targets were intentionally civilian areas, the results are excused. When children are unintentionally injured by a Syrian or Russian plane, despite have taken all the appropriate measures to avoid these types of incidents, western press refers to the results as "crimes against humanity,"intentional targeting of civilians," and Assad "killing his own people."

      It should also be noted that, while all of the above may be the source of the child's injuries, it is just as likely that his injuries came as a result of the men seen handling him. After all, America's "rebels" have long killed children in the most grotesque manner, even beheading a young boy on camera in recent weeks.

    But regardless of the nature of the child's injuries, the photo and the footage is clearly a propaganda stunt. At best, it was seized by propagandists in the West and their foot soldiers in "rebel held" areas of Syria, i.e. terrorist support operations such as the White Helmets). One need only examine the "photographer" and this push by mainstream outlets to see that little Omran is being used as the latest bit of war porn propaganda, designed to create sympathy and moral outrage in an audience devoid of both until they are told to have one or the other by mass media outlets.

   It is no surprise that many people in the West are now turning to social media. They skewed the 2016 election strongly in favor of Hillary Clinton and they have been lying atrociously about the Ukraine and Syria.

WILL THE WEST EVER STOP LYING ABOUT SYRIA?


    Speaking in Brussels in October, US Secretary of State John Kerry insisted that "We [the U.S.] are not giving up on the Syrian people,and we are not abandoning the pursuit of peace."

Bullshit.

   The U.S. government,as everyone knows (but only a few are willing to admit),has never had any interest in stemming the violence and bloodshed that has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives.On the contrary, the Obama administration has been actively perpetuating it from the very beginning, through a variety of means.The armed opposition in Syria" with whose righteous cause we're supposed to sympathize,is at its core an Islamist proxy army serving the interests of external governments, most notably Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey (all allies of the U.S.), who want to see Syria's secular president replaced by a Sunni theocrat.

     It's always been this way.The "peaceful protests" that touched off the conflict in 2011 were anything but; many of the protesters were armed from the very beginning, prepared to use deadly force against the police and army to trigger a revolution on behalf of their state-sponsors.

     Was the U.S. government ignorant of these plans, concocted by its regional allies, to wage holy war on Syria" Of course not; Bashar al-Assad's was one of several regimes shortlisted for toppling following 9/11,this in spite of the fact that Assad cooperated with our "war on terror" and, unlike us, does not arm or train jihadists.

     The U.S. played a central role in manufacturing the Syrian uprising "a serious crime" but it didn't stop there. Taking advantage of the lawlessness engendered by Muammar Gaddafi's deposition and murder (another of Obama's projects),the CIA wasted no time opening up a corridor through which foreign weapons and personnel could flow into Syria and join the ranks of the "moderate opposition," e.g. Jabhat al-Nusra, i.e. al-Qaeda in Syria.

    This had the obvious effect of sharply escalating the violence that was already tearing the country to shreds.

    Meanwhile, mainstream Western media waged a relentless propaganda campaign against the Syrian government, accusing it, without evidence,of everything from deliberately gassing civilians to running SS-style concentration camps. Atrocities committed by the "moderate rebels" went unreported; indeed,one had, and still has, to dig around for alternative, independent coverage of the conflict to get an accurate picture of the kind of people the US government supports.

    Fears that Assad,with Moscow's help,might actually manage to save Syria from a jihadist takeover are growing. This explains western media's increasingly hysterical attempts to portray Syria's president as a megalomaniacal sadist who kills children for fun.

   As John Kerry contended in his recent speech, "this tragic war has been made worse by the utter depravity of the regime, that doesn't hesitate to still use gas,chlorine, mixed with other ingredients to kill its citizens, that drops barrel bombs on hospitals and children and women."

   This business about chemical weapons continues to be parroted by outlets like the New York Times,in spite of the fact that no evidence has been presented to support the allegation. It's been known for years that terrorist groups like Jabhat al-Nusra have a chemical weapons capability, and moreover that such weapons have been used against Syrian soldiers; nevertheless,any time a chemical attack occurs,no matter how crude,Assad is automatically and irrevocably held responsible.

   But then,lack of evidence is hardly a consideration when it comes to demonizing an official enemy. Take for instance the September 20 attack on a UN aid convoy,which killed some twenty people and officially spelled the end of the shaky ceasefire agreement brokered by the U.S. and Russia.Immediately following the attack,Kerry pointed his finger at Russia,later doubling down in spite of the following statement from UN humanitarian spokesman Jens Laerke:

   "We are not in a position to determine whether these were in fact airstrikes. We are in a position to say that the convoy was attacked."

     Far from accusing Russia,the UN conceded that the attack wasn't even necessarily an airstrike, meaning it could have come from a surface-to-surface missile,meaning it could have come from a nearby rebel outfit.

   Kerry was unfazed, however;he was determined to exploit the crime in order to divert attention from recent American malfeasance. Recall that on September 17,three days before the humanitarian convoy was attacked, the U.S. air force killed over 60 Syrian soldiers "by accident," effectively guaranteeing that the ceasefire would fail.

    "We did it, a terrible accident," Kerry said. "But I got to tell you, people running around with guns on the ground, from the air, is a very different thing from trucks in a convoy with big UN markings all over them."

    Translation: What we did was bad, but what we say the Russians did, without proper evidence, is worse. Therefore, forget about what we did.

   There are many questions surrounding the American shelling of Syrian troops on September. 17, which opened the door for ISIS to capture strategic territory overlooking a military airport. Was it really an accident? Or was it an operation designed to undermine the fragile ceasefire and preclude any further cooperation with Moscow?

    Think about it: The "accident" occurred just 48 hours before the U.S. and Russia were to begin military collaboration against ISIS and al-Nusra.Said collaboration, which presupposed seven straight days of ceasefire,was to include intelligence-sharing between the old Cold War adversaries,something the Pentagon was openly opposed to.

   As reported by the New York Times, Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Harrigian, commander of the U.S. Air Forces Central Command, made a rather staggering admission when asked whether the Pentagon would abide by the agreement:

  "I'm not saying yes or no. It would be premature to say that we're going to jump right into it."

   In case the reader missed it, that's an officer in the U.S. Air Force indicating that he might choose to defy an order given by the president. Such is the degree of Russophobia infecting the Department of Defense,it apparently justifies insubordination, perhaps even mutiny.

     Furthermore, the U.S. Air Force was intimately familiar with the area,Deir el-Zour,that it "accidentally" bombarded. According to an article in the Daily Beast (which credulously accepts the official government line), the U.S. "has conducted scores of precise strikes around the city targeting ISIS and should know the city well. The U.S. has conducted, on average, nearly 20 strikes a week around Deir el-Zour."

    The notion that U.S. pilots were unaware of who they were bombing for an hour straight is,to put it mildly,difficult to take seriously.

    One thing is clear:whether the air assault on Syrian troops was a mistake or an act of aggressive insubordination by the Pentagon,the U.S."not Russia,not Assad"bears primary responsibility for the ceasefire breaking down.Hence Kerry's eagerness to change the subject and blame Russia for the attack on the aid convoy that occurred three days later.

    Since then,the Syrian army has continued to advance on Eastern Aleppo (currently occupied by al-Nusra and adjacent terrorist groups), and the West's propaganda machine has gone into overdrive.Articles shaming the Obama administration for "turning its back on Syria" and "allowing genocide" continue to proliferate.

   The focus now is on Assad's supposed penchant for maiming and murdering children, though this preoccupation certainly predates the ceasefire. In one particularly galling example of base opportunism, mainstream Western media exploited an image of a bloodied and dust-covered Syrian child" "the boy in the ambulance" in order to promote their regime change narrative.

    First of all, anyone who needs to see a picture of an injured or dead child in order to grasp the horrors of modern warfare ought to have their head examined. Here's a newsflash: War is grotesque; it kills innocent men, women and children; it destroys families,cities,countries and cultures. If you don't know this, you don't know anything.

   Second,if our media has such empathetic concern for the children being killed in Syria, why is their coverage limited to the victims of airstrikes carried out by the Syrian and Russian governments "Are we expected to believe that our terrorist allies in Syria don't have the blood of any children on their hands"

     The major media outlets in the West devoted few or no column inches to the savage beheading of the twelve-year-old Palestinian boy. Nor can you find many (any) articles about Aleppo's adolescent suicide bombers, who have been brainwashed to believe that, in blowing themselves to pieces, they're doing Allah's work and will be eternally rewarded in paradise. Contrarily, you would be hard pressed to go a single day without coming across a new article detailing the effects of Syrian and Russian airstrikes in Aleppo.

    This glaring discrepancy is precisely what one would expect to observe in a state-controlled media climate, according to which only the victims of our enemies are deserving of comment,let alone sympathy.

    To apprehend how absurd the narrative has become, consider the wholly uncritical response to Netflix's terrible new documentary about the "White Helmets," a jihadist propaganda organization"sponsored and financed by the U.S. and Britain" whose members run around rebel-held territory masquerading as humanitarian first responders.

    Despite abundant evidence illustrating their true motives (watch this for a succinct breakdown), the White Helmets are celebrated in Western media as an independent,impartial NGO dedicated to saving lives threatened by the Syrian government.Their propaganda,while transparent, is remarkably effective.They've been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.Ignorant celebrities like Ben Affleck and Alicia Keys have publicly endorsed them.Meanwhile,no major media outlet,as far as I know, has sought to examine whether the White Helmets are in fact the non-political humanitarian heroes they profess to be, which tells you everything you need to know.

   The incredibly superficial Netflix documentary actually carries no information whatsoever, unless you count the fact that one of the White Helmets admits to having fought alongside a rebel faction for a period of three months. The majority of the film takes place in Turkey,where a group of White Helmets are attending some sort of humanitarian boot camp. There the viewer is very briefly introduced to the leader of the organization, Raed Saleh, who the filmmakers fail to mention was recently denied entry into the United States for undisclosed reasons (that are easy enough to surmise). Nor do the filmmakers explore why the Turkish government, which has long supported jihadist elements in Syria, hosts training camps for the ostensibly neutral White Helmets. The "documentary," in other words, is a joke.

     At the end of it,we're informed that the White Helmets "have saved over 58,000 lives" since 2013, an outlandish figure that comes from the White Helmets themselves and has not been verified by any independent organization.

    It's hard to tell whether director Orlando von Einsiedel and producer Joanna Natasegara even realized they were making a propaganda film. A glance at Natasegara's Twitter page "replete with the usual Western talking points re:Syria "suggests that she did in fact know, but there's also the possibility that she's been sufficiently indoctrinated to believe all that nonsense. Either way, she and Einsiedel now function as cheerleaders for U.S. military aggression in Syria. John Kerry salutes them for their service to the American war machine.

    Needless to say, as long as stealth Islamist groups like the White Helmets are lionized by our government and our media, and as long as atrocities committed by the "moderate opposition" are systematically ignored, a permanent cessation of hostilities in Syria remains a pipe dream, which is what started the whole mess to begin with.

 THIS IS NO CIVIL WAR IN SYRIA

    Eva Bartlet, a Canadian Independent Writer,Activist has written a diary about how the US Media distorts the war in Syria.The Syrians love Asad. She has visited Syria several times. You can read her diary at:

https://ingaza.wordpress.com/2016/12/02/aleppo-how-us-saudi-backed-rebels-target-every-syrian-war-diary-by-western-journalist-eva-bartlett-on-the-truth-about-aleppo/

 

                       or

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g1VNQGsiP8M

 

 

Eva Bartlett is an independent writer and rights activist with extensive experience in Syria, where she lived a cumulative three years (from late 2008 to early 2013).

 From June-August 2016, she visited Syria for her fifth time. On her sixth visit,in October and November, she returned independently again to Syria, for one month,during which time she visited Aleppo twice.

   On November 4,no one fled terrorist-held areas of Aleppo.Family members of civilians still there say their loved ones are being used as human shields by  groups like the Nusra Front, Ahrar al-Sham, or Nour al-Din al-Zenki , the so-called "moderate rebels" and "opposition forces" backed by the United States,NATO, Israel and Gulf allies like Saudi Arabia and Qatar. This no civil war.

    As I write the Syrian Army has gained control of Aleppo. The US & western countries are angry at this event. The US is angry because Russia evicted terrorists (same one's involved in the September 11th arrack) from Syria. On December 12 when Aleppo was liberated from terrorists by the Syrian Army the Syrian people were celebrating in the street. You will find no mention of this in mainstream media.

  What is Syria really about. In 2000 the gulf states (Qatar & Saudi Arabia) wanted to build a pipeline from Saudi Arabia through Jordan,then Syria and on to Turkey. But in 2009 the Syrian government refused to allow the pipeline to go through Syria. As a result the west demonized Bashar-al-assad and brought mercenaries into Syria to try to over throw the legitimate government of Syria. The Americans don't give a rats ass about the Syrian people.

They are only interested in a pipeline. That is one of the two things what this war in Syria is really about.

  The other issue is hegemony. Ever since the collapse of the Soviet Union the USA has had the attitude that they can just shit and piss over anybody they want anytime they want. Russia a long time ally of Syria was asked by Syria to help them. Now that the Syrian government has regained control of Aleppo the message from Russia to the US is "you can not overthrow the legitimate government of Syria". The USA can not accept this. As a result Obama has upped the anti and has lifted restrictions on distribution of weapons to terrorists. This may not be over yet. The USA is so hubris that they may just blow Syria off the map rather than concede defeat.

 MARCH,2016 BRUSSELS BOMBINGS

 

Along with Nice in France,Brussels also witnessed terrorits attacks.On the morning of 22 March 2016, three coordinated suicide bombings occurred in Belgium:two at Brussels Airport in Zaventem and one at Maalbeek metro station in central Brussels.Thirty-two (32) civilians and three perpetrators were killed and more than 300 people were injured.Another bomb was found during a search of the airport.Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) claimed responsibility for the

attacks.

   The perpetrators belonged to a terrorist cell which had been involved in the November 2015 Paris attacks. The Brussels bombings happened shortly after a series of police raids targeting the group.

   The bombings were the deadliest act of terrorism in Belgium's history. The Belgian government declared three days of national mourning.Some have said the greatest threat to peace and stability in this world is not Russia,it is not China,or Islamic terrorists. It is the USA. The USA has a track record for supporting these groups. In the 1980s the USA supported Osama Bin Laden and the terrorist group Mujahedeen during the war in Afghanistan. In the 1990s the USA supported terrorists to attack the Serbs in Bosnia.Then the USA attacked and bombed Iraq and Libya turning them into failed states and created ISIL. Now they are backing terrorists in Syria creating new terrorists and causing them to spread to Europe and other parts of the world. So when you see a terrorist thank the Americans.

 EU COURT SHIELDED SUSPECTED ISTANBUL BOMBER FROM RUSSIA EXTRADITION


  A Chechen national suspected of being the mastermind behind the deadly Istanbul airport terrorist attack, earlier received refugee status in Austria,which helped him to repeatedly avoid extradition to Russia on terror charges.

The June 28,2016 fatal attack on the Istanbul airport that took lives of 44 people and left more than 230 injured was allegedly organized by Ahmed Chataev,a Russian citizen of Chechen origin, who joined Islamic State (IS, former ISIS/ISIL) in 2015 and now fights in Syria, Turkish media report, citing police sources.

     Chataev was assigned a leading role in training extremists that would then commit terrorist attacks in both Russia and Western Europe, the Deputy Chairman of the Russian Investigative Committee Andrey Przhezdomsky said, adding that,in Syria, Chataev also commands a unit consisting "primarily of immigrants from the North Caucasus,"Russia's Kommersant newspaper reported earlier this year.

    Chataev turned out to be long wanted by the Russian authorities for terrorism-related offenses but he fled to Europe, where he was granted asylum,and successfully managed to escape extradition to Russia.

   Chataev joined Islamist secessionist militants that fought against Russia in the Second Chechen War between 1999 and 2000, where he lost an arm. Later, he was considered to be a representative of Dokka Umarov, once a "terrorist "1"  in Russia, in the Western Europe.

              The eyed Istanbul airport attack mastermind was on a wanted list in Russia since 2003 for sponsoring terrorism, recruiting extremists and membership in a terrorist group, Russian media report. However, in the same year, he received asylum in Austria.Chataev reportedly claimed that he lost his arm as he was severely tortured in Russian prison adding that he is being persecuted by Russian authorities.

     In 2008, he was detained with some other Chechen nationals in the Swedish town of Trelleborg as police found Kalashnikov assault rifles, explosives and ammunition in his car. As a result, he spent more than a year in Swedish prison.

     In 2010, Chataev was arrested in Ukraine with his mobile phone files containing a demolition technique instruction and photos of people killed in a blast.Russia requested his extradition on terrorism-related charges but the European Court for Human Rights ordered Ukraine not to hand him over to Russia with Amnesty International also urging Ukrainian authorities to halt extradition as Chataev "could face an unfair trial and would be at risk of torture and other ill-treatment."

    A year later, he was once again detained as he was crossing the border between Turkey and Bulgaria but he again avoided extradition because of the interference of human rights organizations that stressed Chataev had a refugee status in Austria and thus cannot be sent to Russia, Kommersant reported.

   Between 2012 and 2015, Chataev reportedly lived in Georgia, where he also joined some terrorist groups and served a prison sentence on terrorism-related charges.

   In February 2015, he left Georgia for Syria, where he joined IS militants and soon took a high position in the Islamic State hierarchy. In October 2015,the US Justice Ministry added Chataev to the terrorist list because of his alleged involvement into recruitment of extremists.

   If a person commits terrorist attacks against Russia the west considers them a patriot.The head of the snake is Saudi Arabia. For 4 decades Saudi Arabia,Qatar, Kuwait and UAE have been exporting Wahhabi and Radical Islam,preaching hate and the killing of the infidels. They open " Madrases " and build Mosques all around the world but especially in Christian countries for that purpose.

    Ironically the US and the EU have known all along about that, but have kept a blind eye, even encouraged it to fit their agenda and narrative as it keeps people in fear and under control.Islamic terror would end tomorrow if the US and the EU take strong action against Saudi Arabia, but don't hold your breath,Western leaders love the Saudi's blood money "donations ".


DUTCH CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION CONFLICTS RUSSIAN INVESTIGATION AND OPENS MORE QUESTIONS THAN IT ANSWERS

     On September 28 the key conclusion of the Dutch-led criminal inquiry implicating Russia in the 2014 shootdown of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 relied heavily on cryptic telephone intercepts that were supplied by the Ukrainian intelligence service and were given incriminating meaning not clearly supported by the words.

    The investigators also seemed to ignore other intercepts that conflicted with their conclusions,including one conversation that appeared to be referring to a Ukrainian convoy, not one commanded by ethnic Russian rebels,that was closing in on the Luhansk airport, placing Ukrainian troops deep inside rebel territory.

    That conversation was among five that the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) released in seeking the public's help in identifying persons of interest in the MH-17 shootdown. The callers seemed to be discussing information from Moscow regarding the movement of a convoy,but they describe it as a "Ukrops" or Ukrainian troop convoy.

 "B: I am saying about the confirmation of the convoy that is going in the direction of the airpor" Moscow/Moskva has confirmed" they see it.

Is it err "whatsit" Ukrops convoy"

    "A: The convoy that is going in the direction of the airport" Yes.

    "B: And how did it go through"

    "A: Most likely through Sabovka," which the JIT interprets to be the town of Sabivka, about five miles west of Luhansk and about 92 miles northeast of Donetsk, the two rebel capitals. The Luhansk airport is about 20 miles south of the city center. 

In other words, if this intercept from JIT is correct, the Ukrainian military was operating near the highway routes that the alleged Russian Buk missile battery would have been using. The conversation then picks up, referring to a possible battle for the airport:

    "B: So, the convoy was confirmed. Where the convoy can be from?"

   "C: I don't know where it is going from. It's from west, isn't it"

   "B: It;s somehow going from west. From west. Fucking one and a half kilometres from the airdrome.

   "C: From the airdrome"

   "B: Yes.

   "C: It can;t be one and a half kilometres from the airdrome because there is a populated locality there, there are positions there.Probably"I don't know. Will now try to do something. "I think we will be receiving information soon" our groups have left.

   "B: Uh-huh.

   "C: Ok. Well, if they come in the airport, will fight at the airport. What else can we do?

   "B: Ok. I got you."

Although it's difficult to know precisely what these callers are discussing, the conversation seems to refer to a potential battle for an airport,not the deployment of a Buk missile system.

   Also, if Ukrainian forces had penetrated that deep into rebel territory, it is difficult to exclude that a Ukrainian Buk battery might have traveled along the southerly route H-21, which skirts Donetsk and then heads east toward the JIT's claimed firing site in a field near the town of Pervomaiskyi.H-21 then bends north toward Luhansk airport and the city of Luhansk.

    The JIT video report on the MH-17 case, which was released on Wednesday, also didn't address questions about the location of several Ukrainian Buk missile batteries that Dutch (i.e. NATO) intelligence placed in eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014, the day that MH-17 was shot down. A finding from the Dutch intelligence service, MIVD, released last October, said the only high-powered anti-aircraft missile systems in eastern Ukraine at that time, capable of bringing down MH-17 at 33,000 feet and killing all 298 people onboard, belonged to the Ukrainian military,not the rebels.

   Although the location of the Ukrainian Buk systems would seem to be crucial to the investigation,at least in eliminating other suspects,JIT operates under an agreement with the Ukrainian government that lets it veto the release of information. Ukraine's SBU intelligence service, which represented the Kiev government in the JIT, also has among its official responsibilities the protection of secret information that could be damaging to Ukraine.

    Regarding JIT's claim that the Buk missile system crossed over from Russian territory, the video report states: "All telecom data and intercepted telephone calls that have been examined by the investigation team demonstrates that the Buk/TELAR (the self-contained operating system) was brought into Ukraine from the Russian Federation."

      But as evidence the JIT cites one phone intercept, which " according to the JIT" translation " does not use the word Buk though referencing a piece of equipment that can move on its own or be transported by truck. That could be a Buk system but could apply to many other weapons systems as well.

         In the intercepted call, one speaker said, "it crossed, crossed the line." The narrator of the JIT video report then adds, "The Buk/TELAR crossed the line,in other words, it passed the border." But there are two assumptions here: that the unidentified weapon is a Buk and that the "line" means border. That could be the case but other interpretations are possible.

        Another key point, the disputed location of the so-called "getaway" video of a Buk missile system missing one missile, is simply asserted as fact without an explanation as to how the JIT reached its conclusion placing the location near Luhansk.

    While the Western mainstream media has given the JIT great credibility, the JIT itself has acknowledged a dependency on Ukraine's SBU, which shaped the inquiry by supplying its selection of phone intercepts.

   Yet,the SBU is far from a neutral party in the investigation, nor does it have clean hands regarding the Ukrainian civil war that followed a U.S.-backed putsch ousting elected President Viktor Yanukovych on Feb. 22, 2014, and sparking an uprising among ethnic Russian Ukrainians who represented Yanukovych's political base in the east and south.

    Since then, the SBU has been on the front lines of crushing the rebellion by using controversial tactics. In late June 2016, the United Nation's Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Ivan Simonovic accused the SBU of frustrating U.N. investigations into its alleged role in torture and other war crimes.

    Simonovic criticized the SBU for "not always providing access to all places where detainees may be kept. " OHCHR (the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner on Human Rights) also continues to receive accounts about torture and ill-treatment, arbitrary and incommunicado detention by the SBU, especially in the conflict zone.

   "Torture and threats to members of the families, including sexual threats, are never justifiable, and perpetrators will be held to account sooner or later." "War crimes, crimes against humanity and grave breaches of human rights cannot be the subject of an amnesty."

    Yet, the SBU strongly influenced the direction of the JIT, which included Ukraine along with the Netherlands, Belgium, Australia and Malaysia. The JIT agreement gave Ukraine veto power over what would be released,even though Ukrainian military units were among the logical suspects in the MH-17 case.

   Earlier this year, an internal report describing the JIT operation revealed how dependent the investigators had become on information provided by the SBU.According to the report, the SBU helped shape the MH-17 investigation by supplying a selection of phone intercepts and other material that would presumably not include sensitive secrets that would implicate the SBU's political overseers in Ukraine. But the JIT seemed oblivious to this conflict of interest, saying:

    "Since the first week of September 2014, investigating officers from The Netherlands and Australia have worked here [in Kiev]. They work in close cooperation here with the Security and Investigation Service of the Ukraine (SBU). Immediately after the crash, the SBU provided access to large numbers of tapped telephone conversations and other data."

    "At first rather formal, cooperation with the SBU became more and more flexible. "In particular because of the data analysis, we were able to prove our added value", says [Dutch police official Gert] Van Doorn. "Since then, we notice in all kinds of ways that they deal with us in an open way. They share their questions with us and think along as much as they can."

    The internal JIT report continued: "With the tapped telephone conversations from SBU, there are millions of printed lines with metadata, for example, about the cell tower used, the duration of the call and the corresponding telephone numbers. The investigating officers sort out this data and connect it to validate the reliability of the material. "

      "By now, the investigators are certain about the reliability of the material. "After intensive investigation, the material seems to be very sound", says Van Doorn, "that also contributed to the mutual trust."

     Another concern about how the SBU could manipulate the JIT investigation is that the long assignments of investigators in Kiev over a period of more than two years could create compromising situations. Kiev has a reputation as a European hotbed for prostitution and sex tourism, and there's the possibility of other human relationships developing between Australian and Dutch investigators and Ukrainian intelligence officers.

     According to the JIT report, four investigating officers from Australia are stationed in Kiev on three-month rotations while Dutch police rotate in two teams of about five people each for a period of a "fortnight," or two weeks.

    The relative isolation of the Australian investigators further adds to their dependence on their Ukrainian hosts. According to the report, "The Australian investigators find themselves a 26 hour flight away from their home country and have to deal with a large time difference. "For us Australians, it is more difficult to get into contact with our home base, which is why our operation is quite isolated in Kiev", says [Andrew] Donoghoe,"a senior investigating officer from the Australian Federal Police.

     The SBU's assistance, however, did not lead to a rapid resolution of the MH-17 mystery, now more than two years old. The Dutch Safety Board report last October placed the spot of the suspected missile launch within a 320-square-kilometer area, including both government and rebel positions.

      According to the Dutch intelligence service finding also released last October, the only anti-aircraft missiles in eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014, capable of hitting a plane flying at 33,000 feet belonged to the Ukrainian military.

    There'also the dog-not-barking mystery of the curious silence from the U.S. intelligence community. Although Secretary of State John Kerry claimed to know the firing location immediately after the shootdown, the U.S. government went silent after CIA analysts had time to evaluate U.S. satellite, electronic and other intelligence data.

   A source who was briefed by U.S. intelligence analysts told me that they saw the attack as a rogue Ukrainian operation involving a hard-line oligarch with the possible motive of shooting down Russian President Vladimir Putin's official plane returning from South America that day, with similar markings as MH-17. But they have been unable to determine if that assessment represented a dissident or consensus view inside the U.S. intelligence community.

   For its part, the Russian government has denied supplying the eastern Ukrainian rebels with a Buk system although the rebels did possess shorter-range,shoulder-fired MANPADs.

   In the investigations of MH-17, two other key features remain unexplained.One,the pilot cockpit voice recorder (one of the first pieces of evidence sought after in any plane crash),and two, the many "finger sized" holes in the fuselages on either side of the cockpit, which are not due to ground to air BRUK missiles.

The latter leave shredded slit like tears, usually underneath the plane belly. The former finger holes are the type left by air to air machine gun projectiles,as has been reported previously by knowledgeable crash experts in Germany.

    Both "black box" recorders were found within days of the crash by the Kiev authorities, but the contents of only the technical data (air speed, altitude,direction, and other usual flight parameters) recorder's contents were routinely examined and reported Surely the two pilots might have had some last words,even if tragically truncated. Where are they? Their silence is deafening.

   One might ask if there has been any rebuttal by Russian authorities, whose radar and satellite traces were made public. Something the US or any western government has yet to provide.Any objective comment beyond a mere perfunctory they can't be trusted!!!

PHILIPPINE PRESIDENT RODRIGO DUTERTE TELLS OBAMA AND THE USA TO FUCK OFF!!!!!

 In October while in the process of saying "goodbye" to America, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte referred to President Barack Obama as a "son of a whore,"according to the Agence France-Presse.

    "Your stay in my country was for your own benefit.So time to say goodbye,my friend," Duterte said this in Octoner in Beijing,referring to the United States and referring to President Obama with the vulgar phrase he has used against him" among other world leaders, notably Pope Francis" in the past. The "Philippine Star" describes this speech as a "40-minute speech peppered with expletives."

    Duterte previously used the insult against President Obama in September during a summit in Asia.He did not apologize and President Obama met personally with Duterte anyway.President Obama dismissed the insult as a result of how Duterte is used to speaking and noted that he was in good company with the pope.

     "In this venue, I announce my separation from the United States both in the military" not social,but economics also.America has lost.I have separated from them so I will be more dependent on China for some time,but don't worry,we will also help," he said."I've realigned myself in your ideological flow and maybe I will also go to Russia to talk to (President Vladimir) Putin and tell him that there are three of us against the world "China,Philippines and Russia. It's the only way," he added, according to Reuters.

   "I will not go to America anymore. I will just be insulted there," he added, before clarifying that he had never been in the United States because "they won't give me a visa." Duterte has been accused of human rights violations in the drug war he led as mayor of southern Davao City, which he has continued as president.Individuals accused of such crimes struggle to receive the proper permissions to enter the United States.

     The Chinese government "which has usurped Philippine territory in the Spratly Islands and Scarborough Shoal,forcing Philippine fishermen out of fishing grounds within the nation's exclusive economic zone" has commended Duterte for his stance.

   "The Chinese people are passionate about peace," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said of the meeting.Her boss,President Xi Jinping,echoed her sentiments.

  "China and the Philippines have had foundation for friendship for generations and no reason for hostility or confrontation. Both sides should spare no efforts to promote neighborly relations," he said, according to state-run news outlet Xinhua."It is political wisdom and a successful practice worth passing down as well as an important foundation for the healthy and stable growth of China-Philippines relations."

    Xi also reportedly suggested that the Philippines and China hold "bilateral talks" to celebrate an ancient diplomatic visit from the Philippines to China,though he did not specify whether this would involve military activities or merely civilian parade celebrations.

    It is good Duterte stands up to the USA.America disrespects nations and just uses them to their own advantage. Without giving a second thought the USA will throw you under a bus. At least if China and Russia don't like the government of your country they aren't going to start dropping bombs on you. If more countries told America we are not going to tolerate your bullshit,the world will be a much better place.

AFTER SNUBBING OBAMA,CHINA GIVES PUTIN RED CARPET TREATMENT AND WARNS AGAINST PROTECTIONISM AT G-20 SUMMIT


    In September roughly at the same time as China's infamous snub of Obama's arrival at Hangzhou for the G-20 summit,when the G-20 host nation's delegation first made sure there was no staircase for Obama to exit the plane and descend on the red carpet;forcing the president of the world's most powerful nationto use an emergency exit...

 ... followed by a shouting match by a Chinese official who unleashed on the US Press corps and national security advisor Susan Rice,blocking them from crossing a blue rope holding back press and saying "This is our country. This is our airport", Chinese officials had no such problems greeting Russian president Vladimir Putin with full honors,whose arrival-on the red carpet-took place without a glitch.

   The favor was returned: according to RT, Putin brought a box of Russian ice-cream as a gift to Chinese leader Xi Jinping: "I promised you I'd bring some ice-cream," Putin said. "I've brought for you a box of it as a gift." Xi Jinping is a real fan of Russian ice-cream." Thank you very much for the gift, for the tasty ice-cream. In my every trip to Russia I always ask to buy Russian ice-cream. And then,at home, we eat it," the Chinese leader said.Having brought no ice cream of his own, and his embarrassing arrival in China making front page news over the weekend, Obama quickly tried to talk down the embarrassing incident, saying the tensions were the result of different approaches to the media, as well as the sheer scale of the US operation when he travels,according to AFP. Obama pivoted away from the snub, instead accusing China of once again showing little respect for human rights: "Washington stands up for press freedom and human rights and - whatever the fallout - does not leave our values and ideals behind when we take these trips" he said.

   "It can cause some friction. The seams are showing a little more than usual in terms of some of the negotiations and jostling that takes place behind the scenes," Obama told reporters on Sunday.

   The justification continued: "Part of it is we also have a much bigger footprint than a lot of other countries. And we've got a lot of planes, a lot of helicopters, a lot of cars, a lot of guys. You know, if you're a host country, sometimes it may feel a little bit much."

     Obama said it was not the first time Washington's differences with Beijing had erupted during a visit, and that clashing values were also on display in his discussions with Xi.

    Obama concluded by expressing hope the world would quickly move on and forget China's snub of Obama on his last official visit to the country: "And so I wouldn't over-crank the significance of it," he said.

   "None of this detracts from the broader scope of the relationship (with China)," he told a news conference. "The bilateral discussions that we had yesterday were extremely productive and continue to point to big areas of cooperation."

 * * *

 Obama's "explanation" aside, China took the initiative to continue piling its critisim of the US, when Chinese President Xi Jinping said at the open of a two-day G-20 summit that the global economy is being threatened by rising protectionism and risks from highly leveraged financial markets. He was referring to recent US trade war escalations, and Washington's recent response to Chinese dumping with duties on cold-rolled steel as high as 522%. As for highly leveraged financial markets, pretty much anyone could be at fault there.

    His warning on Sunday followed bilateral talks with Barack Obama that the U.S. president described as "extremely productive", but which failed to bring both sides closer on thornier topics such as tensions in the South China Sea.

    In addition to the previously leaked communique details,which was reported the night before will call for more fiscal and monetary stimulus, observers expect G20 leaders to mount a defense of free trade and globalization and warn against isolationism, eyeing Britain's vote in June to exit the European Union and before the U.S. presidential election in November. The global economy has arrived "at a crucial juncture", Xi said, in the face of sluggish demand, volatile financial markets and feeble trade and investment.

    "Growth drivers from the previous round of technological progress are gradually fading, while a new round of technological and industrial revolution has yet to gain momentum," he said.

* * *

    Meanwhile, some of the G20 leaders begun drawing battle lines in disputes over issues ranging from trade and investment to tax policy and industrial overcapacity,suggesting there was far less smiling by world leaders going on behind the scenes.

     According to Reuters, Xi held talks with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and told him he hoped Australia would continue to provide a fair,transparent and predictable policy environment for foreign investors. China was angered when Australia blocked the A$10 billion ($7.7 billion) sale of the country's biggest energy grid to Chinese bidders in August.

    China has accused Australia of bowing to protectionist sentiment in blocking the bid for Ausgrid,as well as an earlier one by a China-led consortium to buy cattle company Kidman & Co. Beijing has also criticized Australia, a staunch U.S. ally,for running surveillance flights over disputed islands in the South China Sea.

     Meanwhile,European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker shot back at China saying the G-20 host nation must set up a mechanism to address its problem of industrial overcapacity,adding it was "unacceptable" the European steel industry had lost so many jobs in recent years. "Overcapacity is a global problem but there is a particular Chinese element," he told a news conference.

 * * *

 Britain's future after its departure from the European Union was also subject to discussion. Obama reassured Prime Minister May that Britain's closest political,commercial and military ally would stand by her, tentatively backing off his infamous line that Brexit would leave the UK "in the back of the queue." 

However, Obama did not shrink away from his stance that Brexit was a mistake and that London would not be able to jump the queue to arrange a bilateral trade deal.

      Juncker said that if Britain wanted access to the European Union's common market, it needed to respect the rules of the common market.Turnbull, meanwhile,

said Australia wanted an early free trade agreement with Britain so markets could remain open between them when Britain formally left the European trading bloc.

 * * *

 Snubbed or not, Obama held talks with Xi on Saturday that ran late into the night focusing mostly on the recent geopolitical tensions surrounding the disputed islands. He urged Beijing to uphold its legal obligations in the disputed waters of the South China Sea, and stressed U.S. commitments to its regional allies. Xi responded by saying China would continue to safeguard its sovereignty and maritime rights in the South China Sea. But China is keen to keep the summit focused

on economic issues and to prevent other disputes from overshadowing it.

    According to a "fact sheet" on China-U.S. relations issued after the summit,the two sides agreed on a range of issues, including avoiding competitive currency devaluations and not limiting deal opportunities for foreign information and communication technology providers.

    Obama, in the last five months of his presidency,used the visit to put a final stamp on his signature policy shift toward the Pacific, setting the tone for his White House successor. Judging by this weekend's incidents,Chinese opinion of the highest US political institutions has never been lower.

   Perhaps just as bizarre as the now infamous Obama snub, however, was China's decision to convert parts of the city of Hangzhou, with its 9 million people, into a virtual ghost town as China sought to ensure that the G20 summit stays incident-free.

 

WESTERN MEDIA DISREGARDS TWO RUSSIAN JOURNALISTS MURDERED BY NADIYA VIKTORIVNA SAVCHENKO (GI JANE)


      Russian public broadcaster VGTRK Igor Kornelyuk and Anton Voloshin were killed in shelling on June 17, 2014,in Ukraine's Luhansk region. The helicopter pilot was charged over directing artillery fire from a Ukrainian volunteer battalion at the journalists. Allegedly she claims she was captured by the Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine and was handed over to Russian officials.

      In March of this year Russia's state prosecutor called for a 23-year prison sentence for Savchenko. The prosecutor has also demanded to impose a fine of 100,000 rubles ($1,350/1,250 euros).

    Prosecutors said she was involved in the killing of the journalists. While Savchenko blamed the Russian authorities and the broadcaster company for their deaths.

   Moreover, she threatened the authorities to go on hunger strike if the court needed two more weeks to announce her verdict."You would deliver the verdict posthumously, without me. You have not broken me and will never break me." she told Russian court emotionally.While in the custody, she was elected to the parliament of Ukraine. She went on a 80-day hunger strike and broke it off in March, 2015.According to a BBC report, Russia said that Savchenko crossed the Russia's border illegally before she was arrested.

   But,Ukraine officials hold Russia responsible for kidnapping the pilot. Last year, six Russian officials were suspected for their involvement in Savchenko's detention, says Ukraine prosecutor's office.

   Ukrainian compatriots see her as a symbol of resistance. They consider it an "insurgency" by Russian government.The Ukraine and western media seem to have very little regard for the Russian journalists who were killed.

   On 25 May 2016,Savchencko was exchanged in a prisoner swap for Russian GRU officers Yevgeny Yerofeyev and Alexander Alexandrov captured by Ukraine.

 


BREXIT

     The United Kingdom's withdrawal from the European Union is widely known as Brexit,a portmanteau of "British exit".Following a referendum held on June 23,2016,in which 52% of votes were cast in favour of leaving the EU,the UK government intends to invoke Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union,the formal procedure for withdrawing,by the end of March 2017. This,within the treaty terms,would put the UK on a course to leave the EU by March 2019.Prime Minister Theresa May,elected by the ruling Conservative Party in the wake of the referendum,has promised a bill to repeal the European Communities Act 1972 and to incorporate existing EU laws into UK domestic law.The terms of withdrawal have not yet been negotiated;in the meantime,the UK remains a full member of the European Union.

    The UK joined the European Economic Community (EEC),a predecessor of the EU, in 1973 and confirmed its membership in a 1975 referendum by 67% of the votes.Historical opinion polls 1973-2015 tended to reveal majorities in favor of remaining in the EEC,EC or EU. In the 1970s and 1980s, withdrawal from the EEC was advocated mainly by some Labour Party and trade union figures.From the 1990s,withdrawal from the EU was advocated mainly by some Conservatives and by the newly founded UK Independence Party (UKIP).

MARINE LE PEN MAY BE THE NEXT FRENCH PRESIDENT


     Marine Le Pen born on August 5,1968 is a French politician who is the president of the National Front (FN),a national-conservative political party in France and one of its main political forces.An attorney by profession,she is the youngest daughter of longtime FN leader Jean-Marie Le Pen.She is the aunt of Marion Marchal-Le Pen.

            Le Pen joined the National Front in 1986 and has been elected as a regional councilor (1998-present),a Member of European Parliament (2004-present),and a municipal councilor in H'nin-Beaumont (2008-2011).She was a candidate for the leadership of the FN in 2011 and won with 67.65% (11,546 votes) of the vote,defeating her opponent Bruno Gollnisch and succeeding her father Jean-Marie Le Pen,president of the party for nearly forty years.She then became the second president of the party.

     In 2012,she placed third in the presidential election with 17.90% of the vote,behind Francois Hollande and Nicolas Sarkozy.

     Described as more democratic and republican than her nationalist father,she has led a movement of "de-demonization of the Front National" to detoxify it and soften its image,based on renovated positions and renewed teams,also expelling controversial members accused of racism,antisemitism or patainism. An important moment was when she said that the Holocaust was the "height of barbarism" while her father had infamously referred to it as "a detail in the history of World War II".She finally expelled her father from the party on August 20.2015 after new controversial statements.She has also relaxed some political positions of the party, advocating for civil unions for same-sex couples instead of her party's previous opposition to legal recognition of same-sex partnerships.

    Le Pen was ranked among the most influential people in 2011 and 2015 by the Time 100.In 2016, she was ranked as second-most influential MEP in the European Parliament by Politico,just behind the President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz. In April she stands a good chance of being elected as France's first female president.

 WHO COULD BE ZIMBABWE'S NEXT PRESIDENT?

 At 92,Robert Mugabe has ruled Zimbabwe for longer than most Zimbabweans have been alive,taking office in 1980 after a brutal war and negotiated peace deal.

   In his early years in power, Mugabe was hailed as a visionary leader who reconciled with former colonial rulers and promoted one of the most impressive education systems on the continent.

   But he has since presided over an economic meltdown,violent suppression of dissent and a regime frequently accused of corruption, and suppressing human rights.

   In recent months,rumors of Mugabe's health have swirled unabated. It has become a parlor game for Zimbabwean's on social media to track his presidential plane in case he is spirited out of the country.Rumors of his death have surfaced -- more than once.

   On his return from a recent trip, Mugabe dealt with those rumors head-on. "Yes, I was dead, it's true I was dead.I resurrected as I always do.Once I get back to my country I am real," he told assembled reporters.

 Emmerson Mnangagwa



   Emmerson Mnangagwa is Zimbabwe's co-Vice President, justice minister, and one of the most powerful figures in the country. Nicknamed "The Crocodile" for his political cunning and also, perhaps, for the name of the guerrilla group he helped lead during the fight for independence, Mnangagwa is a feared figure in Zimbabwe -- not only for his closeness to Robert Mugabe,but also for his hold on the state security apparatus.

   Mnangagwa was the country's spy chief in the 1980s when a campaign of terror was unleashed by the North Korean-trained fifth brigade against political opponents and civilians in Matabeleland known as the Gukurahundi.

 Joice Mujuru

      For most of Joice Mujuru's political life, she was considered the ultimate insider in Zimbabwe power politics. She became Vice President until she was purged by Robert Mugabe in 2014 for allegedly plotting against the longtime ruler.

     Mujuru has impeccable liberation struggle credentials. As a teenager she joined the war of independence and took the name Teurai Ropa (Spill Blood). She claimed to have downed a military helicopter with a machine gun, and has held government and political posts since independence in 1980.

      Mujuru and her then-husband Solomon Mujuru -- a liberation stalwart himself --were accused of benefiting from the so-called farm invasions, by taking at least one formerly white-owned farm. Mujuru's business interests in mining have also faced scrutiny.

   Solomon Mujuru,Zimbabwe's first post-independence military general, died in a suspicious fire in 2011.   

   Joice Mujuru was long seen as a potential successor to Mugabe, but faced increasing criticism -- particularly from first lady Grace Mugabe -- and was expelled in late 2014 from the Mugabe's Zanu-PF party.

    She formed the Zimbabwe People First Party earlier this year, which could be a major contender in the 2018 elections.

Grace Mugabe

Grace Mugabe began an affair with the much older Robert Mugabe while working as a secretary in State House in the 1980s.

   But over the years, Mugabe's second wife has garnered significant power and influence and has frequently been talked about as a potential successor to the President.While Grace Mugabe doesn't share the struggle credentials of other potential successors, her proximity to the long-time president has been a powerful tool.

   Known as a blunt speaker, she helped push Joice Mujuru from her position of power by claiming she was power hungry and untrustworthy.Grace Mugabe has expansive business interests in Zimbabwe and, like her husband, is on an EU and US targeted sanctions list.She is praised for her extensive philanthropic work, particularly for orphans, but her lavish shopping sprees gave her the nickname "Gucci Grace."And many Zimbabweans both inside and outside the political elite appear resentful of her influence in government.

Morgan Tsvangirai

 Zimbabwe's former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai created the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party.

      A longtime opposition leader and trade union activist, Morgan Tsvangirai has been a staunch critic of Robert Mugabe since the late 1990s.

      A former member of the ruling Zanu-PF, Tsvangarai formed the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) that helped defeat a 2000 referendum on constitutional referendum that would have extended Mugabe's rule and sanctioned the expropriation of white-owned land.

    After a strong showing in parliamentary elections, Tsvangarai faced a series of treason charges and lengthy trials,but was acquitted.In 2007, Tsvangirai and other MDC activists were brutally beaten by police after being arrested on his way to a government protest rally.

  Tsvangirai lost to Mugabe in a presidential election runoff in 2008. The ballot was marred by widespread accusations of intimidation and violence by the ruling party.

   The disputed vote led to a power-sharing agreement between Mugabe, Tsvangarai and Arthur Mutambara, leaving Tsvangarai as Prime Minister.

   Tsvangarai lost his position when the agreement folded after another disputed election in 2013, where he lost handily to Mugabe. He alleged widespread fraud but withdrew his court challenge.

   Many in Zimbabwe we have spoken to feel that the years of political fighting, infighting and personal tragedy (Tsvangarai lost his wife in 2009 to a car crash) could have taken a toll.

MUHAMMAD ALI DEAD AT 74



 Muhammad Ali (aka born Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr.) ) was an American professional boxer and activist.He was widely regarded as one of the most significant and celebrated sports figures of the 20th century.From early in his career, Ali was known as an inspiring, controversial and polarizing figure both inside and outside the ring.

    Cassius Clay was born on January 17,1942 in Louisville,Kentucky qnd grew up there.This is where he began training as an amateur boxer when he was 12 years old.

At age 18,he won a gold medal in the light heavyweight division at the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome,after which he turned professional later that year.At age 22 in 1964, he won the WBA, WBC and lineal heavyweight titles from Sonny Liston in an upset. Clay then converted to Islam and changed his name from Cassius Clay,which he called his "slave name", to Muhammad Ali. He set an example of racial pride for African Americans and resistance to white domination during the 1960s Civil Rights Movement.

    In 1966,two years after winning the heavyweight title,Ali further antagonized the white establishment in the U.S. by refusing to be conscripted into the U.S. military,citing his religious beliefs and opposition to American involvement in the Vietnam War.He was eventually arrested,found guilty of draft evasion charges and stripped of his boxing titles.He successfully appealed in the U.S. Supreme Court,which overturned his conviction in 1971, by which time he had not fought for nearly four years"losing a period of peak performance as an athlete.Ali's actions as a conscientious objector to the war made him an icon for the larger counterculture generation.

     Ali is regarded as one of the leading heavyweight boxers of the 20th century. He remains the only three-time lineal heavyweight champion, having won the title in 1964,1974 and 1978.Between February 25,1964, and September 19,1964, Ali reigned as the undisputed heavyweight champion. He is the only boxer to be named "The Ring magazine Fighter" of the Year six times.He was ranked as the greatest athlete of the 20th century by Sports Illustrated and the Sports Personality of the Century by the BBC.ESPN SportsCentury ranked him the third greatest athlete of the 20th century. Nicknamed "The Greatest", he was involved in several historic boxing matches.Notable among these were the first Liston fight; the "Fight of the Century", "Super Fight II" and the "Thrilla in Manila" versus his rival Joe Frazier; and "The Rumble in the Jungle" versus George Foreman.

      At a time when most fighters let their managers do the talking, Ali thrived in"and indeed craved" the spotlight,where he was often provocative and outlandish.He was known for trash talking, and often freestyled with rhyme schemes and spoken word poetry,both for his trash talking in boxing and as political poetry for his activism,anticipating elements of rap and hip hop music.As a musician, Ali recorded two spoken word albums and a rhythm and blues song,and received two Grammy Award nominations.As an actor, he performed in several films and a Broadway musical. Ali wrote two autobiographies, one during and one after his boxing career.

    As a Muslim,Ali was initially affiliated with Elijah Muhammad's Nation of Islam (NOI) and advocated their black separatist ideology. He later disavowed the NOI,adhering initially to Sunni Islam and later to Sufism, and supporting racial integration,like his former mentor Malcolm X. After retiring from boxing in 1981,Ali devoted his life to religious and charitable work.In 1984,Ali was diagnosed with Parkinson's syndrome,which his doctors attributed to boxing-related brain injuries.As the condition worsened, Ali made limited public appearances and was cared for by his family until his death.

   Muhammad Ali, the legendary boxer who proclaimed himself "The Greatest" and was among the most famous and beloved athletes on the planet,died on Friday, June 3rd in Scottsdale,Arizona a family spokesman said.

       Ali had been at HonorHealth Scottsdale Osborn Medical Center in Scottsdale for a day with what spokesman Bob Gunnell had described as a respiratory issue."After a 32-year battle with Parkinson's disease,Muhammad Ali passed away at the age of 74. The three-time World Heavyweight Champion boxer died on the evening of June 3rd," Gunnell said in a statement. "The Ali family would like to thank everyone for their thoughts, prayers, and support and asks for privacy at this time."

     Ali's daughter Hana Ali said her father was a "humble mountain."

JILL STEIN AND JUSTIN TRUDEAU SALUTE FIDEL CASTRO FOLLOWING HIS DEATH



       The death of Cuban leader Fidel Castro at age 90 has set off a wave of conflicting, contentious reactions from across the political spectrum. You can just ask Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau,who's been under fire for his extremely fond, sympathetic statement in memory of the former Cuban leader.But he's not alone,as an American former presidential candidate offered some praise,too.Jill Stein joined Justin Trudeau in saluting Castro on the occasion of his death.

     Trudeau's statement on the passing of Castro,which earned him a lot of derision from conservatives,moderates,and some anti-Castro (or at least Castro-ambivalent) liberals too,was widely perceived as being a lot warmer towards someone of his history than a democratic head-of-state ought to be.

    Specifically,Trudeau called Castro "a larger than life leader who served his people for almost half a century," praised Cuba's state systems of education and health care and said he and his family would be "mourning the loss of this remarkable leader" on behalf of all Canadians.

   And, in a statement that was a whole lot shorter but very much of the same spirit,the 2016 Green Party presidential candidate tweeted that Castro was a "a symbol of the struggle for justice in the shadow of empire."

 Tweeta like Dr. Jill Stein's does drive at part of the core appeal of Castro to some leftist activists and thinkers,in addition to his socialist education and health care policies,the notion that his anti-imperialist and anti-colonialist views served as a force for good, a guide for revolutions and liberation struggles in various parts of the world.This is perhaps most in evidence in the influence of Castro's example in different countries in Africa, notably in apartheid South Africa.Simply put,Castro's reputation internationally looks a lot different to many people than it does to countless Americans,as well as some of the native Cubans and Cuban-American immigrants.

   For a sense of comparison,even House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, generally considered a left-wing voice in major party politics,put out a statement framing Castro first and foremost as a repressive despot. But being Democrats are almost as much a bunch of right-wing wackos like the Republicans.

They are also pandering to the Cuban-American community. It is no surprise that Jill Stein a more intelligent human being  was willing to adore and salute to Castro's memory.

 

VIVA FIDEL

 On November 25 the world mourned the death of Fidel Castro, fascist Cuban-Americans in Miami were dancing in the streets.

While flag waving Americans who live in a bubble in the USA under the influence of CNN or FOX (so called) News were hailing his death. When the dogs dance on the graves of the lion that doesn't make them lions.

    The Cubans who left for Miami in the 1960s were rather wealthy,the Scarface generation,were the people disinherited by the Cuban revolution.When casinos were turned into schools and colleges,when bordellos were no more.Instead they will have more schools and more hospitals.

   Castro told the Scarface Cubans that they must treat darker Cubans as equals.The Miami bound Cubans did not accept this.This is rather evident in Miami where more fair skinned Cubans have contempt for their darker skin counterparts and for Afro-Americans.And they are celebrating for the same reason that hundreds of millions of people around the world are mourning.The passing of someone,who was the star,who made Cuba the coolest place on the planet."

    "There's no country on the Earth,where more people have been to,or would like to go to than Cuba. And the iconography of Fidel Castro,Che Guevara,Camilo Cienfuegos and the Cuban revolution is really something that's pretty hard to beat."

  At the time of Castro's death many Cubans in Havana were just devastated. I was in Cuba in 2004 for two weeks and nearly all Cubans I met regarded Castro as if he were a god. He created a revolution and in 1959 he overthrew the US puppet dictator Fulgencio Batista.He was the leader of Cuba until the 21st century.He was the longest reigning non-monarch leader of any country in the world during the 20th century. He ruled during the terms of 10 US Presidents. He holds the Guinness World Book of Records for giving the longest speech. He spoke for 7 hours and 10 minutes in Havana at the 3rd party Communist Party Congress in 1986.He survived over 600 assassination attempts. When he became the leader of Cuba he took the Cuban people out of the grips of the imperialistic pig situated 90 miles away across the Caribbean Sea. When he came to power he kicked the Mafia out of the country.A feat never accomplished in the USA.

   He provided free health care for all Cuban citizens. When I was in Cuba I asked a Cuban woman if you wanted a breast augmentation would the government provided for you this for free upon demand.The woman responded "Si".

  Castro also provided free education (all the way to the Ph.D level) for all the citizens.Cuba also has the highest doctors per capita of any country in the world.

  Castro also was an inspiration to other Latin Americans leaders like Venezuelan Hugo Chavez and Bolivia's Evo Morales.

  Even Nelson Mandela said his success might not have been possible had it not been for Fidel Castro.

   Fidel Castro was 90 and will be remembered,Viva Fidel!

 

OBITUARIES-WHO DIED IN 2016

 

JANUARY

06   Pat Harrington Jr., Actor -Schneider on "One Day at a Time"- age 86

07  Troy Shondell,Singer-only big hit was "This Time (We're Really Breaking Up)"-age 76

07  Kitty Kallen,Singer-Big Band Era,biggest hit was -"Little Things Mean a Lot"-age 94

08  David Bowie,Musician-(2) time Grammy winner influenced music and culture for four generations-age 69

11  David Margulies,Actor-the Mayor in Ghost Busters I and II (1984 & 1989)- age  78

14  Alan Rickman,Actor-Hans Gruber in "Die Hard" and Severus Snape in "Harry Potter"-age 69

14 Ren "Ang lil",Singer/Manager -husband and manager of Celine Dion-age 73

15 Dan Haggerty, Actor-The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams-age 74

15 Noreen Corcoran, Actress -Kelly Gregg in Bachelor Father (1957-59) -age 72

18 Glen Frey,Singer/Songwriter[founded The Eagles "Take It Easy"- age 67

26  Abe Vigoda, Actor-Detective Fish on Barney Miller (1975-'77) - age 94

28  Paul Kantner,Singer / Songwriter-co-founder of The Jefferson Airplane-age 74

28 Mike Minor, Actor-Steve Eliot on "Petticoat Junction"-age 75

FEBRUARY

02 Bob Elliot, Comedian-one-half of the comedy duo of Bob and Ray-age 92

03 Maurice White,Musician/songwriter-founding member of Earth,Wind & Fire-age 74

03 Joe Alaskey, Voice Actor-Bugs Bunny,Daffy Duck, Sylvester, Tweety-age 63

04 Joe Dowell, Pop Singer -#1 hit song "Wooden Heart" (1961) - age 76

13 Antonin Scalia,US Supreme Court Justice - appointed by Ronald Reagan in 1986 - age 79

15 George Gaynes,Actor-Commandant Eric Lassard on the Police Academy series -age 98

19 Harper Lee,Novelist-Pulitzer Prize for fiction (1961) for novel "To Kill A Mockingbird"-age 89

22 Yolande Fox, Singer - Miss America 1951 and sang opera - age 87

22 Sonny James,Country Music Singer/Songwriter-the first teenage country crossover #1 single "Young Love:-age 87

24 Lennie Baker,Musician-1950s music tribute group and TV show Sha-Na-Na (1969-2000) -age 69

25 Tony Burton,Actor-boxing trainer to Apollo Creed and later Rocky in six "Rocky" movies-age 78

28 George Kennedy,Actor-Academy Award for "Cool Hand Luke" also in all the "Airport" movies-age 91

29 Gil Hill,Police Commander/Actor-Inspector Todd in three :Beverly Hills Cop" movies - age 84

MARCH

04 Joey Martin Feek,C&W Muscian - husband and wife country duo "Joey + Rory"- age 40

06 Nancy Reagan,First Lady of the U.S.(1981-1989) Husband,40th President Ronald Reagan-age 94

08 Sir George Martin,Producer for the "Beatles" albums,known as "The Fifth Beatle"- age 90

09 Robert Horton, Actor " Flint McCullough in "Wagon Train" (1957-1962) - age 91

10 Keith Emerson,Musician/keyboardist-created Emerson,Lake & Palmer rock group-age 71

13 Adrienne Corri, Actress - Mrs. Alexander in A Clockwork Orange (1971) - age 85

16 Frank Sinatra Jr., Singer - son of Frank Sinatra and a talented singer - age 72

17 Larry Drake, Actor - Benny Stulwicz on L.A. Law (1987-1994) - age 66

18 Joe Santos,Actor-Lieutenant Dennis Becker on The Rockford Files (1974-1980)-age 84

21 Peter Brown,Actor-Deputy Johnny McKay in "Lawman" (1958-62) and Chad Cooper in "Laredo"(1965-67)-age 80

22 Rob Ford, Politician - crack smoking Mayor of Toronto, Canada - age 46

22 Richard Bradford,Actor -"Man in a Suitcase" on British ITC (1967) - age 81

22 Phife Dawg,Singer-Rapper with the group A Tribe Called Quest,also known as "Five Foot Assassin"- age 45

23 Joe Garagiola,Baseball Player-MLB catcher and announcer and television host-age 90

23 Ken Howard,Actor-Coach Reeves on TV show "White Shadow" & President of SAG-AFTRA- age 71

24 Garry Shandling,Comedian- "Garry Shandling Show" and "The Larry Sanders Show"- age 66

28 James Noble, Actor -Governor Gatling on "Benson" (1979-1986) -age 94

29 Patty Duke,Actress-played identical cousins in "The Patty Duke Show" (1963-1966) -age 69

APRIL

06 Merle Haggard,C&W singer/songwriter-"I'm a Lonesome Fugitive", "Okie From Muskogee"-age 79

12 Anne Jackson,Actress-married to Eli Wallach who died in 2014 - age 90

17 Doris Roberts,Actress-Marie Barone on "Everybody Loves Raymond" (1996-2005)-age 90

21 Prince,Musician - flamboyant on stage, seven Grammy Awards, "Purple Rain"- age 57

21 Lonnie (Mack) McIntosh,Guitarist-pioneered the "lead guitar solo","Wham!" & "Memphis"-age 74

23 Madeleine Sherwood,Actress-Reverend Mother Placido in "The Flying Nun"(1967-70)- age 94

24 Billy Paul,Singer-Grammy Award for "Me and Mrs. Jones- (1972)-age 81

MAY

08 William Schallert,Actor-Martin Lane (Patty's Father) on The Patty Duke Show-age 93

12 Julius La Rosa,Singer -"Anywhere I Wander" fired by Arthur Godfrey on the air-age 86

19 Morley Safer,Journalist-CBS News for 52 years (1964-2016),60 Minutes for 46 years (1970-2016) won 12 Emmy Awards-age 84

19 Alan Young, Actor - Wilbur Post on "Mr. Ed" (1961-66) - age 96

27 Mike Barnett, Singer - co-founder of the singing group "The Lettermen" age 89

JUNE

03 Muhammad Ali, Professional Boxer-(formerly Cassius Clay) three time heavyweight

     champion (1964,1974,and 1978),proclaimed  "The Greatest"-age 74

10 Gordie Howe,Hockey player-Detroit Red Wings for 25 seasons,23-time NHL All-Star-age 88

13 Michu Meszaros,Actor/Circus Performer-was the man in the ALF costume (ALF TV Show 1986-1990)-age 76

14 Ann Guilbert,Actress-Millie Helper in The Dick Van Dyke Show and Yetta Rosenberg in The Nanny-age 87

14 Ronnie Claire Edwards,Actress-Gorabeth Walton Godsey on The Waltons(1972-81)-age 83

17 Ron Lester, Actor - Billy Bob in  movie "Varsity Blues"  - age 45

19 Anton Yelchin, Actor - Pavel Chekov in three Star Trek movies (2009-16) - age 27

27 Mack Rice, Song writer - "Mustang Sally" & "Respect Yourself" -age 82

28 Scotty Moore,Guitarist-backed Elvis in early recordings and pioneered new styles-age 84

28 Buddy Ryan,NFL Football Coach-while defensive coordinator for Chicago Bears invented the 46 defense-age 85

28 Pat Summitt,NCAA Basketball Coach-University of Tennessee Woman's team (1974-2012) the winningest NCAA coach ever-age 64

JULY

02 Michael Cimino,Writer/Director-"Deer Hunter", "Thunderbolt and Lightfoot" -age 77

02 Elie Wiesel,Jewish Writer/political activist,Holocaust survivor and Nobel Laureate-age 87

02 Teddy Rooney, Actor/Musician - son of Mickey Rooney and Martha Vickers - age 66

03 Noel Neill, Actress - Lois Lane in "Adventures of Superman" (1952-58) - age 95

06 Danny Smythe,Musician-founding member of the Box Tops (Devilles) "The Letter" (1967)-age 67

16 Bonnie Brown,C&W Muscian-family musical group The Browns "The Three Bells"- age 77

19 Garry Marshall,Writer/Producer/Actor-created "Happy Days","Mork & Mindy","Laverne & Shirley"-age 81

23 Joseph Kowal-my father-age 95

27 Jerry Doyle,Actor-Michael Garibaldi in "Babylon 5" (1994-98)-age 60

30 Gloria DeHaven,Actress/Singer-"So This Is Paris", "The Girl Rush"-age 91

AUGUST

02 David Huddleston, Actor - Character actor  "Santa Claus:The Movie" -age 85

03 Ricci Martin, Entertainer - son of Dean Martin - age 62

06 Pete Fountain, Jazz Musician - played with both Al Hirt and Lawrence Welk -age 86

11 Glenn Yarbrough,Singer -The Limeliters (1959-63) "Baby the Rain Must Fall"- age 86

13  Michel Richard,Chef/Restaurateur-restaurant Citrus in L.A. and 5 other cities-age 68

13 Kenny Baker,Actor-played R2-D2 in the Star Wars franchise also played Paploo,the Ewok-age 81

14 Fyvush Finkel, Actor - lawyer Douglas Wambaugh on "Picket Fences" -age 93

19 Jack Riley, Actor - Elliot Carlin on "The Bob Newhart Show"-age 80

23 Steven Hill,Actor-District Attorney Adam Schiff on "Law & Order"(1990-2000)-age 94

25 Jeanne Martin, Model - Orange Bowl Queen (1947) & Dean Martin's wife - age 89

25 Marvin Kaplan, Actor - telephone worker Henry on the TV show "Alice" -age 89

29 Gene Wilder,Actor-Blazing Saddles (1974), Young Frankenstein, Willy Wonka -age 83

 

SEPTEMBER

01 Jon Polito, Actor - Steve Crosetti on "Homicide: Life on the Street- "age 65

06 Hugh O'Brian,Actor-starred in TV series "The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp"(1955-1961)-age 91

09 James Stacy, Actor - Johnny Madrid Lancer on "Lancer" (1968-'70) - age 79

17 Charmian Carr,Actress- Liesl Von Trapp (eldest daughter) in The Sound of Music-age 73

24 Bill Nunn, Actor - Robbie Robertson in Spider-Man film trilogy - age 63

25 Jean Shepard,C&W Singer/Songwriter-Pioneered C&W for women,"A Dear John Letter"-'82

25 Jose Fernandez,Baseball player-starting pitcher for the Miami Marlins and Cuban refugee-age 24

25 Arnold Palmer,Golfer-One of the greatest golfers ever,did more to popularize the sport than any other golfer-age 87

28 Shimon Peres,Statesman-President of Israel (2007-'14),Prime Minister twice,held various offices from 1959-2007-age 93

OCTOBER

13 King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand-age 88

21 Kevin Meaney, Comedian- "Uncle Buck" in the TV series by the same name - age 60

24 Bobby Vee,Singer-"Take Good Care of My Baby","Rubber Ball"-age 73

30 Tammy Grimes, Stage Actress - Molly in "The Unsinkable Molly Brown" -age 82

NOVEMBER

03 Kay Starr, Singer-"Wheel of Fortune" and "The Rock And Roll Waltz" - age 94

07 Janet Reno,Attorney General of the United States 1993-2001 nominated by President Bill Clinton-age 78

07 Leonard Cohen,Poet/Songwriter-"Suzanne","Hallelujah" & "Bird On The Wire" - age 82

11 Robert Vaughn,Actor- Napoleon Solo in -The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (1964-'68) - age 83

13 Leon Russell,Musician/Songwriter-"A Song for You" & "Tight Rope"- age 74

14 Gwen Ifill,Journalist -"Washington Week" and "PBS NewsHour" on PBS - age 61

15 Holly Dunn,C&W Singer/Songwriter-"Are You Ever Gonna Love Me" and "You Really Had Me Going"-age 59

24 Florence Henderson,Actress/Singer-Carol Brady on "The Brady Bunch" (1969-1974)-age 82

25 Fidel Castro,Prime Minister then President of Cuba from 1959-2008 then gave same powers to his brother-age 90

25 Ron Glass,Actor-Det. Ron Harris on "Barney Miller" (1975-1982)- age 71

26 Fritz Weaver, Actor - Dr. Josef Weiss in the mini series "Holocaust" - age 90

28 Van Williams,Actor-Kenny Madison in "Bourbon Street Beat" (1959) & "Surfside 6" (1960)-age 82

28 Jim Delligatti, McDonald's franchisee:created The Big Mac - age 98

30 Keo Woolford, Actor -Det. Chang on Hawaii Five-0 (2010 version) - age 49

30 Grant Tinker,Television executive-Chairman and CEO of NBC (1981-'86) married to Mary Tyler Moore (1962-'81)-age 90

DECEMBER

03 Don Calfa, Actor - Paulie the hitman in "Weekend At Bernie's" (1989) - age 76

03 Billy Chapin,Actor-Little John Harper in "The Night Of The Hunter" (1955) - age 72

07 Greg Lake,Musician- founding member of Emerson, Lake & Palmer "Lucky Man" -age 69

08 Joseph Mascolo, Actor-Stefano DiMera on "The Days of Our Lives" (1982-'85) & (1993-2001)-age 87

08 John Glenn,WWII & Korean War Fighter Pilot.Marine Colonel. NASA Astronaut.Senator from Ohio (1974-99).Married for 73 yrs,first American to orbit the Earth (1962)-age 95

12 Jim Lowe,Singer - biggest hit "The Green Door" (1956) - age 93

13 Alan Thicke,Actor- Jason Seaver, the father on "Growing Pains" (1985-'92)- age 69

18 Zsa Zsa Gabor-Hungarian actress-age 99

 25 George Michael-singer "Faith"-age 53

 27 Carrie Fisher-actress-age 60

 28 Debbie Reynolds-actress,singer "Tammy"-age 84


SPORTS

2016 RIO DE JANEIRO OLYMPICS


 The 2016 Summer Olympics officially known as the Games of the XXXI Olympiad and commonly known as Rio 2016,was a major international multi-sport event held in Rio de Janeiro,Brazil,from August 5 to 21 this year.

    More than 11,000 athletes from 205 National Olympic Committees, including first time entrants Kosovo,South Sudan and the Refugee Olympic Team,took part.

    With 306 sets of medals,the games featured 28 Olympic sports, including rugby sevens and golf,which were added to the Olympic program in 2009.These sporting events took place at 33 venues in the host city,and at five in Sao Paulo Belo Horizonte,Salvador,Brasilia and Manaus.

    These were the first Summer Olympic Games under the International Olympic Committee (IOC) presidency of Thomas Bach.The host city Rio de Janeiro was announced at the 121st IOC Session in Copenhagen,Denmark on October 2,2009. Rio became the first South American city to host the Summer Olympics.These were the first games to be held in a Portuguese-speaking country,the first to be held entirely in the host country's winter,the first since 1968 to be held in Latin America and the first since 2000 to be held in the Southern Hemisphere.

      The lead-up to these Games was marked by controversies,including the instability of the country's federal government;health and safety concerns surrounding the Zika virus and significant pollution in the Guanabara Bay and a doping scandal involving Russia, which has affected the participation of its athletes in the Games.

    The United States topped the medal table for the fifth time in the past six Summer Olympics,winning the most golds (46) and most medals overall (121),as well as its 1,000th Olympic gold medal overall.Great Britain finished second and became the first country in the history of the modern Olympics to increase its tally of medals in the subsequent games after being the host nation.China finished third. Host country Brazil won seven gold medals,its most at any single Summer Olympics, finishing in thirteenth place.Fiji, Jordan,Kosovo,Puerto Rico,Singapore, Tajikistan,Ivory Coast and Vietnam each won their first gold medals,as did the group of Independent Olympic Athletes (from Kuwait).

SUPER BOWL 50

   Super Bowl 50 was an American football game to determine the champion of the National Football League (NFL) for the 2015 season.The American Football Conference (AFC) champion Denver Broncos defeated the National Football Conference (NFC) champion Carolina Panthers 24-10 to win their third Super Bowl championship.

   The game was played on February 7,2016, at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara,California (located in the San Francisco Bay Area). As this was the 50th Super Bowl,the league emphasized the "golden anniversary" with various gold-themed initiatives during the 2015 season, as well as suspending the tradition of naming each Super Bowl game with Roman numerals (under which the game would have been known as "Super Bowl L"), so the logo could prominently feature the Arabic numerals 50.

    The Panthers finished the regular season with a 15-1 record, racking up the league's top offense and quarterback Cam Newton was named the NFL Most Valuable Player (MVP). They defeated the Arizona Cardinals 49-15 in the NFC Championship Game and advanced to their second Super Bowl appearance since the franchise was founded in 1995.The Broncos finished the regular season with a 12-4 record,thanks to having the league's top defense and despite the struggles of starting quarterback Peyton Manning;they defeated the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots 20-18 in the AFC Championship Game.

    They joined the Patriots,Dallas Cowboys and Pittsburgh Steelers as one of four teams that have made eight appearances in the Super Bowl.

   In one of the most defensive Super Bowl matchups in NFL history,the Broncos took an early lead in Super Bowl 50 and never trailed.Denver recorded seven sacks and forced three turnovers.Carolina likewise kept pace by recording five sacks and forcing two turnovers.Denver linebacker Von Miller was named Super Bowl MVP.This game was also the final game of Peyton Manning's career;he announced his retirement on March 7, 2016.

    CBS' broadcast of the game was the third most-watched program in American television history with an average of 111.9 million viewers.The network charged an average of $5 million for a 30-second commercial during the game.The Super Bowl 50 halftime show was headlined by Coldplay,with special guest performers Beyonce and Bruno Mars

 2016 WORLD SERIES

    The 2016 World Series was the 112th edition of Major League Baseball's championship series,a best-of-seven playoff between the National League (NL) champion Chicago Cubs and the American League (AL) champion Cleveland Indians,the first meeting of those franchises in postseason history.The Indians had home-field advantage because the AL had won the 2016 All-Star Game.The Cubs defeated the Indians in seven games, their first World Series victory in 108 years.They clinched the Series in Game 7 with an 8-7 win in extra innings marking the fifth time that a Game 7 had gone past nine innings, and the first one to have a rain delay,which happened just as the tenth inning was about to start.It was only the sixth time in World Series history that a team came back from a deficit of three games to one to win a championship.This was the third consecutive year that the visiting team won the deciding game of the World Series.

     The Cubs,playing in their eleventh World Series and their first since 1945,won their third championship and first since 1908.It was the Indians' sixth appearance in the World Series and their first since 1997,with their last Series win having come in 1948.The two teams entered their matchup as the two franchises with the longest World Series title droughts,a combined 176 years without a championship. Cleveland manager Terry Francona,who had previously won World Series

titles with the Boston Red Sox in 2004 and 2007,fell short in his bid to become the third manager,and the first non-Yankee manager,to win his first three trips to the Fall Classic,after Casey Stengel and Joe Torre.

    The Cubs were the sixth team to come back from a three games to one deficit to win a best-of-seven World Series,following the 1925 Pittsburgh Pirates,the 1958 New York Yankees,the 1968 Detroit Tigers, the 1979 Pittsburgh Pirates and the 1985 Kansas City Royals.

2016 NBA FINALS

  The 2016 NBA Finals was the championship series of the 2016 playoffs of the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the conclusion of the 2015- season.The Eastern Conference champion Cleveland Cavaliers defeated the Western Conference champion Golden State Warriors 4-3 in a rematch of the 2015 NBA Finals.It was the 14th rematch of the previous NBA Finals in history, and the first Finals since 2008 in which the number one seed in each conference met. It was the second straight rematch in back-to-back years,as the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs played each other in 2013 and 2014.

   Golden State,which earned home-court advantage by having the best overall record during the regular season (73-9), jumped to a 2-0 lead in the series while recording the largest combined margin of victory (48) through two games in NBA Finals history. Cleveland returned home and responded with a 120-90 win in Game 3,but the Warriors won Game 4 to take a 3-1 series lead. The Cavaliers won the next three games to become the first team in Finals history to successfully overcome a 3-1 deficit.It also marked the first time since 1978 that Game 7 was won by the road team.

     The win by the Cavaliers was the first major professional sports championship won by a team based in Cleveland since 1964,and the first-ever championship won by the Cavaliers franchise.NBA Finals MVP winner LeBron James propelled the Cavaliers to the historic comeback and secured himself into the conversation amongst the other all-time greats.

    For the first time since 2004,a new scheduling format was instituted for the Finals. In previous years,the Finals was played in a Thursday,Sunday,Tuesday scheme.

 However, the league changed its scheduling to ensure an extra day off for both teams, which have to travel from one city to another during the series.This, along with the designated travel day,took place after Games 2, 4, 5, and 6.

     A number of records were set during the finals including the first team to come back from a 3-1 deficit and the largest viewing audience.

2016 AUSTRALIAN GRAND FINAL


  The 2016 AFL Grand Final was an Australian rules football match contested between the Sydney Swans and the Western Bulldogs.It was the 120th annual Grand Final of the Australian Football League (formerly the Victorian Football League),staged to determine the premiers of the 2016 AFL season.It was the Swans' fifth grand final appearance since 2005, while the Bulldogs were competing in their first grand final since 1961. The match, played at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in front of 99,981 spectators,was won by the Bulldogs by a margin of 22 points,marking their second VFL/AFL premiership victory and first since 1954, breaking a 62-year premiership drought.It was also the first time in VFL/AFL history that a team won the premiership from seventh place on the ladder.Jason Johannisen of the Bulldogs was awarded the Norm Smith Medal as the best player on the ground.

ENTERTAINMENT

ONE DANCE BY DRAKE,WIZKID & KYLA

 One Dance by Drake,Wizkid & Kyla was the number one single for 2016 in the USA,UK and New Zealand.It is a song by Canadian hip hop recording artist Drake from his fourth studio album,Views (2016). It features guest vocals from Nigerian Afrobeat artist Wizkid and British singer Kyla.The artists co-wrote the song with its co-producers Nineteen85,DJ Maphorisa, and Noah "40" Shebib,with production assistance from Wizkid. Crazy Cousinz and Kyla also received songwriting credits for the sampling of their 2008 UK funky song "Do You Mind?".It was released for digital download on April 5,2016 and was serviced to US urban, rhythmic and contemporary hit radio on April 12, 2016.

    "One Dance" was released shortly after the release date for "Views" was announced,alongside "Pop Style". "One Dance" reached number one in Australia,Canada,France,Germany,Ireland,the Netherlands,New Zealand, Switzerland,the United Kingdom and the United States,becoming Drake's first number-one single in all ten countries as the lead artist.It topped the UK Singles Chart for 15 consecutive weeks,making it the joint-second longest consecutive number one in the country with Scottish band Wet Wet Wet's cover of "Love Is All Around" from Four Weddings and a Funeral.On September 7, 2016,Billboard named "One Dance" the 2016 Song of the Summer.As of September 2016, it has sold 1.8 million copies in the US.On October 15, 2016, "One Dance" became the most played song on streaming media service Spotify,with over 1 billion individual streams,overtaking the previous record held by Major Lazer and DJ Snake's "Lean On".

  One footnote. What I proclaim as the number one song of the year is premised upon chart action up until year's end. I do not post a country's year-end chart on my website until usually March or April or whenever songs that peaked on the charts in the previous drop out of the weekly top 14.In other words,what happens more often than not,is the song I proclaim as #1 for the year at the end of the year is not the same song I post at #1 for the year in March or April.

LOVE YOURSELF BY JUSTIN BIEBER



  "Love Yourself" is a song recorded by Canadian singer Justin Bieber for his fourth studio album Purpose (2015). It was the #1 sinle in Canada for the entire year of 2016. It was also the song that Billboard Magazine ranked as the #1 song for the entire year of 2016 in the USA on the Billboard Hot 100 charts in their December 17,2016 issue.The song was released first as a promotional single on November 9,2015,and later was released as the album's third single.It was written by Ed Sheeran, Benny Blanco and Bieber,and produced by Blanco.An acoustic pop song, "Love Yourself" features an electric guitar and a brief flurry of trumpets as its main instrumentation.During the song,Bieber uses a husky tone in the lower registers.Lyrically,the song is a kiss-off to a narcissistic ex-lover who did the protagonist wrong.

    On the US Billboard Hot 100 and the UK Singles Chart,the song became Bieber's third consecutive number-one, where in the United States it spent 24 non consecutive weeks in the top ten (later named the best-performing single of 2016) and was also Bieber's first number one on the Adult Contemporary chart, while in the United Kingdom it spent six weeks at the top."Love Yourself" topped the charts in seventeen countries,including Australia,Canada,New Zealand,Czech Republic,Denmark,Ireland,Israel, Lebanon,Netherlands,Portugal,Romania,Scotland,Slovakia,South Africa and Sweden."Love Yourself" was nominated for two Grammy Awards:Song of the Year and Best Pop Solo Performance.

    The music video for the song was released along with the Purpose:The Movement project on November 14, 2015. It features a couple doing an interpretative dance on their house.Bieber promoted the song with performances on TV shows, as well as awards shows throughout 2015-2016, while adding it on the setlist of his Purpose World Tour.

     One footnote. What I proclaim as the number one song of the year is premised upon chart action up until year's end. I do not post a country's year-end chart on my website until usually March or April or whenever songs that peaked on the charts in the previous drop out of the weekly top 14.In other words,what happens more often than not,is the song I proclaim as #1 for the year at the end of the year is not the same song I post at #1 for the year in March or April.

CLOSER BY THE CHAINSMOKERS & DAYA


  "Closer" is a song by the American DJ duo The Chainsmokers,featuring American singer Halsey."Closer" by "The Chainsmokers & Daya" was the number one single for the entire year of 2016 in Australia.Andrew Taggart (one half of The Chainsmokers) also provides his vocals in the song.It was released on July 29, 2016,by Disruptor Records and Columbia Records.The song was written by Andrew Taggart,Ashley Frangipane, Shaun Frank, Frederic Kennett, Isaac Slade and Joe King, while the production was handled by The Chainsmokers.Musically it is an EDM song with a "retro" style synthesizer in the chorus.

    In the United States, "Closer" became both The Chainsmokers and Halsey's first number one single on the Billboard Hot 100.The song stayed at the top spot for 12 consecutive weeks.The Chainsmokers became the first act to have four songs ("Closer" being the fourth) that top the Dance/Electronic Songs, passing Calvin Harris,who held the previous record with three.Outside of the United States, "Closer" topped the charts in more than ten countries including Australia,Canada,New Zealand,Ireland and the United Kingdom, making it both "The Chainsmokers'" and Halsey's first number-one single in all six countries.It also went to #1 in Belgium, Brazil,Czech Republic,Denmark,India,Netherlands,Norway,Scotland,Slovakia, Venezuela English and Sweden.

    The song was performed live for the first time at the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in June 2016.Halsey and The Chainsmokers performed the track live at the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards as well as a remix of the song at the 2016 American Music Awards. Its music video was released on October 24, 2016.

      One footnote. What I proclaim as the number one song of the year is premised upon chart action up until year's end. I do not post a country's year-end chart on my website until usually March or April or whenever songs that peaked on the charts in the previous drop out of the weekly top 14.In other words,what happens more often than not,is the song I proclaim as #1 for the year at the end of the year is not the same song I post at #1 for the year in March or April.

SMASH HIT OF THE YEAR "IVA SRUTKOVA"

 For the past 12 years I would display the Playboy Playmate Of The Year. However,as of March of this year Playboy has discontinued displaying nude playmates of the month.Boring! So in response I have started my own contest for Playmate Of The Year (Called Smash Hit Of The Year) on my website at http://hitsofalldecades.com. Every month I announce a Smash Hit (Playmate) for each month. Then at the end of the year I ask my viewers to vote amongst the 12 smash hits of the month for a winner who will be titled the "Smash Hit Of The Year".

    And for 2016 our Smash Hit For 2016 was "IVA SRUTKOVA".She was Miss June 2015.Iva was born in the Czech Republic and likes to practice belly dancing, which she says is a fun way to learn more about sensuality and body awareness. Iva says "Since my childhood I have been really fascinated by the human body and his mysteries,natural therapies and applications for health.I also love to

spend time at home with my Siamese cat and listening to various styles of oriental music".

  IVA SRUTKOVA

  Born:September 5,1990

  Birthplace:Prague,Czech Republic

  Hometown:Prague,Czech Republic

  Aliases:Catrine,Eva Strauss,Iva,Ivia,Ivy,Iwia,Iwia

  A,Iwiaa,Sandra,Sona,Sarah,Iwia A, Sandra X, Evia

  Nationality: Czech

  Ethnicity: Caucasian

  Hair Length: Long

  Hair Color: Brown

  Eye Color: Brown

  Skin Color: White

  Height: 5' 4" (64 inches)/163 cm

  Weight: 110 lbs / 50 kg

  Shoe Size: 6.0 US/3.5 UK/36 Euro

  Measurements: 33A-24-34 Bust (Cup Size)/Waist/Hips)

  Breasts:Small (Real)

  Piercings:None

 

 You can see more revealing photos of "Iva" at:http://hitsofalldecades.com/chart_hits/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=3168&Itemid=57

 

CLOSING    

 

 

   So much for the world in 2016.As for my world I started 2015 living in Chianyai,Thailand and I will end 2016 living in Nakhon Sri Thammarat province in Thailand.I spent every day of 2016 except for 2 on Thailand soil and the other two days sorting out my visa in Malaysia.I am still a school teacher and still live in a house.All of my 20,000 Cds,records and tapes,Plus my huge Playboy collection are with me in my house.I will probably (unless I am kidnapped by the CIA) be in Thailand for almost all of 2017.I now have not been on US soil in over seven (7) years (I left the USA on September 15th, 2009).If things go as I would like them to there is a good chance I may never see the USA again.I don't need the USA's war machine,I don't need their ghetto scenes.

   I met some new and interesting people in 2016.I also managed to hook up with some people who I haven't seen in quite some time.It was a pleasure to have all

of them being part of my life this year.

  As far as the future goes I plan to continue to teach,work on my website and live in Thailand.For how much longer I do not know.I take life one day at a time.

  I have also not been busy writing my novel (book) about my travels.It is taking quite awhile because I have had many interruptions (i.e. working on my

website www.hitsofalldecades.com).I might start working more diligently on my novel in about another 10 years.I am hoping for this book to be my bonanza.As

Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones said back in 1967 "Lose your dreams and you will lose your mind". 

    Anyway,that is my year-end review for 2016.I hope you all had a cool year too and that you have lots of dreams to aim for in the next 12 months or so.

Remember every second of your life you spend thinking of bad and negative thoughts it is one second less your are spending thinking of good and positive thoughts and you don't get that one second back.So even if life does not deal you the cards you wanted just remember to keep on dancing and enjoying the party.Have a fantastic Xmas or whatever holiday you celebrate and I will e-mail you all individually when the time frame is not so narrow!! It's been great to have you all in my year and my life!!!!

 

         Joyeaux Noel,Feliz Navidad,Frohliches Weihnachten,Merry Xmas  et la prochain


Last Updated ( Feb 27, 2017 at 10:46 AM )


  
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