Experiencng the Present
Timeline: Experiencing the Present
January 1, 2015
FUN FACT
AMERICAN POLITICS
 
 
PACs and Super PACs
Financing Political Campaigns
in the United States
 
PAC
The acronym “PAC” is an abbreviation for “Political Action Committee”.  A PAC is an organization, governed by laws, that pools campaign contributions from its members and donates those funds to campaign for, or against, candidates.  

At the federal level, an organization becomes a PAC when it receives or spends more than $2,600 for the purpose of influencing a federal election.  At the state level, an organization becomes a PAC according to the election laws of each state.

Most of the 4,600 active, registered PACs are “connected PACs” established by businesses, labor, unions, trade groups, or health organizations.  These PACs receive and raise money from managers and shareholders, or members of its union.
 
Super PAC is Born
In 2010, following a lawsuit, the Supreme Court struck down all limits on the amount a person, corporations, or unions could give a PAC, and the Super PAC was born.  A Super PAC is an independent committee allowed to use unlimited and unregulated funds on activities that will likely influence support, for or against a particular campaign.  Unlike a PAC, a Super PAC cannot make direct contributions to a campaign or individual, but must sponsor independent activities -- a politician cannot be directly associated with the funds of a Super PAC.
 
The Influence of the Wealthy
Single large, wealthy donors are the highest contributors to Super PACs, and often prefer to remain anonymous, despite there being disclosure laws in place.  The most notorious activities of Super PACs is huge spending on negative campaign ads.
 
2012 Campaign and Super PACs
Super PACs emerged as a major influence in the 2012 campaign.  A Super PAC formed to support Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign in 2012 spent $40 million, and a pro-Newt Gingrich group spent $16 million.  

President Obama Hates Super PACs until...
President Obama was an early critic of the Supreme Court ruling, calling it a "threat to democracy" and a "victory" for Wall Street and Big Business. He further criticized the ruling in his 2010 State of the Union address, saying the decision would allow "special interests—including foreign companies—to spend without limit in our elections." He went on, "I don't think American elections should be bankrolled by America's most powerful interests."
 
Republican PACs Raise over $325 Million
However, Republican-backed super PACs raised more than $325 million in the 2012 election season,
 
Democrats Don't Want to be Left Behind
Democrats felt they were left with no other option than to join. Despite his condemnation of the 2010 ruling, Obama announced in February 2012 that he work with—but not coordinate with a Democratic super PAC organized to help him win reelection. He also said that members of his administration would speak at the PAC's fundraisers. The Ready for Hillary PAC, created to encourage Hillary Clinton to run for president, raised about $15 million from 135,000 donors.

In 2014, the over 1,300 Super PACs raised over $700 million (with spending likely on half).
 

January 1, 2015
FUN FACT
AMERICAN POLITICS
 
Previous GOP Logo
 
The GOP
(The Grand Old Party)
 
The Republican Party is commonly referred to as the GOP and is one of the two major political parties in the United States, the other being its historical rival, the Democratic Party.

1854:  The Republican Party Founded 
The Republic Party was actually founded by anti-slavery activist, modernizers, ex-Whigs, and ex-Free Soilers.  Republicans dominated politics from 1860 to 1932.  Abraham Lincoln was the first Republican president, and there have been 17 Republican presidents since.

Republican Platform
Historically, the Republican party’s platform has been  based on American conservatism, which generally involves involves support for free market capitalism, free enterprise, business, a strong national defense,deregulation, restrictions to labor unions, socially conservative policies and traditional values, usually with Christian overtones.  The party is generally split on the issue of how to deal with illegal immigration.

Republicans Now in Control
The current, 114th United States Congress, is composed of the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives, and is scheduled to meet in Washington, DC from January 3, 2015 to January 3, 2017, during the final two years of Barack Obama’s presidency.

The 2014 elections gave Republicans control of the Senate for the first time since the 109th Congress of  January 3, 2005 to January 3, 2007.   With this, Republicans now control both houses of Congress.  Their 247 seats in the House of Representatives and 54 seats in the Senate, represents the largest Republican majority since the 71st Congress of 1929 – 1931.
 
Republicans also hold a majority of governorships and state legislatures (68 out of 98).
 
Modern Republican Party
The modern Republican Party  is composed of several factions that includes conservatives,social conservatives, economic liberals, fiscal conservatives, neoconservatives, populists, moderates, libertarians, and the religious right.
 
However, the most influential faction is the Tea Party movement, who have influenced, impacted, and supported various Republican political leaders and candidates since the presidential inauguration of Barack Obama in January 2009.  They have actively protested against Obama’s agenda.
 
In addition, the Tea Party has formed Super PACs to support candidates sympathetic to their goals and have opposed what they call the "Republican establishment" candidates.  Even though the groups have a wide range of different goals, the Tea Party places its view of the Constitution at the center of its reform agenda.  It seeks to teach its selective and inconsistent interpretation of the Constitution and other founding documents.  Several constitutional amendments have been targeted by some in the movement for full or partial repeal, including the 14th, 16th, and 17th.
 
The Tea Party movement's membership includes Republican politicians Sarah Palin, Dick Armey,Michele Bachmann, Marco Rubio, and Ted Cruz.  Journalist Joshua Green has stated in The Atlantic that while Ron Paul is not the Tea Party's founder, or its culturally resonant figure, he has become the "intellectual godfather" of the movement since many now agree with his long-held beliefs
 
One 2013 survey found that, in political terms, 20% of self-identified Republicans stated that they considered themselves as part of the social movement.
 
Influence on U.S. Elections
Aside from rallies, some groups affiliated with the Tea Party movement began to focus on getting out the vote and ground game efforts on behalf of candidates supportive of their agenda starting in the 2010 elections.
 
U.S. Speaker of the House
U.S. Speaker of the House John Boehner has was forced to condemned many Tea Party connected politicians for their behavior during the 2013 U.S. debt ceiling crisis.  The Tea Party’s preference was for default, yet, in the words of The Kansas City Star, Boehner "stamped out Tea Party resistance to extending the debt ceiling”
 

January 4, 2015
NORTH AMERICA
NEW YORK CITY
 
 
Silent Protest by New York City Police
 
NYPD Turn Their Backs
on Mayor de Blaiso during Eulogy Honoring Fellow Officer
 
NY City Police Officers Killed
Officers, Winjian Liu and Rafael Ramos, were shot and killed on December 20th, 2014, after which, police officers angrily attacked Mayor Bill de Blasio for remarks that he had made earlier.  
 
Blood on Your Hands
Patrick Lynch, the president of the city’s biggest police union, openly blamed the mayor for the tragedy, stating “There’s blood on many hands tonight.  That blood on the hands starts at the steps of City Hall in the office of the mayor.”
It was reported that officers had turned their backs on the mayor as he walked through the Brooklyn hospital where the officers were taken.
 
Police Reform Viewed
as Being Anti-Police
De Blasio won 42% of the Black vote on his road to becoming Mayor, by campaigning against institutionalized racial profiling and a stop-and-frisk police practice, seemingly directed towards minorities.  Police officers and the unions felt as if they were thrown under the bus, and considered the soon-to-be mayor “anti-Police”.
 
Bill De Blasio, married to a Black woman, and the father of mixed-race children delivered the following public statement in response to the non-indictment of the police officer who killed Eric Garner, this prior to the killing of the two police officers headlining this article.
 
"Chirlane and I have had to talk to Dante for years about the dangers that he may face. A good young man, law-abiding young man who would never think to do anything wrong. And yet, because of a history that still hangs over us, the dangers he may face, we've had to literally train him—as families have all over this city for decades—in how to take special care in any encounter he has with the police officers who are there to protect him."

 

March 21, 2015
AFRICA
NAMIBIA
 
Hage Geingob
1941 – Present
 
1st Prime Minister and Current
3rd President of Namibia
(2015 - Present)
 
Geingob was the first Prime Minister of Namibia from 21 March 1990 until 28 August 2002 and elected President in 2015.  
 
Bantu (Apartheid) Education System
He received his early education at Otavi in South-West Africa under the Bantu Education System. 

1958 Augustineum Traning College
The Augustineum, established in 1866, is one of the oldest schools in Mamibia.  In 1958, Geingob  joined the Augustineum, where most of today’s prominent political leaders of Namibia were educated. 

1960 Expelled from the Augustineum
In 1960, he was expelled from Augustineum for having participated in a march to protest the poor quality of education. He was, however, re-admitted and was able to finish the teacher-training course in 1961. 

1964 U.S. College on Scholarship
In 1964, Hage Geingob left for the United States to study at Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he was granted a scholarship. Subsequently, he obtained a BA degree from Fordham University in New York in 1970 and an MA degree in International Relations from the Graduate Faculty of The New School, New York in 1974.

1990 1st Prime Minister of Namibia
Geingob was committed to nature conservation coupled with tourism, and in the early 1990s opened the Ongava Lodge, just south of Etosha National Park.

2002 Replaced as Prime Minister
In a cabinet reshuffle on August 27, 2002, Geingob was replaced as Prime Minister by Theo-Ben Guriraband was instead appointed Minister of Regional and Local Government and Housing.[3][4] Geingob declined to accept this lesser position, however.  

2003 Relocates to Washington D.C.
In 2003, Hage Geingob was invited to be the Executive Secretary of the Global Coalition for Africa based in Washington, D.C. The Global Coalition for Africa is an intergovernmental forum that brings together top African policymakers and their partners in the international community to build consensus on Africa’s priority development issues.  

2004 Elected to Namibia Parliament Seat 
In 2004, he left the Global Coalition for Africa and returned to Namibia to participate in the November 2004 parliamentary election, in which he won a seat.

2007 – 2015 Prime Minister to President
In 2007, he has been Vice-President of the South West Africa People's Organization (SWAPO), Namibia's ruling party, and the Minister of Trade and Industry from 2008 to 2012.  In 2012 he was reappointed Prime Minister and served until 2015.  In 2015, by an overwhelming margin, he was elected President of Namibia.
 
Family Life
 In 1967 Geingob married Priscilla Charlene Cash a New York City native, the couple had one daughter Nangula Geingos-Dukes.
 
Priscilla Charlene Cash
"Auntie Pattie"
1945 - 2014
1st, Former Wife
 
Nangula Geingos-Dukes, Daughter
Only child of Geingob-Cash Marriage
 
Geingob later married Loini Kandume, a businesswoman, on September 11, 1993, in Windhoek. This was a high-profile marriage and resulted in two children, a daughter Dângos Geingos and a son Hage Geingob Jr.. Geingob initiated divorce proceedings against Kandume in May 2006, and he was granted a provisional divorce order in July 2008.
 
Dângos Geingos, Daughter
 
In February, 2015 he married his 3rd wife, Monica Kalondo.
Monica Kalondo
3rd Wife of Geingob
 
 
 

April 2, 2015
AFRICA
KENYA
 
 
Muslim Jihadist Kill 148
College Students
 
Terrorists storm Garissa University College in Kenya, killing 148 students and wounding dozens more.  
 
 Al-Shabaab Leaders and Commanders
 
 
The Somalia-based group, Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility, stating that their acts were in retaliation for non-Muslims occupying Muslim territories.  
 
 
The college was closed indefinitely and surviving students were bused back to their homes.  Although the college later reopened in May 2015, many students refused to return.
 
 

April 12, 2015
NORTH AMERICA
BALTIMORE, MARYLAND
 
 Freddie C. Gray, Jr.
1990 - 2015
 
Spinal Cord Damaged
after Police Arrest of
25 Year Old, Death Follows
 
A fully mobile, 5'8", 145 lb.  Freddie Gray, was arrested by the Baltimore Police Department for possessing an illegal switchblade.  He fell into a coma while being transported in a police van, and died one week later due to his injuries.  
 
The medical investigation found that he had sustained a spinal cord injury, specifically while being transported in the police van.     On April 21, 2015, pending an investigation of the incident, six Baltimore police officers were temporarily suspended with pay. 

3 Black and 3 White Officers Charged
Supporters of the officers suggested that Freddie Gray suffered spinal cord damage due to a rough ride in the van, because officers failed to strap him down.  
 
Death Rule Homicide
However, on May 1, 2015, the Baltimore City State's Attorney, Marilyn Mosby, announced her office filed charges against six police officers, after receiving a medical examiner’s report that ruled Gray's death a homicide.
 
The prosecutors stated that they had probable cause to file criminal charges against the six police officers who were believed to be involved in his death.  The officer driving the van was charged with second-degree depraved-heart murder, and others were charged with crimes ranging from manslaughter to illegal arrest.  
 
On May 21, a grand jury indicted the officers on most of the original charges filed by Mosby with the exception of the charges of illegal imprisonment and false arrest, and added charges of reckless endangerment to all the officers involved. 
 
Two Weeks of Protests
 
Gray's death resulted in an ongoing series of protests.  A major protest in downtown Baltimore on April 25, 2015, turned violent, resulting in 34 arrests and injuries to 15 police officers.  
 
National Guard Called
 
After Gray's funeral on April 27, civil unrest intensified with looting and burning of local, culminating with a state of emergency declaration by Governor Lawrence Hogan, Maryland National Guard deployment to Baltimore, and the establishment of a curfew.  On May 3, the National Guard started withdrawing from Baltimore, and the night curfew on the city was lifted. 
 

April 16, 2015
AFRICA
WEST AFRICA
 
 
 
After Over 13,000
Black African Deaths
No New Ebola Virus
Infections Reported
 
The ebola epidemic affected many countries in West Africa,  with a few (and immediately contained) cases in Nigeria, Mali, and Senegal.  Since the first reported West African infection, in March 2014, it has been estimated that over 13,000 African lives have been lost.
 
However, September 5, 2015 marked the 25th consecutive day without a report of a new infection.
 
The ebola virus causes  profuse bleeding inside and outside the body accompanied by a very high fever.
 
It is a virus that is transmitted from animals to humans, and was first identified in the following locations:
  • Bundibugyo
  • Reston
  • Sudan
  • Tai Forest (Ivory Coast)
  • Zaire
Researchers believe that it likely originated in African fruit bats, but the following animals have been known to transmit the virus:
  • chimpanzees
  • forest antelopes
  • gorillas
  • monkeys
  • porcupines
In order for humans to transmit the virus, direct contact with any of the bodily fluids of an infected person, listed below, via the eyes, nose, mouth, broken skin, or sexual contact:
  • blood
  • sweat
  • saliva
  • semen
  • urine
  • breast milk
  • feces
  • vomit
 Symptoms and complications are as follows:
  • extreme fatigue
  • diarrhea
  • fever
  • headache
  • muscle pain
  • stomach pain
  • unexplained bleeding or bruising
  • vomiting
  • hair loss
  • delirium
  • inflammation of liver and eyes
  • sensory changes
  • jaundice
  • failure of multiple organs
  • coma
  • shock
 Survivors of the virus don't become immune, as the Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that Ebola survivors have antibodies to the virus for only about 10 years.  
 
There is no vaccine available.
 
 
 
 

June 9, 2015
NORTH AMERICA
FAIRFIELD, OHIO
 
 
Officer Chokeholds
12-Year-Old Girl
to Restrain
 
June 9, 2015. Ohio resident, and a pregnant Krystal Dixon, took eight children --- including her own and nieces and nephews --- to the Fairfield Aquatic Center.  She paid the $6 entry fee for each, and left the children to enjoy themselves at the pool.  However, she soon received a call from her family, who reported that they had been asked to leave the property.
 
Upon Krystal Dixon’s arrival to the facility, she was informed that because her nephew had swam in the pool in basketball shorts, instead of the mandatory swim trunks, “he” had been asked to leave.  Because her children had phoned, she reported to them that she now had the trunks.  But the staff stated that the older children had become “belligerent”, and would not be allowed to renter.   A guard intervened, and then the police were called to “de-escalate the situation”.
 
Under the watchful eye of authorities, the mother requested a refund of the nearly $50 in entry fees paid, and after this was declined by the staff, she abruptly left the front desk for the pool area (in search of her family members), with a police officer quickly following behind her.  The officer ordered her to leave, to “get out”, eventually taking hold of her arm, attempting to corral and restrain her as she insisted upon entering the pool area. 
 
It was at this time that the other officers, the guard, and a white male civilian joined in grabbing and restraining the other family members, who complained about the physical restraint of the pregnant matriarch.  One of the officers reached for a 12-year-old girl, sobbing at the sidelines for her restrained mother, and placed her in a chokehold, and then guided her away from the struggling others, bracing her up against the police cruiser.
 
The teen videographer was pepper sprayed, and two adults and two children were arrested on charges of disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.
 
Police: Nothing Wrong Here
Fairfield police contend officers did nothing wrong.  In addition, the police department does not have a written definition of what is deemed excessive. The police chief doesn't believe many departments do.
"Use of force is fluid," Dickey said. "What constitutes excessive has to be determined on a case-by-case basis."

Here is the department's policies regarding use of force: "The level of force applied must reflect the totality of the circumstances surrounding the immediate police objectives. The reasonableness of the officer's use of force is based upon the totality of the circumstances known by the officer at the moment the force is used."
 

June 15, 2015
NORTH AMERICA
MCKINNEY, TEXAS
 
 
Cop Takes Down
Young Black Girl
After Pool Party
June 15, 2015. Police were called to the aftermath of a pool party in McKinney, Texas.  And, while dispersing some of the black youth, a young teen girl was overheard stating several times, "I'm going to call my momma. I'm going to call my momma"  Tiring of her overt "belligerence", while obeying his orders, an unhinged police officer tracks her, grabs her, and takes the young girl down, and at one point mounts her back with his knees while she is fully prone.
The pool party was held a community pool in the Craig Ranch North neighborhood. Police responded to a call reporting "multiple juveniles at the location, who do not live in the area or have permission to be there, refusing to leave, and fighting".
The teens were at the pool for an end-of-school party, however, a security guard showed up and asked all of the black teenagers to leave.  While being persuaded by the guard, a white woman yelled at the black children to "get used to the bars outside the pool because that's all they were going to see.  
One of the white students, who took exception to the adult's words, was cursed out when she spoke up.  A fight between a black female teen and one of the caucasian mothers ensued, at which point, the other adults began telling the children to "return to their Section 8 housing".  The police were summoned.
Upon police arrival, the officers began scouting out and detaining black children in the area.  According to statements made by the young man who captured the video on his cell phone, the officer went "crazy", especially when the children that he told to sit, got up an ran, when he walked away to round up more black children.
 
 
Brandon Brooks, Videographer
 
The young many further stated that he was free to roam about, although he was in attendance with, and in the area of his African American friends.  That he was not handcuffed or made to sit down, because he "was one of the only white people" nearby.  In fact, when the officer saw him filming, he waved the boy away.

June 17, 2015
NORTH AMERICA
CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA
 
Dylann Roof
21-year-old White Supremacist
and Mass Murderer

Racist White Terrorist
Kills 9 Black Church Attendees
 
June 17, 2015.  Dylann Roof shot and killed nine people attending a prayer service at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in downtown Charleston, South Carolina, one of the oldest black churches in the United States.  Prior to the shooting, he participated in the Bible study, listening quietly as others spoke, but started to disagree when the discussion turned to Scripture.  One everyone began praying, he stood up and said these words in response to a victim, "I have to do it. You rape our women and you're taking over our country. And you have to go”, and then began shooting.
 
Emanuel African Methodist
Episcopal Church (2008)
 
The morning after the attack, Dylann Roof of Shelby, North Carolina was arrested as a suspect.  When the 21-year-old told arresting officers that he was hungry, they stopped a McDonalds to provide his nourishment.  Later, Dylann Roof confessed to the murderous crime.  And further stated that he had  hoped to start a race war.  He was eventually indicted by the US Department of Justice on 33 federal hate crime charges.
 
Dylann Roof published a website (The Last Rhodesian), where he self-identified as a White Supremacist and included a manifesto detailing his beliefs on race.  He also indicated that he  initially became enraged by the events that ensued after the killing of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman.
 
Lives Taken by Dylann Roof
(top row, left to right) DePayne Middleton-Doctor, Tywanza Sanders, Myrah Thompson, (center row) Ethel Lance, Susie Jackson, Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, (bottom row) Daniel Simmons, Clementa Pinckney and Cynthia Hurd.
 

 
 

June 28, 2015
NORTH AMERICA
GREELEYVILLE, SOUTH CAROLINA
 
Mount Zion AME Church, South Carolina
 
8 Black Churches
Burned within 10 Days
 
June 28, 2015.  Greeleyville is a small town northwest of Charleston, South Carolina, population 375.  Mount Zion, a church burned down by the KKK in 1995 (and rebuilt with contributions from all over the world), was burned down once again.  The burning of this church in Greeleyville represents the eight black church to be burned in South Carolina within a two week period.
 
 
People of Faith Rally in Support
The concern of the faithful, from many houses of worship, was immediate, with support coming from other churches, synagogues and mosques.  
The American Muslim community, by way of the nonprofit organization Ummah Wide and three other Islamic groups,  raised nearly $90,000, while other believers from a cross-section of faiths raised a near $200,000 in support of the burned churches.
 
 
 

August 27, 2015
NORTH AMERICA
 
Loretta Lynch, Attorney
1959 - Present

83rd U.S. Attorney General
and 1st African-descended Woman

Loretta Lynch, Harvard Law School graduate (1984), has served as a United States District Attorney, for a great portion of her career, along with being a partner in a law firm.

On November 8, 2014, President Barack Obama nominated her to succeed Eric Holder as Attorney General.

On February 26, 2015, the Judiciary Committee of the United States Senate confirmed her appointment by a 12-8 vote, with all Democrats of the committee and three Republicans in favor.

On April 23, 2015, Lynch was confirmed by the Senate by a 56 – 43 vote.

On April 27, 2015, Vice President Joseph Biden swore her in as Attorney General.

Highlights of Other Accomplishments
While Lynch was US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, she supervised the investigation into senior FIFA officials from its earliest stages. The investigation culminated in the indictment of 14 senior FIFA officials and sports marketing executives. For her work in the 2015 FIFA corruption case, Lynch was presented with the 3rd annual Golden Blazer by Roger Bennett and Michael Davies. The Golden Blazer award honor one person whose distinguished service leaves an indelible mark on soccer and the culture of soccer.

Dylan Roof
Killer of 9 African Americans

In July 2015, after the Charleston church shooting, Lynch announced the suspected shooter Dylann Roof would be charged with a hate crime.  On May 24, 2016, she further announced that the Justice Department would seek the death penalty for Roof.

Laquan McDonald
Killed by Law Enforcement

On December 7, 2015, Lynch stated the Justice Department would be investigating the Chicago Police Department to see if there was a potential violation of civil rights in the case of Laquan McDonald.


In April 2016, Lynch took an active role in addressing what she called the difficulty of re-entry into society by felons, writing an op-ed and making public appearances in support of raising awareness of this blight on their transition, also calling on governors to make it easier for released felons to achieve state-issued identification.
 
Eric Garner
Killed by Law Enforcement

In October 2016, Lynch removed the Brooklyn FBI agents and federal prosecutors from the death of Eric Garner case, replacing them with agents from outside New York.  The local FBI agents and federal prosecutors had determined that charges should not be brought in the case, prompting strong disagreement from attorneys in the Washington, D.C. office of the Department’s Civil Rights Division. Lynch’s intervention has been called “highly unusual


September 4, 2015
ASIA
EASTERN JAPAN
 
 
September 10, 2015.  For several weeks Japan has been experiencing daily rainfall, and within the past week, up to two feet of rain has fallen.  All of this rain has resulted in such heavy flooding that houses have been ripped from their foundations. Deaths have been minimal, but more than 100,000 people have been forced from their homes, and up to 800,000 people have been advised to evacuate.

September 27, 2015
NORTH AMERICA
CENTRAL FLORIDA
 
 
George Zimmerman
Reshares 
Photo of
Trayvon Martin's
Dead Body -- the 17 yr Old 
whom he Shot and Killed
 
September 27, 2015.  Over 3-1/2 years ago, on February 26, 2012, George Zimmerman shot and killed an unarmed black teenager, returning from a walk to a neighborhood store, while visiting his father in a condominium complex.  Today, he proudly reshared a police photo of the young man’s dead body, originally shared with the caption “Z-man is a one man army”, on the online social networking service “Twitter”.
 
Trayvon Martin
February 1995 - February 2015
 
As witnessed by the 911 call placed by George Zimmerman, it is evident that Trayvon Martin realized at some point that he was being followed, approached the suspect (Zimmerman) for a closer look, and then ran away, seeking security of his being.  It is also evident that George Zimmerman escalated his stalking to hunt down the young Trayvon Martin, and engaged him in a scuffle and then shot and killed him.  
 
May Trayvon's Parents (and Siblings)
Be Strengthened Against this Mockery
 
George Zimmerman’s actions were carried out under the guise of “Neighborhood Watch” captain, and he was acquitted and made free of his murderous crime under the Florida, “Stand Your Ground” laws, first adopted in 2005, which authorizes deadly force when threatened outside of your home.
 
911 Transcript (redacted)

Dispatcher:

Sanford Police Department…

Zimmerman:

Hey, we’ve had some break-ins in my neighborhood, and there’s a real suspicious guy … This guy looks like he’s up t ono good, or he’s on drugs or something. It’s raining and he’s just walking around, looking about.

Dispatcher:

OK, and this guy, is he white, black, or Hispanic?

Zimmerman:

He looks black.

Dispatcher:

Did you see what he was wearing?

Zimmerman:

Yeah. A dark hoodie, like a grey hoodie, and either jeans or sweatpants and white tennis shoes. He’s [unintelligible], he was just staring…

Dispatcher:

OK, he’s just walking around the area…

Zimmerman:

…looking at all the houses.

Dispatcher:

OK…

Zimmerman:

Now he’s just staring at me.

Zimmerman:

Yeah, now he’s coming towards me.

Dispatcher:

OK.

Zimmerman:

He’s got his hand in his waistband. And he’s a black male.

Dispatcher:

How old would you say he looks?

Zimmerman:

He’s got button on his shirt, late teens.

Dispatcher:

Late teens. Ok.

Zimmerman:

Somethings wrong with him. Yup, he’s coming to check me out. He’s got something in his hands. I don’t know what his deal is.

Dispatcher:

…we’ve got someone on the way, just let me know if this guy does anything else.

Zimmerman:

Okay. These assholes they always get away.

Zimmerman:

(after providing dispatcher with specific location). Shit, he’s running (away).

Dispatcher:

He’s running? Which way is he running?

Zimmerman:

Down towards the other entrance…

Dispatcher:

(after clarifying the direction) Are you following him?

Zimmerman:

Yeah

Dispatcher:

Ok, we don’t need you to do that.

Zimmerman:

Ok.

Dispatcher:

Alright George, we do have them on the way, do you want to meet the officer when they get out there?

Dispatcher:

What’s your apartment number?

Zimmerman:

It’s a home. It’s 1950… oh crap, I don’t want to give it all out, I don’t know where this kid is.



May 12, 2016: Monetizing of Trayvon Martin's Death
Upon return of the handgun used to kill unarmmed Trayvon Martin, by the Justice Department, George Zimmerman placed the gun up for sale for $5,000 at the Gunbroker.com auction site, while stating "I'm a free American. I can do what I want with my possessions. What I've decided to do is not cower."

In the description of the item, which he described as "a piece of American history", Zimmermann said he does not plan to pocket the money from the sale. Instead, he said, he plans to use some of the proceeds to fight violence against law enforcement officers by members of Black Lives Matter; to ensure “the demise” of the career of Angela Corey, the prosecutor who put him on trial; and to counter Hillary Clinton’s “anti-firearm rhetoric.”

Gunbroker.com removed the listing with the following statement, "We want no part in the listing on our website or in any of the publicity it is receiving." However, with a day, Zimmerman found another site to sell the gun. Two bidders offered in the vicinity of $65 million, one of them paired with the screen name "Racist McShootFace." Both submissions have been deleted. Other bids were made in the name of Tamir Rice, the 12-year-old shot dead by police in Cleveland while holding a toy gun.

The highest bid, after one day, stands at $485,000.

October 9, 2015
ASIA
SYRIA: ASSAD REGIME
 

Obama Administration Ends Effort to Train Syrian Rebels to Combat ISIS

The Obama administration abandoned its efforts to build up a new rebel force inside Syria to combat the Islamic State, acknowledging the failure of its $500 million campaign to train thousands of fighters and announcing that it will instead use the money to provide ammunition and weapons for groups already engaged in the battle.


Obama Administration Ends Effort to Train Syrian Rebels to Combat ISIS, by Michael D. Shear, Helene Cooper and Eric Schmitt, October 9, 2015, The New York Times: Middle East, https://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/10/world/middleeast/pentagon-program-islamic-state-syria.html

October 18, 2015
NORTH AMERICA
ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI
 
 
6 Black Churches 
Burned within 10 Days
 
October 18, 2015.  There have been 6 predominantly black churches burned, by arson, in St. Louis, Missouri.  There been no arrests, and the police have so immediate suspects.  However, it has been speculated that White Supremacist Terrorists are responsible for committing the targeted attacks.
 
 

October 26, 2015
NORTH AMERICA
COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA
 
 
Deputy Sheriff
Flips and then Drags
High School  Student
 
October 25, 2015.  A 16-year-old, Black female, high school student was grabbed by the neck, flipped out of her seat, and then dragged to the front of the class, for handcuffing, by an on duty Deputy Sheriff at Spring Valley High School in Columbia, South Carolina.
 
Girl Refuses to Hand Cell Phone
Over to Algebra Teacher
According to reports, the young girl's algebra teacher called for support after she refused to hand over her cell phone after taking it out during class.
 
Algebra Teacher Calls
for Administrative Support
Upon the officer's arrival, he stood over her and requested that she "get up" several times.  The girl refused, stating that she had done nothing wrong.  The officer then grab her about the neck in choke hold fashion, flipped her over, and pulled her from the desk, dragging her to the front of the class.
 
Officer's Superiors:
Victim Responsible for Incident
Richland Country Sheriff Leon Lott responded with additional background information:
"She was very disruptive, she was very disrespectful, and she started this whole incident with her actions,” Lott said during a press conference. “She refused to leave the class as directed by the teacher, she refused to follow his instructions, he called for assistance from the school administrator, the school administrator got there — he was African American — and he attempted to get her to leave the class also, she refused his instructions and was disrespectful to him."
 
Officer Not a Racist
Dating Black Woman for Months
In addition, Sheriff Leon Lott offered that the incident was could not be race-based, as the officer in question has been dating a Black woman for several months.
 
Officer Fired
Initially, the officer was placed on unpaid leave, but was fired as of October 28, 2015.  Meanwhile, a federal civil rights investigation of undue force is underway.

January 1, 2016
NORTH AMERICA
 
Eddie S. Glaude Jr, Professor
1968 - Present

Professor of Religion and
African American Studies
Chair, Center for African
American Studies
Princeton University

Most Visionary
Thinkers of Our Time

Professor Eddie Glaude is widely regarded as one of the brightest young intellectuals in the United States.  He is known for offering critical and insightful views on the problems faced by African-descended people in America, and has been noted as “one of the most visionary thinkers of our time”.

Dr. Cornel Ronald West
1953 - Present
Philosopher, Academic 
Social Activist, Author

According to Cornel West, “Eddie Glaude is the towering intellectual of his generation. There is simply no one else like him emerging on the intellectual scene!

He is the author of several books, including his latest award winning book, “In a Shade of Blue: Pragmatism and the Politics of Black America”.

Career
Glaude is a 1989 graduate of Morehouse College where he was the Student Government President. He holds a master's degree in African-American studies from Temple University and a master's degree in religion from Princeton University.


Glaude earned his Ph.D. in religion from Princeton University and is a founding member and Senior Fellow of the Jamestown Project.

A noted scholar, Glaude began his teaching career at Bowdoin College where he served as chair of the Department of Religion. Dr. Glaude has received numerous awards including the Carl A. Fields Award, and was a Visiting Scholar in African-American Studies at Harvard University and Amherst College.

His first book, Exodus! Religion, Race, and Nation in Early 19th Century Black America, won the Modern Language Association's William Sanders Scarborough Book Prize.

Thoughts on Black Academics
The political significance of their ideas has been weakened or worse, banished to the shadows, and we’re left, as my grandmother would say, “bumping our gums.”

Thoughts on Black Intellectuals
I do believe that intellectuals generally ought to aspire to be the moral conscience of their societies: that what we write, say and do should reflect intelligent efforts to provide a critical account of who we take ourselves to be as a nation.  Black intellectuals take up this task in the context of black communities and the ever-shifting regime of race that undermines democratic possibility in this country. (And remember that the folks who do this kind of labor do not have to work in universities or colleges.)

That’s what they ought to do. Instead, today we are experiencing a “new nadir.” Too many black intellectuals have given up the hard work of thinking carefully in public about the crisis facing black America. We have either become cheerleaders for President Obama or self-serving pundits. Our celebration of his singular achievement and our crazed desire for access have made many of us “born-again patriots.”

Thoughts on Black Intellectual Selling Their Souls
All too often what stands in for the black intellectual these days are folks who can spin a phrase and offer a soundbite. The idea of the intellectual who reads widely and deeply and who critically engages the complexity of our times has been supplanted by the fast-talking “black Ph.D. pundit” who strives to be on CNN, Fox or MSNBC. This same pundit has found new career opportunities within universities and colleges by thinking about black people in ways that conform to the current liberal consensus about racial matters.

The combination turns out to be a deadly one. I am reminded of what the sociologist C. Wright Mills wrote in 1948: “The two together, for the liberal ideology, as now used by intellectuals, acts as a device whereby he can take advantage of the new career chances but retain the illusion that his soul remains his own.” Put another way, too many black intellectuals have sold their souls "for a mess of pottage,” while the misery in black America deepens. And there is a tragic story to tell about how we arrived at this point.

Hope for the Future:
Critical Conversations and Thinking Using Social Networks
(and Not Just Those Created by White America)

Even given this state of affairs, I remain hopeful. Those of us committed to the work of thinking carefully in public with others must model the value of seriousness amid the white noise of our current media landscape. This involves using various social networks to push critical conversations and thinking among our fellows; it entails recommitting ourselves to build reading and writing communities that cultivate the habits of public intellectual work; it means bringing our skills to bear on the problems of our day through interpretations that single out our failings and point the way forward to what needs to be done to, as James Baldwin wrote, “achieve our country.”

January 1, 2016
WORLD STAGE
NIGERIA, AFRICA
 
Aliko Dangote
Founder, Chairman, CEO
Dangote Group
1957 – Present

Nigerian Billonaire:
Richest Man in Africa
Top 100 Richest in the World
 
Operating out of Nigeria and other African countries, Aliko Dangote is the most successful businessman of the continent of Africa.  He is the chairman and CEO of the publicly traded Dangote Group, a company which he founded, and has an estimated net worth of $18.6 billion.  His fortune was made in cement, sugar and flour.

He began his fortune in 1977, by establishing the Dangote Group, a small trading company, opened with a $2,500 loan provided by an uncle.  A condition of the loan was that he’d repay his uncle within 3 months.  

Dangote began trading commodities, importing such items as  sugar, rice, pasta, salt, cotton, cooca, textile, and vegetable oil into Nigeria.  He developed a strong distribution network and specialized in delivering goods faster than competitior’s. He repaid his uncle the debt as required.  
 
After success in trading, he transitioned into manufacturing, which he personally considers his best move, by far.  He focused diligently on building  and protecting his brand, specializing in selling quality manufactured products for a low price, gaining customer loyalty in the process.  His big breakthrough came when he acquired a license to import cement.

In 2014 he was ranked the 23rd richest person in the world, but today is listed ast the 67th richest person in the world.  He is still the richest man in the African continent.
 
Personal Life
Aliko Dangote with wife and daughters at opening of new cement factory in Tanzania. October 14, 2015.
 
Dangote is a serial monogamist and has been married four times, the first being arranged by his family at the age of 20.  He is the father of 15 children, although only three, from his current wife, are officially acknowledged.
 

 
 
 

February 20, 2016
EUROPE
BRITAIN
 
David Cameron
1966 - Present
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
2010 - 2016

Should Britain Withdraw from the European Union?
Voting Date Announced
June 23, 2016 Voting Result
The result of voting was 51.8% in favor of leaving the EU and 48.2% in favor of maintaining membership.

Although the results were close, following this mandate of the people, David Cameron, fighting back tears, announced his resignation as Prime Minister, stating "I think the country requires fresh leadership. I do not think I can be the captain to take the country to its next destination."

Every since Britain was accepted into the European Union, there has been contention and opposition to its membership among the British people.   David Cameron, who was appointed Prime Minister by the Queen in 2010,  issued a pledge, during his 2015 election campaign, to renegotiate the EU membership and bring the controversial issue of exiting from the European Union before voters, although he rejected doing the same in 2012.

Britain Prime Minister
In the United Kingdom, the monarchy primarily plays a ceremonial role, while the prime minister is the actual head of the government and executive branch operations. Historically, this position was not created, but evolved , over 300 years, as political power gradually shifted from the Sovereign to Parliament. Legally, the Sovereign remains the head of government and the Prime Minister accountable to them for their policies and actions, but the politics of running the government remains with Parliament.

2016 February. Date Announced for Electorate to Decide on Membership in the European Union

On February 20, 2016, after the completion of a two-day summit in Brussels, renegotiating the United Kingdom’s membership in the European Union, Prime Minister David Cameron announced that on Thursday, June 23, 2016, registered voters  would be given the opportunity to decide on whether they should remain in the European Union or exit.

Britain Forced to Wait 10
Years Before Membership into
European Union Accepted
In its early form, the United Kingdom was not a member of the European Union, which only included Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and West Germany.  In 1957, with the signing of the Treaty of Rome, the organization’s name was changed to the European Economic Community.  Six years after the signing of the treaty, and updating its name, the United Kingdom applied to join, but their membership was vetoed by then President of France, Charles de Gaulle.  When they applied four years later, in 1967, de Gaulle once again vetoed their appeal.

Ten years after their original application for membership, after de Gaulle left the French presidency, Britain’s application for membershp was finally accepted, in 1973.

1975 Registered Voters Polled on Whether Britain Should Withdraw From  or Stay in
the European Union
On June 5, 1975, registered voters were asked to voke YES or NO on the question: “Do you think the UK should stay in the European Economic Community?”  After a majority of YES votes, the United Kingdom remained a member of the EEC.

1993 Persistent Opposition Against Membership in European Union
By 1993, the European Economic Community had evolved from purely economic concerns into political concerns, and after the signing of the Maastrict Treaty, changed its name to the European Union to reflect the broader focus. 

From the time of acceptance into the EEC in 1973 to the signing of the Maastrict Treaty, their has been consistent, organized opposition to Britain’s membership, and active campaigning to exit.  Many of the conservative British Members of Parliament (MPs), believe that the European Union has changed too far from its original mission, and is far too intrusive in the daily lives of British citizens.  And, although some of these groups have been influential, they have been unable to make significant political gain by seating any of their supporters in Parliament to influence the membership status.

Public Opinion Evenly Split
On Britain’s Exit from the EU
Pro. Those in favor of a British withdrawal from the European Union argue that being a member undermines Parliamentary sovereignty.  They also believe that the UK would be in a better position to control immigration and conduct its own trade negotiations, free from unncessary EU regulations and bureaucracy.

Con.  Those opposed to leaving the European Union, fearing loss of jobs, believe that the UK’s prosperity would be at risk, that its influence would diminish over world affairs, that national security would be placed in jeopardy due to more limited access to the common European criminal databases,   and that trade barriers between the UK and EU would be inevitable.

April 22, 2016
NORTH AMERICA
VIRGINIA
 
Terry McAuliffe
1957 - Present
72nd Governor of Virginia
2014 - Present

Voting Rights Restored
to More Than 200,000
with Previous Felony Convictions

April 2016: Voting Rights 
Restored by Gov. McAuliffe 

Disenfranchising people with criminal convictions was one of many vote-suppressing tools deployed in the Virginia's 1902 constitution.  And, on April 22, 2016, Virginia Governor, Terry McAuliffe, signed an executive order restoring voting rights to more than 200,000 people with previous felony convictions.  

May 2016: Gov. McAuliffe
Under 
Investigation by FBI
On May 23, 2016, it was reported that McAuliffe was under investigation by the FBI for the use of possible illegal campaign donations during his race for governor.

July 2016: Gov. McAuliffe's
Executive Order Overturned
by Virginia Supreme Court

On July 22, 2016, the Virginia Supreme Court overturned Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s executive order, ruling that it violated the Virginia Constitution and that the Virginia governor does not have the authority to grant blanket pardons and restoration of rights. 

The court’s opinion mentioned Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential running mate, Senator Tim Kaine (and former Virginia governor), noting that when he was governor he contemplated a similar executive order but in the end was advised that he couldn’t issue such a sweeping action.

2007: McAuliffe Publishes
Memoir of Life in Politics
Terry McAuliffe's memoir, What a Party! My Life Among Democrats: Presidents, Candidates, Donors, Activists, Alligators, and Other Wild Animals, was published in 2007 with Steve Kettmann, and made the New York Times Best Seller List, debuting at #5 in February 2007.

May 11, 2016
SOUTH AMERICA
VENEZUELA
 
Bolivaria Republic of Venezuela
South America
One of World's Largest Oil Exporters

Venezuela President Declares Emergency Citing U.S. and Domestic Threats

Venezuela is on the northern coast of South America, borded by Colombian on the west, Brazil on the south, and Guyana on the east.  It has an estimated population of about 33 thousand.  It was colonized by Sapin in 1522, but was one of the first Spanish-American colonies to declare its independence, in 1811, although not securely established until 1821.  It gained full independence as a separate country in 1830.

Throughout the years of independence, Venezuela has suffered political turmoil and an autocracy dominated by military strongmen, or its regional caudillos.

Autocracy (aw TOC rah see)
A system of government by one person with absolute power, or dictatorship

Caudillos
Military landowners possessed with political power exercised in an authoritarian manner

However, since the late 1950s, Venezuela has had a series of democratic governments, each faced with turmoil and unrest, due to various economic crisis, including embezzlement of public funds.  Disfavor with the existing parties reached a peak, and in 1998, a former coup-involved career officer, Hugo Chavez, was elected President, launching the Bolivarian Revolution and developing a new Constitution of Venezuela.  In addition, Chavez changed Venezuela's official name to the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.
 

World Leading Exporter of Oil
Since the discovery of oil in the early 1900s, oil has dominated Venezuela's government revenues. Venezuela is distinguished by having the world's largest oil reserves and being one of the world’s leading exporters of oil.

A Decade of Economic Crisis
A 1990s oil glut led to an external debt crisis for Venezuela, where their foreign debt exceeded their earning power.  The impact of this downturn in economics lasted over a decade, with their inflation peaking at 100% in 1996 and poverty rates rising to 66% in 1995.

2000 Signs of Economic Relief
and SocioEconomic Reform
In the early 2000s, oil prices made a massive recovery, boosting the the Venezuelan economy.  In response, the Venezuelan government spent heavily on social programs, resulting in stark reductions in economic inequality and poverty.

But, in the long run, because of the Bolivarian government’s large dependence on oil sales, poverty and inflation began to increase once again in the 2010s.

2013 Hugo Chávez
Hugo Chávez
1954 - 2013
64th President of Venezuela
1999 - 2013

Prior to his death in March 2013, the government of Hugo Chavez devalued the currency of Venezuela, due to rising shortages, which included milk, flour, and other necessities.  This led to an increase in malnutrition, especially among children.

2013 Nicolas Maduro
Nicolás Maduro
1962 - Present
65th President of Venezuela
2013 - Present

2014 Time Magazine
The 100 Most Influential People

Nicolás Maduro Moros, commonly known as Nicolas Maduro, assumed office as President of Venezuel on April 19,2013. Previously he served under President Hugo Chávez as Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2006 to 2013 and as Vice President of Venezuela from 2012 to 2013.

A former bus driver, for the Caracas Metro company, Maduro rose to become a trade union leader, before being elected to the National Assembly in 2000. He was appointed to a number of positions within the Venezuelan Governmentunder Chávez, ultimately being made Foreign Minister in 2006.

After Chávez's death was announced on 5 March 2013, Maduro assumed the powers and responsibilities of the president. A special election was held on 14 April 2013 to elect a new president, and Nicolas Maduro won with 50.62 % of the votes as the candidate of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela.

He is married to Cilia Flores, a lawyer and politician who replaced Maduro as President of the National Assembly in August 2006, when he resigned to become Minister of Foreign Affairs, becoming the first woman to serve as President of the National Assembly.

Early Life
Nicolas Maduro was born to Nicolas Maduro Garcia, a union leader, and Teresa de Jesús Moros in Venezuela, into a working-class neighborhood. He was the only son, with three sisters. Racially, Maduro has indicated that he identifies as mestizo (or mixed race), stating that he includes as a part of his mestizaje ("racial mixture") admixture from the Indigenous peoples of the Americas and Africans. He was raised as a Roman Catholic, although in 2012 it was reported that he was a follower of Indian guru Sathya Sai Baba.

He attended a public high school, the Liceo José Ávalos, in El Valle. His introduction to politics was when he became a member of his high school's student union.[8] According to school records, Maduro never graduated from high school.

At 24 years of age, "Maduro travelled through the streets of Havana with other militants of leftist organizations inSouth America that moved to Cuba in 1986, to attend a one year course in the Escuela Nacional de Cuadros Julio Antonio Mella, a centre of political formation directed by the Union of Communist Youth."

Political Life
According to Professor Ramón Piñango, a sociologist from the Venezuelan University of IESA, "Maduro has a very strong ideological orientatio, close to the communist ideology."

Communist Ideology in Brief
The communist ideology, in general, states that the current order and disorder of society stems from the economic system of captialism, where there are two major social classes – (1) the working class, who must work to survive and who make up the majority of society, and the (2) capitalist class, a minority that privately own the means of production and derive profit from the labor of the majority.

It believes that all citizens of the world should have a common, shared ownership in the means of production and that there should not be social classes or states, where only the few receive the majority of economic benefit.

2013 Rule by Decree
On November 19, 2013, the National Assembly granted Maduro the power to rule by decree for one year, until November 19, 2014.  He requested this ruling a year earlier, as being need to fight corruption and build economic power. 

2014 Economic Recession
In 2014, Venezuela entered an economic recession.

2015 Rule by Decree: To Fight Aggression of the U.S.
In 2015, Venezuela had the world’s highest inflation rate with the rate surpassing 100%, and suffered many deadly protests due to its economic problems, as well as crime and corruption.

On March 15, 2015, the National Assembly granted Maduro power to rule by decree, once again, until December 31, 2015.  He requested this ruling to “confront the aggression of the most powerful country in the world, the United States.”

Rule by Decree
Rule by decree is a style of governance that allows for quick, unchallenged creation of law by a single person or group, and is used primarily by dictators and absolute monarchs. It allows the ruler to arbitrarily create law, without approval by a legislative assembly.

2016 Maduro Grants Himself "Extraordinary Powers" with Declaring Economic Emergency
On January 15, 2016, Maduro declared an economic emergency and issued a decree granting himself extraordinary powers for 60 days, or until March 15, 2016. 

2016 Rule of Decree
Granted by Supreme Court
Upon expiration of the the January 2016 rule of decree, the Supreme Court granted Maduro the power to rule by decree for an additional 60 days, until May 17, 2016.

2016 Rule of Decree
Fighting Domestic Threats
On May 11, 2016, just priory to the May 17, 2016 end of the March 2016 rule of decree, granted by the Supreme Court, Maduro announced that he would continue to rule by decree through the rest of the year, until 2017. 

He cited, what he called plots from within the OPEC country and the United States to topple his leftist government.  On sate-wide television, he has accused the United States of instigating a coup against him, by Venezuela’s “facist right”.  In 2002, the U.S. supported a short-lived coup against late leader Hugo Chavez.

May 19, 2016
NORTH AMERICA
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA
 

L.A. Police Union to File
Federal Lawsuit Against
City and Police Department

 The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), officially the City of Los Angeles Police Department, is responsible for the enforcement of laws for the city of Los Angeles, California.  It has nearly 10,000 officers, and is the third-largest police department in the United States, after New York City Police Department and the Chicago Police Department, serving a population of nearly 4 million.  Charles L. Beck ,  has served as the 56th Chief of the Los Angeles Police Department, for over six years, since November 2009.

The area served by the LAPD has been plagued by chronic underfunding, low patrol staffing levels and a citywide rise in crime, which has seen violent crime rise 20.2%, property crime rise 10.7%, robbery rise 12.5%, and auto theft rise 17.1% from 2014 to 2015.  In recent years, the department has been conducting a massive recruiting effort, with a goal of hiring an additional 1,500 police officers, to reduce its officer to resident ratio, which is currently 1:426 (1 officer for every 426 residents).

Office of Operations
The majority of the approximate 10,000 officers are assigned within the Office of Operations, commanded by an Assistant Chief, currently Jorge Villegas, who reports directly to the chief of police.

The LAPD Office of Operations comprises 21 police stations, known officially as “areas” but also commonly referred to as “divisions”.

The 21 police stations or “divisions” are grouped geographically into four command areas, each known as a “bureau”.

Central Bureau
Hollenbeck
Harbor
Newton 
Northeast
Rampart

South Bureau
77th Street
Harbor
Southeast
Southwest
 
Valley Bureau
Devonshire
Foothill 
Mission
North Hollywood
Van Nuys
West Valley
Topanga
West Bureau
Hollywood
Olympic
Pacific
West Los Angeles
Wilshire
 
 

Los Angeles Police
Protective League
The Los Angeles Police Protective League is an union organization that advocates for Los Angeles police, to “…protect, promote, and improve the working conditions, legal rights, compensation and benefits of Los Angeles Police Officers”.  The organization started in 1922, as the Police and Fire Protective League, when L.A. police and firefighters banned together to establish one retirement system for their departments.  However, in 1973, this organization separated into two entities, now the Los Angeles Police Protective League fights for collective bargaining and police rights.

Officers and Union
Representatives in Conflict
Officers have not always been pleased with how the League represented them, as their negotiations often fell short of truly benefiting their salary goals.  As early as 2014, some wrangled for a harder edge  to be taken with the city in contract negotiations, and even considered affiliating with the Teamsters to handle such negotiations.

Union to File Fedaral Lawsuit for
Constituional Rights Violations
by Disciplinary Review Board 

Chief Charles Beck, Speaking

On May 19, 2016, the Los Angeles Police Protective League released a statement that it would file a federal lawsuit against the city, the LAPD and police Chief Charles Beck over what it called the “unconstitutional structure of the body that decides discipline issues involving officers”.

The LAPD Board of Rights, a three-person panel (2 senior LAPD officers and 1 civilian) charged with deciding discipline cases for officers facing long-term suspension or termination.  The suit alleges that Chief Beck's direct command staff exerts improper and manipulative influence over the two
police members of the LAPD Board of Rights during the review process, resulting in a violation of their 14th Amendment Rights. 

 


June 26, 2016
ASIA
SYRIA: ASSAD REGIME
 

C.I.A. Arms Shipment
to Syrian Rebels Hijacked
and Sold on Black Market

Millions of dollars worth of weapons shipped into Jordan by the United States C.I.A. and Saudi Arabia government, intended for Syrian rebels to fight against the Bashar al-Assad government, were stolen and put on the black market for resale.

Jordanian rebels were accused of the theft, but Mohammad H. al-Momani, Jordan's minister of state for media affairs, said the allegations of Jordanian involvement were "absolutely incorrect".

In 2013, a training program was established in Jordan, run by the C.I.A. and several Arab intelligence services, to build forces to fight against Bashar al-Assad.  These groups were being provided mortars, antitank guided missiles and other weapons.

September 28, 2016
ASIA
SYRIA: ASSAD REGIME
 

President Obama Discusses
Policy on Syria at Town Hall
hosted by Jake Tapper

If video not active, click try this link

September 28, 2016
NORTH AMERICA
WASHINGTON D.C.
 

Congress Overrides
Obama's Veto of
9/11 Victims Bill

On Wednesday, September 28, 2015, Congress overwhelmingly voted to override President Obama’s veto of bill that allows families of those killed in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks to sue Saudi Arabia for any role in the plot.

A large number of democrats, and some of Obama’s strongest allies, sided with Republicans to deliver the rebuke to the president.  The vote was 97-to-1 in the Senate and 348-to-77 in the House.  President Obama angrily denounced the outcome as a “dangerous precedent” with implications they did not understand and never debated.

With the override, the new law, fiercely objected to by the White House, immediately alters the legal landscape.  American courts could seize Saudi assets to pay for any judgment obtained by the Sept. 11 families, while Saudi officials have warned they might need to sell off hundreds of billions of dollars in holdings in the United States to avoid such an outcome.

The Saudi government has long and vigorously denied that it had any part in the Sept. 11 attacks, and the commission investigating the plot found “no evidence that the Saudi government as an institution or senior Saudi officials individually funded” Al Qaeda, the terror group that carried out the attacks. But the commission left open the possibility that some Saudi officials may have played roles.

December 23, 2016
ASIA
SYRIA: ASSAD REGIME
 
Maria Zakharova
Russian Foreign Affairs Minister

Russia Labels U.S. Easing
Restrictions on Arming Syrian Rebels
a "Hostile Act"

2017 U.S. Defense
Spending Signed into Law
On December 23, 2016, outgoing President Barack Obama passed the 55th consecutive National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).  The NDAA is a United States purposed federal bill which specifies the budget and expenditures of the United States Department of Defense (DOD) for any given year.  With his signing of the NDAA for Fiscal Year 2017, the bill became law, authorizing the DOD to spend $618.7 billion in the 2017 Fiscal Year.

The 2017 NDAA also authorized the Countering Information Warfare Act of 2016 to counter the spread of Russian propaganda of biased information.


China Objects to U.S. Defense Bill

Immediately after Obama signed the NDAA bill into law, China lodged a protest against the bill, citing that it included a plan to conduct high-level military exchanges with self-ruled Taiwan. 

In the administration of B. Obama they must understand that any weapons handed over will quickly end up in the hands of jihadists with whom the sham 'moderate' opposition have long acted jointly… Such a decision is a direct threat to the Russian air force, to other Russian military personnel, and to our embassy in Syria, which has come under fire more than once. We therefore view the step as a hostile one.
Maria Zakharova, Russian Foreign Affairs Minister, 2016


Russia Objects to U.S. Defense Bill

In the day following China’s objections, Russia joined the global opposition to the US defense policy because of the easing of restrictions on arming Syrian rebels, stating that any delivery of shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles would directly threaten Russian forces in Syria. 




December 27, 2016
ASIA
SYRIA: ASSAD REGIME
 

Russia Calls U.S. 
Supplying Weapons to
Syrian Rebels a "Hostile Act"

For over a year, the Russian government has led a campaign of air strikes in Syria to help President Bashar al-Assad and his forces retake territory lost to rebels.  And the Russian government said that the U.S. participating in supplying rebel forces with weapons, particularly shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles was a direct threat to Russian forces in Syria.

However, State Department spokesman, Mark Toner, dismissed Russian charges, saying that the administration remains opposed to providing portable anti-aircraft missles (MANPADS) to Syrian opposition groups.


April 6, 2017
ASIA
SYRIA: ASSAD REGIME
 
Donald J. Trump
45th President of the United States

President Trump Orders
Missile Attacks in Syria
on 77th Day in Office


One day following a chemical weapons attack on a Syrian town, in which nearly 100 civilians were killed, including infants and children, President Trump assumed his leadership position and ordered a military strike, from naval destroyers position in the Mediterranean Sea, targeting an airbase in Syria, thought to be the source from which the chemical attacks were  initiated.

Bashar al-Assad
President of Syria

Although the Syrian President, Bashar al-Assad, has denied any involvement in, and has gone on record condeming the human rights violation, it is being speculated and generally accepted that he is directly responsible for the unjustified attack.

April 9, 2017
ASIA
SYRIA: ASSAD REGIME
 

Red Lines Crossed
Syrian Allies Ready to
Defend Bashar al-Assad
After U.S. Missile Strike

Just two days after the United States fired dozens of missiles at a Syrian air base, in response to Syria’s reported use of chemical weapons, a joint command center of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad supporters, made up of:
  • Russian forces
  • Iranian forces
  • Shi’ite militia groups sponsored by Iran (an led by Lebanon’s Hezbollah group)
published the following statement:

What America waged in an aggression on Syria is a crossing of red lines. From now on we will respond with force to any aggressor or any breach of red lines from whoever it is and America knows our ability to respond well….
Russia, Iran and other supporters of Bashar al-Assad

Russia and Iran Accuse U.S. of Violating International Law
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Iran’s Hassan Rouhani said in a phone call that aggressive U.S. actions against Syria were not permissible and violated international law. 

U.S. Secretary of State
Blames Russia

U.S. Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, blamed Russia for failing to carry out the 2013 Geneva agreement, struck with President Obama, to secure and destroy chemical weapons in Syria.


Allies of Syria’s Assad Say U.S. Attack Crosses “Red Lines”, Huff Post: The World Post, April 9, 2017, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/allies-of-syrias-assad-say-us-attack-crosses-red-lines_us_58ea2ebbe4b058f0a02fcaf0?

April 10, 2017
ASIA
SYRIA: ASSAD REGIME
 

Syria on Agenda
Special G7 Meeting of Foreign Ministers Held
Today in Italy

Along with representation of the European Union, the Group of 7 (G7) consists of:
  1. Canada
  2. France
  3. Germany
  4. Italy
  5. Japan
  6. United Kingdom
  7. United States
Seven Major World Economies
The G7 are the seven major advanced economies in the world, representing 64% of the net global wealth of $263 trillion.  To become a member of the group, a country must have a very high national wealth and advanced human development in the areas of life expectancy, education, and income production.

Primary Concern: Healthy Global Economy
The organization was founded to deal with the collapse of the 1971 exchange rate, 1970s energy crisis and the recession that followed, which sent ripples throughout the international economic community.

G7 Meets Annually to Discuss Economic Policies
The G7 meets annually at a summit site to discuss economic policies, while G7 finance ministers meet from 2 to 4 times a year at stand-alone meetings.  The 43rd G7 summit has been scheduled for May 26, 2017 in Taormina, Sicily, Italy, where the major topics are expected to be Africa and Migration.

April 10, 2017
Special G7 Meeting Called for Foreign Affairs Ministers
In response to the humanitarian crisis in Syria, and the U.S. missile attack against that country a few days ago, a special G7 Meeting for Foreign Affairs Ministers was called by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Angelino Alfano, to be held on August 10, 2017.  In addition to standard member attendance, invitation was extended to the Foreign Ministers of:
  • Turkey
  • United Arab Emirates
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Jordan
  • Qatar
U.S. Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, was in attendance.

April 10, 2017
ASIA
SYRIA: ASSAD REGIME
 

US-led Coalition and
Syrian Anti-Government
Rebels Join to Battle ISIS

On the Syrian-Jordanian border, coalition forces engaged in battle against an ISIS bomb and suicide vest attacks.  Some American forces were already in place at the point of attack and were aided by Syrian opposition forces, known as VSO.

U.S. Working with Vetted Syrian Forces in Fight Against ISIS
The U.S. government put out a statement that they are free to work with Syrian government opposition forces because they have been vetted and primarily assigned to operations to clear ISIS from the Hamad Desert, and have proven effective in countering the ISIS threat in southern Syria and maintaining security along the Syria-Jordan border.

Some of the countries participating in the US-led coalition battling ISIS include:

  • United Kingdom
  • France
  • Australia
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Turkey
  • Jordon

Coalition and Syrian opposition forces repel ISIS attack, by Ryan Browne, Barbara Starr and Jamie Crawford, April 10, 2017, CNN: Politics, http://www.cnn.com/2017/04/09/politics/isis-attack-coalition-forces-in-syria/index.html


April 12, 2017
ASIA
SYRIA
 

Russia Vetoes
United Nations
Syria Resolution

The United Nations Security Council resolution condeming and ordering the investigation of the suspected use of chemical weapon by Syria was vetoed by Russia and Bolivia.  China, Kazakhstan and Ethiopia abstained.

The resolution was drafted by Britain, France and the United States.

It is the eight veto by Russia, in defense of its close ally, Bashar al-Assad.  China, also allied with al-Assad by vetoing six resolutions.




April 15, 2017
ASIA
SYRIA
 

Thousands Flee Cities Under
Siege by Anti-Government Rebels

A convoy of buses with thousands of Syrian evacuees on board, fleeing villages under siege by anti-government rebels, was struck by a car bomb, killing 126, including 68 children.  At least 100 of those killed were pro-Assad, while the rest were humanitarian aid workers, and rebel escorts.