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polly7

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US-Saudi Terror in Yemen Dwarfs ISIS Attacks in Europe

by William Boardman / March 26th, 2016

Saudi Arabia has been militarily involved and trying to manipulate political outcomes in Yemen for decades. The last time they did this in 2009, they lost militarily to the Houthis.


Hillary Mann Leverett on CNN, Early 2015

Why are two of the richest countries in the World, the United States and Saudi Arabia, engaged in unrelenting, aggressive war against one of the poorest countries in the world, Yemen?

The US-Saudi-led war on Yemen started on March 26, 2015, with the Saudi coalition’s aerial blitz, using both high-explosive and outlawed cluster bombs, against a population with no air force or other effective air defense. The US-supported year of carnage has killed more than 6,000 people (no one knows for sure), most of them civilians. The US-Saudi criminal intervention in the Yemeni civil war was supposed to be quick and efficient. From the start, the US has helped plan the attacks, provided intelligence, re-fueled attacking planes, and participated in the naval blockade (an act of war) that has pushed Yemen’s 26 million people to the brink of mass starvation. The American-Saudi genocidal war has continued without significant protest around the world – no “Yemeni Lives Matter” movement – and with almost no attention from any of those who will likely inherit this illegal war as the next commander in chief. None of the candidates, despite their tough talk about ISIS, seem to care that the Saudi military focus has shifted from fighting ISIS to killing Yemenis whose primary offense is to want to run their own country. Nobody in authority seems ready to address the possibility that one of the fundamental bad actors in the Middle East is our longstanding “ally” Saudi Arabia.

One reason the candidates can so easily ignore American war crimes in collusion with the Saudi coalition is that Yemen is not widely reported, much less analyzed. Yemen is not part of the official beltway agenda. The PBS program “Frontline” devoted an hour to Yemen in April 2015, mostly delivering the Saudi propaganda view that the Houthis are the bad guys, and omitting mention of the naval blockade. The New York Times apparently felt Yemen was not front page news till March 14, 2016, when it ran a disingenuous, seriously truncated piece that misrepresented the US role in Yemen, starting with the headline: “Quiet Support for Saudis Entangles U.S. in Yemen” (more about this below). Finding relevant, thoughtful commentary about Yemen from any presidential candidate is difficult to impossible. A sampling follows:


Hillary Clinton silent on war she helped make possible

Hillary Clinton’s present silence on the US-Saudi terror-bombing campaign that has killed some 3,000 Yemeni civilians since March 2015 distinguishes her from none of the other 2016 candidates. But Clinton does have the distinction of being the only candidate who contributed materially to the ability of Saudi Arabia to bomb indiscriminately, using American weapons and munitions, against which Yemen is virtually defenseless. As a hawkish Secretary of State, Clinton made arming Saudi Arabia a “top priority“, supporting more than $100 billion of dollars of arms sales (2010-2015), including F-15s and the bombs the Saudis have used to pummel Yemen for a year. Unlike the US or Canada, European countries have begun to question or block arms sales to Saudi Arabia in response to the horrendous and unrelenting Saudi record of human rights abuses. Code Pink and other human rights organizations say the Saudi-led attacks on Yemen “may amount to war crimes,” stopping short of naming possible war criminals. The Clinton Foundation has accepted more than $10 million from two of Yemen’s aggressors, Morocco and Saudi Arabia.


What you don’t know about is less likely to disturb the status quo

Mainstream media coverage of Yemen continues to be spotty, limited, incomplete, and mostly incoherent. The New York Times article mentioned above is perhaps a sign of increased official attention, but it is no harbinger of completeness or coherence. The premise of the story is fundamentally dishonest, as expressed in the inside headline: “Quiet Support for Saudi Allies Entangles U.S. in a Bloody Conflict in Yemen.” What the story makes clear is that in March 2015, the Saudi ambassador pitched the White House on starting a new war in Yemen. The ambassador promised a quick campaign to re-install the Yemeni government that had fled to Saudi Arabia. The ambassador hyped his pitch with the standard exaggeration of Iranian involvement (which has actually been all but nil). Despite concern by “many” advisors that “the Saudi-led offensive would be long, bloody, and indecisive,” President Obama bought the pitch and authorized the Pentagon to support the Saudi-coalition’s attacks on Yemen. Somewhat contradictorily, the Times story also reports:

American intelligence officials had long thought that the Saudis overstated the extent of Iranian support for the Houthis, and that Iran had never seen its ties to the rebel group as more than a useful annoyance to the Saudis. But Mr. Obama’s aides believed that the Saudis saw a military campaign in Yemen as a tough message to Iran
.


Full article: http://dissidentvoice.org/2016/03/us-saudi-terror-in-yemen-dwarfs-isis-attacks-in-europe/#more-62178


Yemen, its heritage and people are being purposefully and systematically destroyed as HRW and many others report horrendous war-crimes, the starvation of children and much of its population. And the world says nothing.

Is Hillary Clinton Running Away From Political Reality?

Runaway inequality is the key issue that connects so many of our problems.

By Les Leopold / AlterNet March 27, 2016

Team Hillary should be worried about the lopsided vote Sanders is receiving from young people of all colors. Not only is the vote one-sided, but so is the enthusiasm. Hillary's vulnerabilities with young people includes her perceived untrustworthiness, her vote for the Iraq war and her establishment politics. But it all gets wrapped up into what she calls Bernie's "single issue"—Wall Street.

Bernie and his supporters see Wall Street as synonymous with runaway inequality, which is the key issue that connects so many of our problems. As a result, young people are convinced we need a massive political revolution to do something about it. As Robert Reich recently put it, "Such a political revolution is the prerequisite for everything else – reversing climate change, overcoming structural racism, rebuilding the middle class, achieving equal opportunity and upward mobility for the poor, and avoiding cataclysmic war."


Hillary can't abide by this revolution because it requires a full-scale assault on Wall Street, which has funded her and her campaigns. So she tries to denigrate Sanders' stance by suggesting his focus on Wall Street-driven runaway inequality is merely a single issue, asking, "If we broke up the big banks tomorrow would that end racism? Would that end sexism? Would that end discrimination against the LGBT community? Would that make people feel more welcoming to immigrants overnight?"

Her line of attack not only is failing, but reveals why young people are so unenthusiastic about her: she's far too tied to Wall Street and the super-rich ever to break from them.


Why the Political Revolution Is So threatening to Hillary ..........


Full article: http://www.alternet.org/election-2016/hillary-clinton-running-away-political-reality?akid=14113.44541.wQ5fld&rd=1&src=newsletter1053402&t=2

Iraq’s Torment: A Letter to George W. Bush

A message to the ex-president.

By Vijay Prashad / AlterNet March 21, 2016

Dear George W. Bush,

I will never forget this sequence of days – March 19-21, 2003. It was on these days that you decided to send in your armies to destroy an Iraq already on life-support thanks to the sanctions regime and to the massive bombardment of the Gulf War 1 pushed by your dad, and then the man who followed him - Big Bill Clinton. Your bombers and cruise missiles hit Baghdad two thousand times on March 21. Hospitals later said that the injured came at a rate of over a hundred an hour. Untold numbers of people died on that day, as Baghdad rattled from the Bab al-Moatham, with its great institutions of learning, to the quiet residential streets of al-Saydiya. The ground shook beneath the feet of the city’s people, as bombs fell from the sky like hail. In the three weeks of this bombing campaign, your aircraft dropped more cluster bombs than it did in six months of the bombing in Afghanistan. Testimony from such deeply committed people as Dr. Sa’ad al-Falluji of al-Hilla General Teaching Hospital and Dr. Ali ‘Abd al-Sayyid of the al-Nasiriyya General Hospital should have been aired on American television. Instead, we got insensitive anchors reveling in the joys of Shock and Awe.

Fragile Iraq was destroyed in 2003. I remember the Iraqi people who suffered the bombardment and then the occupation - the families in Baghdad, the farmers in rural Diyala, the old lefties hiding as they had already hidden in one or another friend's house. These are the Iraqi people, President Bush, that you claimed to speak for but did not care about. You should have talked to Yanar Mohammed, an architect, who founded the Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq and the Committee for the Defense of Iraqi Women’s Rights. She would have told you that the “US occupation turned the streets of Iraq into a ‘no-women zone.’” You should have talked to Falah Alwan, the leader of the Federation of Workers’ Councils and Unions in Iraq. Alwan, who had worked clandestinely against the Iraqi government of Saddam Hussein for years, said that your Occupation “devastated the fundamental basis of Iraqi industries and infrastructure.” But you didn’t. You broke the country and allowed it to be plundered.

There is spiritual decadence in the prosecution of that war, and in the toxicity that it has spawned inside the United States. Iraq was a courteous civilization, now so grievously injured by your injuries.


Yours etc.,

Vijay Prashad.

http://www.alternet.org/world/iraqs-torment-letter-george-w-bush

Vijay Prashad is professor of international studies at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. He is the author of 18 books, including Arab Spring, Libyan Winter (AK Press, 2012), The Poorer Nations: A Possible History of the Global South (Verso, 2013) and the forthcoming The Death of a Nation and the Future of the Arab Revolution (University of California Press, 2016). His columns appear at AlterNet every Wednesday.

The Foreign Policy of the 1%



Keynote at 2016 Saudi Arabia Summit organized by Code Pink in Washington DC.

Vijay Prashad is professor of international studies at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. He is the author of 18 books, including Arab Spring, Libyan Winter (AK Press, 2012), The Poorer Nations: A Possible History of the Global South (Verso, 2013) and the forthcoming The Death of a Nation and the Future of the Arab Revolution (University of California Press, 2016). His columns appear at AlterNet every Wednesday.

The War on Democracy in Latin America

By John Pilger and Edu Montesanti
Source: Counterpunch
March 25, 2016

Pilger produced War on Democracy set in Latin America and the US in 2006, when he traveled across Venezuela with the then-President Hugo Chávez. He talks about his motivations to produce that documentary. The film shows how serial US intervention, overt and covert, has toppled a series of legitimate governments in the Latin American region since the 1950s.

Evidencing the democratic character with profound social transformations in Venezuela, in this interview John Pilger tells of his experiences in the cradle of the Bolivarian Revolution. “Children were learning about history and the arts for the first time; Venezuela’s literacy programme was the most adventurous in the world.”

He also speaks of his experiences with then-President Chávez, interviewed by the filmmaker as well as several ex-CIA agents who took part in secret campaigns against democratic countries in the region. “I traveled with Hugo Chavez across Venezuela. I have never known a national leader so respected and held in such affection as Chavez. He was an extraordinary man, who never seemed to sleep, who was consumed by ideas. (…) He was also, incorruptible and tough – tough in the sense that he was brave.”


He also out his new production to be published in the near future, The Coming War between America and China.

Edu Montesanti: Thank you, John, for granting me this interview; I am so very honored by it. Would you comment please your new documentary The Coming War between America and China, to be published? What will it bring to us, what motivates you and what’s your aim?

John Pilger: The new film describes a dangerous and unnecessary cold war between the United States and China: the same cold war that’s directed at Russia. It examines President Obama’s ‘Pivot to Asia’ – the shift of two thirds of American naval power to the Asia-Pacific by 2020 as a military response to the economic rise of China.


Edu Montesanti: What motivated you to produce your 2006 film, set in Latin America, The War on Democracy?

John Pilger: Modern era imperialism is a war on democracy. Genuine democracy is a threat to unfettered power and cannot be tolerated. Most of the governments the US has overthrown or attempted to overthrow since the end of World War two have been democracies; and Latin America has been its theme park of corrupt power and imposing its will. One US ‘success’ was the destruction of the Arbenz government in Guatemala in 1954.

Jacobo Arbenz was a democrat and modest reformer who didn’t believe the United Front Company should run his country and reduce the lives of his people to peonage. To Washington he represented what later said of Nicaragua under the sandinistas; democracy in Guatemala was ‘the threat of a good example’. This was intolerable to the US, and Arbenz was overthrown, personally humiliated and expelled from his own country.

That set the pattern for the entire continent.


Edu Montesanti: In the end of your documentary The War on Democracy, you said that “what happened in the National Stadium in Santiago, Chile, has a special place in the struggle for freedom and democracy throughout Latin America and the world. The vowel is ‘never again’”.

Countries in Latin America with progressive governments have lived under the constant threat of the “color revolution”, a non-violent method to overthrow governments perfected by the American Gene Sharp, a North-American professor of Political Science. Given also the opposition pro-US victory in recent elections in Venezuela, Argentina and in a referendum in Bolivia, do you fear a new dominance of US interests in the region? What is your prospect for Latin America, and what does the Bolivarian Revolution mean for the region?

John Pilger: This is a dangerous time in Latin America. The gains made by the social democracies are more precarious than ever. The US used to refer to Latin America as its “farm”, having never accepted the independence of Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador and, of course, Cuba.

The US wants its “farm” back. There is much to lose. I read the other day that, according to the Bolivian Ministry of Health, 85,000 lives had been saved in Bolivia by Cuban doctors. It’s an achievement on that scale that is at risk now.

They need our voices and support as never before.


Full article: https://zcomm.org/znetarticle/the-war-on-democracy-in-latin-america/

LA Times Interviews Bernie Sanders

By Bernie Sanders

Source: LA Times

March 25, 2016


The following is a transcript of Bernie Sanders’ meeting with the Los Angeles Times’ editorial board on March 23, 2016.

Nicholas Goldberg (editor of the editorial pages): Thanks for doing this on such short notice. We’re excited because it means that the California primary, even though it comes so late in the cycle, is not meaningless.

Bernie Sanders: To me it is not meaningless.



Goldberg: Good. We have a lot of questions. We’re on the record. We are almost exclusively people from the opinion side of the paper. But we do have a person from the news pages as well. You are being recorded, so stuff could end up in the paper. If you want to go off the record, just tell us and that’s fine. We have a lot of people with a lot of questions, I think, so don’t let your answers go on too long just so we can get more of them in.

Sanders: OK.

Nick Goldberg: I’ll start with a touchy-feely question. I’m sure people will have more specific programmatic questions. But I wanted to ask if you could talk about how your ideas on poverty and wealth and income inequality and economic fairness were formed. It seems to be such a deep and integral part of your being. I wonder whether if it came from books, something you lived, something you witnessed?

Sanders: I think, Nick, that’s a good question. I’ve thought about that a lot. I can’t give you a definitive answer. But I think, to a significant degree, it resulted from the family life I grew up in. My father came to this country at the age of 17. He had no money, couldn’t speak English. Never made a whole lot of money. He was a paint salesman. We lived, for the first part of my life, in a three-and-a-half-room rent-controlled apartment in Brooklyn, N.Y.

There was always a lot of tension in our house with regard to money. My mother, her dream was that she would own her own home. Not an apartment. She died young. She never achieved that dream. So there was always stress in the household over money. I learned that economics lesson at a very young age. I’ve studied economics since. But I would answer your question knowing what lack of money does to a family.

I’m not suggesting we were poor or hungry. That was not the case. But it had a major impact on my political thinking.


Full article: https://zcomm.org/znetarticle/la-times-interviews-bernie-sanders/

SYRIA: Aleppo’s Black Box is Found Under the Rubble of Propaganda

Vanessa Beeley

21st Century Wire

Perhaps more than any other region in Syria, Aleppo has been the hub of the NATO/US/Gulf media and NGO propaganda, intent on demonization of the Syrian Government and Syrian Arab Army. White Helmet central, Aleppo has been the concealed nest of Al Nusra operatives, overt or covert, disguised as the ‘Syria Civil Defence’, white helmeted “saviours of all Humanity” provided the Humanity has no associations with the Syrian Government, Shia, Kurdish or Christian factions in or surrounding Aleppo.

Since the Syrian Arab Army has advanced deeper into Al Nusra and ISIS territory uprooting the terrorist cells, the truth has revealed itself by degrees.

Probably first to break mainstream media ranks, was Stephen Kinzer of the Boston Globe:

“COVERAGE OF the Syrian war will be remembered as one of the most shameful episodes in the history of the American press. Reporting about carnage in the ancient city of Aleppo is the latest reason why.


For three years, violent militants have run Aleppo. Their rule began with a wave of repression. They posted notices warning residents:


“Don’t send your children to school. If you do, we will get the backpack and you will get the coffin.” Then they destroyed factories, hoping that unemployed workers would have no recourse other than to become fighters. They trucked looted machinery to Turkey and sold it.”


This was followed by Peter Oborne of the Daily Mail:


*********

More recently, even the Washington Post has reluctantly joined the small band of truth-sayers disseminating the reality of terrorist besieged and occupied Aleppo. Finally it is being revealed that the streets claimed to be furrowed by Syrian Government barrel bombs were in fact scarred by terrorist Hell Cannon missiles ranging from crude cooking gas canisters filled with nails, glass and a variety of projectiles to mortars & shells fired indiscriminately into Government held civilian areas.




One particular resident has been consistently outspoken regarding the “moderate rebels” and the unstoppable tide of Rami Jarrah, Syria Campaign, White Helmet propaganda. All names are withheld for their security as there is an ever present risk of reprisals from the now pressurized terrorist gangs and brigands who remain trapped by the SAA, Hezbollah advances.

President Assad is not exterminating his people. I’m still alive, and no one said a word to me. If something bad happened to me in the near future, it would be because of the terrorists’ policy of extermination. I’m living happily because there are Syrian soldiers who are defending us in hot summers and cold winters. The UN is lying as usual in their reports about Aleppo and Syria in general.” ~ Voice From Aleppo: Stop the Lies

For all previous reports from this individual who has lived through the daily terrorist incursions and shelling in Aleppo, for the last 9 months please go to The Wall Will Fall.


“Corruption!”: Everyone Has It

After years of 24/7 brainwashing of the world with tons of lies, on all type of media, in focusing on ‘spreading democracy’ by force on other nations, or changing regimes that don’t obey them, and after all these evil strategies were in vain… perhaps they could solve the problem by removing the “democracy glasses” they forced the globe to wear in the first place. Apart from anything else, no one believes that they really wanted to spread real democracy and freedom in the world. It’s all phony and fake versions of democracy that destroy nations.

Syrians were living peacefully for decades, happily and independent. We had corruption? And who doesn’t have it ?

They need serious reforms in politics and government? Many reforms actually took place between 2000-2010, and many of the old corrupted figures left Syria before 2005 to live abroad – with their stolen fortunes. These same corrupt figures went on to become the “moderate rebels” greatest supporters.


What I always used to say is that before the crisis, Syria had almost 80-95% of what any nation seeks to have – a 75-80% legal and straightforward progress. 15-20% corruption at worst. A society where the progress is possible after paying bribes, something no one is proud of but we can’t do much about it unfortunately. We only lacked 3-5% of political reforms and freedom.

This whole crisis, destruction, cleansing, uprooting people from their homes, poverty, refugees problem, infrastructure systematic destruction, raping women, beheading innocents, looting, erasing priceless heritage and historical and sacred buildings and architecture, creating all zombie-like trash criminals that invaded us from all over the world…..

All that and a lot more, was created in the name of gaining those missing 3% of rights. As result, Syrians lost 80% of what they had before, and didn’t gain the 3% that was promised to them.



Author Vanessa Beeley is a contributor to 21WIRE, and since 2011, she has spent most of her time in the Middle East reporting on events there – as a independent researcher, writer, photographer and peace activist. She is also a member of the Steering Committee of the Syria Solidarity Movement, and a volunteer with the Global Campaign to Return to Palestine. See more of her work at her personal blog The Wall Will Fall.

Full article: http://21stcenturywire.com/2016/03/23/syria-aleppos-black-box-is-found-under-the-rubble-of-propaganda/

Isis's Chemical Weapons Attack On Civilians in Iraq: An Eyewitness Report On The Aftermath

March 23, 2016Taif Jany

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Children affected by ISIS’s chemical weapons attack on Taza. Photo by Mustafa al-Obeidi

Within days of the 28th anniversary of the chemical weapons attack on the residents of Halabja in Iraq’s Kurdistan Region – which a 1991 Human Rights Watch investigation called “the single largest chemical weapons attack against a civilian population in the world” – we are monitoring reports of chemical weapons once again being used against a civilian population in Iraq.

The Islamic State or Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) – against the predominantly Iraqi Shia Turkmen residents of Taza Khurmato (also known as Taza), a farming village just south of the city of Kirkuk.

This week, I talked with Mustafa al-Obeidi, head of an Iraqi humanitarian organization who visited the village of Taza just a week after the March 8, 2016 chemical weapons attack by ISIS. He claims that as many as 6,000 inhabitants have been made violently ill by the mustard gas and chlorine-containing rockets used in the attack. This far outstrips media reports, which estimate 500 to 800 casualties.

Al-Obeidi claims that the public health center in Taza could confirm the high number of those affected, however Iraq’s Ministry of Health has asked the center’s medical staff to stay quiet. He believes that the Iraqi government might be downplaying the severity of the attack in order to avoid panic.


Full article: http://www.epic-usa.org/isis_chemical_attack_on_taza/

We’ve All Been Stiffed: It’s Time to Shift from Complaining About the Plutocratic Corruption of Our

Country to Stopping It


Anti-Big Money sentiment has fueled both Sanders' and Trump's run. The moment is ripe to rally a People's rebellion.

By Jim Hightower / AlterNet March 24, 2016

The time has come. Six years after the Supreme Court’s malignant Citizens United ruling, nearly every American plainly sees how our nation’s historic, political ethic of citizen equality — “one person one vote” — has been buried in a roaring avalanche of corrupt, corporate money and voter suppression. Moreover, nearly nine years after Wall Street thieves wrecked our economy, the great majority also plainly sees that the court’s turbo-charge of money politics has produced economic policies that richly reward the plutocratic robbers and coldly abandon the robbed.

There’s no need to convince the American people that they’ve been stiffed. As they reveal in poll after poll, they know it, for they’re experiencing it personally, and they’re furious at the business-as-usual establishment that has done it to them. A major, non-partisan survey taken last September by Public Policy Polling found:

— 80 percent of Republicans and 82 percent of Democrats “strongly agree” that special interest money has too much influence in political campaigns. Only 4 percent in either party disagreed.

— 85 percent of GOP primary voters and 86 percent of Democrats agree that elections would be less corrupt if candidates focused on small donations from ordinary people, rather than on big money from special interests.


Full article: http://www.alternet.org/local-peace-economy/weve-all-been-stiffed-its-time-shift-complaining-about-plutocratic-corruption

Trudeaumania charms Washington

by Eric Walberg / March 20th, 2016

Trudeau’s budding “bromance” with US President Barak Obama in March marks the first official visit by a Canadian leader since 1997, when Liberal Prime Minister Jean Chretien visited the last charismatic Democratic president, Bill Clinton. Both visits were friendly–Clinton gushed at the time: “We have the most comprehensive ties of any two nations on earth.” Chretien was not invited by Clinton’s successor, George Bush, who was furious when Chretien refused to join his “coalition of the willing” to invade Iraq. More like ‘bro-hate’.

Trudeau’s new-found mentor had some witty advice. Obama joked about Trudeau’s previous jobs: “If things get out of hand, remember the prime minister used to work as a bouncer,” referring to Trudeau’s reminiscences in his memoirs Common Ground. He also laid on a lavish state dinner for Trudeau and his wife Sophie Gregoire-Trudeau, featuring Canadian staples poutine, Nanaimo bars and white chocolate snowballs.

Both visits had their problems. Back in the 1990s, the top item was the enduring boycott by the US of Cuba, by then almost four decades old. Despite being a fellow liberal, US President Clinton was lamely defending the Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity (Libertad) Act, passed by Congress the previous year, which allowed Americans to sue foreign companies doing business in Cuba. Governments around the world condemned the act, arguing that the law ran counter to the spirit of international law and sovereignty.


Trudeau likes the family analogy, toasting the two nations as “siblings” at the White House dinner. “To be able to count on a friend who has lived through many of the things I am about to encounter on the political stage, on the international stage, is a great comfort to me. I’m always pleased to hear from President Obama about how he’s dealt with difficult issues of the past because he is a man of both tremendous heart and tremendous intellect.”

Trudeau’s honeymoon with the US could be coming to an end, but not with his political soul mate. In the few short months before Obama retires, there is still time to advance an agenda which the next US president will at least have to contend with. This will include an address to Canada’s parliament later this spring. That would make him the first US president to do so since Clinton was invited by Chretien in 1995. Trudeau is hopeful about this historic moment for both leaders–and both countries: “On our own, we make progress. But together, we make history.”


Full article: http://dissidentvoice.org/2016/03/trudeaumania-charms-washington/

I wish these two had had more time to work together.
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