Monday, 22 May 2017

Explosion at Arian Grande Concert in Manchester, 19 people killed


On May 22nd at 10:30pm local time, an explosion occurred at an unlikely place in Manchester, North England. An explosion went off at the Manchester Arena during a packed concert of mostly teenagers and a few adult chaperones for the singer Ariana Grande. The singer herself was unharmed and is deeply broken and sadden. Grande suspended her scheduled World Tour out of respect for the survivors and victims. Some 19 people were killed and 50 were injured. The news is still breaking and the Manchester police themselves are trying to understand what caused the explosion or who was behind it. It is worth remembering that not every large explosion is automatically terrorism. Many large explosions are often caused by gas leaks, apartment complexes catching fire (as happens frequently in New York and other large cities), small plane crashes or oil refineries. Many concerts often use pyrotechnic fireworks to amp up their crowds and fans depending on the singer or bands currently playing. The fear created from a gas explosion can mistakenly cause fears of terrorism where terrorism isn't the cause. It will be a few hours before the British police and MI5 can pinpoint what the explosion was caused by either a suicide bomber, a backpack bomb in the arena 's foyer or a group of attackers working in tandem.The arena is one of the largest in Europe and sits right above the Manchester Victoria station. There are Good Samaritans across Manchester offering places for people to stay, eat and just to talk and comfort anyone in need.


Panaromic view of Manchester, England near Wales and bordering the Midlands

Manchester is most famous for its renown football teams Manchester United and the popular Manchester City, Old Trafford stadium and the "Brummie" or Mancurian accent. It also an ancient town originally found during Roman occupation of Britain in 79AD as Mancunium where the modern name came from. It was also one of England's first industrial towns that benefited from the Industrial Revolution. After London, Greater Manchester is one of the larger port cities in the UK and receives many tourists, events and music festivals. It is located in Northwest England. It is only 40 minutes away from another famed music city Liverpool and 2 hours away from London to the South and Edinburgh, Scotland to the North. Due to its geography, it is a hub for sports and transportation connecting the various midland and Yorkshire cities. Hundreds of concert goers scattered in fear when the explosion occurred in the filled arena hall. The Manchester Arena explosion will bring back painful memories of the 2015 Bataclan Theatre massacre than turned into a night plus three day terror filled violence for Parisian and French residents.

Ask The Governor Program: Break News on Manchester

New Jersey 101.5 FM radio host Eric Scott broke the news during an interview on Ask the Governor Progam with New Jersey governor Chris Christie. Christie and Scott's improvised commentary is worth a listen and watch.

 

Author's Note: There is also a township in New Jersey named Manchester know for its Naval base Fort Dix and the 1937 Hindenburg Disaster. Two other cities named Manchester are in the ambly named New England region of the United States. They are Manchester, New Hamsphire, the largest city in the state and Manchester, Connecticut which is located near the state capital Hartford.

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Suffer the people, new U.S. healthcare bill is an insult those in need

Did Marquis de Sade write This Healthcare Bill?




Last week, the House of Representatives at last passed a new healthcare bill that seeks to kill with no pun intended, the Affordable Care Act aka Obamacare for millions of Americans. The new healthcare bill would charge everyone from cancer patients, elderly, children and people in need of continuous medication for congestive diseases thousands of dollars in premiums, hospitalization, doctor visits and surgeries among other necessities. Millions of Americans have or had one of the many "pre-existing" conditions that are no longer covered by the new Trump/Republican health bill that is now bouncing around the Senate. Among the conditions not covered by the bill are heart murmurs, AIDS/HIV, cancer, post portem depression, hospitalization, pregnancy, diabetes, heart conditions, domestic violence, sexual assault and rape and mental disorders. These are just a few of every diseases and health problem that each American has experience at least once their lives. This goes for both the cities and villages. It will affect some health care systems at the state level. Every major medical organizations across the country opposed the bill AARP, American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society, Physicians Association, local doctors and hospitals. People have been protesting non stop outside of Congress. Of course, the congressional families and leaders have their own specialized healthcare that gives them immediate access to the best medical care and doctors in the country. While their constituents have to jump through fire or bleed money to get the same treatment. Until congress members experience some of the health problems faced by their constituents, they will never comprehend just how important access to low cost and effective healthcare is to ordinary Americans.

The Jimmy Dore Show: Trump on Australian health care system and Dore comments on U.S. health care system



To add a cruel insult to injury, during a meeting with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Trump turned to Turnbull and said, "You have better healthcare than we do." Turnbull was beyond shocked by the comment and seemed to nervously smile not missing the irony in what Trump had said. The United States is one of the few if not the only developed country to not provide full universal healthcare to all its citizens. In the rest of the Western World including Japan, healthcare is seen as a human right for all citizens not just a privilege. No one would even think of changing the health care law and systems to match America's failed system without thousands coming out onto the streets. The bill and struggles of millions of Americans to afford healthcare while trying to live a healthy life is seen as wickedness outside the United States. There is nothing funny or harmless about the bill sitting in the Senate. The senate might change some provisions but overall, the damage to ordinary people have been done. The irony is the United States spends the most on healthcare out of all their counterparts. Australia, New Zealand or Japan for the most part pay far less and the emphasis on health in these countries are linked to quality of life as well. Even Cuba, which has had to fight a 50 year old embargo, still has a better health system that covers all Cuban citizens, health system emphasizes preventative care and patient recovery and medications do not cost an arm and leg. Again no pun intended. In most countries including African countries you can find pharmacies (not the brand named corner store but actual pharmacies) on every other city block with necessary medication for most illnesses and diseases.

55,000 Haitians may face deportation if TPS is not extended by Trump


Haitians celebrating the Compa Festival in Miami, Florida.

While the focus on immigration policy revolves around Trump's do whatever it takes concerning illegal immigration, some immigrants in the country legally will soon be facing their own prospects of deportation. Around 55,000 Haitians some with American born children might be facing deportation if the Temporary Protection Status for Haitians is not extending for the upcoming year by the Trump White House. The WH has been contemplating it for a while. Haitians along with Salvadarenos, Nicaraguans, Liberians, Guineans, Syrians, Yemenis, Somalians and Sudanese are granted Temporary Protection Status. TPS as its colloquially known is a special and rare designation (it's not a right and can bee difficult to obtain) given to immigrants who are unable to return to their home countries safely for a variety of reason i.e. conflict, permanent environmental destruction, forcible displacement, persecution, stateless, trapped in limbo or instability. Haitians were originally granted TPS following the 2010 Haitian Earthquake that nearly obliterated the Haitian capital Port au Prince. As for the survivors and recovery some 7 years later, many ordinary Haitians are still displaced from and outside of Port au Prince and other neighbouring towns. Many are still living in IDP and displacement camps. The UN MINUSTAH forces are still in the country. Most Haitians regard the remaining UN troops as an occupation force.


Little Haiti and its famed Caribbean Market, Miami, FL.


The 55,000 Haitians are scattered across the United States but the home base for most of the Haitian Disapora in the United States is Florida (specifically South Florida) which is home to a large Caribbean and Latin American community in general. Miami is well known for both regional cultures dominating the city scape and local society. South Florida is seen as part of the Caribbean and Miami is often referred to as the unofficial "Capital of Latin America." Both Haitian Americans and Haitian immigrants have long standing businesses, news and radio stations, schools, newspapers, community centres and familial connections. Famously, Miami particularly Little Haiti (which is not that far from Little Havana) and New York are the decades old home for Haitians and Haitian Americans. Little Haiti residents and wider Haitian and Caribbean immigrants are justifiably nervous about the TPS extension. Some 500 Disney World workers are also part of the TPS extension limbo.

Homeland Security's "Hunt" for illegal Haitian immigrants after 6 year hiatus






Last year, former President Obama called an end to the Wet Foot Dry Foot policy which allowed thousands of Cubans to enter the U.S. illegally via balsas (rafts) since the start of the Cuban Revolution in 1959-2017. Most of the illegal Cubans have been given a fast pass to residency and eventual citizenship. Meanwhile, Salvadorenos, Haitians and even other Carribeans i.e. Jamaicans or Dominicans entering the U.S. illegally are berated or immediately deported to their countries without any human rights organizations able to plead their cases. Allowing illegal Cubans a chance to stay in the U.S. was more about punishing the Castro Brothers' government by protecting hundreds of thousands Cuban exiles from the Anti-Castro, anti-communist, anti-revolution, pro-U.S., pro-multinational corporations, pro-business, Democracy or bust camp. It had nothing to do with the U.S. government being altruistic. Exception to the pro-Cuban exile policy was the Elian Gonzales ordeal. The infamous Wet Foot Dry Foot policy reeked of racism and double standards towards Haiti and Cuba who are also neighbours. Illegal Haitian immigrants were notoriously turned away once reaching Florida via boats despite the U.S. overthrowing the popular and democratically elected Haitian government of Jean Astride in 1991 via Haitian Military and 2004 respectively.


Former President Bill Clinton standing with Jean Betrand Astride in the 1990s.


Intervening for our sake not yours U.S. "intervention" in Haiti

Prior Astride, the U.S. had supported Papa and Baby Doc Duvalier, the notorious dictators and the hated Haitian army's paramitary unit Tonton Macoutes (the Bogeyman aka lit: Uncle Gunnysack) throughout the 1950s-1980s in Haiti. Also remember, the United States was one of the imperial countries in the Caribbean and refused to recognized Haitian independence in 1804. The U.S. Army invaded and occupied Haiti in 1915-1934 only thirty after militarily occupying the Philippines and Cuba following the U.S.-Spanish War in 1898. The Occupation in Haiti occurred at the end of World War I which really wasn't as global as it is portrayed in history books. Also it is unusual that the American occupation continued throughout the Great Depression considering that the U.S. itself was economically broke, faced high unemployment, ordinary Americans experienced internal displacement across the country and financial markets were still struggling.  60 years later, U.S. military would again drop into Haiti under the Operation Upholding Democracy to overthrow the popular Jean Astride, the liberation theology priest turned politician. Astride had barely begun his administration when he was forcibly placed on a plane and sent into exile. Hardly democratic or abiding by the wishes of ordinary Haitians. Haiti is just the latest in a long list of Caribbean countries the United States has intervened in. Sometimes the U.S. intervened in other countries for no reason other than to flex the military muscles remember Panama and Grenada. Neither countries have ever attacked the U.S. Their only sin was to elect two governments that stood up to the U.S., sought to operate their local economies under alternatives to capitalism and criticized U.S. foreign policy's heavy handedness in use of military power to terrorize other nations and enforcing democracy at the expense of ordinary people. It shouldn't be surprising than that Haitians are suspicious of help from the United States and other Western countries. That the Haitians no longer have respect for the United Nations nor the meaningful intentions of their neighbours.

Sunday, 7 May 2017

No bread and butter programs for all: White House budgets cuts necessary programs

This is an earlier article that wasn't originally posted on the day it was written. Here it is and enjoy the read.

This week (March 16), the new White House budget was finally revealed after much anticipation and speculation over what programs and necessities that will be cut to make way for a $54 billion expenditure on military defence. This is not a joke. The United States has held the record for decades now for spending more on defence the next five countries combined Russia included. Even during the Cold War and World War II after Russia, the U.S. had the more costly military. It still has the most military bases of any country in the world putting the Genghis Khan and Roman Empire's far reach militaries to shame. Trump made it clear from the beginning of last year, he was going to spend money, resources and tears on military defence to fight ISIS and terrorism at all costs. Trump comes for a military background minus the fighting in Vietnam. As a youngster, he attended a Military boarding school in Queens, NY. He loved military discipline from a young age whereas most children would've been seeking to leave the tough environment. Also remember, Trump's father Fred Trump Jr. was a social darwinist who instilled the same mind and idea into his children and snubbed the idea that America is an unequal society.

Art and food feeds and heals the soul

Now the country knows which programs will be axed. The EPA, climate intiative, Meals on Wheels, National Endowment for the Arts and Humanities and Public Broadcasting will loose funding for this year. All the mentioned programs important for millions of Americans and all relate to mental and healthy development for babies and adults. The Meal on Wheels provides thousands of necessary assistant to seniors, disabled and immobile people who can't leave their houses either to work or to buy food. Meals on Wheels provides a helping hand free of charge for its receipts. PBS has been providing children and adults with renowned educational programs on literacy aka Seasame Street, Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood, Frontline, POV docuseries and various children's programs teaching children the alphabet and grammar, maths, science, engineering, how to interact with the world, to be good citizens, to treat people with respect and treat the Earth with care. Than there is the ARTS: televised musical concerts, opera, Broadway, world travel series that humanizes the countries that U.S. has issues with in ways that the mainstream media can't, natural and nutritional lessons, local culture and society in a fun and interactive way that is open to the general public via television and radio and not just to the extremely wealthy and snobby businessmen.  The EPA has been helping protect the ecosystem within the United States for the last 40 years. It is due to its existence, that the United States' has been able to recognize systems and methods to avoid environmental destruction, take climate change seriously, put in necessary environmental regulations to reduce CO2 emissions and releases annual reports on the environment and climate changes impact. The EPA isn't all about tree hugging and placard waving students.

Trains of horror: On St Petersburg and Stockholm and Syria

Saint Petersburg, Russia


This week (April 13, 17) has been filled with such rapid events that many ordinary people and pundits are getting whiplashes responding and comprehending the series of tragic events. On Monday April 3rd, St Petersburg, Russia was hit by a metro bomb attack which killed 14 people from university students to the elderly. Like Moscow and other cities recently witnessing truck attacks and train bombings, violence of this size was a rare occurrence in Europe until five years ago. Terror and horrific violence was seen as something that happens to African and Asian peoples due to . The suitcase bomb is an old tactic used by militant and terror groups around the world. It is not uncommon to see suitcases and briefcases being clutched and carried on metro stations the world over. As many metro riders known, leaving any bag in the metro or placing one down out of eye is enough to raise numerous blood pressures.

Using military to fight terrorism only increases it

ISIS and its Takfiri cousins were ruled out as a possible connection since ISIS loyalists and lone wolves rely more on ramming into crowds and buildings with unassuming commercial trucks. At first, the pundits and journalists pointed figures at Chechen militants or some unknown metro rider from the North Caucasus, where a regional insurgency in Chechnya and Daghestan has been ongoing since the fall of Soviet Union. The Russian Army has used heavy handed tactics to halt the Chechen independence movement turned insurgency. The same has been done in Daghestan using militarized police to arrest and detained suspected insurgents and by extension suspected future terrorists. In turn disappearance of journalists, the brutal arrests and reports of torture mostly protested by Daghestanis and Chechen peacefully have been transformed into terror attacks by militants inside Russia. Recall the Nord Ost Moscow Theatre Siege in 2004, Moscow metro suicide bombings in 2010 and some mysterious apartment buildings. The suspect who survived the bombing and managed to flee the metro meaning he knew the city well was a Russian citizen whose family migrated from Krygzstan years ago. There might be more accomplaices as the false alarm terror alerts have rised St. Peterburg's police.

When the world thinks of St. Petersburg, it is seen as a city of beauty, the most "European" and recognizes as Russia's most cosmopolitan city. It's metro handles 2 million riders a day. It's home to several universities and a port. It is one of many 1 million resident Russian cities the Western region. Remember Russia sits on two continents. Most of Russia is in Asia, only a small stretch of it is in Eastern Europe. In the aftermath of the Bolkshelvish Revolution and Lenin coming to power in the 1920s, the city was renamed Leningrad even long after Lenin's death. The name was changed back to St. Petersburg in 1991 with the fall of the Soviet Union. It is Putin's birth town. The Florida city of St Petersburg, whose own name is known locally as St. Pete was named after the Russian city. This was a century before Russia became the boogeyman of American pop culture. There were no tri color Russian flag memorials lit up on the Effiel Tower, the Budengate, at Big Ben, Brussels, the Empire State building or the Sydney Opera once the world saw the horrific scenes and mourning families around St. Petersburg and anti terrorism protests there and in Moscow. The same flood of tears from ordinary people and prayers for London (two weeks earlier) were absent for St. Petersburg's 14 victims and the same goes for the victims of the earlier Moscow bombing a few years back. St. Petersburg attacks was overshadowed and more outraged given to the questionable Sarin Gas attack in Syria a few days ago.

Stockholm truck attack: Boomeranging butterfly terror 

Drottingatan Shopping District on a normal day with the flags of Europe. Drottingatan is one of Stockholm's many pedestrian friendly streets. It also runs parallel to many major streets and Stockholm Central station.

The driver of the stolen beer truck, Rakhmat Akilov who is alive, has turned himself in and confessed to the attack. It should be mentioned that he has no connection to ISIS or any terror group. He is an Ubzek asylum seeker who was facing deportation back to his country following his asylum rejection a week before. Also remember, Uzbeks are rarely involved in violent attacks outside of Uzbekistan or Syria where very few Uzbeks have joined ISIS. As is the case with a lot of terror attacks or mass shootings in the first 24 hours, the series of the events will change as time progresses. The store camera's footage of the truck plying through a small crowd pass one store is particularly gruesome. Ironically, one of the first victims of the attack was Belgian psychologist Maïlys Dereymaeker who worked with failed asylum seekers to fight their deportations. The fact that the driver survived the initial fiery crash into the upmarket department store Ahlens and managed to flee the scene is also extraordinary. Ordinary Swedes were horrified and traumatized. The street that the attack occurred on is the popular shopping district and tourist attraction Drottninggatan that runs few blocks east parallel to where Stockholm's Central train station and the corner where parliament is located. The street has been at the same location since the 1620s and is named for Sweden's 17th century Queen Catherine. Drottninggatan is equivalent to Istanbul's famed Istiklal Street. The Swedish Parliament was placed on locked down as were other office buildings on Drottninggatan and other major streets in a 5 mile radius. Oddly enough, Drottninga. Seven years ago, Drottninggatan was the scene of a failed Swedish suicide bomber who had planned to attack his own countrymen only to be killed by his own bomb. In another historic irony, Olaf Palme was assassinated in 1986 near Drottninggatan on a nearby connecting street Sveavagen. The cross street for Sveavagen Street is Olaf Palme Street or OlafPalmegatan. The Palme assassination greatly shocked Sweden at the time as Stockholm and other towns were considered extremely safe enough for politicians to walk around the city without bodyguards as Palme had done. Such a fool hearty decision to not have bodyguards would be condemned by follow politicians and the wider public today.




The old saying that a butterfly's wings flapping one place can create chaos in another is ringing true. Having its back against the wall and loosing ground, ISIS continues to rely on Chaos Theory to terrify soldiers, its hostages, recruits and victims. It is not the first terror group to rely such a theory. Unlike past insurgency groups' whose causes many governments attempted to emphasize and understand its origins, ISIS isn't pushing a particular cause. It's response to events in Syria is boomeranging violence across the world including Egypt, Libya, Nigeria and Turkey. It wasn't coincidental that right after the Manchild in Chief aka President Donald Trump ordered a rapid fire (literally) missle strike using tomhawk missiles on the Syrian Airbase al Sharyat, Sweden was the site of a truck attack. ISIS has yet to claim responsibility. The air strike on Syria was in response to a doubtful Sarin gas attack in the Syrian town of Khan Sheikoun. It wasn't Assad who attacked Syrian civilians with gas but it might be the rebels themselves. It is not conspiracy theory. The previous chemical attack on Syrian civilians in Ghouta in 2013 was alleged to be Assad and later proven to be the works of rebels. Russia was even blamed for supplying gas to the Syrian government but evidence points to rebels. Trump has shown himself to pay more attention to the pundits' opinions on the geopolitics of the Middle East and Syria than actual fact. He is one world leader who doesn't look where he leaps or jumps into. Diplomacy is secondary for him. The Ghouta gas attack didn't lead to the United States bombarding Damascus. The U.S. has been bombing Syria directly for the past two years in a more discreet manner. But American bombings in Syria and Iraq have been getting the attention of news outlets. The U.S. is also using NATO and Israel's occassional bombings as well. Israel has been surprisingly quiet concerning Syria's ongoing war trauma. .

Monday, 1 May 2017

Happy May Day

Happy May Day to all! To the workers, the farmers, school kids, human rights protesters, environmental protectors, the prisoners on hunger strike and their supporters. Enjoy the original and true Labour Day International Workers' Day, today.

May Day Protests across the united States on immigration policy

 

Palestinian prisoners launch hunger strike