It is remarkable and amazing how many websites are devoted to bad news. We are certainly a day and age where good news seems to be put under a lot more scrutiny than bad news. When people are used to the hammer dropping they are suspicious of the good, and expecting the bad. The sort of paranoia that are common makes it more difficult for people to trust, and therefore cooperate, which generally means to difficult lives because of a lack of relationships and a lack of a social net to help one overcome life’s struggles. An assumption that the world is against you and that everyone hates you is generally going to be borne out by people reacting to paranoia and unnecessary hostility.
That’s the bad news, at least, but there is at least a silver lining in it. The fact that so many people have devoted themselves to spreading bad news means that if one is interested in being part of a community of people with grave concerns about the many dangers in our world, there are many people one can cooperate with when it comes to such threats. The eagerness people have about spreading information about threats and dangers means that it is reasonably easy to be well-informed as long as one has high journalistic standards as well as some ability to cooperate with and trust others. In doing so, one can gain a bit of an advantage in dealing with trouble because one has advance warning thanks to the notices one receives from others who are looking at a wide variety of threats.
I owe a fair amount of knowledge about the community of doomy and gloomy sources of information from readers to this blog, as well as conversations with my friends and acquaintances who share my interest in geopolitics, diplomacy, logistics, and other related subjects. As a result of these conversations and comments, I have sought new sources of information and gained insights thanks to the hard work and research of others that has helped provide input for my own thoughts and ruminations. As someone with a tendency to cite sources, it is my hope that at least some of my own blogging has helped others become aware of my sources of information.
One of the first websites I discovered in this vein was Somaliland247 . As someone with a great deal of interest in Somaliland but with a distinct inability to read Somali in either Latin or Arabic script, the website has provided a great deal of information as a reblogger of news about the obscure nation of Somaliland from a great variety of sources. Unfortunately, this website has not offered any new posts since March, but at the same time it has inspired at least a dozen of my own posts, and so I must acknowledge the usefulness of this particular source to me in the past in the hopes that it will once again in the future offer new information.
A frequent occupational hazard of being a Church of God member is being fascinated by the prophetic implications of geopolitical shifts. However, those prophetic interpretations generally depend on third party analyses that provide the raw material for the speculation of those who are so inclined. I must admit that I’m not someone who tends to enjoy speculating in too specific of a manner–I will indulge occasionally in speculating on possibilities but without any sort of dogmatism (because I don’t think I have been given any kind of privileged personal insight into the future). One of the sources in this particular area that I have found particularly rewarding (and free!) is the e-mail updates I get once or twice a week from Stratfor . Whether you’re looking on long-term geopolitical and economic trends, or thoughts about terrorist capabilities or practical steps for situational awareness, or you’re looking at logistics or updates on the under-reported Mexican Drug War, Stratfor is a great source. I highly recommend it.
I owe my knowledge of this next source of information to a Chilean commenter to this blog who made a rather offhand remark about coming to Chiang Mai to talk with famed economist Marc Faber and myself. Now, even though Marc Faber and myself happen to be very close to each other geographically, as well as with regards to our pessimism and dry sense of humor about economic matters , I’ve never met the man and we seem to live in very different circles. That said, his insights about the factors that keep our present economic situation so poor are congenial to my own worldview, and I find his sense of humor about such matters to be rather enjoyable. I prefer a gallows humor about troubles, a grim and sardonic sort of way to deal with life’s troubles, and Mr. Faber’s blog provides that, and a lot of economic insights, several times a week.
Occasionally, when I am talking about stories relating to Thailand, I will link a particular blog called Thai Political Prisoners . I actually first came across this website rather ironically, and I have participated in rather testy e-mail exchanges with its writer, but find its information greatly useful nonetheless. As it happens, I was doing a web search for Legacy Institute on the web, and found an article where this particular blogger connected Thai royalist behavior with right wing religious movements in the United States. I found his treatment of my boss rather disrespectful (and told him so), but I suppose that someone who does not respect royalty would not respect a simple and ordinary person, so true to form he was rather disrespectful in general. The blog is, nonetheless, a useful source of information about the seedy side of Thailand’s politics, but it must be taken with extreme caution, as it is extremely, even corrosively, left-wing in its approach.
Having looked at a few of the web sources that regularly inspire my blog entries, I would like to comment on a blog which I first became aware of this morning. This particular promising blog showed up as the source of 3 views of one of my blog entries, and given its provocative title, “The Extinction Protocol,” I gave it a look . It does appear, from my own reading so far, that the website focuses on doomy and gloomy events, ranging from Swedish sinkholes to Greece’s possible exit from Euro as a sign that the world is falling apart at the seams. At any rate, given my own doomy and gloomy inclinations, it looks like a very promising source of information, so I subscribed.
What we see, therefore, is that the troubles and sufferings of the world need not make us paranoid and solipsistic in our approach. There are a lot of people in this world who are looking for bad news, who are seeking to identify threats, deal with them, and inform others about them. The least we can do, for those of us who are somewhat inclined to pessimism about the state of the world, is seek to build virtual (or real) communities of like-minded people. There is no sense in warning others about dangers and problems in this world if we are not prepared to be part of a genuine community showing respect and support for other people who have to deal with the same problems.
We’re all stuck on this troubled earth together, and so we ought to be a force for the better, using our knowledge and insight, such as we possess, for what is going on to help others, not merely to make others depressed but to help others see that they are not alone, and that someone cares about their struggles. Life is too short to live it alone and miserable. Why not draw comfort and meaning from the fact that everyone has to face the same struggles for respect and well-being and love and honor in the face of dehumanizing treatment and the attempts of others to foster division to further their own wicked schemes. The best way to thwart such efforts is to recognize our common humanity and common worthiness of dignity and respect, and to respect and love others as we wish to be respected and loved, and to share and appreciate the insights and information gleaned from people all over the world.