Showing posts with label Protests. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Protests. Show all posts

June 1, 2020

Our Cities Are Burning

I like the saying on this guys knapsack:
Discipline equals freedom.

The opposite is true too:

From the violent riots across the country the last week, even a modicum of discipline has gone out the window, and with that comes a curtailment of freedom through deployment of the National Guard, Military, and imposition of curfews and more. 

There was a time that peaceful protests led by leaders with integrity held sway...but now it's anarchy out there!

Today, the cities are burning, the stores are being looted, people are afraid, and our republic is being torn asunder by racism and filthy election politics. ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 19, 2017

I Doth Fear

Innocent Shakespeare in the Park or violent assassination incitement of the President of the United States? 

Kathy Griffin holding up a severed head of the President.

Stephen Colbert's tirade and obscenities.

And the list goes on and on...

Is this resistance or are things perhaps going too far for political discourse? 

Whatever your views, does the rhetoric need to get any hotter or more violent in this country. 

Cooler heads and compromise need to prevail for anything positive to come from all this.

Is it not still possible to unite under the shared values of freedom, human rights, and democracy that we all presumably hold dear and use these to advance our common cause? 

At least twice now protesters have stormed the Shakespearean stage calling the incitement as an evil portrayal reminiscent of those like Nazi Propaganda Minister, Goebbels (may his name and memory be erased).

The other side pretends nothing is going on and says, but it's only Shakespeare. 

Demonstrating against the actors' nightly violent portraying (and perhaps undisguised wishing for) the killing of the President, the plays' protesters are themselves summarily dragged off by security.

Nothing seems to stop the shrill words, calls for violence, and violence itself. 

Just last week, we had the unreal and gross shooting of Congressman Whip, Steve Scalise, at an early morning baseball practice with his colleagues. 

For those who care to glimpse down the road, what happens from here as we seem to forget who we are as people and as a nation, and we let extremists take over the agenda.

I doth fear (a little Shakespeare myself here) that the problem with extremism and violence is that it can too easily beget more extremism and violence.

Incessant name-calling, an avalanche of punches by the media, hostility on college campuses towards free speech, SNL just poking fun (is this really so funny anymore), an inciting Shakespearean play, plus marches, protests, and then taking things too far.

Like the closing in a classic Shakespearean tragedy...should we all not fear how this will end? ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal) 
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March 8, 2017

Women's War

Today was International Women's Day. 

But this guy was protesting something else.

WAR.
"War is chaos, War is lawless
War ignores our civil rights
Land it poison and our rivers
War inspires both rape and murder
Death of children go uncounted
War betrays all Women's Rights"
Not sure how he connects this all up with women's rights at the end, but might as well try, right?

For women to have the rights that they should, they need to fight the good fight too.

That type of war does not betray them, but bolsters their cause. 

Everyone who has been abused, enslaved, and discriminated against needs to free themselves of the shackles of oppression.

What we do know is that "war is hell!"

And certainly war is an option of last resort. 

At the same time, war can restore the peace and right the wrongs of despots and tyranny and violence and persecution. 

War is something to be feared and avoided, until it can't.

At which time, hell on earth is released, so hopefully peace can ultimately prevail once again. 

In war, everyone loses, but with the hope that at the end, good wins!

For woman, today is also the continuance of that war and fight for equality, respect, and proper treatment in every way they completely deserve.

That's a war worth fighting for. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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December 1, 2016

Love The Flags

So while we were in Florida, we went into one of the many art galleries. 

And on the wall was this painting of the Israeli Flag with the Star of David and inside was a beautiful red heart. 

Out of curiosity, I inquired how much this was and the lady says, "Oh, that is $55,000!"

While we were impressed with the painting of the Israeli flag and what it represents as one of America's greatest allies and friends, we must've looked really puzzled at the price, because the lady goes, "Well, of course it's worth it!  It's by Peter Max, the most famous artist in the world."

My wife and I nodded and left the store, and immediately were asking each other why every gallery says with a straight face that the artist that they represent is the "most famous in the world."

Anyway, at the same time this was going on we were following in the news about the controversy with people burning the American flag and the question of whether this is just an expression of free speech or something more that should be prohibited as disrespectful and unpatriotic or even traitorous to the country. 

In that respect, the flag that represents our values, beliefs, and patriotism is valuable beyond pure artistic sense or money, it is who we are and what we love. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 27, 2015

Evil Cannot Be In Charge

So I am having to reconcile some interesting things in my mind. 

Hating and liking. 

For example Iran, led by dictators and extremists, is perhaps the epitome of the "Axis of Evil" and the arch enemy of America and Israel

Iran suppresses the freedom and human rights of its people, is the leading sponsor of world terrorism, denies the Holocaust, and threatens brutal attacks on America and to annihilate Israel. 

Yet, on a personal level I have had the opportunity to meet a number of Iranians that I really like and respect.

These include amazing colleagues at work, and wonderful members of my synagogue as well as neighbors. 

One Iranian family I met just this morning was simply amazing.

The father had a horrible stroke earlier in the year. 

Today, I saw the father wheeled to the swimming pool by his son. 

The son took his father lovingly into the water and worked with him therapeutically to help him on regaining as much mobility as possible. 

I stopped to speak with them, and the man's wife told me that the son, who was a PhD in mechanical engineering from Texas came every week to Washington, D.C. to work with his stricken father. 

The son told me that although he was not a therapist worked hard with his father on physical and occupational therapy, and I even saw his father laugh a little with his son in the water. 

The son held the father by a safety belt and his father put his hand on his son's shoulder as they walked forward and backwards in the water, and even did a little swim while his son held the belt tight. 

I was really impressed by this family and especially the love, caring, and devotion the son showed his father. 

Despite their troubles, the wife asked me how I was recuperating and smiled when I told her I was doing better. 

It's amazing to me how hate truly is blind. 

On one hand, what Iran stands for today led by extremists who seek religious domination, suppression and destruction of others, and a return of the Caliphate is a danger to its people and the world.

On the other hand, many of the people from the streets of Iran are surely some very good people.

We need to see the bad apples and separate them from the good ones. 

As a country, we need to support the freedom of the Iranian people and help those that believe in peace and fellowship. 

When evil is in a leadership position, then good does not follow, but rather is smothered until it is set free. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 22, 2014

From Pepper Spray to Champagne

Shhh! This is the story of drones. 

Drones continue to go from battlefield to backyard. 

Initially, developed for advanced persistent surveillance and later weaponized for targeting terrorists, we heard the like of Jeff Bezos promise drones for Amazon delivery. 

Once again, the double-edge of drones continues...

This week we saw the introduction of scary, "Riot Control Drones" developed by Desert Wolf (a military contractor) that can shoot 4,000 rounds of pepper spray, paint balls, and non-lethal plastic projectiles, employs bright strobe lights and blinding lasers, and issues commands and warnings through loud speakers, and monitors crowds of protesters by high-definition and thermal vision cameras. 

At the same time, we saw drones being used as Flying Bel Hops in the luxury Casa Madrona hotel and spa in California for delivering champagne, treats, toys, and even sunglasses to their $10,000 a night guests on their guest deck or even to a boat out on the bay. 

And we are still only at the beginning, with drones, and robotics in general, moving to revolutionize our world.  

Robots will surveil, they will attack and kill, and they will serve people everywhere from restaurants and retail to hospitals and homes.

You can't shush the robots, they are on the march and they will have the means to help and hurt people--it won't be simple, but it definitely will be completely invasive. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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December 29, 2012

Rape Outrage!

On the Night of December 16--coming home from watching a movie at the New Delhi Mall, a 23-year old woman was savagely gang-raped and her male companion, who tried to defend her, was beaten while on a bus being driven around the Indian capital for 45 minutes!

I iust want to stand with those protesting against the barbarism of the people who brutally gang-raped, tortured, and grotesquely inserted a metal rod inside her, causing her such bodily damage that even a team of eight specialists at Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore that specializes in multi-organ transplants, could not save her. 

The woman had such severe internal injuries that most of her intestines had to be removed, and according to CBC News, she suffered from organ failure, a lung infection, as well as brain damage. 

After the rape, torture, and beatings, the victims were stripped and thrown off the moving bus.

It is sick and evil that the driver not only stood idly by and did nothing to help her, but has been charged as well in the actual rape!

I am deeply saddened not only by the gang rape, but also according to the Daily Times that they happen with such frequency that they are "rarely [even] reported in the Indian press." 

This is another wake up call for people of good conscience to stand against those that commit evil and to not be silent in the face of such atrocities.

The cries of this woman, and other victims of violence like her, can be heard throughout the world. 

She will not be forgotten, and to those savages may justice be done--in this world or the next by the all-mighty G-d who hears our prayers.

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Daniel Crompton)

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October 29, 2011

Visiting The Sins of The Fathers

Everyone was waiting for the big news this week out of the EU on how they were going to bail out their troubled economies--way too many: Greece, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Ireland...and more.

Their debt is through the roof--Greece is at 164% of it GDP and Italy is saddled with 1.9 trillion euros with more than 200 billion of it coming due next year.

Unemployment is soaring...with Greek unemployment of 16.7%, topped by Spain's at 21.5%.

Economies are grinding to a halt: "Euro-zone economic data point to gloomy year-end...0.2% latest quarterly growth" (Wall Street Journal, 29-30 October 2011)

So news this week of a yet bigger (much bigger 4x or 5x) bailout fund of $1.4 trillion to backstop the losses, while sending the stock market soaring, left the pundits a little more than skeptical.

Why? Because where did the losses go...did they just disappear or is this a thoroughly massive shell game where the losses are spinning faster and faster under the shells of economic protectionism until they disappear altogether under the slight of hand of ministry of finance magicians?

I thought to myself this week--am I missing something? I wrote a friend--this guy is a genius--top of the class type, CPA, MBA and asked what he thought of the bailout? He too was baffled and said somebody just took a "50% haircut" referring to massive number of Greek bondholders who just took a huge loss--how is that a good thing?

And I thought what about the rest of the losses yet to be realized in the $1.4 trillion European Financial Stability Fund (EFSF)...by naming it "stability," does it actually make people feel more secure, better?

Then came the reports later this week--"Doubts rise about EU deal"--that the financial rescue plan is short on details, and as we all know "the devil is in the details." Moreover, it's just a plan--that's the easy part--words are cheap! The real test lies in whether the financial rescuers can actually execute this time or will we be back at the drawing board in 6 months time again?

Then I thought of the saying from the Torah (Bible)--Exodus 34:7 that G-d "visits the sins of the fathers on the children." Not in a malevolent way, but in an almost natural way--our actions have consequences.

While not limited to any individual, country, or continent, when we live beyond our means--when greed and gluttony surpass our ability to control our appetites for more, then a bubble builds and down the road, it eventually bursts--whether real estate, the dot com boom, stocks, commodities, or even tulips in the 17th century!

As we all know deep down, no shell game can go on forever--the hands tire, the players become more astute, and most importantly, the excesses of the past must be paid up--so that the next generation can eventually go on to a more stable and brighter future.

Both sides of the spectrum, the Tea Party and the Occupy Wall Street protesters know the same economic reckoning is coming--and even though not everyone can articulate the rising doubt and fear, we go toward resolution, hand-in-hand together.

(Source Picture: here and here)

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