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“Seven Days In May”

Did you ever see the movie mentioned in the title? It was a movie from the 1960’s (more on that shortly)….with biggies of the day…Kirk Douglas and Burt Lancaster….an excellent novel and a good movie.

Back in the days when Blackwater (private army used by the Defense Dept to fight our wars) was making news over their antics in Iraq and elsewhere I thought about this movie because Blackwater was getting attack choppers, tanks, etc…all the equipment of a standing military….that one day if we were not careful they could take over the government after all they have the resources for a coup. Read more…..

Source: ‘Seven Days In May’ Scenario – In Saner Thought

But those feelings subsided because of the problems Blackwater was having it was renamed and then just sort of fell off the face of the news….

Recently all those thoughts came rushing back.…all the remembering of the movie and Lancaster’s portrayal of this general that wants to control the government (in case you skipped it there is more about the movie and the plot in the piece I “Pressed“)….

By recently I mean after the election of Trump and once he started naming names for his advisers and cabinet I noticed that there were way too many generals in my opinion……the thoughts were there and the movie was watched (again)…..and then I read an op-ed in the American Conservative about this very subject….

Let’s be honest, what classic-movie fan hasn’t thought once or twice about the 1964 film Seven Days in May, a brilliantly paranoid gem exploring the anatomy of an American military coup during the Cold War, since President-elect Donald Trump started announcing his plans to nominate one recently retired general after another to the highest positions of his administration?

One could argue that many elements of the movie’s plot are present today: a military infrastructure bred and fed on decades of war is suddenly threatened by a peacetime posture, defense cuts, and a deal with a rival power that’s unpopular with many in the ranks. In the movie, one general, played forbiddingly by Burt Lancaster, believes it is his duty to right the wrongs of the civilian leadership (a peace deal with the Russians) and, thanks to the size and autonomy lavished upon the post-WWII military-industrial complex, can marshal the makings of an elaborate coup right under the noses of official Washington.

Source: Is Civilian Control of the Military in Jeopardy? | The American Conservative

But there are more thoughts about the amount of generals Trump is adding to his cabinet……

In my latest article at, “All the President’s Generals,” I examine Trump’s affection for retired military generals to fill America’s most senior civilian positions related to national defense. I urge you to read the entire article at; here I wish to focus on the quartet of generals/warriors Trump is empowering as part of his drive to “win” again. Trump seems most pleased that “his” generals are allegedly cut from the same cloth as George S. Patton and Douglas MacArthur, two of America’s most anti-democratic generals.

Perhaps this shouldn’t surprise us. Like Prussia in the age of Frederick the Great, America is increasingly becoming a colossal military establishment with a state attached to it. Unlike Prussia, our colossus is not producing any meaningful victories. And no one, I think, would confuse the educated and enlightened Frederick with America’s angry and undisciplined Tweeter-in-chief.

Source: Prussia Without the Victories: Kaiser Trump’s Cabinet of Generals – LA Progressive

The article mentioned earlier in this post about the generals that will be in essence running the country should be read…..(do so below…thought provoking)

In a sense, human history could be seen as an endless tale of the rise and fall of empires. In the last century alone, from the Hapsburgs and Imperial Japan to Great Britain and the Soviet Union, the stage was crowded with such entities heading for the nearest exit. By 1991, with the implosion of the USSR, it seemed as if Earth’s imperial history was more or less over. After all, only one great imperial power was left. The Russians were, by then, a shadow of their former Soviet self (despite their nuclear arsenal) and, though on the rise, the Chinese were, in military terms at least, no more than a growing regional power. Left essentially unchallenged was the United States, the last empire standing. Even though its people rejected the word “imperial” as a descriptive term for their “exceptional” country — just as, until oh-so-recently, they rejected the word “nationalist” for themselves — the world’s “sole superpower” was visibly the only game in town.

Its military, which already garrisoned much of the planet, was funded at levels no other country or even groups of them combined could touch and had destructive capabilities beyond compare. And yet, with the mightiest military on the planet, the United States would never again win a significant war or conflict. Though its forces would be quite capable of taking the island of Grenada or briefly invadingPanama, in the conflicts that mattered — Korea and Vietnam — victory would never come into sight. And it only got worse in the twenty-first century as that military fought an endless series of conflicts (under the rubric of “the war on terror”) across the Greater Middle East and Africa. In those years, it left in its wake a series of brutal sectarian struggles, ascendant terror movements, and failed or failing states and yet, despite its stunning destructive power and its modestly armed enemies, it was nowhere victorious. Never perhaps had an empire at its seeming height attempted to control more while winning less. (The power of its economy was, of course, another matter.)

Source: Tomgram: William Astore, All the President’s Generals | TomDispatch

Please…all you Trump supporters…I am NOT saying that this will happen only that his picks have made me think of the movie (again)……and of course the very possibility of a pending coup.

What never had creeping thoughts? Or should I say “creepy“?

(You can wager that I will have more to say on this subject in the coming months)

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The “One China” Policy

Since Trump made his now famous Taiwan call or was it the other way around? Any way there has been lots of back and forth by his supporters on whether it is good or excellent that he bucked Mainland China in favor of Taiwan….

The first problem is that too many have NO idea what the “One China” policy is all about… I took it upon myself to educate those that would like to know and the others will yes nod approval anything this person does……

The People’s Republic of China reiterated Sunday that it won’t discuss diplomatic or trade issues with Taiwan until new Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian recognizes the one-China policy.

What is the one-China policy?

The one-China policy holds that there is but one China and that Taiwan is part of China. The leaders of both countries have long subscribed to the one-China policy–each insisting on their own government’s legitimacy–but the Taiwanese position has eroded over the past few decades as the People’s Republic has gained international prominence. Taiwan’s softened position is spelled out in its 1991 Guidelines for National Unification, which insists only that a unified China must be “democratic” and “free,” not necessarily led by Taiwan. The People’s Republic position remains fundamentally unchanged.

Source: What Is the One-China Policy?

Now that you know about the policy that Nixon agree to when he made is now famous trip to Beijing……and it officially became a “One China” policy with Carter in 1978…… then the question is….is it a good idea to provoke China on this issue?

I posted on this a few days ago…..

Source: The Dangerous Folly of Provoking China – In Saner Thought

Maybe forcing a conflict with our biggest trading partner would not be the best way to begin a presidency.

Plus their build-up in the South China Sea…..

China appears to have installed anti-aircraft and anti-missile weapons on its man-made islands in the strategically vital South China Sea, a US security think tank says, upping the stakes in what many see as a potential Asian powder keg. The Center for Strategic and International Studies said in a report late Wednesday that the anti-aircraft guns and close-in weapons systems designed to guard against missile attacks have been placed on all seven of China’s newly created islands. The outposts were built in recent years over objections by the US and rival claimants by piling sand on top of coral reefs, followed by the construction of military-grade 10,000-foot airstrips, barracks, lighthouses, radar stations, and other infrastructure, the AP reports. CSIS based its conclusions on satellite images taken in mid- to late November and published on its Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative website.

In a statement, China’s Defense Ministry repeated that development on the islands was mainly for civilian purposes, but it added that defensive measures were “appropriate and legal.” “For example, were someone to be threatening you with armed force outside your front door, would you not get ready even a slingshot?” the statement said. A Foreign Ministry spokesman told reporters he had no information about the reported weaponry, but said such deployments were China’s sovereign right. China’s new island armaments “show that Beijing is serious about defense of its artificial islands in case of an armed contingency in the South China Sea,” CSIS experts wrote in the report. “Among other things, they would be the last line of defense against cruise missiles launched by the United States or others against these soon-to-be-operational air bases.”

Trump has said that he is a smart guy and does not need the daily briefings.…..a claim that has been echoed by his crew…..but I am starting to doubt his assertion….there is more to running this country and keeping it safe than being just a “smart guy“.

The United States is ready to confront China should it continue its overreaching maritime claims in the South China Sea, the head of the U.S. Pacific fleet said on Wednesday, comments that threaten to escalate tensions between the two global rivals. – Reuters

A linch pin theory is all about one small occurrence that could escalate into a major confrontation…..(keep that in mind for future reference)

Maybe it would be a good idea if the smart guy would take a few minutes in his otherwise busy day and get his info and maybe then it will sink in that one simple phone call may not be so goddamn simple.

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Libé & Le :Propagande prorusse sur Alep : qui est cette «journaliste indépe ndante» qui cartonne sur le Web ?

eva-bartlett syria

ENglish:”Hello i’m also back from Syria. I went there as an independent journalist and photographer. Please like and share. PS: Don’t forget to tell your family :)”: This is what some so-called activists are saying on the media. But who are they? For some people this post will strike them as another collection of snippets uncritically gathered up from the mainstream corporate press. As a result, it may seems to suffer for them from the same kinds of defects all too prominent in the mainstream media. But where’s the truth? Can we trust 100% medias such as RT.COM, Global Research and 21 Century Wire and on the other hand CNN, the Guardian, Hürriyet, Jpost etc? The sure thing is there’s a lot of propaganda out there from pro-Assad, against Assad, from Turkey and beyond. Maybe i sound controversial, but nothing is 100% easy these days. Truth is somewhere between…

Edito:La coalition française américaine est en train de bombarder Mosul avec l’appui de l’armée irakienne sur le sol. La Russie fait la même chose à Alep avec l’aide de l’armée syrienne au sol . Pourquoi nos médias se réveillent maintenant et de focalisent que sur Alep ? Les bombardements de Mosul ne tuent personne ? Al qaeda vaut mieux que l’états islamique pour nos gouvernants ? Il y a des images de foules fuyant Alep remerciant les soldats de l’armée régulière syrienne … Ce que je n’arrive pas à comprendre c’est l’intérêt portée à une vidéo aussi vide. Elle démonte rien du tout, y a pas un seul argument concret. Le seul truc qu’elle dit c’est que les sources occidentales sont fausses et les siennes sont vrais. C’est d’une nullité et d’une inutilité affligeante.

#Alep#Syrie#Russie#Desintox#Propagande, #RussiaToday, #Sputnik, #EvaBartlett :
Un message important d’Hugo Clement@hugoclement

— Daniel Brobecker (@DanielBrobecker) 15 décembre 2016

Une soit-disant journaliste qui critique une soit-disant journaliste. je pense qu’on peut tomber d’accord sur ça ? Suivre les actualités sur la guerre civile syrienne me rend de plus en plus critique envers nos média traditionnels. S’il ne fait aucun doute que les russes et syriens (pro et contre Assad) utilisent en masse la propagande, je suis très déçu que des blogueurs sur WordPress se fassent piégés ou même ne répètent sciemment que la propagande inverse.

Derrière la guerre meurtrière en Syrie se cache aussi un combat médiatique. La victoire de l’armée syrienne sur les rebelles à Alep, mardi 13 décembre, s’est accompagnée de fausses images et d’intox qui compliquent encore un peu plus la tâche à qui veut s’informer sur la situation en Syrie. Et si beaucoup viennent du camp favorable à Bachar Al-Assad, les soutiens des rebelles versent eux aussi dans la désinformation.

Dédicace à #EvaBartlett,la #journaliste“indépendante” qui bosse pour l’organe du Kremlin #RussiaToday! #Alep #Désinformation @antipropaganda

— Yann Barte (@YannBarte) 15 décembre 2016


Ce que disent #EvaBartlett, #RussiaToday et #Sputnik :

— Daniel Brobecker (@DanielBrobecker) 15 décembre 2016

C’est une vidéo censée «démonter en deux minutes la rhétorique des médias traditionnels sur la Syrie». Partagée par le site prorusse RT News en français le 13 décembre, elle a été vue plus de 400 000 fois. Et reprise par des sites prorusses de la fachosphère comme «le Salon beige», «Egalité et Réconciliation» ou le site complotiste «Réseau international». La version sous-titrée en allemand par RT a été vue près de 600 000 fois, et l’une des versions publiées sur Facebook plus de 2 millions de fois.

On y voit une femme présentée comme une journaliste indépendante canadienne répondre à un confrère norvégien sur les «mensonges» des médias mainstream et leur agenda sur la Syrie. En fond, le logo des Nations unies. Ce qui laisse croire que la conférence de presse à laquelle participe cette «journaliste» est organisée par l’ONU. Elle y déroule tout le discours traditionnel de la propagande prorégime sur le conflit en Syrie : il n’y a pas de journalistes ni d’ONG internationales sur place et leurs seules sources viendraient d’activistes (voire de «terroristes») (il existe pourtant de nombreuses sources qui permettent de rendre compte de ce qui se passe sur le terrain, comme l’explique Arrêt sur images), les Casques blancs ( Eyes on Europe& Middle East note: les white helmets qui sont controversés et qui ont été pressentis pour recevoir le nobel de la Paix, sur ce point je suis d’accord avec Mme Barlett) seraient inconnus à Alep, etc., etc. Comment sait-elle tout ça ? Elle affirme s’être rendue plusieurs fois en Syrie, Alep compris, et avoir recueilli des témoignages d’habitants qui soutiennent le régime syrien et ne seraient jamais interrogés par les médias mainstream. Dernier argument : la population soutiendrait massivement Al-Assad, en témoignent les résultats des élections de 2014 (organisées dans les zones contrôlées par Damas et qualifiées de «non-élection» par Washington et de «farce» par Laurent Fabius, alors ministre des Affaires étrangères).

Dans ces deux minutes de vidéo, la soi-disant journaliste ne révèle en fait rien de nouveau. C’est un extrait d’une conférence de presse de près d’une heure, où ces mêmes arguments ont été répétés inlassablement par tous les participants, qui dénoncent en chœur «le rôle des médias dans ce projet impérialiste». Ce qui fait son succès, c’est qu’Eva Bartlett, la journaliste, répond à un autre journaliste, représentant de ces médias mainstream et propagandistes. Kristoffer Ronneberg est le correspondant aux Etats-Unis du journal norvégien Aftenposten.

  • Par ailleurs, la conférence s’étant tenue aux Nations unies, cela lui donnerait une certaine légitimité. Ce n’est absolument pas le cas.

L’événement n’a pas été organisé par l’ONU mais par la Mission permanente de la république syrienne aux Nations unies, l’équivalent de son ambassade qui, à ce titre, a le droit d’utiliser les salles de presse de l’ONU sans aucun contrôle de l’institution internationale. C’est donc le régime syrien et une organisation appelée Hands off Syria, qui se présente comme étant contre l’interventionnisme en Syrie, qui sont à l’origine de l’événement. Kristoffer Ronneberg s’y est rendu car l’ambassadeur de Syrie à l’ONU était attendu (il n’était finalement pas présent). Le journaliste n’avait jamais entendu parler des autres participants et a maintenant l’impression d’être devenu, à son insu et à son grand regret, «une petite pièce dans une grande guerre de propagande».

Eva Bartlett, qui n’a pas répondu aux questions de Libération, se présente comme une «journaliste indépendante». Mais ses publications révèlent le profil d’une activiste pro-régime syrien qui écrit régulièrement sur «les mensonges occidentaux», que «l’ONU étouffe les crimes de guerre», et appelle à «déconstruire le récit occidental» ou encore affirme que «les médias occidentaux ignorent la réalité». Ses écrits sont publiés sur Russia Today, un site prorusse financé par Moscou, le site conspirationniste qui se donne des airs de think tank Global Research ou l’American Herald Tribune, site lui aussi ouvertement prorusse qui joue sur la confusion avec l’International Herald Tribune.


Mme Bartlett aborde le défi des médias étrangers de couvrir la situation à Alep à distance, à partir de plusieurs sources : déclarations officielles des autorités, témoignages de militants de l’opposition sur place, de civils, « journalistes » citoyens, travailleurs d’ONG… Sachant que, quelle que soit la source, le fait d’être « sur place » ne garantit pas une objectivité absolue.

Mais l’analyse qu’elle fait en partant de ce constat est pour le moins partiale. D’abord à propos des civils. Les journalistes du Monde à Beyrouth sont par exemple au contact de personnes qui ont fui Alep, et certains récits valident tout à fait l’existence de civils victimes des forces syriennes. Leurs chroniques de l’écrasement de la rébellion se fondent aussi sur des sources institutionnelles, mais également, par exemple, sur les récits de contacts sur place.

On peut également citer, parmi d’autres exemples, le travail de Karam Al-Masri, correspondant de l’Agence France-Presse (AFP) à Alep, qui vient de recevoir le Grand Prix de la Fondation Varenne dans la catégorie « journaliste reporter d’images ». Un « Making-of » de l’AFP publié en septembre qui raconte son parcours et le récit de sa collaboration avec l’agence permet ainsi d’aller au-delà du cliché de l’absence totale d’informations venant de la zone pour les médias étrangers.

  • L’intox du « dernier hôpital d’Alep »

L’argument revient beaucoup, notamment chez les pro-Assad en France : il s’agit de pointer le fait qu’il y aurait une manipulation de l’information. Pour preuve, l’histoire récurrente du « dernier hôpital d’Alep ». Djordje Kuzmanovic, du Parti de gauche, a ironisé sur Twitter au sujet de cet événement qui se serait produit « quinze fois en six mois » :


C’est Olivier Berruyer, blogueur économique – qui frise souvent le conspirationnisme – qui a inspiré cette idée, en compilant sur son blog une série de Tweets évoquant la destruction du « dernier hôpital d’Alep » sur une période de plusieurs mois. Le site conspirationniste Réseau international a fait le même type de décompte, dénonçant un matraquage médiatique.

Mais la compilation du blogueur est composée de messages venus d’un peu partout dans le monde, et pas forcément de journalistes. On y trouve pêle-mêle un consultant en stratégie vivant aux Etats-Unis, un chercheur londonien, une télévision pakistanaise, un compte qui se revendique du réseau Anonymous… Attribuer à ces initiatives isolées la qualité de « média » semble pour le moins exagéré.

Dans sa compilation, M. Berruyer fait aussi dans la caricature : ainsi, il évoque un titre de L’Obs évoquant « le plus grand hôpital d’Alep-Est » (et non le dernier ou le seul), ou une lettre de la direction de la santé de la ville évoquant des « attaques systématiques qui ont ciblé les hôpitaux d’Alep ». Et, là encore, non « le dernier ».

Sur la vingtaine d’éléments recensés par le site, moins de la moitié (et à seulement trois périodes) annonçait en fin de compte la destruction du dernier hôpital d’Alep avant novembre, et l’annonce par l’Organisation mondiale de la santé (OMS) du fait que tous les hôpitaux aux mains des insurgés étaient hors service. On est donc loin d’une fausse information répétée quinze fois à tort.

S’il est évident qu’il y a des exagérations et de la propagande des deux côtés du conflit, il est difficile de se contenter de cette présentation tronquée des faits, qui passe un peu vite sur une réalité : depuis plus d’un an, des hôpitaux sont régulièrement la cible de bombes à Alep, entraînant une situation humanitaire de plus en plus dramatique. Une situation dont Le Monde a parlé à de nombreuses reprises à la suite de nouvelles destructions (qui correspondent aux périodes mentionnées ci-dessus), notamment en février, en juin, en juillet, en octobre ou encore en novembre.

Le but de ce type de contenus, sous le prétexte de critiquer l’imprécision ou les médias, est évident également : il s’agit, en creux, de minimiser les souffrances de la population.

  • La Syrie se défend avec une photo prise… en Irak

Bashar Jaafari, ambassadeur de Syrie à l’Organisation des Nations unies (ONU), a rejeté toute accusation de violences envers les civils par les forces armées syriennes, lors d’une réunion du Conseil de sécurité de l’ONU le 13 décembre. « Voici ce que fait l’armée syrienne à Alep », a-t-il notamment déclaré, brandissant une photographie d’une civile grimpant sur le dos d’un soldat.

image:×0/5049092_6_d5c0_2016-12-14-f73f283-6505-1rae1cs-i42tymn29_ec419d3f7362b56c78651cae0a48000f.png BuzzFeed


Comme l’a relevé BuzzFeed, la photographie a en fait été sortie de son contexte. Il ne s’agit pas d’un soldat syrien, mais d’un milicien des Forces de mobilisation populaire irakiennes. Cette photographie a été relayée par des sites d’information arabophones après la bataille de Fallouja, à l’été.

Quelques conseils pour ne pas se faire avoir par des rumeurs

  • Partez du principe qu’une information donnée sur le web par un inconnu est par défaut plus fausse que vraie.
  • Fiez-vous plutôt aux médias reconnus, aux journalistes identifiés et connus. Et ne considérez pas non plus que cela suffit à rendre leurs informations vraies. Dans des situations de crise comme celle-ci, l’information circule très vite, et peut souvent se révéler par la suite erronée. Il vaut mieux attendre que plusieurs médias donnent un même fait pour le considérer comme établi.
  • Une photo n’est jamais une preuve en soi, particulièrement quand elle émane d’un compte inconnu. Elle peut être ancienne, montrer autre chose que ce qui est dit, ou être manipulée.
  • Un principe de base est de recouper : si plusieurs médias fiables donnent la même information, elle a de bonnes chances d’être avérée
  • Méfiez-vous aussi des informations anxiogènes (type « ne prenez pas le métro, un ami a dit à un autre ami que la police s’attendait à d’autres attentats », un message qui tourne apparemment samedi matin) que vous pouvez recevoir via SMS, messages de proches, etc, et qui s’avèrent fréquemment être des rumeurs relayées de proche en proche, sans réelle source.

Original Source: Libé & Le

Autres vidéos sur l’actualité en Syrie:

Propagande ou pas?

Propagande ou pas?

Sur le même sujet:

Featured Image Credit:Twitter

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Stop The Presses!

No Really! Could it happen?

When Donald Trump began his run up to the general election I was one of those that thought he was doing nothing more than expanding his brand….I was deeply mistaken…..

I even wrote a post about his possibility of a new “Trump TV”……

There has been lots of verbiage on the treatment Trump is getting in the media….most of his supporters feel they are being unduly targeted for their support…..I can see where they would be feeling thus……I have some stuff uttered on the news that I do not think needs to be said….that is until there is concrete proof.

This brings me to a loyal reader of IST, The Ripening Wanderer, while we may not always agree I cherish his input. He recently wrote a post that called for a possible “Trump News Network” and I quote: “I think it is high time for Americans to be able to turn on their radios and their TVs and go to the “Trump News Network.”

Source: “Trump News Network” – In Saner Thought

I basically wrote that post to make light of the possibility…..but it seems that once a gain I may be proven mistaken……

The conservative online media outlet Right Side Broadcasting Network (RSBN), dubbed “Trump TV” by the Washington Post, announced this week that it is expanding into a 24-hour operationthat will “be in the White House … at the press briefings” during the Trump administration.

The pro-Trump website has live-streamed nearly every Trump campaign event, produced debate analysis with Trump campaign aides that streamed on Trump’s official Facebook Page, and even set-up a camera to capture transition efforts from the lobby of Trump Tower for its nearly 250,000 YouTube subscribers. Seemingly with the blessing of the Trump campaign, RBSN has set itself up as the official destination of broadcast counter news programming for the pro-Trump crowd.

Source: “Trump TV” announces new 24-hour network will get access to White House press briefings –

I do not mind a new Right wing site….but I thought that was the job of FOX News.

But a site dedicated to the presidency is just out there….we have CSPAN which covers most everything done in the government from congressional votes to the president…..

If this is a site that wants to push bullshit then I say…NO to credentials….they can do their worse without them…..

I am old fashion.…I believe in a balanced approach for the news…..something we have not had in this country for 30-40 years……and it is only getting worse… by day.

Like so many countries that has a “strong man” in charge….there is a state run media outlet….this allows all the propaganda the dictator wants the people to know and believe…..thank goodness that countries with so-called “democracy” has an open and free media…there is no state sponsored news (or so they want us to believe)…..

As written previously, there is a 24-hour network that wants to be the voice of the Trump presidency….but could there be another form of Trump propaganda?

Ever hear of an institution called “Voice Of America“?

Trump as the president will have control over this media outlet……is there a possibility for a state-run media?

We’re not talking about Russia anymore. Thanks to a provision tucked into the defense bill passed by Congress last week, President-elect Trump will inherit a newly empowered state-run TV network, according to Politico. The provision dissolved the bipartisan Broadcasting Board of Governors, the agency that supervises the government-funded Voice of America (VOA), Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Radio y Television Marti, Radio Free Asia, and the Middle East Broadcast Networks. This provision, along with a 2013 change that allows VOA to reach U.S. audiences opens a path for Trump to push propaganda through the U.S. diplomacy arm. In other words, he may be getting Trump TV after all.

President-elect Donald Trump is about to inherit a newly empowered Voice of America that some officials fear could serve as an unfettered propaganda arm for the former reality TV star who has flirted for years with launching his own network.

Buried on page 1,404 of the National Defense Authorization Act that passed last week is a provision that would disband the bipartisan board of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, the independent U.S. agency that includes Voice of America, Radio Free Europe, Radio Free Asia, and the Middle East Broadcast Networks.

The move – pushed by House Foreign Affairs Chairman Ed Royce as a way to streamline the agency – concentrates control into a powerful CEO that is appointed by the president.

That change, combined with a 2013 legislative revision that allows the network to legally reach a U.S. audience, which was once banned, could pave the way for Trump-approved content created by the U.S. diplomacy arm, if he chooses to exploit the opportunity.

Source: Trump to inherit state-run TV network with expanded reach – POLITICO

We Americans know that Trump is ego freak that likes to see his name up in lights….but will he take advantage of this situation to have his own state-run media outlet?…..”All the news Trump wants you to know”……

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Interview with General Zeljko Glasnovic MP

Interview with General Zeljko Glasnovic MP
// Croatia, the War, and the Future
General Zeljko Glasnovic Member of Croatian Parliament for the diaspora visiting Australia, December 2016 Photo: Ina Vukic

General Zeljko Glasnovic
Member of Croatian Parliament for the diaspora
visiting Australia, December 2016
Photo: Ina Vukic

General Zeljko Glasnovic is a Member of Croatian Parliament representing the Croatian diaspora and is currently visiting Australia. General Glasnovic was born in Croatia and had spent much of his life living and working in Canada. He returned to Croatia at the outbreak of Croatia’s Homeland War in 1991, joining the Croatian National Guard. He served in the Canadian Army, the French Foreign Legion, the Croatian Army (HV) and the Croatian Defence Council (HVO) and fought in a number wars: The Gulf War, the Croatian Homeland War and the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina. He was elected Member of Parliament in November 2015 and again in new elections held September 2016. I met up with General Glasnovic during his visit to Australia and conducted the following interview, which I hope will enlighten many readers particularly with regard to issues affecting the Croatian diaspora and its relationship with Croatia. These issues and questions had also arisen during the forums and meetings General Glasnovic has in the past ten or so days held with Croatians across three states of Australia (South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales).

1. Given that you are a member of the Croatian Parliament representing the diaspora your visit to Australia could be seen as a member of parliament visiting his constituency. What was the main reason or reasons you decided to make this journey?

Glasnovic: Basically, there is no comprehensive strategy towards the Croatian Diaspora including Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina. There’s much talk and little concrete action. Dialogue is not a strategy and Croats are being deliberately excluded from economic and political development and I would like to develop a strategy, hence my visit to the Croatian diaspora.

2. You have held a number of meetings or forums across Australia during this visit, would there have been any major issues of concern that may have been put to you by Australian Croats or that may have arisen during these forums and if so what were they?

Glasnovic: The problems are the same in Europe, in North America and in Australia. Croatians in the diaspora are victims not only of a dysfunctional legal system but also of socialist bureaucracy and post-communist mindset. For example, in the war, between 1992 and 1994 the Croatian diaspora contributed over US$ 660 million to the country’s defence in armaments alone, today the diaspora contributes at least 16 billion kunas to the country’s economy and despite this contribution of at least 4% Croatia’s GDP the country’s political elite have done everything possible to prevent integration in the return of Croatians living abroad. Examples are numerous, these are rhetorical questions: Why has no one up to now compiled a unified list of Croatians living outside Croatia and offered everyone Croatian citizenship? Why haven’t the Croatians living abroad been enabled to vote electronically? What is the reason behind that? There’s no electronic voting as in other countries. What is the purpose of renewing documents every six months for Croatian citizenship, e.g. birth certificates can’t be more than six months old – so, Croatians are born every six months…

It’s mind boggling that a Croatian born abroad to Croatian parents needs on average three years to obtain citizenship.
Preventing people from coming points to the fact that they’re not only victims of socialist bureaucracy but also of a corrupt and dysfunctional legal system.

How is it possible that over twenty years after the end of the war there’s still no set of regulations that determine the relationship between the Croatian State and the Croatian diaspora; no one has yet put forward a unified law dealing with the rights of Croatians living abroad.

3. The diaspora should have a direct influence on political decision processes in Croatia and that is facilitated via having a number of seats in parliament dedicated to elected representatives of the diaspora. Given the size of the Croatian diaspora do you consider 3 seats adequate or representative or do you believe the number of seats should be increased to adequately represent the number of Croats living in the diaspora?

Glasnovic: What we have is discrimination in reverse and the best proof of that is the voting system, which allows minorities more representation in parliament that the much more numerous Croatian diaspora, which is restricted to the current three symbolic seats in parliament. Constitutionally the Croatian diaspora plus Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina should be allowed a minimum of three more seats in parliament. These members of parliament should be deployed globally and cover North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific.

As far as economic diplomacy is concerned they would be the best ambassadors for investment in the country. As the situation stands now – there’s no existing framework that enables Blue Chip investments in the country, while, for example, Kuwait is investing US$4 billion in a suburb of Sarajevo. The only large investment in Croatia in last decade has come from IKEA. Serious corruption in Croatia is another symptom of communist mentality and it is the Achilles’ heel of the Croatian state. Black market economy in Croatia is more than twice that of what it is in European Union states.

4. There has recently actually been an initiative in Australia seeking Croatian clubs and community organisations’ endorsement in approaching the relevant authorities in Croatia for the purpose of adding seats to the parliament for the diaspora: one for Australia and New Zealand, one for North America and one for South America. What is your opinion on such initiatives?

Glasnovic: Initiative is great but you can’t implement the initiative unless you have functional legal institutions, pragmatic laws and the legal mechanism that will enforce these laws. The Croatian judiciary is still bogged down in quagmire of ineffectual laws that Croatia has inherited from the Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY). This fact combined with the communist mindset is the biggest stumbling block to modernisation.

Ina Vukic (L) General Zeljko Glasnovic MP (R) interview in Sydney, Australia, 8 December 2016

Ina Vukic (L) General Zeljko Glasnovic MP (R)
interview in Sydney, Australia, 8 December 2016

5. When it comes to taking part in political decision processes in the diaspora via voting at elections, the fact that the polling booths are impossibly limited to consular or diplomatic premises and, therefore, not easily accessible or not at all accessible for majority of voters represents a discriminatory approach towards Croats living abroad wishing to vote. Croats living in Croatia have reasonably good access to polling booths. A solution to this problem would undoubtedly be in electronic and/postal voting system. Has there been any progress in making legislative changes or additions to accommodate such voting and if not do you think such legislative changes have a chance of being brought into the Parliament?

Glasnovic: Spoke of this before but yes – no progress at all, the sabotage continues.

6. A particular problem seen by the diaspora lies in the Income Tax rules in Croatia by which Croats on Australian Age Pensions returning to live in Croatia also fall under the Croatian taxation rules which are disadvantageous to them. That is, the Australian taxation laws under which their pension was earned provides them with income tax free thresholds that renders their pension income almost tax-free while under the Croatian income tax thresholds their pensions are taxed quite highly. It seems Croatia has not signed an avoidance of double tax agreement with Australia when it comes to the Australian Age Pension not coming under Croatian taxation rules. Do you have any information on this issue that may clarify where Croatia stands with double taxation agreements with Australia?

Glasnovic: The very idea of double taxation on pensions is an absurdity but Croatians returning from abroad to retire in Croatia are not a burden to the tax system. Their pensions are a direct bonus to the Croatian economy. The law should be scrapped.

7. What are currently the general prospects for the returnees in Croatia to establish themselves, and also, to contribute to a national development debate and agenda if they exist?

Glasnovic: A national development agenda does not exist. The bureaucracies, the corruption I mentioned – there’s absolutely no political will to develop a comprehensive action plan that will enable Croatians to return.

There’s no institutional framework to implement any sort of strategies for returnees, no programs …the present state of affairs only confirms that Croatians from abroad have been deliberately excluded from Croatia’s everyday life.

8. What are some things you consider could be done in order to improve the participation of the diaspora in Croatian economic recovery and demographic profile?

Glasnovic: Another thing that handicaps any type of plan of return of Croatians from abroad is a lack of integrated collective action from the Croatian diaspora itself. Croatians abroad have become increasingly disenchanted and apathetic which is a direct result of alienating politics towards the diaspora, particularly since year 2000. Nation building is a process and, as associated with disenchantment, Croatians living abroad may believe their help in rebuilding the country is no longer required.

The process of decommunisation has never been implemented in Croatia and this is an important stumbling block for Croatia’s relationship with its diaspora. Also importantly, the questions of communist crimes, confiscation and the nationalisation of property remain unresolved. I call Croatia – Croslavia, because what we actually have is a dysfunctional state that is a sort of communism after communism.

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Islam You Do Not Know

I am sure that the title will incite some to think this is an endorsement of some jihadi stuff….YOU ARE WRONG!

We know that the internet is full of “experts” on Islam…most of whom cannot name the 3rd most holy site of the religion….but that matters not….they know all there is to know about Islam.

First, this may fall on deaf ears because certain people will not want to hear or see anything that would crap on the unrealistic view of Islam.….but what the Hell? That never stopped me before and I am sure as Hell not going to let a batch of mental degenerates change that now.

Most Americans get their knowledge of Islam from people with names like Smith, Jones, Chatsky….you get the idea…..mostly Anglo-Saxons……

All these Western experts want to equate all Muslims with the brand of Islam taught by the Saudis and ISIS and AQ….they all practice an extreme form of ultraconservative fundamentalism…..Wahhabism….these are the people that believe that Sharia is the law of the land…..anyway it looks like the Muslim world is turning its back on this extremism……

Sheikh Abdulaziz Al Sheikh, the Saudi grand mufti and head of the Council of Senior Scholars, spoke to Makkah newspaper Sept. 6, saying, “We must understand that those are not Muslims. They are Majus [Zoroastrians], and their enmity to Muslims — specifically to the Sunni community — goes way back.”

Such a tone is not new in the Salafi-Wahhabi discourse. It dates back to the old history of Wahhabism in the kingdom continuing to the present time. When Abdul-Aziz bin Baz was grand mufti from 1962-1999, he deemed Shiites apostates on several occasions, including in . Ibn Jibreen, the oldest member of the Council of Senior Scholars when he died around age 76 in 2009, issued several fatwas stating that Shiites are polytheists who have deviated from Islam, saying they “deserve to be killed” if they reveal their beliefs. The council is the highest religious authority in the kingdom. Other fatwas from influential and living clerics in the kingdom such as Sheikh Abdul Rahman al-Barrakcalled for considering Shiites apostates, secluding them, treating them with hatred and banning humanitarian aid from reaching them.

Source: Anti-Wahhabism spreading in Muslim world

Even the “Arab” young are rejecting this sort of Islam…….

Arab youths are suffering from pervasive social exclusion, the highest unemployment levels in the world, and low female labour force participation, the Arab Human Development Report for 2016 has found. The annual report, entitled Youth and the Prospects of Human Development in a Changing Reality, was launched at the American University of Beirut in late November by the United Nations Development Programme.

The report brings to light a number of matters worth considering.

Source: Report: Majority of Arab youth rejects radicalism | News | Al Jazeera

The scenario that some of the more radical Right would have Americans believe is just NOT TRUE!

Most do not realize that some of the same stories in the Bible appear in the Quran… the point that the average person could not tell the difference…..

Can you tell the difference? Of course you can’t!

Source: The Bible And Quran Are More Similar Than You May Think

Inconsistent messages from Muslim leadership have created increased risk of extremism and radicalization.

The True Islam campaign aims to provide all Americans a clear way to distinguish true Islam from extremism and to unify Muslim Americans on the correct understanding of Islam that Prophet Muhamm

Source: Read these Eleven Points | True Islam

Like I said onto deaf ears…..because some do NOT want to know about the religion….they prefer to just hate for no other reason than the desire to hate.

I expect the title to be read and the comment to be nothing about what I covered in this post… will be the regurgitation of hate and ignorance.

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Croatia, Communist Crimes and Fidel Castro’s Death

Croatia, Communist Crimes and Fidel Castro’s Death
// Croatia, the War, and the Future
Cubans on Cuba mourn Fidel Castro's passing Photo: Ramon Espinosa/ Reuters

Cubans on Cuba mourn Fidel Castro’s passing
Photo: Ramon Espinosa/ Reuters

Cuba’s Fidel Castro, who died at the age of 90 on Saturday 26 November 2016, attracted divided views about him throughout his almost six decades in power in one form or another. Most saw him as a ruthless and murderous despot while others hailed him as a revolutionary hero. Of course the communists and former communists or their sympathisers or the left political sphere would hail Castro as a revolutionary hero, e.g. Russia’s Vladimir Putin, China’s Xi Jinping, France’s Francois Hollande, Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro etc. Today, though, we must see and acknowledge that no revolution that takes or took innocent lives or forced political compliance in people through threat of persecution and death can ever produce true heroes.

So far, the reaction from Croatia’s leadership – President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic and Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic has utterly disappointed. All the Croatian public has been told so far is that the President will be sending a telegram of condolences to Fidel Castro’s brother Raul and there has not been even a peep from PM Andrej Plenkovic as far as I could ascertain. To me such silence or staying away from public statements can only mean that both the President and the Prime Minister of Croatia are protecting the legacy of communism as opposed condemning it at this very moment when the whole world watches out for reactions to Castro’s death. Watching Davis Cup tennis finals in Zagreb, Croatia’s foreign minister Davor Ivo Stier commented that Castro was the trademark of communism in Latin America and that now, it’s expected that the transition toward freedom, toward religious freedom and democracy will be accelerated.

Fidel Castro was indeed one of important personalities of the 20th Century but there is no avoiding it: he was a tyrant, he was a dictator, he was a criminal, and he was a thug – nothing more and nothing less. Just count the number of his own people murdered at his or his regime’s behest. Just count the number of people that fled Cuba in fear for their bare lives. Just count the number of Cuban’s who did not succeed in fleeing but ended up rotting away in Castro’s political prisons. And, just take a look at the abject poverty in Cuba that spread like wildfire during Fidel Castro’s regime decades. In all this and more – how can anyone praise that man as hero!

Exuberant Cuban exiles in Miami celebrating Fidel Castro's death Photo:Gaston de Cardenas/ Reuters

Exuberant Cuban exiles in Miami
celebrating Fidel Castro’s death
Photo:Gaston de Cardenas/ Reuters

When Fidel died on Saturday life stopped on Cuba – mourning everywhere, shock on people’s faces, disbelief and confusion keeping their bewildered eyes wide open…masses shuffling along the streets like lost sheep … 9 days of national morning has been announced for Cuba…Across the waters in the US Fidel Castro’s death prompted joyous celebrations in the streets by Cuban exiles. All this reminded me of early May 1980 when communist Yugoslavia’s dictator and criminal leader Josip Broz Tito died – I was there in Zagreb, Croatia – exactly the same: everything stopped, life stopped, TV screens and movie screens went black, shops closed… At the time of the announcement of Tito’s death I happened to have been in a movie theater, watching a movie with friends – the movie stopped, screen was black, the announcement of death came, the movie-goers filed out of the theater, head down mostly, quietly and joined the shocked, lost hordes along the city streets and squares in disbelief. I was not one of those and noticed a few around me also wincing, not believing in what they were seeing. While communist Yugoslavia wept for Tito, the diaspora was overjoyed at his death. The diaspora knew what equality truly meant for it was living it in democracies across the world and knew that Tito had spoken of equality, brotherhood and unity, but really the only equality, brotherhood and unity was enjoyed by Tito and political operative – the communists – they lived that using other people’s money and other nations’ loans.

Fidel Castro (L) with Josip Broz Tito visiting Croatia's Brijuni 1976. Photo: The Museum of History of Yugoslavia/ Belgrade

Fidel Castro (L) with Josip Broz Tito
visiting Croatia’s Brijuni 1976.
Photo: The Museum of History of Yugoslavia/ Belgrade

Josip Broz Tito and Fidel Castro had their similarities and seemingly some differences. The latter is especially evidenced in the confrontation between Yugoslavian leader Josip Broz Tito and Cuba President Fidel Castro on the direction and leadership of the Third World on the Sixth Conference of Nonaligned Countries in September 1979 in Cuban capital, Havana. One finds that there was an identity crisis among the Third World countries as to whether to maintain their neutrality with the U.S. and the Soviet powers or to side with either superpower particularly with the Soviet camp. At the conference in Havana Tito indirectly accused Castro of moving the Movement closer to the Soviet Union but one can well conclude that such an accusation against Castro was Tito’s lip service in order to appear as not leaning toward communist Moscow, which stance helped him rake in quite a sum of foreign loans and monetary support from the West for some years during the cold war decades. Whether Nonaligned or not, whether publicly or not, both Castro and Tito remained true to the communist block and both were criminals and dictators eliminating hundreds of thousands of their own people just like Stalin and communist Moscow did.
Saturday, 26 November 2016, US President Barack Obama and US President-elect Donald Trump released very different statements on the death of 90-year-old Castro, both of which came under fire on social media. Reactions to these statements have been varied from being labelled as too soft (as in Obama’s statement) or too harsh (as in Trump’s statement).

Cuban exiles in the US celebrate Fidel Castro's death Photo: David Santiago/ El Nueva Herald/ AP

Cuban exiles in the US celebrate Fidel Castro’s death
Photo: David Santiago/ El Nueva Herald/ AP

This is what Barack Obama said from The White House Saturday 26 November 2016:
Statement by the President on the Passing of Fidel Castro
At this time of Fidel Castro’s passing, we extend a hand of friendship to the Cuban people. We know that this moment fills Cubans – in Cuba and in the United States – with powerful emotions, recalling the countless ways in which Fidel Castro altered the course of individual lives, families, and of the Cuban nation. History will record and judge the enormous impact of this singular figure on the people and world around him.
For nearly six decades, the relationship between the United States and Cuba was marked by discord and profound political disagreements. During my presidency, we have worked hard to put the past behind us, pursuing a future in which the relationship between our two countries is defined not by our differences but by the many things that we share as neighbors and friends – bonds of family, culture, commerce, and common humanity. This engagement includes the contributions of Cuban Americans, who have done so much for our country and who care deeply about their loved ones in Cuba.
Today, we offer condolences to Fidel Castro’s family, and our thoughts and prayers are with the Cuban people. In the days ahead, they will recall the past and also look to the future. As they do, the Cuban people must know that they have a friend and partner in the United States of America.”

President-Elect Donald J. Trump Statement:
Today the world marks the passing of a brutal dictator who oppressed his own people for nearly six decades. Fidel Castro’s legacy is one of firing squads, theft, unimaginable suffering, poverty and the denial of fundamental human rights.

While Cuba remains a totalitarian island, it is my hope that today marks a move away from the horrors endured for too long, and toward a future in which the wonderful Cuban people finally live in the freedom they richly deserve.

Though the tragedies, deaths and pain caused by Fidel Castro cannot be erased, our administration will do all it can to ensure the Cuban people can finally begin their journey toward prosperity and liberty. I join the many Cuban Americans who supported me so greatly in the presidential campaign, including the Brigade 2506 Veterans Association that endorsed me, with the hope of one day soon seeing a free Cuba.”

At this time of US presidency transition one doesn’t expect the outgoing president Obama to make any big waves but he could have done better for victims of communism (of which there are multitudes living in the US) in his statement regarding Castro’s death. To my view Trump’s statement champions the plight of communist crimes victims. I am utterly disappointed with the lack so far of Croatia’s president’s statement regarding the significance of Fidel Castro’s life and death. Such lack of statement can only suggest lack of commitment to full condemnation of communist crimes. Fidel Castro’s death presents an opportunity for driving yet another nail into the coffin of communism, against which totalitarian and cruel regime Croatia lost many lives both during Tito’s communist regime and during the 1990’s Homeland War when it split from Yugoslavia. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

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Can You Say Nepotism?

Nepotism? Maybe I should write slowly for those Trump voters so they can understand the concept…..maybe now would be a good time to define the word before we go any further……

Nepotism is in line with other forms of favoritism to include cronyism and nepotism……

Favoritism has always been a complaint in government service. In 2002, a survey from the federal government’s Office of Personnel Management found that only 36.1 percent of federal workers thought promotions in their work units were based on merit. (Government Executive Magazine, “Playing Favorites,” by Brian Friel, October 2004). They believed that connections, partisanship, and other factors played a role.

Cronyism is a more specific form of favoritism, referring to partiality towards friends and associates. As the old saying goes, “It’s not what you know but who you know,” or, as blogger Danny Ferguson put it, “It’s not what you don’t know; it’s who your college roommate knows.” Cronyism occurs within a network of insiders-the “good ol’ boys,” who confer favors on one another.

Nepotism is an even narrower form of favoritism. Coming from the Italian word for nephew, it covers favoritism to members of the family. Both nepotism and cronyism are often at work when political parties recruit candidates for public office.

Why would this be something to be concerned with…even before the president-elect is sworn in?

Is the Trump administration going to be a family affair? Nepotism rules prevent Donald Trump from hiring his children to serve in his administration, but sources tell CBS News that the president-elect is already looking into getting top-secret security clearances for his children, a move that, for now, would have to be approved by the current administration. They could get the clearances by being declared national security advisers. Trump kids Ivanka, Eric, and Donald Jr. are on his transition team, as well as son-in-law Jared Kushner. A member of the transition team, however, denies that top-secret clearances had been requested for Trump children, saying it’s “not something I’m expecting right now,” Politico reports

The catch here is that they would be “unpaid” advisers to the president which could circumvent the law….what is the law?

Federal law, at 5 U.S.C. § 3110, generally prohibits a federal official, including a Member of Congress, from appointing, promoting, or recommending for appointment or promotion any “relative” of the official to any agency or department over which the official exercises authority or control. The statute defines a relative, for these purposes, as “an individual who is related to the public official as father, mother, son, daughter, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, first cousin, nephew, niece, husband, wife, father-in-law, mother-in-law, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, stepfather, stepmother, stepson, stepdaughter, stepbrother, stepsister, half brother, or half sister.”

The law bans the employment only of these specifically named relatives.15 It does not prohibit a Member from employing two individuals who are related to each other but not to the Member. In addition, the 107th Congress amended the Code of Official Conduct (House Rule 23, clause 8(c)(1)) to prohibit a Member from retaining a spouse in a paid position, and to prohibit a House employee from accepting compensation for work on a committee on which the spouse serves as a member.

At what point will this become a conflict of interests?

Business people privy to inside information that can in turn be used to further their holdings….that would be insider trading…..maybe now it would help the slower people keep up……

Insider trading is the buying or selling of a security by someone who has access to material nonpublic information about the security. Insider trading can be illegal or legal depending on when the insider makes the trade. It is illegal when the material information is still nonpublic; trading while having special knowledge is unfair to other investors who don’t have access to such knowledge.

Trump could be looking at massive amounts of lawsuits from the Democrats….something he needs to avoid to keep his agenda, whatever that is, from become sidelined.

The news groups will be watching this and salivating over the possible what better way to drive the dialog?

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