238 years old and counting. We aren’t perfect but I’m proud to be an American. As I said in the title…..Let’s Rock!!!
When I started this blog two and a half years ago I envisioned that it would be a journey where I mostly walked alone. I’m happy to say that this was not the case! I’ve had visitors from over 148 countries around the world as part of over 50,000 views of the 700 posts that I have made so far. I’ve met, and become friends with, people around the world! I would like to single out Gerard from the Netherlands who has been a supporter of this blog almost from day one and who has encouraged me to continue to post via his frequent comments. Unbelievable!
The map shown above shows the countries that the blog has been visited from….the darker the color for a country the more visits I’ve had from it. In case you are interested, the countries that HAVE NOT visited this blog include:
- French Guiana
- Western Sahara
- Sierra Leone
- Burkina Faso
- Cote D’Ivore
- South Sudan
- Central African Republic
- North Korea
I can’t tell you how much I appreciate everyone around the world that has visited this blog. Thanks to each of you for walking with me on a least a portion of this musical journey through time. Please listen to “Walk With Me” by Neil Young as an expression of my thanks to you!
I feel your love
I feel your strong love
I feel the patience
Of unconditional love
I feel the strength
I feel your faith in me
I’ll never let you down
No matter what you do
If you just walk with me
And let me walk with you
I’m on this journey
I don’t wanna walk alone
Walk with me
Walk with me
Walk with me
Walk with me
Walk with me
Shine me a light
Walk with me
Walk with me
I lost some people
I was traveling with
I missed a soul
And the old friendship
If you read any of my three Memorial Day posts you will recall that, while I honored our veterans that died serving our country, I also called for greater restraint in the use of our military forces in the future. Today, two days after my posts, President Obama gave a major foreign policy speech at West Point Military Academy that argues for exactly the same policy that I called for. I don’t believe in coincidence so maybe President Obama reads this blog (I know for a fact that he is a big music fan)……or maybe it’s just that great minds think alike 🙂 Either way, I proud to have him as our President.
Here’s a great article from the Huffington Post about his speech if you are interested in the details.
WEST POINT, N.Y. (AP) — In a broad defense of his foreign policy, President Barack Obama declared Wednesday that the U.S. remains the world’s most indispensable nation, even after a “long season of war,” but argued for restraint before embarking on more military adventures.
Standing before the newest class of officers graduating from the U.S. Military Academy, Obama said, “I would betray my duty to you, and to the country we love, if I sent you into harm’s way simply because I saw a problem somewhere in the world that needed fixing, or because I was worried about critics who think military intervention is the only way for America to avoid looking weak.”
Obama’s speech signaled a concerted effort by the White House to push back against those critics, who contend that the president’s approach to global problems has been too cautious and has emboldened adversaries in Syria, Russia and China. It’s a criticism that deeply frustrates the president and his advisers, who say Obama’s efforts to keep the U.S. out of more military conflicts are in line with the views of the American public.
Even as the U.S. emerges from the two wars that followed the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, Obama said terrorism remains the most direct threat to American security. But he argued that as the threat has shifted from a centralized al-Qaida to an array of affiliates, the American response must change too.
Rather than launching large-scale military efforts, Obama called for partnering with countries where terrorist networks seek a foothold. That effort includes a new $5 billion fund to help countries fight terrorism and to expand funding for Defense Department intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, special operations and other activities.
Obama cast the bloody civil war in Syria as more of counterterrorism challenge than a humanitarian crisis. He defended his decision to keep the U.S. military out of the conflict but said he would seek to increase support for the Syrian opposition, as well as neighboring countries including Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Iraq that have faced an influx of refugees and fear the spread of terrorism.
“In helping those who fight for the right of all Syrians to choose their own future, we also push back against the growing number of extremists who find safe haven in the chaos,” Obama said.One plan being considered by the White House is a project to train and equip members of the Free Syrian Army on tactics, including counterterrorism.
The president’s speech came one day after he outlined plans to wind down America’s lengthy war in Afghanistan by the end of 2016. The blueprint calls for keeping 9,800 troops in Afghanistan for training and counterterrorism even after combat missions end later this year, but then withdraw them within two years.
The drawdown plan is central to Obama’s long-standing pledge to bring to a close both the Afghan conflict and the Iraq war, which ended in late 2011. He was greeted by cheers from the graduating cadets when he noted that they had the distinction of being “the first class to graduate since 9/11 who may not be sent into combat in Iraq or Afghanistan.”
Even as he heralded the end of those two wars, Obama said the U.S. would continue to use military force on its own “when our core interests demand it — when our people are threatened, when our livelihood is at stake, or when the security of our allies is in danger.” He also continued to defend his use of drone strikes in places like Yemen and Somalia but called for increased transparency about the program that has long been shrouded in secrecy.
But a centerpiece of Obama’s address was a defense of his preference for acting as part of an international coalition instead of pressing ahead alone. He challenged skeptics who see that approach as a sign of weakness and argued instead that it instead highlights America’s ability to lead on the world stage.
Obama cited recent efforts to rally European support for sanctions against Russia after the Kremlin annexed the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine. While the president insisted that Russia is now isolated, Obama’s critics contend that his inability to stop Russian President Vladimir Putin from taking Crimea in the first place was a sign of weakness.
Obama also praised ongoing diplomatic efforts between Iran, the U.S. and its negotiating partners — Germany, Britain, France, China and Russia — that aim to strip the Islamic republic of its nuclear capabilities. While Obama said the odds of reaching an agreement are still long, he also said a diplomatic breakthrough would be “more effective and durable than what would be achieved through the use of force.”
“Throughout these negotiations, it has been our willingness to work through multilateral channels that kept the world on our side,” he said.
Days like today make me even more proud to be an American than normal. To celebrate let’s listen to a wonder rendition of My Country Tis Of Thee by David Crosby and Graham Nash…..
I’m an idealist who believes that music has the power to make the world a much better place. Maybe it’s the fact that I grew up during the 60s! I also believe that people that don’t like music are normally not to be trusted. With that as context take a look at the following CNN International article about the jailing of six young Iranians that made a video of Happy…..
Sources report that seven to eight young Iranians have been arrested in Tehran, for the simple crime of being “Happy.”
Three men and three women danced unveiled to Pharrell Williams’ smash hit in a video that was widely shared on social media, garnering over 30,000 views before it was taken down. Copies have been quickly re-uploaded as news of the arrest has broken, sparking the hashtag #FreeHappyIranians.
Many Iranians praised their joyful video, but it was met with censure by the conservative religious forces which have ruled Iran since the Revolution in 1979.
“After a vulgar clip which hurt public chastity was released in cyberspace, police decided to identify those involved in making that clip,” Tehran police chief Hossein Sajedinia told the ISNA News Agency, according to ABC.
Footage from Iranian state TV appears to show seven men and one woman being interrogated about the video, which is shown in the clip with the dancers blurred out.The BBC reported that the exact number of detainees has not been released.
Here’s the video…….