Be Thankful for…a ceasefire! (even if it may not last)

Happy Thanksgiving America!  What you just saw was a short video of a protest that has been happening since the recent Israel-Gaza conflict began.  Enjoy the long weekend, stuff your faces, and remember all of which you should be grateful like electricity, food, and not getting rocket fire at your doorstep.  Oh and humanity, I suppose, despite rantings and ravings of general public that gets in my way on the sidewalks of New York City, we should be thankful for the rare moments in which people many not fully disappoint.   Few nights ago, it came in the form of a protest.  (Note: It was smartly called Arab SPRING for a reason.  Frozen hands for poor journalists)

So why, be happy about a protest for violations of international law?  Well, maybe happy isn’t the right word…perhaps ‘a sign of progress – warts and all’ is more apt.

“Netanyahu, you can’t hide! Free, free Palestine!”  shouted protestors outside of the Israeli mission to the United Nations here in New York.  Palestinian flags being waved proudly in the cold night air as the usual NYPD protocol applied with metal barriers and a police presence for crowd control.

Do you notice something different about the protest though?

“Zionism is not Judaism!” was shouted into a megaphone…by a Rabbi. The Rabbis with him here not at a different protest, but joined with the Palestinian supporters, all angry at the humanitarian situation during the most recent conflict in the region.

Journalists nearby were commenting on the rare occasion in which you see two ‘rivals’ joining in a call for action.  As chants rang out, I approached Rabbi Yisroel Dovid Weiss,spokesperson of the organization Jews United against Zionism, curious as to why a man like him would be at a protest like this, against Israel no less.

Here’s what he had to say:

Rabbi Weiss speaking on the history of the violence in Gaza and Israel

If anyone is interested in the whole audio, just let me know!

The fact is, a common enemy instead of a common good is what brings these two groups together.  But, that’s a start and hopefully it will lead to finding more common ground in a friend.

Earlier today, it was announced that a ceasefire was agreed upon due, no doubt in part, to Secretary of State Clinton’s visit to Egypt.  (More on that in later posts!)

Delayed post: Obama wins! And the first few weeks…

Well, it’s been a little crazy in the world since President Obama was re-elected!  Unbiased journalism be damned, I’m very happy about this!  Yes, he’s not perfect, but can you imagine the alternative?

And honestly, who doesn’t love the First Family?! So amazing to see Sasha and Malia grow up before our eyes.

However, now the dust has settled and the real work begins.  Drones, the fiscal cliff, the foreign policy cliff, the fact that Obama didn’t win by an overwhelming majority of the popular vote are all issues that will need to be addressed.

Perhaps we’ve seen signs setting the tone for the next administration already.

The President at a recent press conference after being asked about Senator John McCain and Senator Lindsay Graham’s out right refusal to approve United Nations Ambassador for the position of Secretary of State should she be nominated:

And then there’s this whole General Petraeus MESS.  A ridiculous soap opera which has effectively ended the storied career of a man who was doing a solid job, by most accounts, commanding the war in Afghanistan.  There are some rumors about how the CIA would have had to have asked the FBI to investigate the General’s emails and..ahem…personal communications.  Why would they do this?  Well, from what I’ve read Petraeus was not well liked by some at Langley because he came in from the outside instead of an intelligence officer from within being promoted.  Of course, this might just be speculation from the reports I’ve read however.  There’s the other side of the story that Kardashian look-alike Jill Kelly and her shirtless FBI paramour were the ones who initiated and then pushed for the investigation.   Fact is, he has resigned and WE’RE STILL AT WAR.

Despite the the threat to national security secrets, a crime was not found to be committed.  To be honest, given his history, I don’t really care who he’s sleeping with as long as that information is kept where it needs to be kept.  It remains to be seen what kind of effect this will have in the future.

If you think this is confusing and ridiculous…it is. Via Washington Post

Further posts regarding Burma/Myanmar, Israel/Gaza, attending a sustainability/corporate social responsibility conference, Bal Thackeray’s death in Bombay, and much more.  I’ve been pretty lax in regaling you with information essential and in a feeble attempt to improve my writing speed, I’ve decided to do my own version of NaNoWriMo – 30 posts or more in the next 30 days.  Please pass on my blog to any and all interested!

LIVE-TWEETING Foreign policy Presidential debate

ImageHello readers!  The night has finally arrived and thankfully, because I AM SICK OF THE ELECTION. There, I said it.  If you’re still undecided, WHAT THE HELL DO YOU WANT TO KNOW that you can’t Google about the candidates??!!!??!

Ok, I feel better having gotten that out.

Foreign policy wonks await with bated breath the messy, shout-y, hopefully factually correct debate in just a few hours.  I will not be live-blogging the debate tonight and instead exercising my snark via Twitter (@RestlessRani or tune in to this page on the bottom right).

I will also be writing up a final analysis piece will post the link here!

I’ve heard/seen a lot of people who feel foreign policy doesn’t matter in a US election.  This couldn’t be further from the truth.  Do you buy goods made in China?  Do you know how much of your tax dollars are funding fighting in Afghanistan, where children and American soldiers face incredible danger?  Do you fuel up your car?  Everything is related.  Foreign policy is a complex dance requiring a cool head without being cold, a deep understanding of history and relationships without jumping to conclusions without accurate assessment of the current situation.

No doubt, Romney will call Obama an appeaser and apologist.  Obama will counter with his history of drone strikes, aggressive counter-terrorism strategy, and Osama bin Laden.  Romney will mention the debacle of the Benghazi tragedy – both sides have handled that badly.  Obama will certainly bring up Romney’s comments regarding labeling China as a currency manipulator on Day 1 of his Presidency.  I hope the supposed President Romney plans on getting rid of all the electronics in the White House should that happen.  Absolutely ridiculous statement when the US economy would be in even further trouble without China.  Obama will need to be clear, however, on his plans for Afghanistan.  What happens if the Taliban retake Kabul in 2014?

In preparation for tonight, here are some reads/videos I thought were interesting:

Everything You Need To Know About China In 58 Seconds (Buzzfeed)

Why Syria’s Civil War Matters To You  (Buzzfeed)

The Foreign Policy Superbowl (Foreign Policy)

Foreign Policy Isn’t ‘Above Politics’—and Shouldn’t Be (The Atlantic)

Top 10 foreign policy issues facing a new president (NBC News)

Why the foreign policy debate is already ruined (Foreign Policy)

7 foreign policy questions that should be asked … and probably won’t (WashPo)

An Open Letter from Science to the States – Climate Change

Sixty-eight Nobel Prize winners in the science fields, including the two Americans who won this year’s chemistry prize, have signed a letter endorsing President Barack Obama over his Republican rival, Mitt Romney.  Excluding the Nobel committee’s ridiculous decision to award the Peace Prize to the EU (lest they forget the Greek, French, and London riots), this group of award winners is impressive and reputable, to say the least.

Climate change may be one of the most important issues of our time.  It is international, local, science, psychology, sociology, environmental, behavioral, emotional, fiscal, and economics – all at once.  Very few issues are so hotly contested in their very existence, pun intended.  The United States may be one of the only developed nations on Earth not to have acknowledged the crisis on a national level.

People seem to think journalists need to be unbiased, but what that really means is staying true to the facts, investigating the evidence, and relaying those truths.  Climate change exists.  It is a problem and denying it exists or mocking it in a national speech will do nothing to help future generations or our own.  For more information on how climate change can affect the world’s poorest, often unfairly at the receiving end because they have historically not been the people contributing to it, look to UNEarth News.  A digital publication based in the United Nations press corps and soon to have it’s official launch. (I also handle the social media content for @UNEarthNews in addition to it’s sister publication, @MediaGlobal)

Here is the orignal New York Times article with a link to the actual letter from the Nobel prize winners.

LIVE BLOG: Vice Presidential Debate

Dear Readers, I know I’ve been remiss in consistent posting, but things have been busy in the real world these days!  In fact, as I know you’ve been waiting with bated breath for the return of my live-blogging skills, you should stay tuned here!

My live-blog will once again be hosted by the lovely editors at PolicyMic!

I don’t normally comment on American politics, but this election is important as is this particular debate.  I will be writing up-to-the-minute updates from Twitter, Facebook, the web, and TV punditry all in one place.  Keep your laptop open while you watch the two VP candidates square off.  Check out the link now for what to look for on Thursday, October 11, at 9PM EST…there are some elements at play which you may not have considered.

Clinton Global Initiative and UN General Assembly

It’s been a pretty busy few weeks around here!  A trip out to Chicago for a friend’s lovely wedding, then rushing back to New York for the start of the Clinton Global Initiative, and now covering the General Assembly.

In the coming days I’ll post several thoughts on covering one of my first big events as part of the press.  It was exciting and tiring, to say the least!  So tiring in fact, that I had to take a little break for a day or two, but now I’m back at the keyboard, typing away.

I was able to interview some really interesting people and see a host of world leaders.

Stay tuned!

Democratic National Convention Coverage Days 1-3

Update: Thanks to all of you who read the live-blogs!  I was able to draw in nearly 18,000 unique views on the three nights. 

Though I wasn’t able to make it to Charlotte, I was able to see the impact of the DNC as what millions of people saw on television.

Here are links to my live-blogs hosted by PolicyMic from each of the three days!

DAY 1 - Michelle Obama was stunning and delivered a wonderful speech.  There were several excellent speeches on the night.

DAY 2 - BILL CLINTON.  It was more wonk than wistful and full of all the policy and numbers that the campaign needed.  48 minutes and I listened to each one.  

DAY 3 - It was POTUS night.  The speeches leading up were a mixed bag and then Joe Biden came on and did a solid job, making me wonder yet again why people underestimate him as a politician.  President Obama’s speech was not the lofty, soaring rhetoric we are accustomed to seeing from him, but it was an appropriately sobering, realistic, and sincere speech.  It allowed him to acknowledge the weight of governing and take on the criticisms of 2008′s Hope and Change themes.  

Also, here’s a great video from the Washington Post comparing the RNC and DNC which have dominated the news for the past 2 weeks.  Happy Election everyone!

LIVE BLOG: Democratic National Convention

For the next three days I will be live-blogging the Democratic National Convention.  It’s been clear if you have read any of my other pieces that my political views lean left, however I promise to bring you as objective a perspective as I can to my continual updates!

File:Michelle Obama DNC 2008.jpg

PolicyMic will be hosting the live-blog here as they did with my Greek election live updates.  I hope you tune in, enjoy, and participate if you would like!

As usual, the views expressed are my own and you can follow me on twitter @RestlessRani

Democrats have a great advantage, in holding their Democratic National Convention one week after the Republican National Convention, if they play their cards right.

What will this week’s political convention bring? Will there be any ‘Eastwooding’ going on? Will Betty White be there? What will Michelle be wearing? So many questions!

In all seriousness, I believe former President Bill Clinton’s speech on Wednesday evening has the potential to have a big impact on the tone of the Convention. Expect him to call out the RNC on welfare and health care issues, which many Democrats say are blatant lies.

On Tuesday evening, Michelle Obama will speak, and she comes across as a more powerful figure than Ann Romney. Just like Ann Romney’s speech, we should not underestimate the importance of Michelle’s speech, just because spouses have traditionally been softball spokeswomen for their husband candidates. Issues like education, child health, and the continued sacrifices of military families will certainly be on Michelle Obama’s agenda.

This week, I expect to see calculated responses from the Democrats to the criticisms of the RNC, in the form of speeches with specific policy plans. I also expect to see a very effective, simple argument from attack dog Vice President Biden. He and Clinton both have a knack for simplifying complex topics into digestible sound bites, serving as a
complement to the President’s more professorial and cool demeanor.

We can expect a host of targeted criticisms of Paul Ryan’s budget, though the DNC may worry about hosting a classroom lecture on prime-time television. I would love to see that, as I think people need to become more educated about the numbers in order to fully understand the issues at stake. Right now, it seems as though there will most
likely be methodical and maddening fact-checking of every last statement of every speech set to take place at the DNC.

On Thursday, President Obama’s speech will most likely have shades of 2008, with it’s lofty rhetoric set to inspire.  But it will also contain the darker realities of our economic situation. He is certain to address foreign policy, especially Afghanistan, and frame these successes in terms of jobs and the U.S. economy.

PolicyMic: 6 reasons you should worry about Mitt Romney’s foreign policy

Here is a look at the very short, 100 word section of Mitt Romney’s Republican National Convention speech.

“Eastwooding’ may have been the biggest debacle of the night (in which an old, reputable and venerable Hollywood star comes out on stage in front of the nation, disheveled and not making any sense. He literally sat the @InvisibleObama on a chair and talked down to him, implying vulgar language was used.

That may have been the most embarrassing part of the night, but the most worrisome was Romney’s foreign policy section.

Read on HERE.