I’ve continued to refine the orbit of my Chelyabinsk rock, and have now got it to fly 40 km over Chelyabinsk:
That’ll do for now. Next thing is to add in the atmospheric drag that will swing the rock south of Chelyabinsk, and land south west of it. And that will probably take ages.
In the mean time… Whenever I come across certain words, they flash up as red warning lights that whoever is speaking is using a private language in which these words all mean something else completely. They’re words like “dialogue”, “empowered”, “sustained”, “ongoing”, “challenge”. And when I got reading Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch’s recent speech to the UN about the global Strong Cities Network, I was tripping over them on almost every sentence.
These efforts have shown us the power of harnessing local expertise and leveraging local leadership to create targeted and effective approaches to eradicating violent extremism in any community. We have learned that open dialogue and consistent engagement with a wide range of constituents is essential to crafting strategies and forging partnerships that will address the full scope of the threats we face. We have seen that communities must be empowered to take these steps themselves so that the prevention approaches they design are crafted for their unique situations. And we have observed the need for a mechanism that will expand the most effective efforts to reach more people around the globe – a way to highlight the best local ideas so that they can be adapted for use in other communities.
Until now, we have lacked that mechanism. We haven’t had the benefit of sustained or coordinated cooperation among the growing number of cities and municipalities that are confronting this ongoing challenge. Communities have too often been left isolated and alone. But through the Strong Cities Network that we have unveiled today, we are making the first systematic effort in history to bring together cities around the world to share experiences, to pool resources and to forge partnerships in order to build local cohesion and resilience on a global scale. Today we tell every city, every town and every community that has lost the flower of its youth to a sea of hatred – you are not alone. We stand together and we stand with you.
This is a truly groundbreaking endeavor. By connecting municipal leaders, facilitating information-sharing and providing training and other assistance where appropriate, the Strong Cities Network will help to fashion a global response to a global issue, without losing sight of its inherently local roots. It will offer city leaders a way to learn from one another about successful initiatives and productive programs. It will provide a platform for discussing community policing and prevention strategies that safeguard the individual rights of citizens. And it will support the practical delivery of community resilience programs in cities that are taking a new look at this evolving issue.
Well, one thing I know for sure as a smoker, is that nobody is going to safeguard my individual rights, or ‘engage with’ me as a constituent, or ’empower’ me either. My rights are going to cease to exist, and I am going to be completely ignored and dis-empowered. And instead of “community cohesion” I’m going to experience growing social fragmentation and division and exclusion.
In fact, pretty soon, smoking a cigarette is most likely going to be re-defined as “violent extremism” that must be “eradicated” using “community policing and prevention strategies”. After all, once you’re convinced that “smoking kills”, then it’s become a form of violence, and a form of extremism. ‘Violence’ and “extremism” can be re-defined to be whatever you want them to mean.
My attention was drawn to all this by a rather impassioned speech by a young American woman to the American people, warning of creeping UN government: