Saturday, April 22, 2017

Nomadic Meditations on Earth Day 2017

  by Nomad

You are Here Earth


Today, April 22, 2017, is Earth Day, which marks the anniversary of the birth of the modern environmental movement in 1970.
In the 47 years that have passed, there have been triumphs and failures. It seems as though the spread of environmental awareness might not be a potent enough force against the tide of greed and ignorance and the pressures of mindless exploitation.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Good News Round-up: Three Inspiring Stories about Survival

by Nomad


For those of us who were born to care about the world, it's easy to find more than enough depressing things to think about. More than we deserve to see, I think. No doubt, it would be a lot easier to stop worrying and turn our backs the whole damn thing.
Well, I have tried but for some reason, as soon as the fatigue wears off, I keep coming back.
Still, today, at least, we can take a break from the gloom.

Survivor Named Peace

If you ever land in Istanbul while on your world adventures, be sure to look up the Red Cat Publishing House. Besides a lot of books and kind-hearted staff, you are likely to find the cat named Baris, (pronounced Bar-ish). It means Peace in Turkish.

He happens to be a minor celebrity at the moment even in a city famous for its love of stray cats.

Turkey Peace Cat

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Shared Values: VP Mike Pence's Shameless Human Rights Lies in Indonesia

by Nomad

Mike Pence

Proud to Partner

With all that's been going on lately, you might have missed this story. As part of his Asia tour, Vice-president Mike Pence made a stop in tropical Indonesia.
There, he gave praise to what he described as the world's most populous Muslim nation's Indonesia's democracy and moderate form of Islam. It has been held up- as Turkey once was- as the champion of "a more tolerant and moderate Islam."

Agreeing to boost cooperation between the two nations to fight terrorist extremism, Indonesian President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo welcomed Pence.
The vice president, according to the AP story, was there to reinforce traditional U.S. alliances at a time when Donald Trump's presidency has raised questions about the strength of the U.S. commitment to the region.

Pence said:
"As the second- and third-largest democracies in the world, our two countries share many common values including freedom, the rule of law, human rights and religious diversity. The United States is proud to partner with Indonesia. It promotes and protects these values."
Every American- whatever his politics- has a right to question Pence about which shared values he might be referring to. When you take a close look to the reports of independent human right organizations, Pence's claims look much worse than the typical hyperbolical gloss of honey-coated diplomacy.

It is, in fact, the worst kind of misrepresentation. It is also a shame for any nation that has once held itself as a champion and defender of human rights around the world.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Spiraling Out of Control: The Dangerous Fallacies of General Mattis

by Nomad


Contrary to what the Defense Secretary apparently believes, there's a lethal risk in basing American foreign policy on the belief that other nations will pull back from the brink.


Red Lines and Spirals

On April 11, 2017, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and General Joseph L. Votel, commander, U.S. Central Command held a press conference. It was a comparatively sedate and well-mannered meeting with the press. Mattis came across as a wise and disciplined type of leader, something solely lacking in the Trump administration.

However, there was an exchange that stood out for me and worth a bit more attention.
Q: Secretary Mattis, you're a student of history. You're a student of strategy. You've talked about red lines. The president has talked about red lines. The Russians have talked about red lines. At what point is there a danger of this spiraling out of control and to conflict between two nuclear-powered countries?

SEC. MATTIS: I don't believe I've talked about red lines. I generally shy away from it myself. I recommend Assad be rather cautious about violating international law with chemical weapons. I suppose that could be considered a red line. So I won't argue the point.
It will not spiral out of control. As you know, Secretary of State Tillerson is in Moscow. We maintain communications with the Russian military and with the diplomatic channels. It will not spiral out of control.

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