Saturday, December 31, 2016



Hope is the beacon we follow into the New Year
And we have 365 opportunities
to make it shine

Thursday, December 29, 2016

US unveils plan to punish Russians for election hack

 NBC News       TRACY  CONNOR         December 29th 2016 
The Obama administration imposed sanctions against two Russian intelligence agencies and several high-ranking intelligence officers in retaliation for the alleged orchestration of hacking attacks designed to interfere in the presidential election.

The actions were outlined in an executive order announced by the Treasury Department on Thursday afternoon.

The sanctions essentially put a freeze on any assets the targets have in the United States, which would be limited. There were no new economic sanctions imposed on Russia itself or its political leadership.

There was no immediate response from Moscow. In anticipation of the announcement, Russia on Wednesday called the hacking allegations "misinformation" and "lies" and vowed to respond to any retribution.

"We can only add that if Washington takes new hostile steps, it will receive an answer," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in a statement posted on the ministry's website.

"This applies to any actions against Russian diplomatic missions in the United States, which will immediately backfire at U.S. diplomats in Russia. The Obama administration probably does not care at all about the future of bilateral relations, but history will hardly forgive it for this apr├Ęs-nous-le-deluge attitude."

As NBC News first reported two weeks ago, U.S. intelligence officials believeRussian President Vladimir Putin was personally involved in the alleged hacking campaign, and the CIA concluded the goal was to help elect Donald Trump by leaking emails that were embarrassing to Democrats.

Publicly, President Obama has blamed "the highest level" of the Russian government for the hacks, noting that "not much happens in Russia" without Putin giving the green light.

Trump has expressed doubt as to whether Russia tried to meddle in the election. Asked on Wednesday about possible sanctions against Russia in the wake of the cyber-attacks, the president-elect said, "I think we ought to get on with our lives."

Sen. Lindsay Graham, R-S.C., said this week that there is broad support for sanctions against Russian and even the Russian president.

"I predict there will be bipartisan sanctions coming that will hit Russia hard, particularly Putin as an individual," Graham told reporters in Riga, Latvia.

Russia has repeatedly denied involvement, and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has denied that his site was being used by the Russian government when it published emails stolen from Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta.

The Obama administration has indicated actions against Russia may go beyond the steps announced Thursday and include covert operations or cyber options.

After Debbie Reynolds' death, some ask: Can you die of a broken heart?

 Newsy        KATHERINE BIEK        Decrmber  29th 
The son of actress Debbie Reynolds' had some striking words about his mother after she died Wednesday.

"She wanted to be with Carrie," he said.

Reynolds' daughter, "Star Wars" actress Carrie Fisher, died just one day earlier. She went into cardiac arrest on a plane on Dec. 23.

Reynolds died a result of a stroke, but her death sparked questions about whether it's possible to die of a broken heart.

It sounds like the stuff of fairy tales and romantic movies, but some studies say broken heart syndrome, also known as stress-induced cardiomyopathy, can happen.

Dr. Ilan Wittstein estimates as many as 10,000 people experience broken heart syndrome each year.

"What we think happens is that the body produces a large amount of these stress hormones, like adrenaline, and when produced in large amounts, it can actually be somewhat toxic to the heart," Wittstein told CBS.

But even more people might suffer from it.

The American Heart Association says doctors can misdiagnose patients with having a heart attack because the symptoms are often similar with broken heart syndrome.

Patients experiencing broken heart syndrome are thought to suffer from chest pain and shortness of breath after a time of physical stress or extreme emotion. But the difference between that and a heart attack is that blocked arteries aren't causing those symptoms.

It's usually treatable, and recovery can be as short as a few days.

The Mayo Clinic says the death of a loved one isn't the only thing that can precede broken heart syndrome. A frightening medical diagnosis, losing a job and even a surprise party can all be potential triggers.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Debbie Reynolds dead at 84

Variety          CARMEL DAGAN               December  28th 2016     8:50PM
Debbie Reynolds, the Oscar-nominated singer-actress who was the mother of late actress Carrie Fisher, has died at Cedars-Sinai hospital. She was 84.

"She wanted to be with Carrie," her son Todd Fisher told Variety.

She was taken to the hospital Wednesday after a suspected stroke, the day after her daughter Carrie Fisher died.

The vivacious blonde, who had a close but sometimes tempestuous relationship with her daughter, was one of MGM's principal stars of the 1950s and '60s in such films as the 1952 classic "Singin' in the Rain" and 1964's "The Unsinkable Molly Brown," for which she received an Oscar nomination as best actress.

Reynolds received the SAG lifetime achievement award in January 2015; in August of that year the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences voted to present the actress with the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award at the Nov. 14 Governors Awards, but she was unable to attend the ceremony due to an "unexpectedly long recovery from a recent surgery."

Reynolds had a wholesome girl-next-door look which was coupled with a no-nonsense attitude in her roles. They ranged from sweet vehicles like "Tammy" to more serious fare such as "The Rat Race" and "How the West Was Won." But amid all the success, her private life was at the center of one of the decade's biggest scandals when then-husband, singer Eddie Fisher, left her for Elizabeth Taylor in 1958.

Reynolds handled it well personally, but got more tabloid coverage when she divorced her second husband, shoe manufacturer Harry Karl, claiming that he had wiped away all of her money with his gambling. The 1987 novel "Postcards From the Edge," written by Carrie Fisher, and the film adaptation three years later, were regarded as an embellishment on Reynolds' up-and-down relationship with her actress daughter. In 1997, Reynolds declared personal bankruptcy after the Debbie Reynolds Hotel & Casino closed after years of financial troubles.

For movie fans, she was always the pert star of movies, TV, nightclubs and Broadway. But to industry people, she was known for her philanthropy, including more than 60 years of working with the organization the Thalians on mental-health care. She was also known for her energetic battles to preserve Hollywood heritage. She bought thousands of pieces when MGM auctioned off its costumes and props, including Marilyn Monroe's "subway dress" from "The Seven Year Itch," a Charlie Chaplin bowler hat and a copy of the ruby slippers from "The Wizard of Oz." Reynolds spent decades trying to get these items showcased in a museum.

She continued to work well into her 80s, via film and TV work, guesting on "The Golden Girls" and "Roseanne" and drawing an Emmy nomination in 2000 for her recurring role on "Will and Grace" as the latter's entertainer mother. She also did a number of TV movies, including an almost-unrecognizable turn as Liberace's mother in Steven Soderbergh's "Behind the Candelabra" for HBO in 2013. She also frequently did voice work for "Kim Possible" and "Family Guy."

Marie Frances Reynolds was born in El Paso, Texas; when she was 8, her carpenter father moved the family to Burbank. At age 16, "Frannie" entered the Miss Burbank Contest, winning in 1948 for her imitation of Betty Hutton singing "My Rockin' Horse Ran Away." She was spotted by Warner Bros. talent scout Solly Baiano, who signed her to a $65-a-week contract. Studio head Jack Warner renamed her Debbie — against her wishes, she said.

Reynolds languished at the studio, often having to perform errands such as escorting visitors on tours or addressing envelopes; she appeared in front of the cameras only for a bit part in "June Bride" and then a flashier role as June Haver's sister in "The Daughter of Rosie O'Grady."

When the contract lapsed, MGM picked her up at $300 a week. The studio, where she would reside for the next 20 years, first assigned her a role lip-synching Helen Kane's voice as the original Betty Boop in the musical "Three Little Words." In romantic musical "Two Weeks With Love," she used her own voice to put across "Aba Daba Honeymoon," and she was also given a supporting role in "Mr. Imperium," starring Lana Turner.

After the studio insisted on her as the romantic lead in "Singin' in the Rain," Gene Kelly put her through rigorous dance training, which she admitted she needed. "They took this virgin talent, this little thing, and expected her to hold her own with Gene and with Donald O'Connor, two of the best dancers in the business," she once told an interviewer. Many years later, "Singin' in the Rain" was No. 1 on AFI's 100 Years of Musicals list, and ranked No. 5 in its 2007 list of the greatest American films.

She was 20 when the film opened and her career kicked into high gear. She was next given the female lead in "The Affairs of Dobie Gillis," co-starring Bobby Van, and segued into another musical comedy, "Give a Girl a Break," with Marge and Gower Champion.

On loan to RKO, she impressed in the comedy "Susan Slept Here," with Dick Powell as a screenwriter who must deal with a juvenile delinquent, played by Reynolds, on Christmas Eve. After the film became a hit, Reynolds' contract was renegotiated. While she was assigned to lackluster musicals such as "Athena" and "Hit the Deck," the comedies were better, such as "The Tender Trap," with Frank Sinatra.

And she made a big impression in her dramatic turn as Bette Davis's daughter in Gore Vidal's adaptation of Paddy Chayevsky's "The Catered Affair" (1956).

In 1956, she also starred in RKO's "Bundle of Joy" (a musical remake of "Bachelor Mother") opposite crooner Eddie Fisher, whom she had recently married.

"Tammy and the Bachelor," which featured her million-selling single of the ballad "Tammy," defined Reynolds and may have limited her to roles as the wholesome all-American type. She went on to play essentially the same part in such films as "The Mating Game" and "The Pleasure of His Company," with only the occasional tart turn in movies such as "The Rat Race."

Reynolds had one of the principal roles in 1962's all-star Cinerama epic "How the West Was Won." And in the 1960s she remained a star, despite the ho-hum box office performances of "Mary, Mary," "Goodbye Charlie" and "The Singing Nun."

When Shirley MacLaine dropped out of 1964's "The Unsinkable Molly Brown," Reynolds got her best chance to shine center stage in a musical comedy about the real-life woman who went from rags to riches and survived the Titanic sinking. (One of the show's signature songs, "I Ain't Down Yet," became an unofficial anthem for the actress as she survived all the turmoil in her life.

She had two of her best roles in "Divorce, American Style," directed by Bud Yorkin and co-written by Norman Lear; and the 1971 black-comedy suspenser "What's the Matter With Helen?" with Shelley Winters.. But her movie roles were slowing down and the actress tried series television; "The Debbie Reynolds Show" lasted only one season on NBC from 1969-70.

In 1973, the actress divorced Karl and discovered she was almost $3 million in debt as a result of his gambling losses. She worked it off by appearing 42 weeks a year in nightclubs and Las Vegas and Reno.

She also established the Debbie Reynolds Professional Studios in Burbank. She went to Broadway in a revival of "Irene," drawing a 1973 Tony nomination for best actress in a musical, which gave daughter Carrie Fisher one of her first roles. After doing "Annie Get Your Gun" on tour, Reynolds returned to Broadway in a short-lived turn in "Woman of the Year." She toured with Meredith Willson's stage musical "The Unsinkable Molly Brown" in 1989, 25 years after the film debuted.

Reynolds appeared in a number of successful exercise tapes for older women, "Do It Debbie's Way," and co-authored the autobiography "Debbie, My Life" in 1987.

That same year, Reynolds' private life was again in the spotlight when Carrie Fisher's novel "Postcards From the Edge" debuted. The work centered on the stormy relationship between an actress and her showbiz-star mother. Though many were convinced this was a roman a clef, Reynolds laughingly pooh-poohed comparisons with the self-centered mom. (MacLaine, the original choice for MGM's "Molly Brown," played the mother in the 1970 film adaptation.)

In 1993, the Debbie Reynolds Hotel & Casino opened in Vegas, where she appeared for most weekends in the showroom with Rip Taylor. The next year she opened her Hollywood Movie Museum in Vegas. Reynolds said she got the idea for the hotel as an afterthought, as she was looking for a permanent home for her collection of movie memorabilia.

Reynolds appeared in a number of films in the 1990s, including the title character in the Albert Brooks comedy "Mother." She also cameo'd as herself in "The Bodyguard"; appeared in Oliver Stone's "Heaven and Earth"; and played a mother determined to marry off her son whether he's gay or not in the 1997 "In and Out." She also appeared in a broadly comic role as the grandmother in Katherine Heigl vehicle "One for the Money" in 2012.

Reynolds also did voice work for many animated film and TV works, starting with the title character in 1973's "Charlotte's Web." and providing voices for the English version of anime "Kiki's Delivery Service" and for "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Movie," "Rugrats in Paris" and "Light of Olympia."

In 2005 she won the President's Award at the Costume Designers Guild Awards "for her collection and conservation of classic Hollywood costumes." However, a deal for placement of the collection fell through, and Reynolds was forced to auction off most of the collection, which was valued at almost $11 million.

In 1955 Reynolds was among the young actors who founded the Thalians, a charitable organization aimed at raising awareness and providing treatment and support for those suffering from mental health issues; Reynolds was elected president of the organization in 1957 and served in that role for more than five decades, and she and actress Ruta Lee alternated as chair of the board. Through Reynolds' efforts, the Thalians donated millions of dollars to the Mental Health Center at Cedars-Sinai (closed in 2012) and to UCLA's Operation Mend, which provides medical and psychological services to wounded veterans and their families.

Reynolds was married to third husband Richard Hamlett, a real estate developer, from 1984-96.


Daughter Carrie Fisher died December  27, 2016; Reynolds is survived by her son Todd, a TV commercial director from her marriage to Eddie Fisher; and granddaughter, actress Billie Lourd.
Condolences to the family ... Debbie you will be sadly missed .
RIP  ... The PICs

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Merry Christmas to Everyone ----The PICs

Merry Christmas  everyone  to your families  from our families  ...The PICs

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Obama just made it very hard for Trump to create a Muslim Registry



Instead of reanimating a Bush-era registration program, Trump will have to go back to square one.
For nine years, from 2002 to 2011, a version of one of Donald Trump’s most extreme proposals was standard US government policy: requiring certain people in the US on visas from Muslim-majority countries to register with the government.
President Barack Obama suspended the program in 2011 — after years of complaints by civil rights groups that the program targeted Muslims and wasn’t effective in preventing terrorism. But it had never been fully dismantled — it was still sitting around for the Trump administration to dust off.
Until now.
On Thursday, the Department of Homeland Security published a regulation that would totally get rid of the National Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS) — forcing the Trump administration to take the time to create something new, and giving civil-rights groups an opportunity to stop them.
The regulation goes into effect Friday, December 22 — well before President Trump is inaugurated. So when his administration takes office — if it’s serious about finding a way to register people from Muslim-majority countries in the US — it’s going to have to find another way to do it.

The registry didn’t get destroyed, it just stopped tracking anybody

At least one contender to lead the Department of Homeland Security under Trump, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, is recommending the Trump administration “update and reintroduce the NSEERS screening and tracking system” for men in the US on “nonimmigrant” visas (such as work or student visas) from particular countries.

The NSEERS program forced people from 25 countries to register with the federal government and check in for follow-ups. It resulted in the deportation of about 13,000 people. It did not result in any convictions for terrorism or related crimes.

Twenty-four of the 25 countries included were Muslim-majority countries — and the 25th was North Korea. The NSEERS program registered visa-holders of all faiths from affected countries. But most of those affected were Muslim — and in context (it was passed after 9/11), that certainly didn’t seem like a coincidence.
A letter last month urging the Obama administration to dismantle NSEERS, signed by 51 House Democrats, argued that NSEERS created a chilling effect in Muslim-American communities:
“When instituted in 2002, the program caused widespread and palpable fear in affected communities, separated families and caused much harm to people affected by it. Boys and men were required to register with local immigration offices, were interrogated, and subjected to serious due process violation. Communities saw family members and neighbors disappear in the middle of the night, held in overcrowded jails and deported without due process. More than 13,000 people were placed in removal proceedings, businesses closed down, and students were forced to leave school with degrees uncompleted.”
Kobach’s plan didn’t specify exactly which countries a new NSEERS program would cover. But it seems like a reasonable guess that Trump’s reanimation of NSEERS would target the same countries as the last one — creating a (more restrained) version of the “Muslim registry” Trump endorsed on the campaign trail.

Obama’s White House has spoken strongly against any sort of discrimination against Muslim immigrants. Indeed, that’s one of the reasons that it stopped tracking anyone under the program in 2011.
But while the Obama administration didn’t fully get rid of  the program, they cleared out the entire list of countries from which people would be registered.
The regulatory framework to screen and track visa-holders still existed, it was just screening and tracking immigrants from zero countries. It was dormant, but not defunct.
So when Kobach’s proposal leaked, that all it would take to start NSEERS back up again would be for DHS to announce that they were re-adding countries to the list — something they could do with a simple notice in the Federal Register, without requiring any time for public opinion, comment, protests or other regulatory delays. From there, it would just have been a matter of making a list to get the registry up and running again.

Forcing the Trump administration to start from square one could make it easier to block the new registry effort

When the Bush administration created the NSEERS program in 2002, unsurprisingly, one of the most common concerns in response to the original proposal was that it would inhibit the civil rights of Muslims; even before any specific countries were listed as NSEERS targets, civil rights groups could see how a tracking system would probably work.

The Bush administration responded by defending its record on civil rights protection. In the wake of 9/11, it acknowledged, “some American Muslims have been targets of discrimination. The government pointed out that the FBI had investigated civil rights violations against Muslim, Arab, and Sikh Americans, and would continue to do so. And it “unequivocally rejects the notion that the requirements of (NSEERS) are intended to be, invidiously discriminatory.”
President Bush made it clear that he did not see Muslims or Islam as a threat, and urged Americans not to succumb to Islamophobia.
 President-elect Trump, and the people who will make up his White House, do not have that sort of track record. Trump originally called for a ban on Muslims from entering the US (something he’s since revised to a ban on immigrants who don’t share American “values”). His national security adviser, Mike Flynn, has tweeted that “fear of Muslims is RATIONAL”; his deputy national security adviser, KT McFarland, has stressed that not all Muslims are radical (“not by a long shot”) but that “even if just 10 percent of 1 percent are radicalized, that’s a staggering 1.6 million people bent on destroying Western civilization and the values we hold dear.”

As long as the Bush-era regulations that authorized NSEERS stood, the Bush administration’s justification of them stood as well.  The incoming administration doesn’t have the credibility of  a  9/11 behind them to lay claim to.  And despite claims  NSEERS isn’t anti-Muslim discrimination, it certainly reeks of it.

But now that the Trump administration won’t have the ability to simply reanimate existing regulations, it will have to propose a new set of regulations to register and track people from particular countries during their time in the US. That could be a valuable opportunity for Democrats and civil rights lawyers to block, or at least slow, the new registry.
They might not succeed — but they certainly have a bigger chance than they would have if Donald Trump, on day one of his administration, started adding countries back to the list to restart a program that was dormant but still viable.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Putin says Turkey ambassador murder is ploy to wreck Syrian peace process

Thomson Reuters     ANDREW OSBORN      December  19th 2016 
MOSCOW, Dec 19 (Reuters) - President Vladimir Putin said on Monday that the killing of Russia's ambassador to Turkey was a despicable provocation aimed at spoiling Russia-Turkey ties and derailing Moscow's attempts to find, with Iran and Turkey, a solution for the Syria crisis.

In televised comments, Putin, speaking at a special meeting in the Kremlin, ordered security at Russian embassies around the world to be stepped up and said he wanted to know who had "directed" the gunman's hand.

He heaped praise on the murdered Russian ambassador, Andrei Karlov, who was shot in the back and killed as he gave a speech at an Ankara art gallery, and made clear that Moscow's response to his assassination would be robust.

"A crime has been committed and it was without doubt a provocation aimed at spoiling the normalization of Russo-Turkish relations and spoiling the Syrian peace process which is being actively pushed by Russia, Turkey, Iran and others," said a stern-faced Putin.

"There can only be one response - stepping up the fight against terrorism. The bandits will feel this happening."

Putin, who said he personally knew the slain envoy, said he had agreed in a phone call with his Turkish counterpart Tayyip Erdogan that Russian investigators would soon fly to Ankara to help the Turks with the investigation.

"We must know who directed the killer's hand," Putin told Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Sergei Naryshkin, the head of his SVR foreign intelligence service, and Alexander Bortnikov, the head of the domestic FSB security service.
Putin ordered security at Turkish diplomatic facilities in Russia to be stepped up and said he wanted guarantees from Turkey about the safety of Russian diplomatic facilities.

"I also ask you to implement the agreed proposals on strengthening security at Russian diplomatic facilities abroad," Putin told the meeting.

The foreign and defense ministers of Russia, Iran and Turkey are due to discuss the future of Syria in Moscow on Tuesday.

The Interfax news agency cited Leonid Slutsky, a senior parliamentarian, as saying earlier on Monday that the talks would go ahead despite the murder.

In an odd coincidence, Putin had been planning to attend a Moscow play on Monday night written by Alexander Griboyedov, Russia's ambassador to Iran, who was murdered in 1829.

Putin canceled when he heard his Turkish envoy had been murdered. (Reporting by Andrew Osborn; Editing by Alison Williams)

Monday, December 19, 2016

Russian ambassador to Turkey killed in 'terrorist act'


Thomson Reuters     TUVAN GUMRUKCU AND UMIT BEKTAS     December  19th 2016 

The Russian ambassador to Turkey was shot in the back and killed as he gave a speech at an Ankara art gallery on Monday by an off-duty police officer who shouted "Don't forget Aleppo" and "Allahu Akbar" as he opened fire.

The Russian foreign ministry confirmed the death of envoy Andrei Karlov, calling it a "terrorist act". Relations between Moscow and Ankara have long been strained over the conflict in Syria, with the two support opposing sides in the war.

Russia is an ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and its air strikes helped Syrian forces end rebel resistance last week in the northern city of Aleppo. Turkey, which seeks Assad's ouster, has been repairing ties with Moscow after shooting down a Russian warplane over Syria last year.

The Ankara mayor said on Twitter the gunman as a 22-year-old police officer. Two security sources told Reuters he was not on duty at the time.

The attacker was smartly dressed in black suit and tie and stood, alone, behind the ambassador as he made a speech at the art exhibition, a person at the scene told Reuters.

"He took out his gun and shot the ambassador from behind. We saw him lying on the floor and then we ran out," said the witness, who asked not to be identified. People took refuge in adjoining rooms as the shooting continued.

A video showed the attacker shouting: "Don't forget Aleppo, don't forget Syria!" and "Allahu Akbar (God is Greatest) as screams rang out. He paced about and shouted as he held the gun in one hand and waved the other in the air.

A Reuters cameraman at the scene said gunfire rang out for some time after the attack. Turkey's Anadolu news agency said the gunman had been "neutralized", apparently killed.


"We regard this as a terrorist act," said Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova. "Terrorism will not win and we will fight against it decisively."

It was not clear whether the gunman was a lone operator, driven perhaps by popular discontent over Russian action in Syria or affiliated to a group like Islamic State, which has carried out a string of bomb attacks in Turkey in the last year.

Since a failed coup in July, President Tayyip Erdogan has been purging the police of supporters of an exiled cleric and former ally, Fethullah Gulen, whom he characterizes as the chief terrorist threat to Turkey.

U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT

Erdogan contacted Russian President Vladimir Putin to brief him on the shooting, a Turkish official said. It was not immediately clear if Erdogan would release a statement later.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu was due to meet with his Russian and Iranian counterparts in Russia on Tuesday to discuss the situation in Syria. Officials said the meeting would still go on, despite the attack.

Turkey's foreign ministry said it would not allow the attack to cast a shadow over Ankara's relations with Moscow.

"The attack comes at a bad time: Moscow and Ankara have only recently restored diplomatic ties after Turkey downed a Russian aircraft in November 2015," the Stratfor think-tank said.

"Though the attack will strain relations between the two countries, it is not likely to rupture them altogether."

The U.S. State Department, involved in diplomatic contacts with Russia in an attempt to resolve a refugee crisis unfolding around the city of Aleppo, condemned the attack.

Tensions have escalated in recent weeks as Russian-backed Syrian forces have fought for control of the eastern part of Aleppo, triggering a stream of refugees.

Turkey has been hit by multiple bomb attacks that have been claimed by Kurdish militants, and beat back an attempted coup in July, where rogue soldiers commandeered tanks, warplanes and helicopters in attempt to overthrow the parliament.

Since then, the government has launched a sweeping crackdown on the judiciary, police and civil service in attempt to root out the coup plotters. The involvement of a police officer in Monday's attack could raise questions for Ereogan about a force denuded now of a number of senior and rank-and-file officers.

Witchy's point of view :
The Okrhana, the Czar's equivalent of the KGB, organized attacks against the Czarist government to make the Czar's enemies look even more dangerous. I would not quickly discount Russian involvement in the death of its own ambassador to further tensions within NATO, of which Turkey is a member and a significant counter force against Russia "clients" in the Middle-East.
Don't trust the Russians. 
If you believe the Russians, I've got a Potemkin Village that I can sell you.
TIP : I bet Putin does more than shake his finger, and "condemn" this act.
He always has! My older brother  says  back in the 60's when the first first Russian airliner was high jacked, Russian adage became, “high jack now, pay now”. Then he  remember a Muslim country kidnapped a high ranking Russian diplomat and was holding him for ransom. Russia turned around and kidnapped about half dozen of that countries diplomats and said if our ambassador is not released unharmed in 24 hours, “all” your personal will face a firing squad." Needless to say you do not see many kidnappings in Russia today……….

Think about  it  folks !!!

Sunday, December 18, 2016

New poll sheds light on how Americans feel about Trump post election

Newsy      ETHAN WESTON        December  18th 2016 
A new poll says a majority of Americans think that President-elect Donald Trump will bring change to the U.S., but they're divided over how good that change will be.

The Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll found that 68 percent of Americans think Trump can change how Washington conducts its business. But more than half of Americans polled think Trump will enact the wrong kind of change, or none at all.

Those numbers aren't too surprising. A CBS News poll released last week found that 53 percent of Americans are either concerned or scared about Trump's plans as president. The other 46 percent are optimistic about the president-elect.


Some of that worry appears to come from Trump's perceived relationship with Russia. Both polls mention many Americans are worried about how friendly Trump is with Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin.

That issue could continue to be a problem for the president-elect as the Senate begins confirming his Cabinet picks. Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson — Trump's choice for secretary of state — has connections to Putin and has argued against sanctions against Russia.

The Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll also found that Trump's approval score is considerably lower than Barack Obama's was in December 2008 (73 percent) and Bill Clinton's in December 1992 (77 percent).According to the poll, 50 percent of Americans say they approve of how President-elect Donald Trump is handling the transition, while 41 percent disapprove.

When you break the poll numbers down, it's all about the kinds of things Trump could change as president. Some hope he'll "make America great again," while others worry he could get the country involved in a war. Either way, most Americans tend to agree our president-elect is going to be an agent of change.

Let's hear it from Witchy :
No peace for Mr.Trump...for the next four years he is going to be baited, investigated and humiliated. He will not have the thing he desires most...respect. He will get no cooperation from more than half of the country...he's an unqualified disaster in the making and an  embarassment to our country...and we have the media on our side......no peace Trump...no peace

Forget the Trump-Russia relationship.  I feel that it's just a smokescreen for what Trump has in store for Trump.   The threat of changing our opening of Cuba will disappear the instant Trump gets free land and tax breaks to build the Trump Hotel in Havana.  The companies who might suffer under his administration will breathe easier once the fat white envelope has passed from one hand to another.  We will never see his tax returns nor will he divulge his connections to foreign companies.  He will not put his holdings into a blind trust but will turn them over to his children who cound not successfully run a corner candy store.

The Shanghai Trump Hotel and the Bejing Trump Towers will be built with OPM (Other People's Money) and have enough Chinese "partners" to insure good relations between "us and them".    Oil and gas pipelines will be built wherever the oil and gas companies want them to be built.
Fasten your seatbelts America.  It's gonna be a bumpy ride.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Happy Birthday 'Sha'

Happy birthday to a  'Princess'
Who we love to the moon and back
You are  the fairy in our lives 
Giving us everything that we lack

Your  smile is like a magic wand
Your  hug is like a secret potion
Our lives have become celestial 
All the magic  you  has spun 

You're always  very special 
And you should know today
That you are wished the nicest things
That life can bring your way 

Like warm and loving wishes 
And happiness and cheer 
And everything you need to start 
Another happy year 

Happy Birthday   to  our Miracle Baby 
Daddy , Mama , Poppa
Jonny . Jenny , Man  Carano

Thursday, December 15, 2016

US officials: Putin personally involved in US election hack

NBC News     
WILLIAM M. ARKIN  ,  KEN DILANIAN   AND 
CYNTHIA MCFADDEN           December  14th 2016 
Ultimately, the CIA has assessed, the Russian government wanted to elect Donald Trump. The FBI and other agencies don't fully endorse that view, but few officials would dispute that the Russian operation was intended to harm Clinton's candidacy by leaking embarrassing emails about Democrats.

The latest intelligence said to show Putin's involvement goes much further than the information the U.S. was relying on in October, when all 17 intelligence agencies signed onto a statement attributing the Democratic National Committee hack to Russia.

"He has had a vendetta against Hillary Clinton, that has been known for a long time because of what she said about his elections back in the parliamentary elections of 2011. "
MICHAEL MCFAUL, FORMER AMBASSADOR TO RUSSIA
The statement said officials believed that "only Russia's senior-most officials could have authorized these activities." That was an intelligence judgment based on an understanding of the Russian system of government, which Putin controls with absolute authority.

Now the U.S has solid information tying Putin to the operation, the intelligence officials say. Their use of the term "high confidence" implies that the intelligence is nearly incontrovertible.

"It is most certainly consistent with the Putin that I have watched and used to work with when I was an ambassador and in the government," said Michael McFaul, who was ambassador to Russia from 2012 to 2014.

"He has had a vendetta against Hillary Clinton, that has been known for a long time because of what she said about his elections back in the parliamentary elections of 2011. He wants to discredit American democracy and make us weaker in terms of leading the liberal democratic order. And most certainly he likes President-elect Trump's views on Russia," McFaul added. Clinton cast doubt on the integrity of Russia's elections.

As part of contingency planning for potential retaliation against Russia, according to officials, U.S. intelligence agencies have stepped up their probing into his personal financial empire.

American officials have concluded that Putin's network controls some $85 billion worth of assets, officials told NBC News.
Neither the CIA nor the Office of the Director of National Intelligence would comment.


A former CIA official who worked on Russia told NBC News that it's not clear the U.S. can embarrass Putin, given that many Russians are already familiar with allegations he has grown rich through corruption and has ordered the killings of political adversaries.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Obama warns Trump on intelligence briefings: Without them 'you're flying blind'

Obama warns Trump Addressing the concerns related to skipping intelligence briefings, Donald Trump recently told Chris Wallace of 'Fox News Sunday,' in part, "I'm, like, a smart person. I don't have to be told the same thing in the same words every single day for the next eight years...I don't need that. But I do say, 'If something should change, let us know.'"

In an apparent reference to Trump's comments, on Monday night, President Obama shared his own views on intelligence briefings during an interview with Trevor Noah of Comedy Central's 'The Daily Show.'on intelligence briefings: Without them 'you're flying blind'

Obama said, "It doesn't matter how smart you are. You have to have the best information possible to make the best decisions possible."

He continued, "And my experience with our intelligence agencies is that they are not perfect. They would be the first to acknowledge that."

Obama added, "But they are full of extraordinarily hard-working, patriotic and knowledgeable experts, and if you are not getting their perspective, their detailed perspective, then you are flying blind."

Witchy  has her say :
Why are conservatism and blind stupidity a common denominator?????
ISIS began in 2004 when Al Qaeda entered the Iraq war....4 years before Obama was elected.  People are entitled to their opinion but get your facts straight.  We've been in Iraq now over 13 years...more than twice as long as it took us to win WW II.  Bush had no postwar reconstruction plan for Iraq...and now the country is under Iranian influence.  ISIS is the blow back from Bush's blunder dismantling the Iraqi  army and the Baathe party.  The so-called surge was simply meant to buy time for Bush to leave .
Is  this too many facts for republicans to digest, they can do one every six months... period ?  In between time, they'll kneel before their hero, satisfy his needs while he pats them on the head. Good job destroying  the country. Better learn  Russian and soon. 
 HeHe

Sunday, December 11, 2016

If you enjoy sci-fi like we do ... you won't want to miss these movies


ARRIVAL



When mysterious spacecrafts touch down across the globe, an elite team - lead by expert linguist Louise Banks (Amy Adams) - is brought together to investigate. As mankind teeters on the verge of global war, Banks and the team race against time for answers – and to find them, she will take a chance that could threaten her life, and quite possibly humanity.

Starring: Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Forest Whitaker

PASSENGERS




A spacecraft traveling to a distant colony planet and transporting thousands of people has a malfunction in its sleep chambers. As a result, two passengers are awakened 90 years early.
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Chris Pratt, Michael Sheen





Friday, December 9, 2016

Horny Donald??



Did they … wait … are those … devil horns?


President-elect Donald Trump poses for photographer Nadav Kander for the cover of the issue of Time magazine naming him its Person of the Year in a picture provided by the publication in New York Dec. 7, 2016.
Donald Trump 

The internet wasn’t as shocked about President-elect Donald Trump being named Time’s Person of the Year as they were about the magazine cover that accompanied the announcement.
On Wednesday, Time revealed its new cover, which featured a pensive Mr. Trump sitting in a chair inside his private residence at Trump Tower. Next to the photograph were the words: “Donald Trump: President of the Divided States of America.”
As Twitter users quickly scanned the cover, they noticed something peculiar in the way the magazine’s title was positioned over the president-elect’s head.
“Are those devil horns?” several users asked.
Throughout the day, more and more people began to catch on, and began to call out the magazine for purposely placing the “M” in “TIME” right over Mr. Trump’s head.

Critics were certain the editors knew what they were doing, and claimed there was no way those “devil horns” were accidental.
But the magazine denies that “horns” or “ears” of any kind over Mr. Trump’s head were intentional.
“There was some hubbub online Wednesday over TIME’s new Person of the Year cover, which appeared to show Donald Trump sporting a set of horns (This sort of thing has happened before),” Time magazine explained in a statement online Thursday morning.
Given the shape of the “M” in the magazine’s name, many figures in the past have also appeared to sprout extra features, the magazine joked.
“It’s happened to Hillary Clinton at least twice. It’s happened to Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush, too.”

Here’s a look at a Time’s March 2, 1998, cover, featuring then-President Bill Clinton.

Bill Clinton 
Bill Clinton

And take a look at this Time cover, featuring Pope Francis, on July 29, 2013.

Pope Francis
Pope Francis

After giving at least 35 examples of covers that resulted in horns of some sort, the magazine assured its readers, “Any resemblance to cats, bats or devil horns is entirely
coincidental.”

 I have my doubts about this. Take another look. The composition and the head size relative to the font size is just too perfect. Well, every one is entitled to their interpretation.

Trump loves Louisiana; promises oil and gas jobs


Greg Hilburn ,   USA TODAY Network     Louisiana politics , Local

BATON ROUGE — President-elect Donald Trump promised an energy industry renaissance to an enthusiastic Louisiana crowd here Friday as part of a Republican campaign rally preceding Saturday's election.

Trump asked voters to support Republican John Kennedy in Saturday's U.S. Senate race and Republican Mike Johnson in the 4th Congressional District, saying they will be his partners in Washington.

"You're in the energy business; you more than any other state," he said. "We're going to see refineries and pipelines and lots of things. We will cancel job-killing regulations (on the energy industry)."

Trump supporters by the thousands packed the Dow Chemical hangar, even spilling outside, for a chance to see the president-elect, waving signs like "Red Votes Mattered," "I'm ready to work on the wall" and "If you build it they WON'T come."

Red "Make America Great Again" caps were everywhere, hawked along with campaign buttons and T-shirts by vendors outside the venue as if it were a rock concert.

The president-elect went back to the issues that resonated with crowds throughout his campaign, with the biggest applause eruptions coming when he talked about building a wall to thwart illegal immigration from Mexico and tearing up trade deals he believes are job-killers.

"We will build a great wall and stop illegal immigration," Trump said, generating chants of "Build that wall; build that wall."

As for trade, he said, "I like free trade but now we have foolish trade. That's why I'm renegotiating our trade (deals)."

"We're going to defend every American job," Trump said.

The president-elect pledged to bring back manufacturing jobs, "cut business taxes from 35 to 15 percent," repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, appoint a conservative to the Supreme Court and "build the strongest military we've ever had."

Kennedy's opponent, Democrat Foster Campbell, asked for equal time on a day when Trump dominated the headlines in Louisiana.

Campbell held a press conference in downtown Baton Rouge before the Trump rally and headed to Alexandria and Lake Charles to continue his campaign.

"I hope President-elect Trump realizes who John Kennedy really is," Campbell said. "He was a liberal Democrat before begging (Trump) to come down here as a new conservative. He's a flip-flopper who didn't want to debate and who's beholden to corporate America."

The president-elect also met with Gov. John Bel Edwards before the rally on the tarmac. Edwards, a Democrat, didn't attend the GOP rally, but lobbied Trump for federal flood aid.

”I appreciate President-elect Trump taking the time to briefly visit with me during his trip to Louisiana today," Edwards said in a statement. "During our visit, I had the opportunity to again congratulate him on his victory and update him on our disaster recovery efforts since his visit in August.

"We had a brief, but positive conversation about our state's needs in order to complete the rebuilding process and he expressed his love for our great state. President-elect Trump and his administration will play a vital role in securing additional assistance for recovery from the March and August floods. I reiterated my enthusiasm to partner with him, and the President-elect and I agreed to meet again after the inauguration to discuss issues important to Louisiana in more detail.”

Greg Hilburn covers state politics for the USA TODAY Network of Louisiana. Follow him on Twitter @GregHilburn1
Thanx Greg

Obama orders review of cyber attacks on 2016 election: Adviser

Thomson Reuters     JEFF MASON           December  9th 2016 
WASHINGTON, Dec 9 (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama ordered intelligence agencies to review cyber attacks and foreign intervention into the 2016 election and deliver a report before he leaves office on Jan. 20, homeland security adviser Lisa Monaco said on Friday.

Monaco told reporters the results of the report would be shared with lawmakers and others.

"The president has directed the intelligence community to conduct a full review of what happened during the 2016 election process ... and to capture lessons learned from that and to report to a range of stakeholders, to include the Congress," Monaco said during an event hosted by the Christian Science Monitor.

Monaco said cyber attacks were not new but might have crossed a "new threshold" this year.

When she was working as a senior FBI official in 2008, she said, the agency alerted the presidential campaigns of then-Senator Obama and Republican Senator John McCain that China had infiltrated their respective systems.

"We've seen in 2008 and in this last election system malicious cyber activity," Monaco said.

In October, the U.S. government formally accused Russia of a campaign of cyber attacks against Democratic Party organizations ahead of the Nov. 8 presidential election.
Obama has said he warned Russian President Vladimir Putin about consequences for the attacks.

Asked if Republican President-elect Donald Trump's transition team was not concerned enough about Russia's influence on the election or about other threats to the United States such as infectious disease outbreaks, Monaco said it was too soon to say.

As a presidential candidate, Trump praised Putin and called on Russia to dig up missing emails from his opponent, Hillary Clinton, from her time as secretary of state under fellow Democrat Obama. (Reporting by Jeff Mason; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Putin says Trump clever, will understand new responsibilities

Thomson Reuters       December  4th 2016 
Putin's comments appeared to address criticism from Trump's opponents who say his unconventional actions since the election - including railing at the cast of a Broadway show and early-morning invective on Twitter - show Trump is out of his depth.

China lodged a diplomatic protest on Saturday after Trump spoke by phone with President Tsai Ing-wen of Taiwan, the first by a U.S. president-elect or president since Jimmy Carter switched diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China in 1979, acknowledging Taiwan as part of "one China."

Speaking about Russia's relations with the West, Putin said attempts to create a unipolar world had failed: "The situation is changing. I think it is not a secret to anyone, everyone sees it, that many of our partners already prefer to stick to principles of international law, because the world's balance is being gradually restored."

Putin said when building relationships with other countries, Russia would respect their interests. (Reporting by Polina Devitt; Editing by Janet Lawrence)

Witchy sez :
This is putin's way of saying your welcome tRUMP, we were happy to aid in your election.
 "I couldn't get away with much", NOW I'm a kid in the TRUMP CANDY STORE!
One last word 
Yes - the words "trump" and "stick" go together, as in trump stickin'  it to us....  HeHe