Sunday, December 30, 2018

Sanity Sunday Musical Break - Steel Drum Party

by Nomad

Since it has been a fairly hellish year, I would like to close down 2018 on an upbeat and celebratory note. For that, I put together this collection of tunes played on the steel drums.
Hope it lightens your mood as we prepare to bid farewell to the year.

Friday, December 28, 2018

Lyudmila Alexeyeva's Final Speech

by Nomad

A few days before her death on 8 December, 91-year-old human rights campaigner Lyudmila Alexeyeva sent her along a message to the members of the Moscow Helsinki Group. The organization was originally established in 1976 to monitor Soviet compliance with the Helsinki Accords. After being shut down after the fall of the Soviet Union, it was revived in the 1990s and continues to operate in Russia today.

In her letter, she reflected on the human rights movement in Russia and offered a few words of advice to the younger generations.  

Monday, December 24, 2018

Friday, December 21, 2018

On the Question of Indictments

by Nomad

In a poll this week, out of all the choices, the majority of NP readers predicted that Trump would be indicted and removed from office. Nearly half of all respondents said that Trump would either be indicted (and forced to resign or impeached by Congress).
As with most things tainted by politics, it's unfortunately not quite as cut and dry as that.

The Indictment Immunity Debate

The scandal-tortured Trump presidency has brought up a fundamental legal question. Outside of the constitutional process, namely, impeachment, can the president be held legally accountable while he is in office? Can he be indicted for crimes?

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Poll: How will the Trump Presidency End?

by Nomad

Time for a test of your prophetic abilities. In the graphic below, you will find a few possible outcomes for President Trump. Click on the button of the scenario which you think most likely.
(Note: One vote per person and choose carefully. There's no way to erase your vote.  )

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Sanity Sunday Musical Break - In Memory of Nancy Wilson

by Nomad

This week marked the passing of legendary jazz vocalist Nancy Wilson. She was 81.

With a career that spanned over a half century,  Wilson recorded more than seventy albums and won three Grammy Awards for her recordings.
According to her biography:
She was second only to the Beatles in sales, and her albums outsold those of Frank Sinatra, Peggy Lee and the Beach Boys.
What a lot of people don't know is that Wilson was also an activist for civil rights in the 1960s. At a time when activism could mean the end of a promising career, Wilson participated in the 1965 Selma march.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Masha Gessen: The Decline of Democratic Values in Russia is a Warning to the World

by Nomad

Never heard of Masha Gessen?

This Russian-American journalist has an important message for liberal democracies around the world.
Examine what happened in Russia and never think it can't happen in your own country.

A Touch of Irony in St. Petersburg

The other day I was reading the headlines in The Moscow Times and I saw an item that seemed to come straight from the days of the Soviet Empire. That was a time when the Kremlin attempted to muzzle writers and suppress their works.

Reportedly, customs officials in St. Petersburg stopped a best-selling book (ordered through Amazon) entry. It would, it was explained, require that the buyer, human rights lawyer Sergei Golubok, provide a written assurance that the material was not extremist in nature.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Sanity Sunday Musical Break- Tribute to John Lennon

by Nomad


Yesterday marked the anniversary of the death of ex-Beatle John Lennon. It is just impossible for me to believe that 38 years have passed since that senseless murder outside the Dakota Apartment Building on 72nd and Central Park West.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

The Truth about Food Stamps and the Right to Access to Affordable Food

by Nomad

A Kentucky Congressman's tweet about food stamps demonstrates how detached the GOP is when it comes to the economic realities of hunger in America.

The Right to Affordable Food

The other day, I read that a Republican congressman from Kentucky, Thomas Massie, facetiously asked, if affordable healthcare is a right, whether Americans should also have a right to food.

The tweet was, our source tells us, "an attempt to combat criticism from Democrats of conservative lawmakers’ proposals to reform the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)."
Even though Massie probably didn't realize it, he brings up a good point. Why shouldn't affordable food for all Americans be a right in the world's richest countries? Can't we as a nation afford to feed our poor?

And, while we're at it, why not a right to have access to clean water or clean air? Safe working conditions and job security?

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Piecing Together the Trump-Russian Conspiracy Puzzle

by Nomad

Like an immense jigsaw puzzle, the full picture of the Trump-Russian conspiracy has often been hard to view in its entirety. There's a good reason for that. No doubt about it, it's extremely complex. But more than that, the relationship and the importance of each piece of evidence keep changing.
What seems inexplicable today can suddenly seem critical tomorrow. For an amateur investigator trying to understand what took place, it is a daunting task.
We saw that this week when Trump's former lawyer (and problem-solver) appeared in court.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Sanity Sunday Musical Break- Chill Mix

by Nomad

Time to kick back and mull over the events of the past week and to try and speculate what's to come. Watching the president helpless thrash and flail as the ship of state slowly begins to right itself is, in a strange way, entertaining and reassuring.

This week's Sanity Sunday Musical break is a pretty random mix of relaxing "chill" tunes. Hope you enjoy the selection.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

The Truth about Donald Trump's Particular Kind of Lies

by Lee McIntyre, Boston University

President Donald Trump speaks to the media outside of the White House. AP/Evan Vucci

Recently, I heard an interesting remark by Russian-born journalist Masha Gessen. She compared three larger-than-life politicians, Vladimir Putin, Silvio Berlusconi, and Donald Trump. Specifically, she compared the manner in which they deceive the public and why they do so.
The way Putin lies, the way Berlusconi lies, and the way Trump lies are exactly the same. They all lie in a blatant way, you know... They do something that to Americans has been very difficult to absorb which is that they lie about things that are obviously not true in order to assert power.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Operation InfeKtion: The Worldwide War on Truth - Part 3

by Nomad

Taking Action Against Active Measures

When it comes to mounting a defense against Russian disinformation, targeted governments from Pakistan to Mexico, from the UK to the USA, have shown themselves to be woefully ill-equipped.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Sanity Sunday Musical Break- Stéphane Grappelli

by Nomad

French jazz violinist, Stéphane Grappelli, might not be a familiar name to many of you. Grappelli has been called "the grandfather of jazz violinists" and certainly has a distinctive style.

Throughout his career, Grappelli collaborated with my top musicians like Jean-Luc Ponty, Yehudi Menuhin, Yo-Yo Ma, and most famously, swing guitarist, Django Reinhardt. (For a more complete biography, click here.)

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Operation InfeKtion: The Seven Commandments of Fake News - Part 2

by Nomad

Operation InfeKtion: The Seven Commandments of Fake News is part two of a three-part NYT op-ed series takes a closer look at Russia's highly developed disinformation campaign and why it has, so far, been so effective.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

A Closer Look at Trump's Amoral Defense of Saudi Arabia's Murder of Jamal Khashoggi

by Nomad

Gangsters Defending Gangsterism

Yesterday's statement from President Donald J. Trump about the US stand on Saudi Arabia in the wake of the Khashoggi murder seems worth a closer look.
Never in America's history have we seen such an appalling repudiation of international law and order by a sitting president. In a word, it is a disgrace.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Operation InfeKtion: Meet the KGB Spies who Invented Fake News - Part 1

by Nomad

"If you don't know who to trust anymore, this might be the thing that's making you feel that way. If you feel exhausted by the news, this could be why. And if you're sick of it all and you just want to stop caring, then we really need to talk."

The Art of Deception

Supreme warfare is achieved by overcoming one's enemy without fighting. That's a fundamental precept from the Chinese military general Sun Tzu's "The Art of War.

All warfare, writes Tzu, is based on deception. And the most successful type of warfare is that where the enemy does not recognize the battlefield and the type of weapons used. The greatest victory is that which requires no battle.
Therefore the skillful leader subdues the enemy's troops without any fighting; he captures their cities without laying siege to them; he overthrows their kingdom without lengthy operations in the field.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

A Cautionary Tale about the Danger of Saviors and Blind Obedience

by Nomad

History has all kinds of interesting lessons to teach us. Here is one I recently found. 

The Saviors that Failed

The ancient concept of the Messiah, (mâšîah, "the anointed one") once figured prominently in the Jewish faith. In its basic form, the prophecies foretold of a divinely inspired leader who will save the world, or at least the nation of Israel.

Scholars tell us the belief originated with the exiled Jews in Babylonia in sixth century BC. It was practically a mania six centuries later when Israel fell under Roman rule.

As the long-awaited Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth represented only one candidate. Many others appeared before and after the Christ and drew large followings. The majority of them were religion-obsessed lunatics or outright charlatans.  

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

How Roger Stone's Trump Campaign Timeline Spells Trouble for the GOP Dirty Trickster

by Nomad

Yesterday, right-wing conspiracy theory-monger, Jerome Corsi, said in an interview that he expects to soon be indicted by Robert Mueller as part of the Russian collusion investigation.

According to NBC News, Corsi is just s one of several associates of Roger Stone who have been called by Mueller to appear before a grand jury.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

The Weekly Review (Nov 5 - 11) and Sanity Sunday Musical Break

by Nomad

Even in the face of a mid-term victory for patriotic Americans, it was still a horrible and stress-filled week. After the good news, there was literally one shock after the other. The week then closed with Trump making an embarrassment of himself on the world stage.
We have a lot of ground to cover so let's hop to it.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

The Idle Chit Chat Game - Round Two

by Nomad

Last month, I tested out a diversion called the "Idle Chit-Chat Game. Its aim was to encourage a bit of discussion, outside the doom and gloom of the current times.
And I have to say I was really impressed with the results. You all put a lot of thought into your answers. The mini-discussions were fascinating and insightful.
I understand that a lot of nomads are stressed out by the possible outcome of the mid-term elections and thought you might enjoy another round.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Weekly Review (Oct 29 - Nov.4) and a Vintage Musical Sanity Break

by Nomad

Weekly Wrap-Up of American Politics
Here's a review of the events that happened in this the last week before the mid-term election. It is brought to you by WTF Just Happened Today? read by Joe Amditis.
Saturday's review is supplied by PBS NewsHour.

Friday, November 2, 2018

Persecution in East Africa: Light a Candle for a Gay Tanzanian in Hiding

by Nomad

This rather cryptic message was found on Reddit:

pray for us

there is an order from our RC (of the capital city ) that all gay people should be reported & will undergo medical test and if they are confirmed to engage in gay sex they gonna die in jail..some of the famous gays from instagram are already caught! being gay is illegal in my country but i never thought they would go this far! i've been single since forever & nobody knows that am gay but this has really broke my is the most talked topic at school to the point that am afraiding to go to school..pray for us yall.. and sorry for my english

edit: until now 12 suspected gay men are already arrested

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Why America's Survival Depends on Rejecting Trump's Nationalism

by Nomad

(From Mad Magazine, 1968)

The Beneficiaries of Hatred

Blind hate has been around since the days of Cain and Abel. According to that story, Cain's hate caused him to murder his own brother and as a result, Cain was cursed and marked for life. In some respects, we all wear that mark. It sometimes seems as though humanity will never be able to extinguish it. People hating other people is just part of our DNA.

Monday, October 29, 2018

From the Archives: When Nazis Marched on the Streets of New York City

by Nomad

Back on November 21, 2015, Nomadic Politics posted an article about a historical event which, at that time, had received very little attention. 

After the election which saw Donald Trump rise to power, quite a few other news outlets recounted the event. Then came the incident in Charlottesville and Trump's attempt to equate Nazi thugs with the people who protested them. Those recent events brought more coverage of the events of 1939. 

In memory of the 11 victims of the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting on Saturday morning, I have decided to reprint this particular post. 
I hope you find it interesting reading.

Fascism Made in the USA: The Night Nazis Fought on the Streets of New York City

The United States has had its share of fascist groups that have come and gone. One of those was the American Nazi Party, the Bund Party. Here's the story of its 1939 rally and how it led to its collapse. 

A "Pro-American" Rally

On the night of 20 February 1939, something occurred that became an interesting footnote in American history. Today it is mostly a forgotten bit of the history of New York City. And for many, it could be a period they would rather not recall.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Putting this Week to Bed (October 22- 28)

by Nomad

Top Story

This week, unsettling news on a national level wiped clean last week's story about the gruesome murder of Saudi exile Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Five Letters to the Editor from Red States

by Nomad

Scouring local newspapers around the nation, I found that even in predominately Republican-controlled states, there is still reason for hope. Many of the letters to the editor show signs that dissatisfaction with the current management of government is a bipartisan (or non-partisan) issue.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Dirty Lies: How Donald Trump Suckered Coal Miners to Win the 2016 Election

by Nomad

The story of how Donald Trump lied to coal miners to win an election and continues to lie to them today. 

UnBelievable Promises

All through the 2016 campaign, Donald Trump fired up his crowds with promises to revive the coal mining and restore mining jobs in places like Kentucky and West Virginia. In speech after speech, he pledged to end Obama's attack on the coal industry and in coal country, that's an idiot-proof way to get a standing ovation.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Weekly Review (Oct 15- 21) Plus the Sanity Sunday Musical Break

by Nomad

Weekly Review
The main story this week was, of course, the same one as last week- the appalling and gruesome murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Ahmad Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
A timeline of statements from the Saudi authorities show repeated changes to their narrative- meaning, lies- ever since Mr. Khashoggi walked into the consulate and mysteriously disappeared.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Podcast: The Palin Interviews, 10 Years Later

by Nomad

It's really hard to believe that an entire decade has passed since John McCain's vice presidential candidate stepped up on the nation's political stage. So much has taken place since then. McCain has met his maker but Sarah Palin is holed up in Wasilla still flinging inane remarks via twitter and Facebook.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Why the Trump Administration's Attack on Public Libraries Should Worry all Americans

by Nomad

From Page to Ashes to Dust

Apart from genocide or the intentional extinction of an animal species, nothing, in my opinion, is sadder than the destruction of a library.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

The Search For My Grandfather in the KGB's Ukrainian Files

by Bernie Neufeld, Guest Contributor

One of our nomads, Linda, recently asked me if I would be interested in posting an article written by her brother in law, Bernie Neufeld and his quest to learn the facts about his grandfather's fate. I think you will find his story engrossing.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Jared Kushner, Son-in-Law and Trump's Hidden Genius

by Nomad

Nikki's Non-Sarcastic Remark

A most extraordinary thing happened this week. Oh, I know. You are saying, "But Nomad, you say that every week." Every week I mean it, too. It is usually something extraordinary mixed with a dollop of ridiculousness combined with a whole septic tank of nastiness.  

When U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley announced her resignation, she lavished praise on the president's daughter Ivanka and her husband, Jared Kushner. But that wasn't the extraordinary thing.

After all, sucking up to this president is a full-time job. That and swiping documents off his desk, coming up with the appropriate lies to explain the inexplicable, and finding a way to tell the man there is a tiny bit of you-know-what stuck to his heel.

Halley said
"I can’t say enough good things about Jared and Ivanka [Trump]."
That pithy remark has remarkable pivoting power if you cared to analyze it. Enough good things? Claiming Jared and Ivanka are well-washed and smell nice is probably sufficient for any half-way honest person.
Ambassadors, as we all know, are trained to say the most absurd things without blinking and Nikki, as incompetent as she is, has picked up that talent along the way. She added:
"Jared is such a hidden genius that no one understands."

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Repost: With One United Voice: The First Stirrings of the Women's Rights Movement

by Nomad

(This post was originally published on December 5, 2015.)

When the Founding Fathers declared that a government earns its true legitimacy from the consent of the governed, they hadn't counted on women taking it to the next logical step.

The 1850 Women's Rights Convention

Recently I uncovered this interesting quote by an early American reformer/activist named Frances Dana Gage. Ring any bells? Probably not. Her name isn't as familiar to the general public as it should be. Even among modern feminists, she is a largely obscure figure. 
I think that's a pity.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

A Nomadic Diversion: The Idle Chat Game

by Nomad

With all that went down this week, all of it low-down and unbecoming a nation that was once so proud, I really didn't think you were up for a weekly review. I don't know about you all but I feel like a wet rag that been rung out and put on a clothesline. Enough already, say I.
So, after having consulted my experts, I decided that a proper diversion was in order. 

Friday, October 5, 2018

The Slow Death and Unexpected Rebirth of Civic Duty

by Nomad

What is a "civic duty" and why has the idea become so important in recent days?

A Quaint Old Fashioned Phrase

When Professor Christine Ford sat before the Senate Judiciary Committee, she must have anticipated that her motives for reporting her accusations against Supreme Court nominee Kavanaugh would be treated with suspicion.

Some on the Republican side were very interested in who might have paid for her travel expenses and polygraph, implying she was being supported by enemies of the administration. Others -perhaps those who have spent decades wallowing in the Washington swamp- were simply unable to imagine anybody without sinister ulterior motives.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Special People: Why Listening to the Disabled is One Way to Combat Bullying

by Nomad

I hope you won't mind that I decided to take a small break from politics in order to share a recent YouTube discovery. I have literally spent hours in the last week, watching video after video, sometimes laughing and sometimes with eyes full of tears.

I feel enriched- for want of a better word- as a result of meeting some pretty awesome people. If you have the spare time to watch some of the videos, it will be worth every second.

How to Enable Bullies

For many of us, as jaded as we think we are, it is still difficult and depressing to understand that we live in a world in which bullies (and villains) often go unpunished.
It offends my sense of justice.
We live in a world where such people can even become presidents and still worse, where their perverted and intolerant notions can become public policy.

Sunday, September 30, 2018

The Week in Review (Sept.24- 30) and a Musical Sanity Break

by Nomad

Calling this an "incredible" or a "historical" week just doesn't do justice to the political roller-coaster ride that Nomads endured in the last seven days. I am sure that most of you feel a more than a little "shell-shocked" by the events. 
So, here, in all its glory, is a record of the events as they unfolded. 

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

The Fascinating Story of the Fig Tree in the Cypriot Cave

by Nomad

On a divided island was a fig tree that grew where it shouldn't have.

Cyprus Divided

Since the summer of 1974, the Mediterranean island of Cyprus has been partitioned by an artificial border running east and west. The details about that division came about is still a very sensitive subject for both Greeks and Turks.

Monday, September 24, 2018

How the Kavanaugh Fiasco is a Test of the Ideals of the Women's March and MeToo

by Nomad

Kavanaugh Women

Despite the worldwide marches and the Me Too movement, the Kavanaugh confirmation debacle has shown in stark terms how little has changed when it comes to Republican respect for women.

Women's March

On January 21, 2017, something spectacular occurred. A worldwide protest, the largest single-day protest in U.S. history, as one source said, "to harness the political power of diverse women and their communities to create transformative social change."
Women’s March is committed to dismantling systems of oppression through nonviolent resistance and building inclusive structures guided by self-determination, dignity and respect.
In the US, between 3 to 5 million people put on their comfortable shoes and took to the streets. The message: the privileges of a male patriarchy- the old order- would no longer be blindly accepted. Women’s rights are human rights and human rights are women’s rights. And those rights must be respected.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Sanity Sunday Musical Break - Pat Metheny

by Nomad

With permission, I decided to forgo the usual weekly review for this week. The news was dominated by one major story and as important as that might be, it was covered ad nauseam by every newspaper, radio, and TV news outlet. Ultimately, the Kavanaugh confirmation fiasco is still in limbo so I will pick up the thread next week.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Ken Starr and Brett Kavanaugh: Where Hypocrisy and Karma Collide

by Nomad

On Sunday, former independent counsel, Kenneth Starr appeared on CNN to offer his two cents on the sexual assault allegations against  SCOTUS-nominee Kavanaugh. 

The claims were, he said, an "unfortunate, serious allegation." (Unfortunate, but for whom?)
He was outraged by the timing of the leaked report and how the whole thing was handled. Furthermore, to his accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, Starr said:
"You had your opportunity to come forward and you failed to do that year after year after year."

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Weekly Recap (Sept. 10-16) and a Musical Sanity Break

by Nomad

For most of this week, the nation's eyes were turned to the Carolinas as monster hurricane named Florence threatened East coast devastation. It was the first major hurricane of the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season

For a moment, Americans were offered a chance to talk about something besides Trump and his latest shenanigans. Unfortunately, that respite was short-lived and by mid-week, Trump managed to elbow his way back into our lives.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Face Value: Why It's Time for a Congressional Face Lift

by Nomad

Here are two very similar faces. Even though they could be identical twins, the differences between them are quite subtle. You have to look carefully.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

The Week in Review (Sept 3-9) and a Musical Sanity Break

by Nomad

Three stories dominated this week's news: Bob Woodward's expose on the Trump White House, the disastrous Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court confirmation hearings, and the anonymous op-ed piece in the New York Times.

Monday seems to be the day in which everybody in Washington takes a deep breath and waits for the baseball-sized hail to begin pelting the rooftops. Nothing much seemed to happen so we will continue on to Tuesday.

The Kavanaugh "Sham"
Tuesday was unquestionably a historical day of political fireworks. Not the kind of display that makes audiences coo in awe. More like the kind that makes people shudder and grow red-faced in fury.
Even before the confirmation hearing began in the Senate on Tuesday morning, things got off to a rocky start. In question was the manner in which potentially-damaging information about the nominee was withheld from Senate committee members until the last minute. 

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Good News Round Up for September 2018

by Nomad

What with all of the rigmarole, brouhaha, and hubbub in the last few months, my monthly feature offering good news somehow completely slipped my mind. An appalling oversight on my part, to be sure.

Helen Keller once said:
Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see a shadow.
In this spirit, I offer this good news post for the month of September to counter-balance the perfectly hissable sleaze who resides in the White House.  

Food for Homeless a Form of Free Speech
A judge for the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, Adalberto Jordan ruled last week that sharing food with the homeless could be considered a form of constitutionally-protected free speech. Jordan's ruling flies in the face of numerous local ordinances criminalizing food-based outreach throughout the country. 

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Sanity Sunday: The Weekly Review (Aug 27-Sept 2) and a Musical Break

by Nomad

Considering Trump's past antics, this week was seemingly tranquil. One reason for that was the McCain funeral to which President Trump was cordially not invited. Despite the sting of the shunning, Trump still managed to find ways to draw attention and, in doing so, make a complete ass of himself.