Sunday, January 15, 2017

Some News, Views and Opinions from the Alternative Media ... week ending Sunday January 15

Peter Korzun at GlobalResearch
Poland Will Do it for Us? Poland Acquires First Strike Capability to Pose Threat to Russia

It should be noted that quite often the most interesting arms contracts escape media attention. That’s how it was in 2016. Signing a multi-billion-dollar military aid package between the United States and Israel and the subsequent White House approval for long-awaited fighter sales to the Middle East hit the radar screen.

In late September, the US approved the sales of Boeing fighters worth a total of around $7 billion to Kuwait and Qatar. First mooted around two years ago, the deals had been held up by the US government due to Israeli concerns and in order to smooth the way for nuclear talks with Iran.

The same month, a $38-billion Israeli arms package over the next 10 years – the largest of its kind ever – was finalized and signed.

The news about those contacts was a real scoop hitting the headlines of all mainstream media outlets. In late November, the State Department approved another transaction- the acquisition of 70 AGM-158B JASSM-ER (extended range) missiles for Poland. The deal undeservedly failed to attract much attention. In fact, it matters much and changes a lot.

The prospects for the acquisition of the extended range version were discussed as far back as 2014. The US obviously procrastinated due to political considerations. The decision to make the deal go through makes Poland the first state outside the United States to acquire the JASSM-ER.

In 2014, Poland signed a contract to procure the JASSM AGM-158A version for its F-16C/D jets. The stealth missile is designed to destroy ground targets at distances 370+km (230 mi). As of 2014, the JASSM had also entered service in Australia and Finland.

The 370 km is a great range for the purpose of self-defense. But Poland badly wanted strategic conventional first strike capability. With the JASSM-ER deal reached, its dream has come true. Using a more efficient engine and larger fuel volume in an airframe with the .....

Charles Hugh-Smith at ZeroHedge (Plenty of informative graphs)
Dear Self-Proclaimed "Progressives"... You're As Evil As The Neocon-Neoliberal Empire You've Enabled

Submitted by Charles Hugh-Smith via OfTwoMinds blog,

Sorry, pal, you're evil. Self-righteous indignation counts for nothing in the strict accounting of real progressivism.

Dear Self-Proclaimed "Progressive": I love you, man, but it has become necessary to intervene in your self-destruction. Your ideological blinders and apologies for the Establishment's Neocon-Neoliberal Empire are not just destroying your credibility, they're destroying the nation and everywhere the Empire intervenes....

...You embraced the Corporate Media's absurd "fake news" witch-hunt, when the biggest purveyors of fake news/Imperial Propaganda are the "liberal" media you unhesitatingly believe with all your heart because it reinforces your sense of moral superiority. Never mind that the mainstream "liberal" media is owned by corporations that are in bed with the Establishment and the Empire.

You were silent when your "progressive" president engaged in a global Murder, Inc., and your former secretary of state bragged "we came, we saw, he died."Your  sputtering excuses for Imperial over-reach, extra-judicial murder and the destruction and displacement of entire populations is a travesty of a mockery of a sham of real Progressivism.....

Ben Norton at Alternet
U.S.-backed Saudi War in Yemen Fuels 'Largest Food Security Emergency in the World'

U.S.-backed bombing has killed thousands of Yemenis and pushed millions to the brink of famine.
A prominent famine monitor created by the U.S. government has acknowledged that the U.S.-backed war in Yemen has fueled the "largest food security emergency in the world." And acording to its analysis, the catastrophic situation only continues to get worse.

Since March 2015, the U.S. has supported a Saudi-led coalition that has bombed Yemen, the poorest country in the Middle East. With tens of billions of dollars worth of American and British weapons, more than 1,000 refueling sorties by U.S. planes and intelligence and guidance from the American and British militaries, Saudi Arabia has carried out thousands of airstrikes, at least one-third of which have struck civilian sites.

The Western-backed, Saudi-led coalition has also intentionally targeted food production and the agricultural sector in its bombing campaign in Yemen, in what a leading expert has described as a "scorched-earth strategy."....

Lizzie Phelan on Israel's attack on Syria's military airport

Brandon Turbeville at ActivistPost
Grand Mufti of Syria dismantles religious crisis lie
While most Americans are force fed propaganda and misinformation about virtually every country outside their own borders (including the country in which they live) Syria has been a particular target of the corporate press. In fact, so much propaganda and lies have been spread regarding Syria and the crisis unfolding there that the average person glued to Fake News outlets like CNN, FOX, and MSNBC could scarcely recite one fact about the country correctly.

One such propaganda narrative is the lie that the Syrian crisis is sectarian in nature and that the country was plagued by religious tension and division before the war began. Neither of these claims were the case and, five years into the NATO imperialist war effort, Syrians are as united as they have ever been.

Americans under the false impression of Syria and Syrians as well as religion in Syria might be surprised to hear from the religious leaders of the country who have denounced the violence and who have expressed nothing but compassion, understanding, and unity with Muslims, Christians, Jews and those of all other faiths....

From SyrianNews
Top Opposition Figure Nawaf al-Bashir Repents and Returns to Syria

Sheikh Nawaf al-Bashir, the highest figure in the western fabricated opposition in Syria, the chief of Baggara Tribe in northeast Syria, returned to Damascus and declared his loyalty to the Syrian people, the Syrian leadership and praised the Syrian Arab Army and put himself under the command of the Syrian president Dr. Bashar Al-Assad.

With 1.2 million tribesmen and women in his Der Ezzor base, he left them behind and joined the ranks of makeshift opposition individuals convinced by Qatari officials that the days of the ‘regime’ are numbered and if they defect now they’ll reserve a place for them in the future Syria. Some were bribed with tens of millions of dollars, others were seduced with leading post-Assad posts, and the vast majority who couldn’t be bought or deceived were intimidated, only few fell for any of those.....

From RT
Venezuelan court overrides opposition parliament’s ‘impeachment’ of President Maduro

 Venezuela’s Supreme Court has annulled parliament’s resolution aimed at ousting President Nicolas Maduro. The Court ordered them to stop the “political trial” against the president, since it is not within its constitutional authority.

In a statement issued Monday, the high court reaffirmed its position previously expressed in ruling number 948 of the Constitutional Chamber dated November 15, 2016, in which it ordered the country’s parliament to “refrain from continuing the procedure of declaring ‘political responsibility’ against the president of the Republic,” as cited by AFP.

It also ordered the legislature to refrain from making decisions that are outside its legislative authority.....

Robert David Steele at GlobalResearch
The Soft Coup Collapses – CIA Bluffing, Russia Did Not Hack, Blackmail Revealed – What Next?

CIA was bluffing, produced no evidence – Russians did not “hack” the election. Is this the beginning of the end of the Deep State in the USA? Can Trump clean house & wage peace?....

....Below is my formal evaluation of the five deep failures by the US IC in this report – it is a political report lacking in professional merit.

01 The report fails to provide evidence against the Russian state. The report assumes, against all publicly known information, that Guccifer, a Romanian taxi driver with a track record of success despite antiquated equipment, was a controlled asset of the Russian state. The report, in a most unprofessional, clearly partisan political manner, does not mention any of the many credible sources clearly stating that insiders did the leaking.

In UPDATE 17 of my 30 December 2016 post I list and link to 29 different individuals – including Barack Obama as saying the Russians did not hack the election. When Obama said this (in November 2016) he was not aware that the Deep State planned to persist with the narrative in an attempt to overthrow the Electoral College with false testimony – the equivalent in the USA of jury tampering, a very serious offense. They might have succeeded, had many of us not spoken up and reinforced the common sense of the majority of electors, who ultimately realized there was no evidence being presented.

02 The report is completely lacking in responsible context, which is to say, it deliberately represents Russia as the only state engaged in cyber-espionage and information operations (IO) intended to influence the outcome of the US election. The report is devoid of much needed attention to the far greater covert operations of Israel, inclusive of collaborative operations with Facebook and Google that censored critical commentary and manipulated search results so that searches for Clinton + Crime become Clinton + Love and searches for Trump became Trump + Hitler.  Eric Schmidt and Marc Zuckerberg have much to answer for, as do the Rothchilds – particularly Lynn Rothschild – as well as George Soros and other Jewish influencers including those who stole vast sums from Russia. The report naturally fails to observe that the National Security Agency (NSA) has been spying on (and to some extent blackmailing) many if not all Members of the US Congress as well as President Barack Obama, while CIA has been actively spying on selected Members and selected computers, an activity for which Director John Brennan was censured in September 2014.

03 There is no discussion whatever .....

From AgaKhanMuseum, Toronto
A Pearl in the Desert: Palmyra’s Multicultural Society

Thursday, January 26, 1 pm
Free with Museum Admission
Join archaeologist and Ancient Middle East specialist Clemens Reichel in an illustrated journey through the magnificent architecture and rich multicultural history of Palmyra....

Pam Martens and Russ Martens at WallStreetOnParade
Here’s How Goldman Sachs Became the Overlord of the Trump Administration

During his political campaign, Donald Trump repeatedly railed against Wall Street with a specific focus on Goldman Sachs. .....
...How did a candidate who repeatedly demonized Goldman Sachs as the poster child for a corrupt establishment that owned Washington end up with Goldman Sachs’ progeny filling every post that even tangentially has the odor of money or global finance? One answer is family ties; another may be something darker.

Trump’s non-stop nominations and appointments of Goldman Sachs alumni have left his supporters stunned. Trump nominated Steven Mnuchin, a 17-year veteran of Goldman Sachs to be his Treasury Secretary. Stephen Bannon, another former Goldman Sachs banker, was named by Trump as his Chief Strategist in the White House. The sitting President of Goldman Sachs, Gary Cohn, has been named by Trump as Director of the National Economic Council, which, according to its website, coordinates “policy-making for domestic and international economic issues.”  Last week, in a move that stunned even Wall Street, Trump nominated a Goldman Sachs outside lawyer, Jay Clayton of Sullivan & Cromwell, to serve as Wall Street’s top cop as Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission. Adding to the slap in the face to Trump’s working class supporters, Clayton’s wife currently works as a Vice President at Goldman Sachs.

But the Goldman Sachs’ ties don’t stop there.

When Alexander Blankfein, .....

Nick Turse at TomDispatch
Tomgram: Nick Turse, Special Ops, Shadow Wars, and the Golden Age of the Gray Zone 

Don’t think the fad for “draining the swamp” began on the campaign trail with Donald Trump.  It didn’t, although the “swamp” to be drained in the days after the 9/11 attacks wasn’t in Washington; it was a global one.  Of course, that’s ancient history, more than 15 years old.  Who even remembers that moment, though we still live with its fallout -- with the hundreds of thousands dead and the millions of refugees, with Islamophobia and ISIS, with President-elect Trump, retired Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, and so much more?

In the never-ending wake of one of the most disastrous wars in American history, the 2003 invasion and occupation of Iraq, it’s hard to imagine any world but the one we have, which makes it easy to forget what the top officials of the Bush administration thought they would accomplish with their “Global War on Terror.”  Who remembers now just how quickly and enthusiastically they leapt into the project of draining that global swamp of terror groups (while taking out the Taliban and then “decapitating” the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein)?  Their grandiose goal: an American imperium in the Greater Middle East (and later assumedly a global Pax Americana). They were, in other words, geopolitical dreamers of the first order.

Barely a week after 9/11, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was already swearing that the global campaign to come would "drain the swamp they live in."  Only a week later, at a NATO meeting, Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz insisted that, "while we'll try to find every snake in the swamp, the essence of the strategy is draining the swamp [itself]."  By the following June, in a commencement address at West Point, President George W. Bush would speak proudly of his administration’s desire to drain that swamp of “terror cells” in a staggering “60 or more countries.”

Like Washington for Donald Trump, it proved .....

George Galloway on Israeli spy in UK

From MidEastOnline
Thousands mark Jesus baptism at historic Jordan site

Thousands of Catholic Christians attend special mass at the Jordan River, in annual pilgrimage to the site where many believe Jesus was baptised.
AMMAN - Thousands of Catholic Christians attended a special mass Friday on the Jordanian side of the Jordan River in an annual pilgrimage to the site where many believe Jesus was baptised.

Before the ceremony started, dozens of priests walked to the river and filled jugs with water as scouts played traditional music.

The priests were led by Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, apostolic administrator of the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem.

More than 4,000 pilgrims packed the "church of the baptism", west of the Jordanian capital Amman and near the Dead Sea, a photographer said.

During the ceremony the priests dipped their fingers in the water they drew from the Jordan River and used it to bless the congregation, emulating the baptism of Jesus....

Real News Network talks to Rania Khalek

From MoonOfAlabama
The Deep State Versus Donald Trump - New Smears And The Ukrainian Connection

UPDATED (3x) (at end of original)

As remarked on January 6:

    When Hillary Clinton was defeated in the U.S. presidential election the relevant powers launched a campaign to delegitimize the President elect Donald Trump.

    The ultimate aim of the cabal is to kick him out of office and have a reliable replacement, like the Vice-President elect Pence, take over. Should that not be possible it is hoped that the delegitimization will make it impossible for Trump to change major policy trajectories especially in foreign policy. A main issue here is the reorientation of the U.S. military complex and its NATO proxies from the war of terror towards a direct confrontation with main powers like Russia and China.

The deep state campaign against Trump opened new grounds today with the publication of completely fake and thereby unverifiable anonymous assertions which include the smear that Trump had some fun in a Moscow hotel and that Russian secret services is using that to manipulate him.

Like many smears against Trump via proxies of the Clinton presidential campaign these new ones seem to origin from Ukraine related sources and Ukrainian "nationalist" (aka fascist) putsch supporters.

The new assertions about Trump come in 35 pages of "reports" by an anonymous (claimed) former British intelligence operator working for a private U.S. company with dates ranging from June 20 2016 to December 13 2016. They say that Russia has some tapes of Trump watching sex games in 2013, they claim that Trump campaign officials coordinated the Clinton campaign leaks with Russia and that the Russian President Putin was highly involved in all of this.

Here is how the claimed former intelligence operator typically describes his sources in these "reports":.............

George Galloway on Trump and Russia

F William Engdahl at Journal Neo
Is Trump the Back Door Man for Henry A. Kissinger & Co?

The term Back Door Man has several connotations. In the original blues song written by Willie Dixon, it refers to a man having an affair with a married woman, using the back door to flee before the husband comes home. During the Gerald Ford Presidency, Back Door Man was applied to Dick Cheney as Ford’s White House Chief of Staff and his “skills” at getting what he wanted through opaque means. More and more as Cabinet choices are named, it looks like the entire Trump Presidency project is emerging as Henry A. Kissinger’s “Back Door Man,” in the Cheney meaning of the term.

Long forgotten is Trump’s campaign rhetoric about draining the swamp. In October during his campaign candidate Trump issued a press release stating, “Decades of special interest dealing must come to an end. We have to break the cycle of corruption…It is time to drain the swamp in Washington, D.C…That is why I am proposing a package of ethics reforms to make our government honest once again.”

So far, the President-elect has already named more billionaires to cabinet and other top posts than any other president in US history–Betsy DeVos of the AmWay fortune as Education Secretary, Wilbur Ross as Commerce Secretary, Linda McMahon as Small Business Administrator, and Vincent Viola, as Army Secretary. That’s not including Trump himself as a putative billionaire.

Then in terms of the vested special interests of Wall Street, Goldman Sachs has a huge power in the new Administration. Goldman Sachs partner Steven Mnuchin is Trump’s nominee for US Treasury Secretary. Goldman Sachs President Gary Cohn will be his top White House Economic Adviser. Anthony Scaramucci, Presidential Transition Team Executive Committee member, is a former Goldman Sachs banker as well as Steve Bannon, Trump’s chief strategist and Senior Counselor.

We add to that assemblage no fewer than four US military generals representing the most corrupt military industrial complex in world history: as Secretary of Defense retired General James “Mad Dog” Mattis, Board member since retiring of major defense contractor General Dynamics; retired Lt. General Mike Flynn, with his own consulting firm, as his National Security Adviser and retired General John F. Kelly as Secretary of Homeland Security.

Add to this collection the naming of Rex Tillerson the CEO of ExxonMobil, the largest oil multinational of the United States, as Secretary of State; the ex-Governor of Texas, America’s largest oil producing state, Rick Perry, as Secretary of Energy, along with pro-shale energy Oklahoma Attorney General, Scott Pruitt to be head of the Environmental Protection Agency, and certain dramatic economic policy flips begin to emerge compared with the previous hapless Presidency.....

Gareth Porter at ConsortiumNews
Pushing for a Lucrative New Cold War

The New Cold War promises untold riches for the Military-Industrial Complex, causing hawks inside the Obama administration to push for more hostilities with Russia, as in a Syrian case study dissected by Gareth Porter for Truthdig...

Airstrikes by the United States and its allies against two Syrian army positions Sept. 17 killed at least 62 Syrian troops and wounded dozens more. The attack was quickly treated as a non-story by the U.S. news media; U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) claimed the strikes were carried out in the mistaken belief that Islamic State forces were being targeted, and the story disappeared....

On Snowden

Dr Ron Paul
Will Obama’s ‘Good War’ in Afghanistan Continue? 

Last week, as the mainstream media continued to obsess over the CIA’s evidence-free claim that the Russians hacked the presidential election, President Obama quietly sent 300 US Marines back into Afghanistan’s Helmand Province. This is the first time in three years that the US military has been sent into that conflict zone, and it represents a final failure of Obama’s Afghanistan policy. The outgoing president promised that by the end of his second term, the US military would only be present in small numbers and only on embassy duty. But more than 8,000 US troops will remain in Afghanistan as he leaves office.

When President Obama was first elected he swore that he would end the US presence in Iraq (the “bad” war) and increase US presence in Afghanistan (the “good” war). He ended up increasing troops to both wars, while the situation in each country continued to deteriorate.

Why are the Marines needed in the Helmand Province? Because although the foolish and counterproductive 15-year US war in Afghanistan was long ago lost, Washington cannot face this fact. Last year the Taliban controlled 20 percent of the province. This year they control 85 percent of the province. So billions more must be spent and many more lives will be lost.

Will these 300 Marines somehow achieve what the 2011 peak of 100,000 US soldiers was not able to achieve? Will this last push “win” the war? Hardly! The more the president orders military action in Iraq and Afghanistan, the worse it gets. In 2016, for example, President Obama dropped 1,337 bombs on Afghanistan, a 40 percent increase from 2015. According to the United Nations, in 2016 there were 2,562 conflict-related civilian deaths and 5,835 injuries. And the Taliban continues to score victories over the Afghan puppet government.

The interventionists in Washington continue to run our foreign policy regardless of who is elected. They push for wars, they push for regime change, then they push for billions to reconstruct the bombed-out countries. ........

Ron Paul

The Little Girl from Eastern Aleppo and photography worth a Pulitzer

The author is Jan Oberg and his photography is definitely worth looking at.     You will be amazed.

IN Aleppo at a historic moment

I visited Aleppo, East and West, December 10-14, 2016. I was there when Eastern Aleppo was liberated or fell, depending on your perspective and the media coverage; I was among the first handful of foreigners to get into the East after that event.

One can only wonder: There were no Nordic media and no Western media (with the exception of a photographer from Croatia) present on the 11th when this historic event took place. Why?

Aleppo and its massive destruction

Aleppo is, or was, the largest city in Syria and the third largest in the Ottoman Empire. It's one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world; it may have been inhabited since the 6th millennium BC - the old city is a UNESCO World Heritage site. All of Aleppo is about 190 square kilometres.....

I had not visited it earlier but it must have been uniquely beautiful and very dynamic in terms of culture and....

Jan Oberg at his blog
The little girl from Eastern Aleppo

New year’s night, January 1, 2017

This girl had come out of Eastern Aleppo after four dark years of occupation by Western-backed terrorists – too many to name. People who for no reason had destroyed her home, her part of that beautiful city.
Perhaps half of her life living in fear, perhaps having lost family members.

I do not know.....

Still more on Warlord Obama and the adverse effects of his presidency on our world .... Obama’s Legacy of War, Repression and Inequality

A few pointers from the article are below.

Joseph Kishore at Global Research
Obama’s Legacy of War, Repression and Inequality

1. Unending war

Obama is the first president in American history to serve two full terms in office with the nation at war. This includes the continued bloodletting in Afghanistan and Iraq, the bombing of Libya, the six-year-long war for regime change in Syria, and support for the Saudi-led destruction of Yemen. A recent survey reported that in 2016, US Special Operations forces were deployed in 138 nations, or 70 percent of the countries of the world.

The “wars of the 21st century,” begun under Bush and expanded under Obama, have killed more than a million people and driven millions more from their homes, producing the worst refugee disaster since the Second World War. Obama’s “pivot to Asia” has inflamed tensions from the South China Sea to India and Pakistan. The current president will leave the White House as NATO troops deploy to Eastern Europe in the midst of an anti-Russia war hysteria stoked by the media and the Democratic Party.

Obama is the “drone” president, supervising the killing of some 3,000 people in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and Libya by means of unmanned aerial vehicles, along with several thousand more in Iraq and Afghanistan...

2. Democratic rights

At least three of the individuals killed in drone strikes were US citizens. The declaration of the Obama administration in 2011 that the president has the authority to assassinate anyone, including US citizens, without due process sums up the attitude of the former constitutional law professor to basic democratic precepts.....

Cartoons on Trump and Obama

More on the legacy of Warlord Obama, the Nobel Prize Winner ...The Obama Legacy: “Dying Democracy”, Extrajudicial Assassinations, Wars, Terrorism, Refugee Crisis…

Below a few items from the long list at article.

Rev Richard Skaff
The Obama Legacy: “Dying Democracy”, Extrajudicial Assassinations, Wars, Terrorism, Refugee Crisis…

The following list will constitute some but not all of Mr. Obama’s accomplishments, and as a result, the reader will be the judge of his legacy.

1. U.S. interventions to influence elections in multiple foreign countries extending from Russia to Africa and from Asia to the Middle-East.3

2. Regime changes in several countries through American financed color revolutions and covert hybrid wars.4

3. Assassination of foreign leaders and American citizens.6

4. Increase of the national debt by trillions of dollars to finance low intensity wars, feed the beast of the Military Industrial Complex, and bail out Wall Street and the banks.

5. Failure of Obamacare that was written by the insurance companies and their lobbyists.

6. Creation of a new housing bubble.

7. Formation of a stock market bubble.7

8. Production of low wage jobs, while stagnating and lowering the existing American salaries, resulting in utter decline in the standards of living.8

9. Expansion of the government oligarchy, and the establishment of Czars ”R” US.2

10. Expansion of law enforcement agencies and the surveillance state under the guise of safety.

11. Fomenting fake news, then, signing on December 24th, 2016 the Countering Disinformation and Propaganda Act as part of the annual National Defense Authorization Act, which is an unconstitutional measure against First Amendment freedom.1

12. Aiding and facilitating the killing of hundreds of thousands of people across the globe through covert operations, regime change, and weapons sales.

13. Displacement of millions of people across the world after destabilizing their nations (e.g. Syria, Libya, Iraq, Ukraine, etc).....

Cartoons on the battle between the MSM and Trump

Warlord Obama's legacy .... Obama’s Farewell Address: Touting the Legacy, Exposing the Truth. Non Stop Wars, A Costly Six Trillion Dollar Legacy

Great article with a myriad of links.  Below a few snippets. 

Joachim Hagopian at GlobalResearch
Obama’s Farewell Address: Touting the Legacy, Exposing the Truth. Non Stop Wars, A Costly Six Trillion Dollar Legacy 

Honesty is not an Obama Virtue
Obama wasted no time uttering his trademark lies. In his third sentence he stated that his “conversations” with the American people “are what have kept me honest.” Honest? Are you kidding? This guy’s the most deceitful pathological lying president in US history. Two of his biggest whoppers out of the gate numbering in the thousands will go down in infamy:.....

...As a case in point of his legacy, earlier this week on the same day of Obama’s speech, three bombs blasted three separate cities in Afghanistan killing 50 and wounding 100 Afghan citizens. All these bloodbaths in the Middle East and North Africa stand as a glaring and disastrous outcome to the US façade of “bringing democracy” and “nation-building” to the world - 4 million dead Muslims later. In actuality the ruling elite’s systematic plan is to misuse the US Empire and NATO to militarize and destabilize the entire planet, then misuse millions of war refugees to destroy Western nations by inciting religious, race and class wars utilizing its always effective divide and conquer strategy, all for the nefarious purpose of creating a one world government tyranny. And as the destroyer of America, the CIA bred and groomed puppet, followed his marching orders to the T....

....Obama says when trust in government is low (and it is, presently only 19%  of Americans trust their government):

We should reduce the corrosive influence of money in our politics, and insist on the principles of transparency and ethics in public service.

Yet it was Barack’s Supreme Court that gave license for the wealthiest to buy off politicians through unlimited legal bribery. Obama did not lift a finger to oppose it. Again hypocrisy runneth over when the least transparent and perhaps most corrupt and unethical president in US history calls for virtues he so sorely lacks....

....Returning to Obama’s lie that “poverty is falling again,” unfortunately the pathological liar is oh so wrong. Poverty in America has risen from 11% in 2000 up to 15%of Americans in 2014. As mentioned earlier, blacks under Obama are suffering the most with 26.2% of African Americans living in poverty. But near 1 in 4 (23.6%) Hispanic Americans are also poverty-stricken. 10.1% of whites fall under the poverty level. The South and California are the worst hit areas although the largest drops in middle class were in West Virginia, Michigan and Indiana. Just to make ends meet, more Americans are working two or three jobs than ever before.....

....In his farewell speech Obama dared to sneak in a plug for his abominable Obamacare, at the end of his braggadocio repeating the boldface lie that 20 million more Americans are benefiting from his “right to health insurance,” the same right that gives you no right to opt for no insurance without incurring increasing fines for refusing to buy his corrupt brand of snake oil that has rates obscenely skyrocketing by 24% this year on average. Obama’s fuzzy math must be referring to those same 20 million new immigrants he allowed into the country complete with insurance entitlement. In any event, even Obama’s main claim to fame – that the least number of Americans in history are uninsured – is bound to start rising again with his now Unaffordable Care Act. Yet despite this reality, Obama insists that “health care costs are rising at the slowest rate in fifty years.” The man’s delusional. His boldface lie glosses over the truth that in August last year alone healthcare costs rose higher than at any time prior to 1984.....

Justin Trudeau, CM .... cash machine

Monday, January 9, 2017

Views, opinions and news from the Alternative Media ... week ending Jan 8

From DemocracyNow
Craig Holman: Trump Administration Gearing Up to Be 
"Most Scandal-Ridden in History"
On the campaign trail, Donald Trump refused to disclose his taxes, and now Public Citizen’s Craig Holman says the Trump administration is a scandal in waiting because of the vast number of conflicts of interest he brings. "If steps are not taken to manage these conflicts, the Trump administration is likely to become one of the most scandal-ridden in memory," Holman argues.

.....CRAIG HOLMAN: Donald Trump is setting the tone on this. You know, when I wrote about the Trump administration is likely to be the most scandal-ridden administration in history from top down, I was talking just about the executive branch. Now it looks like it’s spreading into Congress, as well. Donald Trump has shirked his ethics responsibilities. He has decided not to disclose his taxes. He is waffling on whether or not he’s going to set up a genuine blind trust and divest himself of the conflicts of interest that Richard Painter was just talking about. He is basically shunning his responsibility of complying with the ethics rules. And that tone has now reached into Congress.

You know, part of the reason why I’m so surprised that the Republican Conference in the House of Representatives repealed or have neutered the OCE is because they are going to receive a great deal of negative publicity on this. But clearly, they are looking at Donald Trump shirking his ethics responsibility, and thinking, if he can get away with it, they can get away with it. So, yes, we are likely to see the most scandal-ridden federal government, not just Trump administration, that we’ve seen, you know—the most scandal-ridden we’ve seen in history. This does not bode well for the next few years......

Matt Kennard at PulitzerCenter
The Cruel Experiments of Israel’s Arms Industry 

Round the back of Ramallah’s main hospital lies the house of Iyad Haddad, a 52-year-old human rights investigator. His home office is the shopfront of a decrepit building and at first glance it looks like a bric-a-brac shop. But the objects placed out on the tables are not household trinkets. The surfaces are, in fact, cluttered with spent ammunition, tear gas canisters, sponge bullets and shell casings.

Haddad has spent the past three decades documenting the violence of the Israeli forces occupying his people’s land. These ugly little pieces of memorabilia are his testament to that process.

Many of these weapons have been fired on peaceful demonstrators protesting against Israel’s wall and settlements in the occupied West Bank. The villages of Nilin, Bilin and Nabi Saleh have been organizing regular protests for years. To my surprise, Haddad does not approve of those demonstrations.

“Sometimes they are using us so they can know how to use each kind of weapon,” he said. “For me, these kinds of activities by the Palestinians become helpful to the Israelis because it makes this area into a laboratory to test their weapons, to develop them and make it a commercial industry in order to sell them to other countries.”....

Salman Rafi Sheikh at journal-Neo
NATO vs NATO: Turkey Lambasts US Role in Syria

While it may seem too much to say at this point of time that NATO, given the gravity of the situation triggered by the out-going US president’s nebulous foreign policy, is disintegrating, what is happening is that the Western military alliance is facing an unprecedented crisis. This crisis is certainly as unusual and dramatic as any Shakespearean tragedy. More than a strong military alliance, NATO is at its worst and looks like a house divided against itself. It looked like this when Turkey, second biggest military power in the western alliance, point-blank accused the Obama administration of covertly supporting ISIS and other terror outfits, which are bent upon destroying Iraq and Syria and are now likely to target Turkey too.

Turkish President Recep Erdogan alleged, giving the Obama administration a ‘new-year-surprise’, on last Wednesday, December 28 that Turkey is in possession of “confirmed evidence, with pictures, photos and videos” of the US’ support to ISIS.

While Erdogan had previously lambasted the US for supporting Gulen, Erdogan’s enemy number one and a potential terrorist according to Turkish officials, this time he took it to the next level and blamed the US, for the first time ever, for continuously supporting Daesh and Kurds.

We already know that the US has been officially supporting certain ‘moderate groups’ in Syria and that this support has directly contributed to the intensification of the conflict in Syria. What we know now is the support US has been providing to the most devastating terror groups the world has ever seen.

Gen. Michael Flynn, former head of the US Defence Intelligence Agency (and National Security Advisor-designate in the Trump administration), had himself claimed last year in a TV interview that the rise of the IS was a “wilful decision” by the Obama administration in furtherance of its agenda to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad....

Diana Buttu & Gideon Levy

Philip Ragner at TacticalInvestor
Philip Ragner at TacticalInvestor
Seven Most Discrediting Media Screw ups of 2016
Before we get to the article at hand many might ask why we cover political and health issues when our main focus in the stock markets and the financial arena.  The short and simple answer is that all these fields are connected; we don’t have free market forces anymore. Everything is manipulated; from the food, you eat to data you are provided.
If you are aware of this you can plan accordingly. Identifying the problem is over 80% of the solution and this is why most people don’t know what to do because they don’t really understand the problem. Now you know why we are the only financial website that covers such a wide array of topics that on the surface appear to be unrelated but are in fact, deeply interwoven.  Mass psychology is a very powerful tool and if employed correctly can help you spot the grotesque levels of manipulation the masses are subjected to. We strongly suggest that you view or read or view Plato’s allegory of the cave.  You might also find the following article to be of interest:......

From ZeroHedge
Ron Paul Sums Up Nobel-Peace-Prize-Winning 
President Obama In One Short Sentence

Following our discussion of the unprecedented bombing-fest that has been undertaken during President Obama's reign...

Seven years after being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his "extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples," despite having been in office for less than one year and having pretty much no actual, tangible foreign diplomacy accomplishments at the time, President Obama will depart the White House having dropped 26,171 bombs on foreign countries around the world in 2016, 3,027 more than 2015.

According to an analysis of Defense Department data from the Council on Foreign Relations, a non-partisan think tank, the majority of Obama's 2016 bombs were dropped on Syria and Iraq.  Meanwhile, Afghanistan, a country President Obama vowed U.S. troops would evacuate completely by the end of his Presidency, was also bombed over 1,300 times, a 40% increase over 2015.  Per McClatchy DC:........


From MishTalk
McCain has Blood on his Hands
If there was ever any doubt who perpetual warmonger, Senator John McCain, wanted for US president, this headline explains: Russian cyberintrusions an ‘act of war’

Today, CCN writer Frida Ghitis repeats McCain’s claim with Putin’s ‘act of war’ against American democracy.

    “Moscow’s influence campaign,” as the intelligence report calls it, blended a variety of means, including covert cyberactivity by Russian intelligence operatives, along with “with overt state-funded media, third-party intermediaries, and paid social media users or ‘trolls’.”

Hysteria Continues

It would behoove fools like Ghitis to stop and think. Anyone who takes CIA allegations as facts has mush for brains.

The CIA Liars, Torturers, Murderers are worse than useless.

Republican Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham want tougher sanctions against Russia following the hacking scandal.

In a show of solidarity, McCain Visited Frontline Ukraine Troops in Anti-Putin Gesture on New Year’s Eve.

“We stand w/them in their fight against #Putin’s aggression,” McCain wrote in one tweet.

The irony is staggering. Ukraine is a mess because of US meddling.It’s not Russia than started or was responsible for Crimea and the war in Ukraine that ensued, it was the US.

On April 30, 2014, the Guardian reported It’s not Russia that’s pushed Ukraine to the brink of war.........

From Ingaza
Aleppo: How US & Saudi-Backed Rebels Target ‘Every Syrian’:
 War diary by Western journalist Eva Bartlett on the truth about Aleppo
In early November, Fares Shehabi, a member of the Syrian parliament from Aleppo, organized a trip to Aleppo for 13 Western journalists, including myself, with security provided by forces in the Syrian Arab Army.While I had traveled to Aleppo independently as recently as July and August, for many others in the delegation, it was their first visit to the city or their first visit since the war on Syria began in 2011.

On previous visits to Aleppo, I met with the Aleppo Medical Association and saw a maternity hospital hit twice by rocket and mortar attacks by militants under Jaysh al-Fatah (the Army of Conquest), a loose alliance of anti-government terrorist groups. I met with members of a branch of the Syria Civil Defense and Christian and Muslim religious leaders. Just north of the city, I visited Nubl and Zahraa, towns besieged for more than three years by the Free Syrian Army, the Nusra Front, and other affiliated terrorist factions before the Syrian Arab Army drove them out in February of this year. I saw the liberated region of Bani Zaid and the al-Layramoun industrial district. I interacted with civilians in public parks, streets, and markets.

Ahead of my trip earlier this month, I was interested to see what might have changed following the liberation of still more areas by the SAA. I also hoped to speak with civilians who had fled the terrorist-held areas of Aleppo’s eastern districts since I had last visited, during which time eight humanitarian corridors had been established for civilians and members of terrorist factions willing to relinquish their arms or to accept safe passage to areas in Idlib and government-secured parts of western Aleppo.

However, on Nov. 4, no one fled terrorist-held areas of Aleppo. Family members of .....

From ZeroHedge
"We Regret The Error": CNN Apologizes 
To Assange For Pedophilia Accusation, Issues Retraction
It didn't take much for CNN to fold after Wikileaks threatened to sue it for defamation.

As reported on Wednesday, the whistleblowing organization threatened to sue CNN after the biased, pro-Clinton news organization aired an interview with Phil Mudd, in which the paid analyst and ex-Deputy-Director of the CIA called Julian Assange a pedophile. CNN’s counterterrorism "analyst" made the on-air statement on Wednesday while discussing WikiLeaks. Mudd boldly declared that “there's an effort to protect WikiLeaks (and) a pedophile who lives in the Ecuadorian embassy in London.”

Shortly after the lawsuit threat, CNN promptly apologized for the segment and conceded that “CNN has no evidence to support that assertion." ....


From RT
Germany sued in US for massacring over 100K people
in Namibia in early 1900s
 In the US, descendants of Namibia’s Herero and Nama tribes have reportedly filed a compensation lawsuit against Berlin over the tens of thousands of people slaughtered by German troops in the African state early last century.

The legal complaint was filed Thursday with the US District Court in New York over an “incalculable damages” that were caused, Reuters reports. The plaintiffs claim that even if any reparation will be paid to Namibia, there’s no guarantee of any compensation to the victims.
“There is no assurance that any of the proposed foreign aid by Germany will actually reach or assist the minority indigenous communities that were directly harmed,” the descendants’ lawyer Ken McCallion wrote in an email as quoted by Reuters. The exact amount of proposed financial compensation for the plaintiffs has not been published by the news agency.

Over 100,000 Herero and Hama are estimated to have been killed between 1904 and 1908 during the uprising against German colonial rule in South-West Africa as the territory was called at the time. The unrest was started by the Herero who were joined by the Hama tribe a year later. The rebellion was viciously suppressed by German troops. After facing massive resistance from both tribes, German commander Lothar von Trotha called on his soldiers “to shoot every Herero with or without weapon within the German [colonial] borders.” ....

From 21stCenturyWire
‘Ghost Banning’ on Facebook & Twitter? 
Dangers of Corporate Censorship
For anyone who has been active on social media platforms, especially in the controversial field of trying to get the truth out, stories of being banned, posts disappearing, and selective censorship are nothing new. The only difference this year is that certain social media gatekeepers might genuinely believe they have been given some sort political mandate, or social license to carry out the routine task of shutting-up or disappearing political speech or challenging information which they believe is either ‘fake news,’ or ” Russian propaganda.”

Anyone who thinks this is OK just because it suits their present partisan or ideological agenda – is really endorsing a new type of corporate tyranny. By definition, this is fascism.

Here’s one pundit’s take on what seems to be an ever more common occurrence in 2016 and 2017…..

Peter Lavelle
The Duran

We are told it is called “ghost banning” – meaning you are present, though invisible in plain sight, and the user is completely unaware. The goal is frighteningly obvious: deny an “offending” website traffic to the point that it disappears from public view. We suspect The Duran is among the many sites targeted in this new form of censorship.

This is the new business model of the old art of controlling what is considered acceptable speech by the power-that-be. As a result, legacy news outlets that comprise of the world of corporate mainstream media are propped, crowding out alternative views and dissent. Freedom of speech faces an existential threat.

Craig Murray comments on personally being ‘ghost banned’:

“I had never heard of ghost banning until I was ghost banned by Twitter. That of course is the idea – they censor you without realising you are censored. People no longer get notifications when I post, and the tweet only turns up in the twitter line of followers who happen to be logged in at the time my tweet goes out. Those logging in later will no longer see tweets I issued while they were away. Most of my tweets no longer show up on twitter searches, and further restrictions are applied when people retweet my tweets.....

Hidden history

Rania Khalek  at Fair
In Syria, Western Media Cheer Al Qaeda
The Syrian government—a dictatorship known for imprisoning, torturing and disappearing dissidents—is easy to vilify. And over the last five years of Syria’s civil war, it has committed its share of atrocities. But there is more than one side to every story, and US media coverage has mainly reflected one side—that of the rebels—without regard for accuracy or basic context.

As the Syrian government recaptured East Aleppo from rebels in recent weeks, media outlets from across the political spectrum became rebel mouthpieces, unquestioningly relaying rebel claims while omitting crucial details about who the rebels were.

Almost always overlooked in the US (and UK) media narrative is the fact that the rebels in East Aleppo were a patchwork of Western- and Gulf-backed jihadist groups dominated by Jabhat Fateh al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra)—Al Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria—along with its ally, Ahrar al-Sham (Daily Beast, 8/8/16; Foreign Policy, 9/1/16). These groups are explicitly anti-democratic and have been implicated in human rights violations, from mass execution and child beheadings to using caged religious minorities as human shields.

In the absence of any desire to evoke a political response, US media would surely have identified East Aleppo’s rebels by the name of the most famous militant group in the world—Al Qaeda. Yet press reports regularly referred to the militant forces dominating East Aleppo simply as “rebels.”

“Women in Aleppo Choose Suicide Over Rape,” declared a headline at the Daily Beast (12/12/16). The source of this very serious claim was Abdullah Othman, a member of Jabhat Al-Shamiya, or the Levant Front, an umbrella group whose membership consists of several jihadist rebel factions. So far no evidence has been presented, at least not publicly, to substantiate Othman’s claim. But that didn’t stop his story from spreading like wildfire across social media and being picked up by Commentary (12/13/16), Mic (12/16/16), Elle (12/13/16) and Foreign Policy (12/16/16), among others.....

From Yenisafak
Additional footage of gunman behind Istanbul attack released
New footage of the gunman responsible for Istanbul's New Year's Eve terror attack emerges
New footage of the gunman responsible for Istanbul's New Year's Eve terror attack at the Reina nightclub in Ortaköy has emerged.

In footage obtained by Yeni Safak daily, it has been revealed that the gunman left his house at 10:49 p.m.

The identity of the gunman has not been made known to the public. The gunman is allegedly Uyghur, and moved to Konya with his family in November 2016. His family has been taken into custody.....

From GlobalResearch
U.S./UK Paid “White Helmets” Help Al Qaeda Blocking Water To 5 Million 
Thirsty Syrians
The blockade of water from Wadi Barada to 5 million people in Damascus is taking an interesting turn. The U.S. and UK financed White Helmet organization seems to be directly involved in it. This increases the suspicion that the illegal blockade of water to civilians in Damascus is part of a organized campaign under U.S. command. The campaign is designed to block utilities to government held areas as revenge for the liberation of east Aleppo.

As we described it yesterday:

    After the eastern part of the city of Aleppo was liberated by Syrian government forces, the local rebels and inhabitants in the Barada river valley were willing to reconcile with the Syrian government. But the al-Qaeda Takfiris disagreed and took over. The area is since under full al-Qaeda control and thereby outside of the recent ceasefire agreement.On December 22 the water supply to Damascus was suddenly contaminated with diesel fuel and no longer consumable. A day later Syrian government forces started an operation to regain the area and to reconstitute the water supplies.

    Photos and a video on social media (since inaccessible but I saw them when they appeared) showed the water treatment facility rigged with explosives. On Dec 27th the facility was blown up and partly destroyed.

The Syrian government is ready to send repair teams to rehabilitate the water flow to the millions of civilians in Damascus. But access to the site is denied and the Syrian army is now trying to push al-Qaeda and its allies away from it.....

Sunday, January 1, 2017

News, views and opinions from the Alternative Media ... week ending Sunday, Jan 1

Jason Ditz at Antiwar
Putin Won’t Expel US Diplomats,
Invites Them to a Big Party Instead
Thursday’s announcement that the US is expelling 35 Russian diplomats and also ordering them out of a pair of long-owned diplomatic compounds fueled calls from top Russian MPs for retaliation, and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov reportedly proposed that they expel an identical number of US diplomats. Russian President Vladimir Putin said no.
Putin later released a statement saying Russia is not expelling anyone, and “would not descend to the level of irresponsible diplomacy” of the Obama Administration. He added that he was going to wait for steps to improve Russian-American relations with President-elect Donald Trump.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry called the Obama Administration ‘a group of embittered and dim-witted foreign policy losers,” presenting the expulsion from the diplomatic compounds, popular vacation sites for diplomats’ families, as an “anti-family” move.

Putin followed up his announcement that the US diplomats aren’t being expelled by announcing that he is inviting all the US diplomats, and their families, to the Kremlin for a big New Years party, and inviting diplomats’ children to a Christmas party (Russian Orthodox Christmas is on January 7).....

Andre Vitchek at Off-Guardian
President Duterte of the Philippines for Dummies

When Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez ascended to power in 1999, almost no one in the West, in Asia and even in most of the Latin American countries knew much about his new militant revolutionary anti-imperialism. From the mass media outlets like CNN and the BBC, to local televisions and newspapers (influenced or directly sponsored by Western sources), the ‘information’ that was flowing was clearly biased, extremely critical, and even derogatory....
....Now President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines is demonized and ‘mistrusted’, ridiculed and dismissed as a demagogue, condemned as a rough element, mocked as a buffoon.

In his own country he is enjoying the highest popularity rating of any president in its history: at least well over 70 percent, but often even over 80 percent.

“Show me one woman or man who hates Duterte in this city”, smiles a city hall employee of Davao (located on the restive Mindanao Island) where Duterte served as a Mayor for 22 years. “I will buy that person an exquisite dinner, from my own pocket … that is how confident I am”.

“People of the Philippines are totally free now to express their opinions, to criticize the government”, explains Eduardo Tadem, a leading academic, Professorial Lecturer of Asian Studies (UP). “He says: ‘they want to protest? Good!’ People can rally or riot without any permit from the authorities.”

Like in the days of Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, in the Philippines, the press, which is mainly owned by right-wing business interests and by pro-Western collaborators, is now reaching a crescendo, barking and insulting the President, inventing stories and spreading unconfirmed rumors, something unimaginable even in a place like the U.K. with its draconian ‘defamation’ laws.....

Rick Sterling at ConsortiumNews
The War Against Alternative Information

The U.S. government is creating a new $160 million bureaucracy to shut down information that doesn’t conform to U.S. propaganda narratives, building on the strategy that sold the bloody Syrian “regime change” war, writes Rick Sterling.
The U.S. establishment is not content simply to have domination over the media narratives on critical foreign policy issues, such as Syria, Ukraine and Russia. It wants total domination. Thus we now have the “Countering Foreign Propaganda and Disinformation Act” that President Obama signed into law on Dec. 23 as part of the National Defense Authorization Act for 2017, setting aside $160 million to combat any “propaganda” that challenges Official Washington’s version of reality.

The new law mandates the U.S. Secretary of State to collaborate with the Secretary of Defense, Director of National Intelligence and other federal agencies to create a Global Engagement Center “to lead, synchronize, and coordinate efforts of the Federal Government to recognize, understand, expose, and counter foreign state and non-state propaganda and disinformation efforts aimed at undermining United States national security interests.” The law directs the Center to be formed in 180 days and to share expertise among agencies and to “coordinate with allied nations.”

The legislation was initiated in March 2016, as the demonization of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russia was already underway and was enacted amid the allegations of “Russian hacking” around the U.S. presidential election and the mainstream media’s furor over supposedly “fake news.” Defeated Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton voiced strong support for the bill: “It’s imperative that leaders in both the private sector and the public sector step up to protect our democracy, and innocent lives.”......

Darius Shahtahmasebi at AntiMedia
Has Obama Abandoned Israel? What You’re Not Being Told

In 2011, linguist and foreign policy critic Noam Chomsky was asked whether he thought Obama was as bad as George W. Bush, to which Chomsky responded: “he’s worse.” Asked why, Chomsky cited Obama’s use of the U.N. veto at the Security Council level, which killed a resolution condemning settlement expansions that Israel was building in 2011.

After that, Obama was famously known for placing very few limits on Israel (with the exception of blocking an arms transfer during Operation Protective Edge, for example). There was also the supposed fallout between Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Obama over the Iranian nuclear agreement last year, but that agreement had nothing to do with curbing Israel’s power in the region. Anyone paying attention to the Iranian nuclear issue knows the agreement was largely symbolic and meaningless as sanctions targeting Iran have continued quite dramatically.

Just recently, the Obama administration approved the largest military package to Israel to date. Per this agreement, the U.S. will provide Israel with $38 billion worth of military aid if Israel, in turn, promises to use that money to purchase equipment from American suppliers. If there was ever any need to prove that Washington is in bed with the military-industrial machine, this deal alone kills any debate on the issue.

Israel is the largest recipient of foreign aid in the world, with the exception of Afghanistan and Iraq, which receive military funding due to the U.S. military’s long history in the countries. This aid increased under Obama. According to Colin Powell’s leaked emails, Israel also has a stockpile of at least 200 nuclear weapons, and the U.S. is well aware of this fact.

Further, since Obama took office, the population in Israel’s settlements rose dramatically from 100,000 to 600,000......

From ZeroHedge
'Policing For Profit' Goes To The Next Level

It’s bad enough getting arrested – especially when you didn’t do anything to warrant it. This happens all the time, because the the threshold for arresting someone is very low. It can be done by any cop, pretty much anytime – without much in the way of legal justification. He has the gun – and the handcuffs, after all. If he wants to arrest you, he will arrest you. Maybe the courts will sort it out later; eventually you are released, your record “cleared.”

This isn’t new – or news.

What is new – and ought to be news – is that several states have begun charging people “processing” and “incarceration” fees for their bogus arrest and subsequent just-as-bogus caging.

Minnesota and Kentucky are among the states that levy fees on people who are merely arrested and taken to the clink… even if they are never convicted of anything. In some cases, the people being charged for “services” rendered are never formally charged with any crime (which is something a prosecutor must do; a cop hasn’t got the power to do more than arrest you on suspicion of violating a statute).
t’s policing for profit taken to the next (entirely predictable) level.

Why not, after all?

Most states already have “just take it” laws on the books that empower cops to simply seize cash and other property prior to any judicial proceeding  – and to keep it, even if there never is a judicial proceeding.

The mere fact that you have “excessive” cash on your person is sufficient legal justification in many states to result in its forfeiture – until you prove to their satisfaction it wasn’t “drug” money....

Eric Draitser
It’s rather easy, and undoubtedly necessary,
 to lambast President-elect Donald Trump and his team of corporate parasites who will soon head nearly every key agency in the U.S. government.

Of note are the pro-fracking, anti-environmental protections positions of everyone from the nominee for secretary of state, ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson, to the incoming head of the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt. Such appointments signal a reckless abandonment of even the pretense of safeguarding vital resources such as air, water, and soil, among many others, at a time when many in the scientific community are ringing the alarm about our quickly unraveling biosphere.

However, while we rightly protest against this direct threat to our existence as a species, many have chosen to employ the age-old tactic of every ideologue from time immemorial: selective memory.

Indeed, it wasn’t Trump, but President Barack Obama, who held the reins of the federal government and did nothing while drinking water contamination poisoned the people of Flint, Michigan. It was Obama who expanded offshore oil drilling while paying lip service to environmental responsibility in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon spill — a 2010 disaster which continues to wreak havoc on the Gulf of Mexico’s ecosystem. It was Obama who signed off on new oil pipelines, approving the construction of the equivalent of 10 Keystone pipelines between 2010 and 2015 alone. Oil and gas shipments by rail continued under his watch.

These are just some examples of the countless other irresponsible policies. Forgive me if I don’t offer the liberals a post-consumer recycled handkerchief for their eco-friendly crocodile tears.
Obama: Owner of the water crises

Although issues such as climate change are simply too all-encompassing, too staggering in their scope and scale, to simply be chalked up to bad policy and bad leadership, specific public health crises are not. And President Obama has indeed stood idle while communities, and in some cases even entire cities, fall victim to water contamination.

The most well-documented example of this sort of gross negligence is the ongoing health emergency in Flint, Michigan. Once a thriving working-class industrial city, Flint has seen poverty rates soar while its city infrastructure deteriorates thanks in no small part to racism and endemic corruption by city and state officials. And it is, of course, the children of the poor who are most directly impacted by the lead contamination. In late 2015, researchers found that the levels of lead in the blood of Flint’s children were so high that a state of emergency was declared....

Mike Shedlock at Mishtalk
Like Iraq WMD Fiasco,
Russia Story Doesn’t Add Up
Yesterday, President Obama expelled 35 Russian “Operatives” from the Russian Embassy.

Is there any evidence those expelled are “intelligence operatives”? Any hard evidence Russia was behind the Hillary hacks? Any credible evidence that Putin himself is to blame?

The answers are No, No, and No. Yet, once again the American press is again asked to co-sign a dubious intelligence assessment....

....John McAfee, founder of the security firm McAfee Associates, says ‘I Can Guarantee You, It Was Not the Russians’.....

From GlobalResearch
Huge stockpiles of weaponry and ammunition,
many with NATO markings, were discovered in East Aleppo when the Al-Nusra militants, a local branch of Al Qaida, were pushed out of the city by Syrian forces.

The previous reports that NATO personnel were captured are now retracted, as they were allowed to leave with the militants on the buses provided according to the agreement, to spare NATO the embarrassment. FWM interviews the Syrian MP Fares Shehabi, an Aleppo resident himself. He calls the discoveries “SyriaGate”.

Mr. Shehabi, European mainstream media and leading politicians are upset about the liberation of Aleppo by the Syrian Arab Army. They write reports about massacres committed by the army and horrified civilians in Aleppo…

It is the total opposite. The news in Europe is a real problem because they report exactly the opposite of the real facts in Syria. We were able to liberate around 100.000 civilians who were held hostage by terrorists in Aleppo. A lot of them were taken hostage for more than four years. These liberated civilians are happy now. The 1.5 million civilians who left Aleppo since 2012 are now able to come home again. This is a very positive and happy moment for Aleppo and Syria in general. We were able to celebrate Christmas in Aleppo for the first time since 4.5 years – we celebrate Christmas every day now in our city!

So the terrorists left the city completely?

 – Yes, but before they left they executed more than hundred Syrian soldiers and hundreds of civilians. We found their bodies. This is all documented. Any international independent investigation can see and check the evidence of these terrorist crimes. But we are happy that our city is now liberated. Some rural areas around Aleppo are still under terrorist occupation. The next step will be to liberate the countryside so the city is well maintained and well protected.....

Derrick Broze at AntiMedia
Unhappy Holidays: Houston Police Force Homeless People to Throw Away Food

On Thursday, the Houston Police Department targeted a group of homeless advocates who were attempting to hand out hot food and gifts to the homeless.

(ANTIMEDIA) Houston, TX — Local activists attempting to hand out food and gifts were shocked on Thursday afternoon when Houston police forced the homeless to throw away the donations.  Around 1 pm on Thursday,  several individuals met in downtown Houston to distribute plates of hot food, blankets, and other supplies to the city’s growing homeless population. Soon after, Houston police arrived on the scene of two different intersections where the homeless advocates were giving out gifts and food.

According to witness testimony posted on Facebook, the police instructed the homeless to throw away everything they had been given. “Not only were the police called, but they brought a large waste management truck and are forcing the homeless to throw away their food, pillows and other items,” reads one post....

From RT
Chronicle of violence:
Turkey’s year of devastating terrorist attacks (VIDEOS)
The New Year’s shooting spree that left at least 39 people dead at a crowded Istanbul night club is just the latest in a wave of sporadic terrorist attacks, particularly suicide blasts, which have rocked Turkey throughout the past 12 months.
As many as 39 people, including 15 or 16 foreigners, were killed and dozens of others were injured when at least one gunman opened fire in one of Istanbul’s most popular night clubs, Reina, just one hour into the new year. “A terrorist with a long-range weapon... brutally and savagely carried out this incident by firing bullets at innocent people who were there solely to celebrate the New Year and have fun,” Istanbul’s governor, Vasip Şahin, told the media at the scene of the attack....

Turkey Tracking for the month of December 2016

This is how a genuine civil war begins.  The havoc in Syria, labelled "civil war" is a creation of external forces,  USA/Israel as main actors with supporting cast of Muslim nations tricked into destroying other Muslim nations; Turkey/Saudi Arabia/Qatar/UAE, etc. 
What has started slowly but will surely loom and bloom larger in coming months. is a direct cause of  wannabe sultan Erdogan's doing.  If at all there is a trace of foreign support for the terrorism in Turkey, I would point fingers at the same two main actors eternally present wherever there is chaos and discord anywhere and everywhere on this planet.

ISIS Spokesman Threatens Turkish Embassies Worldwide,
 Urges Supporters not to Flee Tal Afar
Terror group ISIS’ newly appointed spokesman made wild threats on Monday promising attacks against Turkish embassies around the world. The spokesman also urged hardline militants in the flashpoint Iraqi town of Tal Afar near Mosul not to flee as the group fights offensives on different fronts.

“Destroy their vehicles, raid them … in their shelters so they can taste some of your misery and do not talk yourselves into fleeing,” Abi al-Hassan al-Muhajer said in an audio recording posted online.

Muhajer also said that ISIS supporters would target “the secular, apostate Turkish government in every security, military, economic and media place even every embassy and consulate that represents it in all the world’s countries.”.........

Turkey airstrike kills US and German citizens:
Syrian Kurdish group
A Turkish airstrike in Syria has killed two militants - one from the United States and one from Germany - from a group allied with the main Kurdish militia in the country, according to a statement from a local Syrian military council on Thursday.

The two were killed near the northern Syrian city of Minbij, which the Kurds, along with Arab allies and backed by United States airstrikes, seized from the Islamic State extremist group after protracted battles.

Turkey opposes the presence of the Syrian Democratic Forces - an umbrella group dominated by the Kurds - near the city of Minbij. Ankara wants its own Syrian armed groups to take control over the area.....

Turkish soldiers killed by Syrian air strike: Military
In first such incident on Syrian territory, three dead and 10 wounded in attack near northern city of Al Bab.

The Turkish military has said that three of its soldiers have been killed and 10 more wounded in Syria by an air strike allegedly launched by Syrian government forces.

A statement from the Turkish armed forces on its website said that the attack occurred at 3:30am local time [00:30 GMT] on Thursday.

Dec 10
Deadly twin bomb attack injures 20 police officers
near Istanbul stadium
At least 1 explosion apparently caused by suicide bomber

Two explosions struck Saturday night outside a major soccer stadium in Istanbul after fans had gone home, in an attack that caused fatalities and wounded at least 20 police officers, Turkish authorities said. A private television channel put the wounded at nearly 70.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan issued a statement saying "unfortunately we have martyrs and wounded" but did not specify the number.

One of the blasts was thought to be a car bomb and the second appeared to have been caused by a suicide bomber.

Police cordoned off the area as smoke rose from behind the newly built Vodafone Arena Stadium, known colloquially as Besiktas Stadium after the local team and neighbourhood. Witnesses also heard gunfire after the explosions.........
....Turkey's radio and television board issued a temporary coverage ban citing national security concerns. It said "to avoid broadcasts that can result in public fear, panic or chaos, or that will serve the aims of terrorist organizations."....

Turkish Forces Supported ISIS-Daesh in Attack on Palmyra,
 Al-Bab in Retaliation for Defeat in Aleppo. Analyst
The developments in Syria show that Turkey’s attack against al-Bab city is aimed at provoking Damascus and Moscow and heightening the terrorists’ weakened morale.

Atwan also referred to the ISIL terrorists’ aggression against Tadmur (Palmyra), and said that according to reports from Iraq and Northern Syria, the ISIL is collapsing but its attack against Palmyra proves that it is still being supported by certain countries.

“The first reason for such a claim is that the Iraqi forces’ operations against the ISIL in Mosul which had started two months ago have been faced with the terrorists’ strong resistance,” he said.

    “Also, Ashton Carter, the US secretary of defense, has announced that his country will send 200 soldiers to Iraq and Syria to fight against the ISIL. Another reason is the Syrian Democratic Forces’ (SDF) statement on starting the second stage of Euphrates Rage Operation to capture the self-proclaimed capital of the ISIL, Raqqa.”

“The last reason is that the US congress has approved a bill to support the armed groups in Syria and Iraq,” Atwan added.

The ISIL carried out one more large-scale attack on government positions at the Eastern entrance of Palmyra on Saturday night. They took control of the strategic height of al-Tar in the Northern side of Palmyra and the village of al-Ameriyeh Northwest of the city. They further laid siege on the city.....

A bomb blast targeting a bus carrying dozens of soldiers 
in Turkey's central Kayseri province at 08:45 local time has injured and killed several according to reports.

An immediate broadcast ban was issued by the Turkish government.

According to eye-witness reports a car ploughed into the bus, exploding immediately.

Reuters has said the bus, carrying off duty soldiers and civilians was hit by a car laden bomb outside Kayseri University.

Other reports say the bus was carrying special forces soldiers going on leave.

Turkish Forces Supported ISIS-Daesh in Attack on Palmyra,
Al-Bab in Retaliation for Defeat in Aleppo. Analyst
The developments in Syria show that Turkey’s attack against al-Bab city is aimed at provoking Damascus and Moscow and heightening the terrorists’ weakened morale.

Atwan also referred to the ISIL terrorists’ aggression against Tadmur (Palmyra), and said that according to reports from Iraq and Northern Syria, the ISIL is collapsing but its attack against Palmyra proves that it is still being supported by certain countries.

“The first reason for such a claim is that the Iraqi forces’ operations against the ISIL in Mosul which had started two months ago have been faced with the terrorists’ strong resistance,” he said.

    “Also, Ashton Carter, the US secretary of defense, has announced that his country will send 200 soldiers to Iraq and Syria to fight against the ISIL. Another reason is the Syrian Democratic Forces’ (SDF) statement on starting the second stage of Euphrates Rage Operation to capture the self-proclaimed capital of the ISIL, Raqqa.”

“The last reason is that the US congress has approved a bill to support the armed groups in Syria and Iraq,” Atwan added.

The ISIL carried out one more large-scale attack on government positions at the Eastern entrance of Palmyra on Saturday night. They took control of the strategic height of al-Tar in the Northern side of Palmyra and the village of al-Ameriyeh Northwest of the city. They further laid siege on the city.....

Dec 13
Turkish police and soldiers execute more than 400 people in 2016
AKP’s police and soldiers have captured more than 400 Kurds alive and executed them during the genocidal attacks of 2016. The number of people executed by the police and the army under enemy law just this year has surpassed 400 according to data from the Human Rights Association (Insan Haklari Dernegi – IHD).
A small sample from AKP’s political murders are as follows:

Sêvê Demir, Pakize Nayir and Fatma Uyar were murdered by state forces in Sirnak’s Silopi district on the evening of January 4. It was later found out that the person murdered alongside with the female politicians was Islam Atak (20).

In Van’s Edremit district, 12 HPG members were executed on January 10 in a house raid by the special operations units with the claim that “there was a clash”. Access to the file and autopsy reports on the massacre was barred.

In Mardin’s Kiziltepe district, 4 people lost their lives when special operations police opened fire on a vehicle in Turgut Özal neighborhood on January 12. Witness accounts say the vehicle with the license plate 63 F 1579 was in motion when suddenly it was raked by the police armored vehicles. After the attack, 4 unidentified persons were killed in the vehicle and dozens of bullet holes were seen on the vehicle. Later it was found out that one of the people who were executed was DBP administrator Cengiz Erdem, brother of Aydin Erdem who was murdered by the police in a student protest in Amed in 2009.

A bomb blast targeting a bus carrying dozens of soldiers in Turkey's central Kayseri 
province at 08:45 local time has injured and killed several according to reports.

An immediate broadcast ban was issued by the Turkish government.

According to eye-witness reports a car ploughed into the bus, exploding immediately.

Reuters has said the bus, carrying off duty soldiers and civilians was hit by a car laden bomb outside Kayseri University.

Other reports say the bus was carrying special forces soldiers going on leave.

Dec 19

Dec 25

Turkey's Erdogan: 'Confirmed evidence' US-led coalition supports ISIS & other terrorists in Syria
 Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said "it's very clear" that the US-led coalition is supporting terrorist groups in Syria, Islamic State (IS, also known as ISIS/ISIL) among them.

"They give support to terrorist groups including Daesh (Arabic for IS)," Erdogan said.

Saying that the US have accused Turkey of supporting IS, speaking at a press conference on Tuesday the Turkish leader blamed the US-led coalition for assisting terrorists themselves.

Apart from IS, he also mentioned Kurdish People's Protection Units in northern Syria (YPG) and Democratic Union Party (PYD) as groups supported by the coalition.

"We have confirmed evidence, with pictures, photos and videos," he added.......

Plans for stronger Turkish presidency pass first hurdle
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan will be able to appoint and dismiss government ministers, take back the leadership of the ruling party, and govern until 2029 under plans approved by a parliamentary commission on Friday.

The approval by the constitutional commission after a 17-hour overnight session means the plans for an executive presidential system, long sought by Erdogan and the ruling AK Party he founded, have passed their first hurdle.

The proposal will now go to a vote in parliament's general assembly, before a referendum expected by spring....

Dec 31
Istanbul Reina nightclub attack 'leaves 35 dead'

At least 35 people have lost their lives in an attack on a nightclub in Turkey, Istanbul's governor has said.

Among the dead at the Istanbul club is one police officer, Vasip Sahin stated, adding that it was a terror attack.

At least another 40 were injured in the attack which took place in the Reina nightclub, in the Ortakoy area, at about 01:30 local time (22:30 GMT).

One attacker was involved, the governor said, while CNN Turk reported he was dressed in a Santa Claus costume.

"A terrorist with a long-range weapon ... brutally and savagely carried out this incident by firing bullets on innocent people who were there solely to celebrate the New Year and have fun," Mr Sahin told reporters at the scene of the upmarket Reina nightclub, which sits on the banks of Bosphorus in the city's European side...