December 31, 2016
2016. What a year.
Death, surprises, and the rise of alternative media.
What a year for Death. And I’m not just talking about the Democratic Party or the credibility of the mainstream media.
Who can remember a year with the death of so many icons?
Among many others, Prince, George Michael, David Bowie, and Glenn Frey in the pop/rock world. Not to mention “Hallelujah” Leonard Cohen.
Country giants Guy Clark and Merle Haggard.
Onscreen, goodbye to Snape and Princess Leia (Alan Rickman and Carrie Fisher), as well as Gene Wilder and many other beloved faces.
Monumental novelists Harper Lee, Umberto Eco and Richard Adams.
Sports legends Muhammad Ali, Gordie Howe and Arnold Palmer.
What a year for Surprises.
Primarily, the stunning political success of one Donald Trump. He was never expected to make it through the Republican primaries, and of all the Republicans in the field, was thought least likely to defeat Hillary Clinton in a general election. But for a lot of reasons, he managed both.
The UK’s Brexit vote likewise caught many people off guard. In many ways, Brexit and the Trump story are similar, as in both cases more and more people swung from the false promises of globalism to the false promises of nationalism.
What a year for Alt Media.
And no, I don’t mean “fake news,” of which the mainstream spread as much as anyone.
The primary example of which I am thinking is Wikileaks. Even while the mainstream media news outlets studiously avoided reporting any of the actual Wikileaks content and focused on who allegedly hacked and why, more and more real people paid attention to the stuff in all those emails.
We’ve still got a long way to go in learning how to handle all of this. There is no such thing as “objective news.” But hopefully, in 2017 more of us will learn how to be discerning in the way we handle information thrown at us by governments and by news outlets. We’ll continue to ask questions regarding why Saudi Arabia is reported one way and Syria another, for example.
In the meantime, here’s to 2017. As in 2016, beyond all the smoke and haze, we know one thing: Jesus the Messiah is still King of kings and Lord of lords.
North Dakota-based Catholic groups have filed a suit against Obamacare regulations that would force religious hospitals and orders and faith-based employers to perform or insure gender “reassignment” and abortion procedures. The Department of Health and Human Services passed the legislation this past May, but it is to come into effect January 1.
Baghdad, Iraq—Three bombs attributed to ISIS killed 29 people in Baghdad on Saturday. Two rocked a busy market, while a third exploded a minibus on a commercial street with heavy traffic. [MORE]
December 30, 2016
Moscow—A day after outgoing U.S. President Barack Obama announced the expulsion of 35 Russian officials suspected to be spies, Russian President Vladimir Putin indicated he would not return the favor. [MORE]
December 29, 2016
[Twitter/International Business Times] Matt Drudge insinuates U.S. gov’t behind massive DDoS attack against Drudge Report news site
Russia and Turkey have brokered a ceasefire agreement in Syria. A key part of the deal that it excludes UN-identified terrorist groups, including ISIS and the Syrian al Qaeda affiliated Jabhat Fateh al-Sham (previously known as Jabhat al-Nusra). [MORE]
The coalition said it struck a van observed firing a SPG9/RPG recoilless rifle, but it was later determined that the location was a hospital compound, and there may have been civilian casualties. An investigation is ongoing.
Washington—The FBI have released a 13 page report co-authored with Homeland Security, claiming that Russia’s foreign intelligence agency commenced an extensive campaign in mid-2015, using a malicious link in an attempt to hack over 1000 targets, many in the U.S. government. [MORE]
Washington—The outgoing administration of President Barack Obama has struck back at the alleged Russian spying role in the recent U.S. elections. He ordered expulsion of some 35 suspected Russian spies, announced sanctions against two Russian agencies as well as three Russian companies, and authorized closure of two Russian compounds in New York and Maryland.
Obama also stressed that the moves “are not the sum total of our response,” and that the U.S. government would carry out additional measures “at a time and place of our choosing, some of which will not be publicized.”
President-elect Donald Trump did not sound impressed, saying, “It’s time for our country to move on to bigger and better things.” He also indicated he would meet soon with intelligence officials. House Speaker Paul Ryan, however, called the sanctions overdue.
The expelled Russians were given 72 hours to leave the country; access by Russian officials to the closed compounds will be halted at Friday noon.
December 27, 2016
Pearl Harbor, Hawaii—Prime Minister Shinzo Abe became the first Japanese leader to make a public memorial visit to Pearl Harbor, the site of a surprise attack that occasioned the entry of the United States into World War II on December 7, 1941.
Abe attended a public memorial alongside outgoing U.S. President Barack Obama. Along with laying a wreath to honor the dead, he also spoke for several minutes, calling the loss of life there was a “solemn reality” by which “I am rendered entirely speechless.”
In August, Obama had visited Hiroshima and expressed similar regrets for the U.S. nuclear attack near the end of World War II.
December 26, 2016
Michael, who landed superstardom with the pop group Wham! in the 1980s, was one of the few to follow up that sort of success with even bigger stardom as a solo act. [MORE]
The incidents are not considered related. Chicago police say there have been 745 homicides in the city to date in 2016.
Dead: Pop superstar George Michael at 53
December 25, 2016
All 92 people aboard a Russian aircraft headed for Syria Christmas Day are reportedly dead after a crash into the Black Sea. Most of the occupants were Red Army choir singers, dancers and orchestra members slated to entertain troops at Russia’s Hyeymim air base in Syria. [MORE]
He, the Mighty One, the Artificer of all, Himself prepared this body in the virgin as a temple for Himself, and took it for His very own, as the instrument through which He was known and in which He dwelt. Thus, taking a body like our own, because all our bodies were liable to the corruption of death, He surrendered His body to death instead of all, and offered it to the Father. This He did out of sheer love for us, so that in His death all might die, and the law of death thereby be abolished because, having fulfilled in His body that for which it was appointed, it was thereafter voided of its power for men. This He did that He might turn again to incorruption men who had turned back to corruption, and make them alive through death by the appropriation of His body and by the grace of His resurrection.
December 24, 2016