2016 was the year of two major events that would change two nations and the world as we knew it. In Britain, just over 50 percent of voters, in a referendum, voted in favour of leaving the European Union. The Vote Leave camp used blatant lies and fear as a tool to persuade people to their side, garnering huge media coverage with their divisive slogans and divisive characters. The Remain side lacked energy, slogans and the characters that would be required to rally the public to their side and keep Britain within the European Project. The main underlying problem for the remain campaign, was it’s refusal to accept how frustrated Britons had become at the EU and how years of austerity had created a hunger for change.
Europe has been rocked by the referendum in Britain and soon enough we will know if a deal is agreed in the House of Commons (British Parliament) as we await Theresa May to put the Brexit Agreement to a vote. An earlier vote was pulled in December 2018 as the Prime Minister did not have enough support within her own party or in Parliament to win. Britain will crash out of Europe on March 29th if a deal is not reached or an extension is not granted. A no deal scenario could be bad news for the European Union and other Global economies and even worst news for the Island of Ireland as a possible hard border could be erected, in breach of the good Friday agreement. The Good Friday Agreement brought peace to the island following decades of the violence in Northern Ireland. This period in Northern Ireland, known as The Troubles is extremely complicated and embedded in the history of those who live there.
On the other side of the pond, in the United States, Donald Trump was elected to the office of President. Trump had beaten Hilary Clinton. Clinton, simply as a name, is one of the most famous political names in the United States. The differences between Trump and Clinton are; Trump lacks the capabilities, knowledge, temperament and political experience that Clinton has. During the 2016 election, Trump lost the popular vote but The United States has a system in which the popular vote means nothing in terms of being elected, therefor Trump won the election because he won enough States which had the most electoral colleges. and reached the magic number of 270.
Trump has imposed tariffs on China and other goods from other nations. He had pulled the United States out of the Paris Climate Agreement, rescinded on the Iran Nuclear Deal (The JCPOA) and continues to fire staff while also being under the spotlight of special Counsel Robert Mueller for collusion with Russia in the 2016 Presidential campaign. Trump and the Republican Party continue to undo much of what Barack Obama spent his 2 terms implementing. The only thing the Republicans stands for is nominating a sexual predator to the Supreme Court and undoing Obama policies, other than that, they have become the self serving party driving by deep ideology. On the other hand, the Democrats are in disarray, trying to understand themselves and what the heck they represent. The Democrats, like Labour in the UK are divided between the new era of left wing politics as a challenge to the far right and the old centre ground politics that Hilary Clinton and Tony Blair represented. The sooner the Democrats get their house in order the sooner they can be effective in the House of Representatives.
2019 will be a year in which the pendulum swings back, how far? only time will tell. The fight against nationalism and far right extremism is building as the resurgence of a united liberal front is taking place around the globe.
By Jonathan Myers.
Donald Trump has suggested that he now believes the United States should begin unilateral action, not only against North Korea but possibly against Bashar Al Assad following more despicable chemical attacks in Syria. What we are beginning to see are nations acting in self interest. Russia in Ukraine may be one example.
Trump today said that the chemical attack in Syria crossed “many lines” in response to a reporters question which had a reference to Obama’s red line in 2013. He failed to offer any real details on the possible unilateral action the United States would take but his comments have set the US up in such a way that action is now required and expected.
The conflict in Syria will never end unless someone steps in and finds a way to bring it to an end. Civilian deaths should no longer be accepted and safe zones should now be established and protected with no fly zones. Full access given to the United Nations to give the necessary care to the population. A ceasefire should be implemented with areas of influence remaining for a short time until dialogue can be agreed by those involved. The removal of Assad and the establishment of a cooperation council which should include Assad forces and the moderate opposition but not limited to them. An end to the blood shed should be priority number 1 from today. Too many have suffered and a stable middle east is in the interest of everyone.
News headlines from around the world.
- Senegal closes border closure with Guinea.
- A woman who was gang-raped and burned in her house tells a DR Congo war crimes trial she saw an army colonel give the orders.
- 33 people dead and 41 injured after two tourist buses collide in Egypt’s Sinai peninsula.
- Syrian conflict death toll has risen above 191,000 according to the UN.
- 18 suspected informants killed by Hamas.
- Israel kills top Hamas commanders.
- General Prayuth Chan-ocha named Prime Minister of Thailand
- 20 Malaysian passengers arrived back in Kuala Lumpur as Malaysia observed a national day of mourning.
- Davutoglu named Turkeys new Prime Minister.
- Russian convoy crosses border into Ukraine without Permission.
- Moroccan authorities raid camp of migrants waiting to cross into Spain.
- US court rules Argentinian debt plan illegal.
US and Canada
- Fed chair Janet Yellen cautious in speech.
I came across this and found it to be one of the best descriptions of America in Iraq.
An open letter from an American soldier to his dad.
We are trying to empower [the Iraqis]
to walk post instead of Marines but the graft has not yet taken. There is something culturally childish
in their understanding of basic Western governance and management that
will require immeasurable education and probably several generations to
overcome if they find it of any interest. That education is, of course,
a choice that they have to make on their own. They are not our people.
Our understanding of their tribal governance and its relationship to
formal civic management is equally naive and charges our frustration.
The problem now is that their every inconvenience has become our
responsibility. They act as if they can not comprehend our sacrifices
and are thus ungrateful for them. The reality is that they can not,
culturally, comprehend our altruism or believe our stated intentions.
Even though it is not their desire to offend, we are insulted and it
bleeds us of affection and tolerance. Liberation will compete with
invasion as our legacy but locally we are ideologically irrelevant. Our
presence is, mostly, only of interest to those who seek to benefit from
our contracts and donations. It is a region of people making alliances,
business deals, friendships and enemies one day at a time without a
real concept of sustainable services, resources, or trust. No future.
Just daily survival as they know it. Family and tribe. Our
contributions may be counted long after we have withdrawn but they will
not recount the names of the fallen. So many now. Each wound will be
absorbed into the quiet sadness that we allow to pass beneath us as a
people and a country. Our loss will have never even occurred to most
So what news about the new government you may ask. Well the Provisional
Military Governor was replaced by the Transitional Governor who
resigned under threat and was replaced with another Transitional
Governor. He was then replaced by the Emergency Appointed Governor who
was just replaced by the selected Governor chosen by the elected
Provincial Council. He never made a speech or publicized his views,
never debated the other candidates and was not present during the
selection, never making an acceptance speech. He was promptly kidnapped
by a rival tribe while his tribe fought another tribe on the Syrian
border. The recently displaced Emergency Appointed Governor returned in
hopes of regaining the position however, the Deputy Governor is now
serving as the Acting Governor while the actual Selected Governor is in
captivity. But there was an election so democracy is in full bloom I am
We are now trying to force the power of decision onto
the elected Provincial Council and the city officials. It is a
difficult thing to keep myself inactive in matters of governance here.
The instinct to impose order and command the requisite discipline in
the Iraqi leadership must be quelled in order to allow sovereign
stewardship to develop at its native pace and in a native form. I fight
myself to remain insignificant in the process. I haven’t the nature for
passive observation. I share the American fascination with action and
it has consistently betrayed us in our foreign policy. Our continued
involvement will continue the state of dependency and our eventual
departure will leave nothing but cosmetic structure here. Iraq will
return to what it is. Our common sense is not common to this people and
that understanding must be given proper respect. I do my best but I
twitch with an urge for the folly of intrusion.
- American soldiers open letter (allthingsinthemiddle.wordpress.com)
- RT: US internet giants demand sweeping changes to spy laws in open letter to Obama (jhaines6.wordpress.com)
- Need for Greater Cloud Data Privacy: Open Letter to President Obama (ciphercloud.com)
- 2 IA soldiers killed, wounded in Mosul [12/11/2013] (iraqinews.com)
- Barack Obama gets open letter on spying from Facebook, Twitter, Apple and more tech giants (newsday.com)
- Open Letter to Lt. Governor David Dewhurst (shepherdspiehole.typepad.com)
- Bill Nye posts open letter to President Obama (wtvr.com)
- Open Letters Open New Debate in Social Media Age (blogs.wsj.com)
- An open letter to ‘rich kid’ Ranbir Kapoor, who snatched a journalist’s camera (dnaindia.com)
Well, I got my place in Ballyfermot art College. The feeling that I got when I was told I was accepted was one of the greatest feelings in a long time. It’s as if I just opened a blank book and I was given a chance to rewrite parts of my life even though this was leading me to the future.
College is now my priority with the focus of N.C.A.D. next year. I hope to do a weekly update on my blog of college, the experience and some reflections.
- To blank and to blank, or to blank and blank? (ask.metafilter.com)
- Why I’m here……. (kirstymariaryan.wordpress.com)
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- Bats: The Official Blank of M.L.B. (bats.blogs.nytimes.com)
- Birthday Carnival (rubyrockit.typepad.com)
- #Shopping# : Zoraki M914 Front Firing Blank Gun, Black (habitualgnw8t.wordpress.com)