Russian president Vladimir Putin signs law to label journalists as ‘foreign agents’

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES OF INDIA)

 

Russian president Vladimir Putin signs law to label journalists as ‘foreign agents’

Foreign agents, defined as involved in politics and receiving money from abroad, must register with the justice ministry, label publications with the tag and submit detailed paperwork or face fines.

WORLD Updated: Dec 03, 2019 06:23 IST

Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse

Moscow
Russian legislation passed in 2012 already gave authorities the power to brand media organisations and NGOs as foreign agents, a term that has Soviet-era overtones.
Russian legislation passed in 2012 already gave authorities the power to brand media organisations and NGOs as foreign agents, a term that has Soviet-era overtones.(REUTERS FILE)

Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a controversial law allowing independent journalists and bloggers to be labelled as “foreign agents”, a move that critics say will violate media freedom.

Russian legislation passed in 2012 already gave authorities the power to brand media organisations and NGOs as foreign agents, a term that has Soviet-era overtones. The new law, which now extends to individuals, will come into effect immediately, according to a document published on the Russian government website.

Foreign agents, defined as involved in politics and receiving money from abroad, must register with the justice ministry, label publications with the tag and submit detailed paperwork or face fines.

Nine human rights NGOs, including Amnesty International and Reporters Without Borders, have expressed concern that the amendments may be aimed not only at journalists, but also at bloggers and internet users who benefit from scholarships, funding or revenues from a relevant media outlet.

NGOs said in a joint statement last month the law was “a further step to restrict free and independent media” and “a strong tool to silence opposition voices”.

Authors of the bill have said it is intended to “perfect” existing legislation on “foreign agents” that already covers NGOs and media organisations. Russia says it wants the law as a tit-for-tat mechanism if its journalists are defined as foreign agents in the West. Russia first passed legislation allowing media organisations to be slapped with the label in 2017, after Kremlin-funded RT television was declared a foreign agent in the United States. Russian opposition politician Alexi Navalny’s organisation has been branded a foreign agent, as has US-financed media outlet Radio Liberty/Radio Free Europe and Voice of America.

The term foreign agent was used negatively during the Stalinist era in the 1970s and 1980s for opponents accused of being paid by the West.

Palestinians Slam PA Ban on 59 Websites

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Palestinians Slam PA Ban on 59 Websites

Wednesday, 23 October, 2019 – 10:45
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas addresses the Fourth National Forum for the Fourth Industrial Revolution during the forum’s opening session in the West Bank city of Ramallah, September 9 2019. (Nasser Nasser/AP)
Ramallah- Asharq Al-Awsat
A Palestinian court decision to block access to 59 news websites and Facebook pages has drawn criticism and sparked widespread controversy, anger,x and growing calls for stopping the “gagging” policy.

In a rare move, Abbas’s government called on the attorney general to overturn the latest decision by Ramallah Magistrate’s Court.

Government spokesman Ibrahim Milhem said in a statement that the PA government urged administrators of social media pages and news sites to “follow professional and moral standards in publishing news and media items.”

He stressed the government’s respect for international conventions that guarantee the protection of freedoms and its strong respect for the independence of the judiciary and non-intervention in its affairs.

The decision was made at the request of the Palestinian prosecution.

In its petition to the court, The prosecution argued that the sites disseminate harmful content about the PA and its officials and are likely to be used to incite lawlessness.

The court’s decision was leaked after prosecutors sent it to Internet companies in the Palestinian territories.

The Palestinian Journalists Syndicate held a press conference in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Tuesday, a day after the news of the blockage was leaked.

Syndicate Head Naser Abu Baker called it a “black day” for the press in Palestine.

“The judiciary must protect freedom in Palestine,” he stated. “It should not restrict it.”

He said that the syndicate appealed against the decision and announced that it is against any previous agreements with the Public Prosecution.

“What is required now is for the court to cancel this decision and amend the law on cyber crimes with respect to freedom of information.”

Abu Baker described the decision to block websites as a blow to the government and its efforts to establish media freedoms.

In this context, Palestinian officials and factions rejected the “gagging” policy.

Hanan Ashrawi, member of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s (PLO) Executive Committee, expressed dissatisfaction with the decision.

“Blocking access to websites or imposing other measures that prevent access to information or restrict freedom of expression are in complete contradiction with the Palestinian Basic Law,” she stressed in a statement.

 

Iran State Television Airs ‘Confession’ of Exiled Journalist

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Iran State Television Airs ‘Confession’ of Exiled Journalist

Wednesday, 16 October, 2019 – 11:45
Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) march during an annual military parade (File photo: Reuters)
London – Asharq Al-Awsat
Iranian state television aired Monday footage showing Rouhollah Zam, editor-in-chief of the Paris-based Amadnews website, after he was arrested by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) as part of a “complicated intelligence operation.”

A short video showed a man blindfolded and handcuffed to the back seat of a car, which the television claimed to be taken after Zam’s arrest, according to Agence France Presse (AFP).

After that, the same man appeared sitting in an armchair next to the flags of Iran and IRGC.

The man identified himself as Zam and “the founder of Amadnews”, a Telegram channel that the Iranian authorities accuse of having played a major role in the protests that broke out in December 2017.

Zam said he regrets “what has happened in the past three or four years,” and admitted he was wrong to have trusted other governments, namely the French government.

In another clip, Zam does not appear to be handcuffed and avoided looking directly at the camera, indicating that it is not right to trust governments, especially governments that show they do not have good relations with Iran, including the US, Israel, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. He then apologized to the whole Iranian political regime, reported AFP.

The Revolutionary Guard announced Monday the arrest of Zam describing him as a “counter-revolutionary” who was directed by France’s intelligence service.

IRGC didn’t specify when or where Zam had been arrested. He had been reportedly living in exile in Paris.

Telegram shut down Amadnews which had around 1.4 million followers after Iranian authorities demanded the messaging application remove the account for inciting “violence.”

Amnesty International has repeatedly urged Iranian authorities to stop broadcasting “confessions” of suspects, saying they violate the “defendants’ rights.”

China’s first 8K imaging lab opens in Shanghai

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CHINESE NEWS AGENCY ‘SHINE’)

 

China’s first 8K imaging lab opens in Shanghai

China’s first 8K imaging lab has opened in Shanghai to broadcast UHD (ultra high definition) content and foster industry development.

The CINEX-D8K Imaging Lab, located in the Mercedes-Benz Arena in the Pudong New Area, was developed by the Oriental Pearl Group and Delta Group. It features two screens with sizes of 300 inches and 500 inches, professional projectors and 8K definition displays.

Output from the UHD industry is currently valued at 1 trillion yuan (US$142.8 million) annually in China. The industry is expected to get a further boost with the spread of 5G network technology, as well as the upcoming Tokyo Olympics in 2020, which will broadcast in 8K resolution.

By 2022, China’s UHD industry output is expected to hit 4 trillion yuan.

China’s mobile carriers and Oriental Pearl, the new media arm of Shanghai Media Group, plan to invest heavily in UHD industry development.

Legendary journalist and political commentator Cokie Roberts dies at 75

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF ABC NEWS)

 

Legendary journalist and political commentator Cokie Roberts dies at 75

Samantha Sergi/ABC News
WATCH The extraordinary career of Cokie Roberts

Renowned ABC News journalist and political commentator Cokie Roberts has died at the age of 75.

Roberts won countless awards, including three Emmys, throughout her decades-long career. She has been inducted into the Broadcasting and Cable Hall of Fame and was cited by the American Women in Radio and Television as one of the 50 greatest women in the history of broadcasting. She was named a “Living Legend” by the Library of Congress in 2008.

“We will miss Cokie beyond measure, both for her contributions and for her love and kindness,” her family said in a statement.

Her death was due to complications from breast cancer.

Roberts, born Mary Martha Corinne Morrison Claiborne Boggs, said she got the name “Cokie” from her older brother, who couldn’t pronounce Corinne and dubbed her Cokie instead. The name stuck with her ever since.

“Cokie Roberts will be dearly missed,” said James Goldston, president of ABC News. “Cokie’s kindness, generosity, sharp intellect and thoughtful take on the big issues of the day made ABC a better place and all of us better journalists.”

Roberts was “a true pioneer for women in journalism,” Goldston said, “well-regarded for her insightful analysis of politics and policy in Washington, D.C., countless news making interviews, and, notably, her unwavering support for generations of young women — and men — who would follow in her footsteps.”

She is survived by her husband, fellow journalist Steven Roberts, her children, Lee and Rebecca and her six grandchildren.

PHOTO: Cokie Roberts joined ABC News in 1988 and won the Edward R. Murrow Award and Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism.Heidi Gutman/ABC
Cokie Roberts joined ABC News in 1988 and won the Edward R. Murrow Award and Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism.more +

Roberts graduated from Wellesley College in 1964 with a degree in political science and began her career in radio as a foreign correspondent for CBS in the 1970’s and started covering Capitol Hill for National Public Radio in 1978, reporting on the Panama Canal Treaty.

She was assigned to Capitol Hill full-time in the early 1980’s, serving as the network’s congressional correspondent for more than a decade.

Roberts co-anchored ABC’s “This Week” with Sam Donaldson from 1996 to 2002. She also served as political commentator, chief congressional analyst and a commentator for “This Week” during her three decades at ABC.

PHOTO: Sam Donaldson and Cokie Roberts anchor This Week on ABC, Jan. 23, 1997.Terry Ashe/ABC
Sam Donaldson and Cokie Roberts anchor “This Week” on ABC, Jan. 23, 1997.

Before joining ABC News in 1988, Roberts spent more than two decades at outlets including WNEW (1968), KNBC-TV (1974-77), CBS News (1974-1977) and NPR starting in 1978. She was also a correspondent for MacNeil-Lehrer News hour and a contributing senior news analyst for PBS.

Additionally, she wrote eight books, largely focusing on the role of women in American history, many of which were New York Times bestsellers.

She had recently acknowledged a struggle with her health.

“Over the summer, I have had some health issues which required treatment that caused weight loss. I am doing fine,” she said in a statement after the “This Week” appearance. “I very much appreciate the kind comments I have received and expect to be, as I have been, working away in the days and months to come, covering what promises to be a fascinating election. I am grateful to everyone who has been in touch and sent their well wishes. Thanks for caring.”

Roberts was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2002 and was successfully treated. When she was diagnosed, she spoke about her longtime work urging women to get regular mammograms.

“Fortunately, in the course of my efforts to inform others about the disease, I learned about the benefits of early detection,” she said in a statement at the time, The Washington Post reported. “Now I am the beneficiary of that information.”

She told the Post that her cancer diagnosis didn’t give her a newfound perspective on life, because she already had one.

“I had a healthy perspective on life already,” she said to The Washington Post. “I have always cared more about family than my career. I lost my father at age 58 in a terrible accident and I lost my sister at age 51. So I didn’t need any extra perspective on life.”

During a Facebook Q&A in 2013, when asked what was the best part of her career, she said that her family has been “by far the best part” of her life.

“I’ve been blessed in my life with been a long and happy marriage that produced two wonderful children who have in turn each produced three spectacular grandchildren and that is by far the best part. In terms of career, I’ve been lucky to have many interesting jobs and loved most of them. The ability to develop expertise and then be able to use that knowledge in broadcasting is gratifying. And I find writing books particularly satisfying,” she wrote in her response to the Facebook question.

Roberts came from a political family: she was the daughter of (Thomas) Hale Boggs, the former Democratic House majority leader and representative from New Orleans. Her father was also a member of the Warren commission that investigated the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

PHOTO: Cokie Roberts conducts and interview at the University Club in Washington, Oct. 29, 2015.Samantha Sergi/ABC News
Cokie Roberts conducts and interview at the University Club in Washington, Oct. 29, 2015.

Hale Boggs died in a plane crash in Alaska in 1972, and his wife – Roberts’ mother – Lindy Boggs was elected to fill her late husband’s congressional seat.

Lindy Boggs was later appointed to be the U.S. ambassador to the Holy See by then-President Bill Clinton in 1997.

Roberts’ siblings also took a liking to politics. Her older brother, Thomas Boggs Jr., was a lobbyist and her sister Barbara Boggs Sigmund was the former mayor of Princeton, New Jersey. Her younger brother, William, died as an infant, and her other two siblings have died as well.

In an interview earlier this year, Roberts noted that she was “the only person in my original nuclear family who didn’t run for Congress. Now, they didn’t win all of them – the only one that never lost an election was my mother.”

But she filled that void with her foray into journalism.

“I have always felt semi-guilty about it. But I’ve sort of assuaged my guilt by writing about it and feeling like I’m educating people about the government and how to be good voters and good citizens,” she told The Washington Post.

Roberts married journalist Steve Roberts in 1966, after meeting at a political event in Ohio four years earlier when they were both in college.

Steven Roberts worked as a reporter at The New York Times for many years, and in a 2017 interview, Cokie Roberts credited her husband as being “my mentor when I started off as a journalist.”

“I had always been a good writer, and so I started reporting and writing. He was a big help to me, and we did a lot together,” she said for an oral history project developed by the House of Representatives.

Steve Roberts said in a New York Times interview in 2017 that he was “bowled over” by his wife’s intellect.

        .&lid=view[Slideshow]” target=”_blank”>             

                                        PHOTO:                                                           

            

                SLIDESHOW: Cokie Roberts through the years             
        

“Marrying the right person is the single most important decision you’ll ever make in your life. Everything else is secondary. From the very beginning, I knew what an extraordinary person Cokie was,” Steve Roberts said in the Times article, which was published to celebrate their then-50 year union in 2017.

The pair got married under an apple tree in the backyard of her family’s home in Bethesda Maryland, and then-President Lyndon B. Johnson and first lady Lady Bird were among the 1,500 guests in attendance. The home stayed in the family, and was Cokie and Steve Roberts’ home at the time of her passing.

Full statement from the family of Cokie Roberts:

Her loving family announces the passing of journalist and author Cokie Roberts, due to complications from breast cancer, on September 17.

Born Mary Martha Corinne Morrison Claiborne Boggs on December 27, 1943, Cokie was – first and foremost – a wife, mother, sister, daughter, aunt, cousin and friend.

Cokie’s career as a journalist at National Public Radio and ABC News took her to the heights of her profession, and her success as an author on history and family put her on the best seller list.

But her values put family and relationships above all else.

She is survived by her husband of 53 years, journalist, author and professor Steven V. Roberts, her children Lee Roberts and Rebecca Roberts, her grandchildren Regan, Hale and Cecilia Roberts and Claiborne, Jack and Roland Hartman, along with numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins.

She is also survived by friendships and by causes that she put her time, resources and energy into that are too numerous to count.

We would like to thank the staff at the National Institutes of Health for their dedication, expertise, work and incredible care for Cokie during her illness.

We will miss Cokie beyond measure, both for her contributions and for her love and kindness.

We are hopeful that Cokie now goes to join her parents, former Members of Congress Hale and Lindy Boggs, her siblings Barbara, Tom and William, who predecease her, and her God.

Angela Davis To Be Honored By The National Women’s Hall Of Fame

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF NEWS ONE)

 

Revolutionary activist and author Angela Davis has been instrumental in evoking social and political change. Just a year after it was announced that her collection of work would be added to Harvard University’s library, the Alabama native will now be inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame, the University of California Santa Cruz reported.

UC Santa Cruz

@ucsc

👏👏👏 UC Santa Cruz emerita professor Angela Davis will be inducted into @WomenoftheHall alongside Gloria Allred, Sonia Sotomayor, Flossie Wong-Staal and more in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment. https://go.ucsc.edu/2G62icM 

UCSC emerita professor Angela Davis to be inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame

In celebration of the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote, The National Women’s Hall of Fame will host a weekend in New York honoring the achievements of women in…

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The former UC Santa Cruz professor will be honored during the institution’s centennial celebration of the women’s suffrage movement. Davis—a former member of the Black Panther Party—has utilized her platform to spread awareness about racial inequality and mass incarceration. She also served as a member of the Students Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and was jailed in the early 70s after for allegedly trying to help free imprisoned activist George Jackson. After being acquitted in 1972, Davis turned to education and lectured around the world about history and consciousness. She also penned ten books that were focused on feminism, race and incarceration.

“I would say that as our struggles mature, they produce new ideas, new issues and new terrain on which we engage in the quest for freedom,” she said in an interview with The Nation. “Like Nelson Mandela, we must be willing to embrace the long walk toward freedom.”

Davis will be inducted along with nine other influential women who dedicated their careers to the advancement of women and fighting for equal rights. Amongst the 2019 inductees are U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, women’s rights attorney Gloria Allred, scientist Flossie Wong-Staal, musician Laurie Spiegel, actress Jane Fonda, artist Rose O’Neill, former United States Representative Louise Slaughter, lawyer Sarah Deer and retired United States Air Force officer Nicole Malachowski. “We are pleased to add these American women to the ranks of inductees whose leadership and achievements have changed the course of American history,” Betty Bayer, President of The National Women’s Hall of Fame, said in a statement.

The institution—which was founded 50 years ago—is the country’s oldest organization that has been dedicated to highlighting the accomplishments of women in different sectors. The induction ceremony is slated to take place on September 14.

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Kamala Harris, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez And Donald Trump, All Racist Bitches?

Kamala Harris, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez And Donald Trump, All Racist Bitches?

 

If you have been paying any attention at all lately to the U.S. news then you have heard a lot about ‘race’ or racism in the conversations within the news programs. First I would like to talk with you about Senator Kamala Harris who is now considered to be one of the front runners (top 5) in the Democratic Presidential debates. Ms. Harris up until the first debate was nothing much more than a ‘also ran’ but it was this debate that has propelled her upward on the ladder. Mainly there was just one question, one moment that did this for her. She was able to slam the front runner Joe Biden on his record about bussing fifty years ago. I am not a fan of Mr. Biden but when a person has been in politics for the past 50 years there are going to be plenty of areas to be critical of a person’s record, it’s just reality, in 50 years a person is going to change their opinions on different issues sometimes. Ms. Harris is a first term Senator from the state of California, her political record is much shorter.

 

This one question was a trap for Mr. Biden for someone to use as being a race issue whether race had anything to do do with his vote back then or not. Ms. Harris was able to use this as a race issue and the media, correct or not, jumped onto the side of Ms. Harris. I had heard of Ms. Harris ever since she became a member of the U.S Senate, but, basically everything that I had heard from or about her has had to do with race. It seems to me via the things that I had heard from Ms. Harris is that she is like a one trick pony and that the pony she is riding is race. I consider myself a moderate, sort of like an old southern conservative Democrat mixed with a liberal Republican. In other words I don’t like either political party at all, this is why I have been a registered independent for decades now. I had always taken Ms. Harris to be a Black person, just a lightly skinned person but evidently I was wrong on this issue. I can’t stand the Trump family but Don Jr. posted a tweet about her race so I started to check out her linage a little bit. Turns out her Mom is from India and her Dad is from Jamaica, so, if this is the truth, she isn’t Back at all. Yet she does seem to cater to the base of the Black voters. Yes she is a ‘person of color’ as is every human on the planet, even White is a color you know. But I do understand where that term came from as racists Whites used to call Black folks ‘colored’. Stupid of them then and now as is reversing the term. Personally I do not care what paint job a person has on their bones, I only care about what is between their ears and if any racism is there, I do not want them to hold any political position, especially not the Presidency. To me, I believe that Ms. Harris is a blatant racists so I would never vote for her.

 

Now I am going to gripe abit about the Bronx’s new Congresswoman Ms. Cortez or ‘AOC’ for short. She and a few of her Freshmen Congress ladies ‘of color’ have been playing the race issue to the hilt it seems, especially Ms. Cortez. She is in a running feud with the Democratic head of the Congress Ms. Pelosi who happens to be a White lady. I very much do not like Ms. Pelosi either but by all accounts I have ever heard including from other Congressmen and women of color, Ms. Pelosi is not a racist person. Yet as soon as AOC started getting shut down on some of her ideas she then went straight to calling Ms. Pelosi a racists because she wasn’t jumping on AOC’s ‘progressive’ bandwagon. To me, this is like the folks who talk about how much they hate haters, in other words, if you don’t agree with me, then you are a hater. Or, if you don’t follow me and my ideas, then you are a racists. Ms. AOC to me seems to be one of these people. To me, it appears that Ms. Harris and Ms. AOC have no other ideas or agenda accept race which to me is the bottom of the basement of human ignorance. Have you noticed during your life that the people who scream the loudest about racism are almost always extremely racist themselves?

 

Now, concerning our “racists, cowardly President”, Mr. Trump. First, I do believe that he is nothing more than a piece of trash as a person. I do believe that he is blatantly racists as well as a cereal rapists and a habitual liar and about as wise as a dead dog in the street. He always plays to the very lowest IQs he can find, it seems that they flock to this cowardly habitual liar. That the so called ‘Christian’ right support him or ‘Tea Party’ support him I find quite disgusting as he is anything but Christian. I call him a coward because of his Daddy getting him six deferrals from military service during the Vietnam war. He could have gone into a reserve unit like George W. Bush did, at least George W. didn’t seem to be ashamed to put on our Nations Uniform. Mr. Trump appears to not only have used his daddy’s money and influence to keep out of combat he didn’t even have enough guts to join the Reserve and with his College credits he could have gone in as an Officer like George W. did. Or is it possible that he simply loathed the U.S. military, or maybe it was just that the Uniform wasn’t “his color”?

 

Now in case you are wondering why I used the title that I did here are the reasons. One I guess was to get your attention, whether for or against my thoughts. Two, I do believe that all three of these people are blatant racists that everyone should totally discard as being credible. Three, from a Christian moral standpoint I believe that anyone who is racist has lowered themselves to the level of dead rabid dog. Also you may be wondering why I used the term ‘bitches’ for these three people is simple, in our U.S. slang it is common to call a hate filled woman a bitch, not meaning that they are actually a dog. Then why did I call Mr. Trump a bitch? That is simple also, in our U.S. slang it is also common to call a man who is considered to be a total coward a Pus-y, and that is exactly what I believe Mr. Trump is, a loud mouthed, racist, coward. Like it or hate it, this is my comment letter to you today. I know that some will hate what I wrote, some because they think I am to critical and some because they think I am not being critical enough. Either way, when I write these letters to you what I am mainly trying to get you to do is to think about the issues listed within the letter.

Brazil: Lula’s political prison will be theme of documentary

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF BRAZIL’S 247 NEWS)

 

Lula’s political prison will be theme of documentary

A political prisoner since April 2018, when he was jailed by former judge Sergio Moro to be barred from running for the presidential elections, former President Lula will be the object of a documentary directed by filmmaker Maria Augusta Ramos, the same one who directed The Process, about the 2016 coup against former President Dilma Rousseff

247 – “.. The filmmaker Maria Ramos will make a documentary about the Lula process The project is practically a sequel in which she documented the impeachment of Rousseff” The Process “received awards in Berlin festivals, Lisbon, Madrid, Havana, Buenos Aires, Switzerland and France, “reports the journalist Monica Bergamo in her column .

Lula is considered by the greatest jurists and intellectuals of the world as the most important political prisoner of the 21st century.

Trusting The Government: U.S., Russia, China, North Korea, All The Same?

Trusting The Government: U.S., Russia, China, North Korea, All The Same?

 

I was born in the mid 1950’s and grew up watching Walter Cronkite deliver the evening news. Mr. Cronkite was by most considered to be the “most trusted man in America.” Whom is it that you totally trust the most in American news media or within the political realm today? With all the news outlets of today all trying to get you to watch or listen to them I find it difficult to put much trust in any of them. There are two main reasons for that, one is that each of these outlets are companies, they are ‘for profit’. Two is the consideration of where are they getting their information?

 

I am in my early 60’s now so during the past 50 years or so we here in the U.S. have been constantly told that we are the good guys and governments who are Communist are the bad guys. From all of the reading and studying that I have done over the years I really don’t doubt that these Communists governments are far less than friendly toward their own population nor to others. Communists seem to think military first and usually military only and it is a proven fact that very few people who are military oriented are very good public leaders. Military frame of mind and civilian frame of mind seldom seem to end up within the same person. Then again within the non-communists countries the people have to put up with politicians who seem to change their mind like farts in a breeze. Here in the U.S. we the people have learned a lot since the NSA murdered John and Bobby Kennedy back in the 60’s. When Nixon was President he illegally expanded the war in Vietnam into Laos and Cambodia. We had military personal who died there or were captured there that our government turned their back on as well as their families basically saying they must have deserted. When the U.S. officially left Vietnam Nixon got on TV and said there were no more POWs in southeast Asia, knowing very well that he was lying to the people. Reality comes down to the fact of truth or not the truth, trust or not being able to trust.

 

Now I am going to talk about current events here in the U.S. and this reality of trust or no trust. On a personal level can you trust a person on really serious matters when you absolutely know as a fact that they have lied to you many many occasions?  In the last 24-36 hours we have been hearing on the news that Iran shot down an unmanned U.S. spy drone. The early news strongly hinted that the drone was over Iranian land which by all forms of international law would have been a violation committed by the Americans and Iran would have had every right to shoot it down. By international law every country which borders a body of water has 12 miles sovereignty except for China’s Communists government who seems to want to claim at least a few thousand miles sovereignty but that is another story for other articles. Now the U.S. government is saying that the drone was 21 miles off of Iran’s coast and if this is true then basically Iran committed and act of war against the U.S. and the U.S. government would have the right to retaliate against Iran. The issue is, how can we trust our own government when they and especially our President is a habitual liar? President George W. Bush’s lies paved the way for us to start a war with Iraq. Personally I believe that he was just trying to show his Daddy that he could ‘one-up’ him and take out Saddam. Think of the cost of those lies in terms of thousands of people dead and about a trillion dollars of taxpayer money thrown into that bloodbath. Today’s news headline said that some of the Republicans in the Senate were upset that President Trump called off a bombing raid in Iran that would have started an all out war with them and their allies. Going to war with anyone should not be a partisan matter and going to war should not be in the hands of one person. If we are going to enter a war this war should be voted on and passed by at least 2/3 of the Congress and the Senate. This is not a computer game, many thousands of people will die. So, what is the truth on this matter, can you or I honestly trust anything that Mr. Trump says? Personally I don’t. Credibility is something that our leaders no longer have, their word is not good enough any more. If we go to war with Iran they have many allies including many sleeper cells within our own borders, many Americans on American land will die, life as we have always know it here in the States will be over. But, how the hell can we the people ever know if what we are being told is the truth, or just another lie.

 

Russia: Faced with protests, Putin blinks — but don’t expect a Moscow Spring

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Faced with protests, Putin blinks — but don’t expect a Moscow Spring

Russia police drop charges against reporter after backlash
Russia police drop charges against reporter after backlash 03:11

Moscow (CNN)Russian President Vladimir Putin has been in power for nearly two decades, but he still has the capacity to surprise: This week, he unexpectedly showed that the Kremlin — on rare occasions — has a reverse gear.

To recap: On Tuesday, Russian authorities dropped a criminal case against a top investigative reporter known for exposing local corruption. The journalist, Ivan Golunov, had been arrested on an attempted drug-distribution charge that he and his colleagues insisted evidence had been planted by police.
As it turns out, the charges indeed had been fabricated. The police officers who arrested Golunov were suspended from active duty, and on Thursday Putin sacked two top interior ministry officials — the chief of internal affairs at the western district of Russia, Andrei Puchkov, and head of the Moscow directorate for drug control at the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Yuri Devyatkin — in connection with the case.
It was an unexpected reversal after an outpouring of solidarity from Russian civil society. Journalists rallied to Golunov’s side, staging rotating, one-person vigils outside of the main building of the Moscow branch of the Ministry of Internal Affairs at 38 Petrovka Street. Three leading newspapers on Monday published identical front pages with the slogan, “I/we are Ivan Golunov.” And campaigners organized a march in his support on Wednesday.

In this photo, Russia's three major newspapers use the same headline that reads: "I/we are Ivan Golunov"

But Putin’s grip on power was never seriously in peril.
For starters, there was the response to Wednesday’s march. Organizers had hoped to build on the momentum of previous days, as thousands expressed interest in turning out for the demonstration. But the unexpected decision to release Golunov from house arrest clearly diminished interest. Golunov himself did not take part, and discussion about whether to proceed with protests sparked internal squabbling among Russia’s already fractured opposition.
And the authorities moved quickly and forcefully to shut down the unsanctioned demonstration that went ahead on Wednesday. When marchers turned out at the Chistye Prudy metro station in downtown Moscow, they were ordered to disperse by police. As they moved in the direction of 38 Petrovka Street, they were met by a cordon of police who effectively dispersed the march, with small squads of riot police collaring individual demonstrators and locking them inside police buses.
Demonstrators chanted, “Shame! Shame!” but it was all over within a few hours.
But while the protest in Moscow was far, far smaller than the wave of demonstrations seen in Hong Kong, the events of the week were still an unusual display of discontent with Putin. And the official climbdown in the face of street demonstrations was the most stunning: Russian authorities, for instance, have continued to hold US investor Michael Calvey, despite both domestic lobbying and diplomatic pressure from the US.

"Vladimir Putin's grip on power was never seriously in peril."

Voices from Moscow

What appeared to have mobilized some to take part in the protests was not necessarily Putin Fatigue, but resentment of local police, whom Russians distrust for corruption and arbitrary arrests.
“What is happening in this country is totally wrong, when drugs are being planted on a person who does not use them,” a young man from a city on the Volga River visiting Moscow told CNN. “The cops usually act like that.”
But his criticism did not extend to Putin.
“As for Putin, I can’t state that he is a bad ‘ruler’ or something like that. As far as we know, he is quite a good man. I think he should deal with this situation and find out why the law-enforcement bodies have got to the point of planting drugs on people who do not use them, while they fail to catch those who sell tons of them.”
Another woman, a Muscovite, said she didn’t watch the march in support of Golunov. But when told of the circumstances of his case, she said, “I stand for him.”
Asked if Putin’s reputation had taken a hit over the whole affair, she said, “I think yes, and we will do nothing about it.”
Such candor has its limits: Both individuals when approached by CNN asked that their names not be used.
Still, many outspoken Russians have taken to social media to opine on the meaning of the week’s events. And the Golunov case started a wider discussion about revising Article 228 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, the portion of the criminal code that covers drug crimes.
Writing on Twitter, Yevgeny Roizman, the opposition former mayor of the city of Yekaterinburg, took it further, saying “the entire Criminal Code of the Russian Federation must be revised, since it is an instrument for political persecution.”
That’s a larger discussion that the Kremlin, most likely, is not ready to entertain.
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