The End is Near (and we deserve it) . . . Darth Vader Runs for Ukrainian Parliament

By Piper Bayard

Image from Ebay.

Image from Ebay.

 

Ukrainian “Darth Vader” Runs for Parliament

 

 

I don’t know about his stand on Putin’s invasion or light saber control, but he would definitely be responsive to terrorism.

Blogs and Articles in No Particular Order

Let’s kick off with a genuine potential apocalypse. Best article I’ve read so far on Ebola, via Tom Wyld. Six Reasons to Panic

The 12 Cognitive Biases that Prevent You from Being Rational, via Sonia Cywilko.

Celiac Disease Foundation’s 2014 Gluten-Free Halloween Treat Listvia Kristy K. James.

 

Malala Yousafzai at the Oval Office Image by US Govt, public domain

Malala Yousafzai at the Oval Office
Image by US Govt, public domain

 

Pakistani girl Malala Yousafzai spoke out against the Islamic fundamentalists who would quash education. The Taliban came to her school and shot her in the head, but she survived and continued in her mission. Recently, she won the Nobel Peace Prize for her work in advancing education. Via neuroscientist Nsikan Akpan, What Will Malala’s Nobel Peace Prize Mean for Girls’ Education?

Lisa Hall-Wilson shares some important cautions for those of us professionals who prefer to use Profile pages rather than Fan pages. Facebook Shut Down My Profile!

USA Today Bestseller Vicki Hinze asks, Cyber Security Awareness:  Are You Protected?

The Issue Box is a new site where people discuss the issues on their minds without having to leave any personal information. Mark Kaplowitz tells us all about it in Big Announcement!

 

The Spy Bride Risky Brides Boxed Set final Cover

 

At  A Girl and Her Kindle, USA Today Bestseller Peggy Webb tells us about Good Books and Good Friends, the writers behind RISKY BRIDES Bestsellers’ Collection. These outstanding authors generously gave Holmes and I a hand up by inviting us to include our debut novella, THE SPY BRIDE, in this collection. RISKY BRIDES is now available for ebook pre-order and will release on October 21.

Some great advice from Maureen Johnson for all of you writers out there, but it really applies to all endeavors of every flavor . . . Dare to Suck!

 

 

Question of the Week:

 

 

All the best to all of you for a week of making good choices.

Nobel Peace Prize: It Hasn’t Always Been a Joke

By Jay Holmes

This year’s nomination of Russian dictator Vladimir Putin for the Nobel Peace Prize has once again highlighted questions concerning the Prize’s legitimacy. The nomination came while Putin was orchestrating a Hitler-style takeover of the Crimean region of the Ukraine. Putin has responded to his nomination by accelerating the Russian military campaign and announcing that Russia might withdraw from the nuclear arms control verification process. No reasonable person would point to him as a shining example of a person who works for peace.

Nobel Peace Prize winner Barack Obama and Nobel Peace Prize nominee Vladimir Putin image by Pete Souza, wikimedia

Nobel Peace Prize winner Barack Obama and
Nobel Peace Prize nominee Vladimir Putin
image by Pete Souza, wikimedia commons

If Putin’s nomination is comically absurd, he is not the first controversial nominee. In 2009, U.S. President Barack Obama received the Nobel Peace Prize only ninety days after taking office—too short a time for the Nobel selection committee to conduct anything like a thorough investigation of him as a candidate. Obama accepted the prize graciously, but he stated that he was surprised, and that he felt unworthy of the award. Many observers agreed. Since receiving the Nobel Peace Prize, Obama has escalated the war in Afghanistan, expanded the world wide use of drone strikes, used Cruise Missiles to negotiate Gadhafi’s departure from Libya, sent a military aid team to the Central African Republic, authorized and – according to his supporters – personally orchestrated the U.S. military incursion into Pakistan to kill the infamous criminal Osama Bin Laden. I am not criticizing any of those actions, but only those who are religiously faithful to the president hold him up as an example of a “dove” at this point.

Of course Putin and Obama are not the first instances of controversy surrounding the Nobel Peace Prize. In 2002, after retired U.S. President Jimmy Carter received the Peace Prize, members of the selection committee admitted that their choice was politically motivated as a way to indirectly oppose the policies of President George Bush. Nevertheless, even if it was politically motivated, they at least picked someone who shunned the comforts of a wealthy retirement to spend his time directly working for world peace and to reduce the suffering of the poor.

1994 Nobel Laureates Yasser Arafat, Shimon Peres, and Yitzhak Rabin image by Saar Yaacov for GPO

1994 Nobel Laureates Yasser Arafat, Shimon Peres, and Yitzhak Rabin
image by Saar Yaacov for GPO, wikimedia commons

Far more controversial was their selection of Yasser Arafat and Shimon Peres in 1994. Opinions on Peres and Arafat vary wildly depending on whether you ask a Palestinian or an Israeli, but for neutral observers, ignoring Arafat’s leadership in Palestinian terrorist activities requires a strong reliance on denial. If we consider that Arafat ordered the 1972 Munich Olympics massacre in which 11 Israeli athletes were murdered, and that he was responsible for dozens of other terrorist strikes around the world, then Arafat’s selection for the Nobel Peace Prize stands out as the Nobel selection committee’s most shameful moment . . . so far.

In spite of the Nobel Committee’s occasionally asinine behavior, it is worth remembering Alfred Nobel’s peaceful intent in setting up the Nobel Prize system and the fact that the Prize has, on many occasions, served to promote world peace. Let us consider a few of the many obvious cases of deserving recipients.

Ralph Bunche

The first recipient who comes to mind as highly deserving is American Professor Ralph Bunche. Ralph received the award in 1950. Before mentioning a few of Bunche’s many achievements, I would point out one of his most endearing personal qualities. Ralph started life as the son of poor parents in Detroit and ended up being raised by his grandparents in Los Angeles. Although that kid from the Detroit underclass became a renowned professor and United Nations big shot, he never forgot the poor. In spite of his fame and achievements, Ralph Bunche never hesitated to stand shoulder to shoulder with the most disadvantaged people of this world.

After a difficult childhood, Ralph Bunche graduated valedictorian of his class at Jefferson High School in Los Angeles. He attended the University of California at Los Angeles and graduated summa cum laude in 1927, and was the valedictorian of his class at a time when many universities around the U.S. were not allowing “negroes” to enroll. Ralph attended Howard University as a graduate student on an academic scholarship and received his masters in political science in 1928. In 1934, he became the first African-American to receive a doctorate in political science from an American university, after which he studied at the London School of Economics and the University of Cape Town in South Africa.

During World War Two, Ralph worked as an analyst for the Office of Strategic Services. After the war, he dedicated himself to working toward the foundation of the United Nations. Ralph Bunche and Eleanor Roosevelt worked tirelessly against staunch opposition from many nations’ delegates for the adoption of the U.N. Declaration of Human Rights. Some felt that human rights did not belong in the foundation of the U.N., but Bunche and Roosevelt believed that the U.N. would have no legitimacy without recognizing universal human rights.

In 1947 and 1948, Ralph worked to try to end the Arab-Israeli War. He was the senior assistant to the U.N. Special Committee on Palestine and rose to the office of Secretary of the U.N. Palestine Commission. In 1948, the U.N. appointed Bunche and Count Folke Bernadotte of Sweden to mediate the conflict. In September 1948, members of the underground Jewish Lehi group assassinated Bernadotte in Jerusalem.

After the assassination, Bunche became the U.N.’s chief mediator. The Israeli representative was Moshe Dayan. Dayan was known to be an ill-tempered and stubborn individual. He wrote in his memoirs that his most productive negotiations with Bunche happened during billiards games in off hours. Ever the optimist, Bunche commissioned an artist to create memorial plates for each negotiator. When the agreement was signed, Bunche handed the negotiators their plates. Dayan asked Bunche what he would have done with them if the negotiations had failed, and Bunche responded, “I’d have broken the plates over your damn heads.”

Ralph Bunche, Ph.D. Photo by Carl Van Vechten, Library of Congress

Ralph Bunche, Ph.D.
Photo by Carl Van Vechten
Library of Congress

For achieving the 1949 Armistice Agreements, Dr. Bunche received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1950. He continued to work for the U.N. and mediated in other war-torn regions, including the Congo, Cyprus, Kashmir, and Yemen. He was then appointed Undersecretary-General of the U.N. in 1968. In spite of his busy schedule as one of the most productive leaders in the history of the U.N., Ralph Bunche also lent his status, expertise, and experience to the Civil Rights movement during the 1960s.

In 1971, Ralph Bunche took ill and left his position at the U.N. In December of that year, he died and was buried in New York. The world had lost one of its greatest champions of peace. Ralph Bunche had upheld the highest ideals of the Nobel Peace Prize.

Many other highly deserving Nobel Peace Prize recipients stand out as remarkable servants of peace. Co-recipients in 1976, Betty Williams and Mairéad Corrigan Maguire were two of the outstanding women of Northern Ireland who boldly stepped up the peace movement in the face of death threats from both sides of the conflict. Bishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa received the prize in 1984 for his work on bringing a peaceful end to apartheid in South Africa with his ability to gain the respect and trust of diverse church groups and help them to unite against the many opponents of peace in South Africa.

In 2003, Shirin Ebadi of Iran received the Peace Prize. As a lawyer and author, Shirin champions human rights, and in particular children’s rights. That is never an easy task, and doing so while speaking out against the pseudo-Islamic junta that runs Iran usually results in a slow and painful death. Remarkably, she survived the anger of the militant mullahs after defending accused dissidents in Iranian courts and founding a human rights group in Iran. She now resides in London, where in spite of repeated death threats against her and her family, she continues her work for human rights. She remains an international champion for children’s rights.

In reflecting on the entire list of Nobel Peace Prize winners, we see that nominees like Vladimir Putin, a.k.a. Stalin 2.0, and winners like Osama bin Laden Prototype Yasser Arafat demonstrate the weakest moments in Nobel Peace Prize history. Unfortunately, they usually receive the most attention. Today, let us remember that the Nobel Peace Prize has more often than not highlighted remarkable people who have worked for a better world.

What Nobel Peace Prize recipients do you consider to be most deserving?

The End is Near (and we deserve it) . . . Putin Nominated for Nobel Peace Prize

By Piper Bayard

Always trying to outshine Stalin, aren’t you, Vlady?

Let me put this in perspective. Putin is invading Ukraine based on the argument that because there are Russian speaking people of Russian heritage in that country, Russia has the right to go in and protect the interests of those people. By that reasoning, we can expect the Mexican army to be setting up camps through the Southwest any day now.

Ah, well. Once Yasser Arafat won it, there were no surprises left.

Vladimir Putin, Dove of Peace image by premier.gov.ru

Vladimir Putin, Dove of Peace
image by premier.gov.ru

See our previous response to the notion of Putin and Peace Prize in the same sentence at B&H Nobel Peace-Through-Ironic-Laughter Prize Nominations.

Blogs and Articles in No Particular Order

Proud to say our Monday post, Ukraine Crisis: Vladimir Putin and the Power of Gas, was Freshly Pressed this week. A big welcome to all of our new subscribers!

It Didn’t Start Last Week — Timeline of Ukrainian Invasions

Timeline of Ukrainian Turmoil — Part Two, 2001 – Present

Ukraine in Crisis: Vladimir Putin and the Power of Gas

The Cliffside Rose

The Cliffside Rose

The Cliffside Rose Flash Fiction Contest — Vote Now! When Holmes and I stumbled across this rose on the side of a cliff in the middle of a secluded desert on the day after Valentine’s Day, we challenged our readers to explain this oddity using the words “Dixie,” “witness protection,” and “cheese grater.” We have eight outstanding entries who are vying for your vote. Come by and enjoy the yarns they have spun in an effort to win a copy of DOWN AND DEAD IN DIXIE by USA Today bestseller Vicki Hinze.

I had the honor of guest posting at New York Times bestseller Allison Brennan‘s Murder She Writes site this week. In James Bond vs. The Spook, I share a few things I’ve learned about real covert operatives since I started working with Holmes.

Is this the real Holmes?

Is this the real Holmes?

Recently, numerous bloggers participated in August McLaughlin’s Beauty of a Woman Blogfest 2014. Three of my favorites are What are Your 21 Layers of Beauty? by Jenny Hansen, Beauty: A Matter of Mind Over Matter by Kassandra Lamb, and Inspiring Beauty Quotes: A #BOAW3 Wrap-Up, Part II by August McLaughlin.

Like Detective Fiction? Thank the Metropolitan Police Act by K.B.Owen at Misterio Press.

Yoga IS for Everyone. A Short Guest Series, Part 2 by Christine Moore.

When so many of us are tired of winter, it helps to be reminded of the beauty. Crystallize – Lindsey Stirling Dubstep Violin Original Song.

Campaign Style Question of the Week:

All the best to all of you for a peaceful week.

To join in comments, come to

Bayard & Holmes

The End is Near (and we deserve it) . . . Putin Nominated for Nobel Peace Prize

The Nobel Peace-Through-Ironic-Laughter Prize Nominees

By Piper Bayard & Jay Holmes

It has come to the attention of Bayard & Holmes that the Academy of Spiritual Unity and Cooperation of Peoples of the World (ASUCPW) nominated the Russian President, KGB officer Vladimir Putin, for the Nobel Peace Prize. At first, we were confused.

Vladimir Putin, Dove of Peace image by premier.gov.ru

Vladimir Putin, Dove of Peace
image by premier.gov.ru

Back when PLO terrorist Yasser Arafat—the bin Laden of his day—won the award, we thought it had been purchased for him by some of his pet sheiks as a birthday present. Then, when President Obama won, we were really befuddled, as at that point his greatest negotiation was settling an argument between his daughters over who got the last scoop of ice cream. Our best guess was that he told the committee about his Peace Through Absolute Electronic Surveillance of Americans dream and gave them the same access to PRISM that he shares with Israel, the Five Eyes, his favorite corporations, his dog Bo, and untold others. But now that Vladimir Putin is nominated, we finally understand what the Nobel Peace Prize is all about. It’s to give us all a good, ironic belly laugh.

Putin is being hailed by the ASUCPW as a hero of peace because he got Assad to agree to hand over his chemical weapons to Russia. Those unfamiliar with history may not have noticed, but the Soviet Union started arming Syria back in the late 1940s, before it married capitalism and changed its name to “Russia.” Putin has always been a staunch backer of Assad. Of course he doesn’t want international intervention there. That would be like inviting the neighborhood kids to beat up his favorite illegitimate love child. Instead, Putin is simply having his young foot soldier pass him the “rifle.”

So since Putin is nominated for the Nobel Peace-Through-Ironic-Laughter Prize, we believe he needs a few competitors who could give him a run for his money. We tasked our Bayard & Holmes Peace-Through-Ironic-Laughter Prize Nominating Committee (us) with providing us a list of potential nominees. We think they did a great job finding peers for Putin and Arafat.

  • Osama bin Laden – For bringing peace to fanatical Islamists who were fighting each other by providing them with ways to unify and focus their attention on destroying the West.
  • Heads of the Mexican Drug Cartels – For unifying the people of Mexico who are not in cartels by getting them to all agree that they would like to take extended vacations to almost anywhere else right now.
  • Vice President Joe Biden – For providing the best life insurance any American president could have, thus putting a natural limit on US societal divisions in that no matter how much people dislike Obama, we all want him to remain in good health for the duration of his term.
  • George Zimmerman – For unifying the world of social media into obsessing about a single topic for several weeks.
  • Everybody’s Drunk Uncle Freddie – For unifying enormous portions of society in depression and stress during the holidays.

Now it’s your turn. In light of Putin’s nomination for a Nobel Peace-Through-Ironic-Laughter Prize, who would you nominate? Please don’t disrespect anyone in the comments—except Putin, of course.