State of U.S. Relationships

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Here is the current state of a sampling of U.S. relationships with other countries around the world.


As the “superpower” and as a people who strongly value freedom, democracy, and human rights, as well as a people mainly of faith, we have the obligation to do good in this world. 


Also, we recognize our imperative to maintain strength and promote peace, prosperity, and betterment for all mankind.


We have some enormous challenges ahead, and we had better be up to it. 


There is a lot riding on this! 😉

 

(All opinions my own)


(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)

Best Diplomacy Shirt

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I took this photo in the Metro, so I apologize for the poor lighting. 


But never-the-less, to me, this wins for best diplomacy shirt. 

“Respect All

Fear None”

In dealing with others at home and abroad, we must respect everyone. 


And this is not just paying lip service to others while really giving a tacit nod to derision and divisiveness.


Rather we need to have genuine respect for all people, cultures, religions, freedom and human rights. 


At the same time, we must fear no one. 


We need to carry a big stick, as my grandfather used to say.


That along with plenty of carrots (but used strategically and not wastefully) to positively influence the good in others. 


The point is that disengagement, appeasement, and weakness benefits no one. 


Rather, it encourages violence, destruction, and refugees, and global disorder. 


It’s time to stop fearing and running, and to make a firm stand for good and meaningful things that we really believe in.


We are not the police of the world, but we are smart, and good, and powerful, and will project and use that power wisely to ensure that good prevails over evil, always. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Shooting Blanks

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Like this joke gun, this unfortunately is our national standing as a paper tiger in the new world order.


Just this last week…


1) China: “To diminish the US,” our President is forced to disembark from the underbelly of Air Force One, because they wouldn’t give him mobile stairs, let alone a red carpet welcome, while they continue the illegal buildout in the South China Sea threatening freedom of navigation of the seas. 


2) Russia: Russia stares down our President and ignores 17 U.S. overtures to end the more than 5-year civil war in Syria that has cost over 400,000 lives, made 5 million refugees, and over 8 million more displaced, and let’s not even talk about Ukraine. 


3) Iran:  For the second time in as many weeks, Iran has sent numerous speedboats to harass U.S. Navy ships in international waters in the Persian Gulf, and this after it was just disclosed that we sent 2 more plane loads of cash to Iran–3 in total for $1.7 billion to “leverage” another hostage release by Iran–and after we chased them on a deal to remove sanctions on their dangerous nuclear WMD development. 


4) North Korea: 3 more midrange ballistic missiles were fired from North Korea toward the Sea of Japan in a continuing escalation of hostilities there on top of prior long-range and submarine-based missile launches further threatening the U.S. 


5) Laos: Even in the traditionally friendly country of Laos, the President is snubbed by terrible name-calling and insults and is forced to cancel his meeting with their leader. 


6) Trade pacts:   Whether your looking east or west, both the Transatlantic Trade Deal (TTIP) and the Transpacific Partnership (TPP) are dead, while Brexit is a fait accompli, the setback to the world economy, trust, and collaboration is tangible. 


7) Terrorism: The “U.N. warns of growing Islamic terrorist threats” as more than 500 have been murdered in the last 6 months alone from Belgium to the U.S., and the threat growing from a more decentralized worldwide terrorist apparatus, as well as the potential employment of weapons of mass destruction


Whether with regards to other world powers or global alliances, our standing in world affairs in troubling at best and seriously threatened at worst.  


As long as we are shooting blanks of blue stardust, we will continue to lose credibility, respect, and the ability to effect positive change and influence in an increasingly dangerous world. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Antisocial Social Club

Anti-Social

 

This guy was hilarious.


Pink hat.


Big round white sunglasses.


And a shirt that says:


“Antisocial Social Club”


Truly, if he was anymore antagonistic to the norms of society, he’d probably be unloading an AK47 into an unsuspecting innocent crowd somewhere.


Okay, maybe that’s a little extreme, then again not really in this day and age of global terrorism where beheadings, suicide bombers, burning and stoning people alive, and child abductions and sex slaves are now the norms in certain outrageous societies. 


And if those are the norms in certain places, what in the world would be considered antisocial behavior there???


So a pink hat, big sunglasses, and an antisocial t-shirt in free America–that ain’t nothing anymore.


Antisocial with a big “Anti” now means death and apocalyptic destruction and global disorder.  


As to our weak politicians who can’t can stomach calling a mass phenomenon of psychotic antisocial personality disorder, antisocial–well you can judge what’s wrong with them for yourself. 


Why does it matter?


It matters only to those of you who have a moral compass to live by and who care about what normal even is–too bad our political elite are missing the substance of this. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Why Are We So Unconfident

Strong

So I took this photo today at Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. 

“We are strong!

We are positive!

We will survive!” 


Does someone who says these things sound like they really believe it or far more likely, it is that they need to tell themselves these things, because they are really not feeling so confident after all?


What’s the unfortunate message behind these words?  


– We spend $610 billion on defense–more than the next 8 super nations combined–yet somehow we feel vulnerable and weak, especially with terrorism and a resurgent Russia and China


– We are so fortunate to live in freedom, democracy, seeming prosperity, and have everything to be positive and thankful about–yet 80% are dissatisfied and think we are heading in the wrong direction. 


– We are the world’s superpower of nations–with wealth, armaments, a seat on the UN security council, and more than 800 bases around 80 countries in the world–“more than any other people, nation, or empire in history,” yet most Americans think we’re faring poorly and that their children will be worse off than themselves!


How can so much security result in so much insecurity?  


The answer should be obvious.


When people don’t believe in the wisdom of their leaders, then no matter what they have or spend or where they are coming from, they are at risk of losing it all.


Poor leadership means corruption, fraud, waste, abuse, and absolute bad decision-making for this nation. 


We don’t believe we are strong, because we see other nations spending less on their defense, yet getting more in terms of security for the people.


People don’t feel positive, because they don’t see good decisions being made, progress toward a better future, and confidence in the future being shaped. 


Questions about our very survival are surfacing because:


– We have seen millions of jobs disappear to our competitors overseas


– Our national debt balloon to near catastrophic levels (and with no tangible benefit to average Joe citizen as everything from our education system to our roads and bridges are falling apart)


– Bankruptcy to the critical entitlement pillars of Social Security and Medicare are being regularly forewarned. 


– Corrupt politicians who are supposed to be looking after us and effectively governing us are instead doing terrible wrongs, yet they are endlessly allowed to be above the law. 


– There is non-stop global terrorism and a reluctance to even call it what it is let alone truly fight to win. 


– We face out of control proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and yet remove sanction and release hundreds of billions of dollar to the largest state sponsor of terrorism and human rights abuses. 


– Open hostility to the U.S. is present as nations are doing what they want whether it terms of nuclear and ballistic missile development and testing in Iran and North Korea, using chemical weapons on civilians in Syria, annexing Crimea, buzzing U.S. planes and ships and conducting cyber war by Russia, and orchestrating a vast military build up in the South China Sea–and all without meaningful consequences.


So everyone repeat after me: 

“We are strong!

We are positive!

We will survive!” 

If you say it enough, you may actually start to believe it. 


Then again, if you start listening to your true inner feelings, you may start to see the vast political gimmickry being played out on you. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Russia’s Iron Fist

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Russia is enormously resurgent (as is China), and they are modernizing their military, while we are “busy” and distracted with ridiculous dysfunctional political infighting here in the U.S.


– Between Republicans and Democrats. 

– Between Trump and Hillary.

– Between running mouths and utter corruption.

– Between what our values are and aren’t.

– Between racism and cop killings.

– Between sequestrations, filibusters, and government shutdowns.

– Between fighting terrorism and not even being able to say it’s name and origin.

– Between support for NATO and our allies and abandoning them.

– Between invading Iraq and Afghanistan and then hasty and wasty retreats.

– Between capturing terrorists and locking them away in Gitmo and then throwing them back out on the streets to plot and attack again.

– Between calls for a strong military, policing the world, and keeping the peace and that being replaced by leadership from behind, disengagement, appeasement, and weakness.

– Between a healthy, vibrant economy and a shallow recession, failing Obamacare, slowing innovation, and ballooning national debt and welfare state.


In the meantime, the Russians, if no one has noticed is moving critically forward in the world. 


– Ukraine’s Crimea has been gone since 2014, separatists are fighting in the east, and tens of thousands of troops are massing on the border. 


– Georgia’s Abkhazia and South Ossetia was  occupied by Russia in the war in 2008


– Chechnya was taken by Russia in 1999 and Grozny, the capital, was completely leveled. 


– Bases around Damascus and in Iran have been built up and are in active use in the civil war in Syria going on today, and Aleppo, the largest city in Syria is becoming apocalyptic. 


– The Baltics are under threat by encroaching Russian forces. 


– U.S. military ships and planes and being regularly “buzzed” and Russia is flying mock nuclear bombing runs on the U.S.A. and Europe. 


– Russia is proposing a counter-alliance to NATO by them, China, India, and arch enemy, Iran


So while the U.S. spends more on military than the next 8 nations combined, with the U.S. at $610 billion to Russia’s much more modest $85 billion, nevertheless, we are falling over our own feet, while Russia is clearly on a determined march.


We can’t afford to play politics and suck our thumbs here at home, while Russia is determined and strategic in their moves geopolitically advancing their interests.


We are playing a losing hand and wasting valuable blood and treasure unless we get our democratic house in much needed order, focus, and resolve. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Weakness Begets Terror

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A terror truck plows into crowds celebrating Bastille Day in Nice, France killing at least 84–many of which are children!


How many terror attacks do we have to undergo before someone wakes up and does something?


I watched Judge Jeanine express outrage on Fox News video about what is going on with radical Islamist terrorism across the globe.


Moreover, there is spiraling inner-city violence here at home with presumed racial killings of black people and the murder of 5 police officers in Dallas, Texas and more warnings about a Day of Rage in 36 cities today. 


Things are out of control!


OMG, the list of terrorist attacks just this year alone in 2016 is so long that wikipedia had to break them up into separate lists by month.


Some still can’t get up the courage or leadership skills to identify the enemy.


Moreover, they vow not to put boots on the ground


Instead, they prefer platitudes and implications that Western civilization is at fault rather than the murdering terrorists. 


Choosing disengagement, withdrawal, and appeasement over defending our national security. 


Just this week again, Iranian attack boats swarmed a U.S. battleship in International Waters that had our 4 star general in charge of U.S. Central Command, and we do nothing but lift sanctions on them, release $100+ billion, and encourage the opening of finance and trade with them as they continue to chant “Death to America.”


Russia and China continue to buzz our planes and ships and extend their boundaries into Crimea and the South China Sea, respectively, while North Korea tests ballistic nuke missiles that may soon be able to reach our shores. 


Moreover, instead of making things better, we are continuing to make them worse, with our own military warning against the change in policy to a stated “no-first-use” weapons policy in an age of dangerous nuclear proliferation and resurgent and modernized adversaries. 


After 9/11, we overreacted with almost 10-years of war, lashing out at enemies real and imagined, and now for the last years, we have become disengaged and withdrawn–either too afraid, unwilling, or ridiculously “political correct” to defend our own national security. 


The pendulum has swung wild and reckless for too many years…it is time for a normal and balanced course of action to protect our people and country–can anyone say radical Islamists? 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

What Terror Attack?

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Haven’t we all heard it before…


Another terrorist attack, and there is an appeal for calm.


Radical Islam, no way…we can’t even say the words.


I’m sure we’ll hear the typical…that it was just a lone crazed gunman.


Forget that he avowed allegiance to ISIS.


And that he had previously been investigated by the FBI.


Also, that it is just 3 days since ISIS threatened to attack Florida.


We need the public to think there is stability and safety, especially right before the election.


DON’T ROCK THE POLITICAL BOAT!


The public is perceived as stupid.


Part of the echo chamber with the media. 


Feed them some crap about this being gun violence and attack the 2nd Amendment and call it a day.


The sheep will go back to their slumber and still vote for who the elites tell them to.


Over 50 DEAD.


Over another 50 wounded, many (or most) in CRITICAL CONDITION.


The WORST mass shooting in US history.


We’re tough on terrorism…keep repeating that.


Don’t flinch when the cameras are on you.


Make a remark that it’s because the enemy is angry about GITMO or Palestine or whatever.


In other words, it’s justified–we deserve it!


Close GITMO and resolve the Palestinian issue and all will be well in the world and there won’t be any more of this terrorist, murderous, violence against civilians, women, children, people at worship or at weddings or at funerals, or going to work in the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, or on a bus or train, or sitting in a cafe or pizzeria or club.


Let’s stop more sanctions and release more money to Iran, the world #1 sponsor of terrorism.  


Let’s leave Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Yemen and more…all will be well.


Blood shed, treasure spent. 


Time to go home.


The enemy is not coming here.


Everyone rest assured. 


The unity rally after the attacks in Paris…we’re a no show. 


The attack in Tel Aviv last week…tell them to show some restraint. 


Orlando…forget about it, really–it’s over.


Let’s focus on the election now.


Tell them about glass ceilings and redistributing the wealth–they’ll eat that up.


Power, 4 years…maybe 8.


Citizens, sleep well…the Ambien is being carefully administered to each and every one.  Zzzzzz.  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

 

Held Hostage To Hate

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So isn’t it bad enough that the radical Iranian regime is the #1 state sponsor of global terrorism and human rights abuses, and threatens the West with nuclear weapons, ballistic missiles, and genocidal actions.


Iran continues to spread disgusting hatred and bigotry–against the West, and journalists, and gays, and Sunni Muslims, and Jews. 


Now Iran is conducting 2 vile and despicable anti-Semitic cartoon contests

– Making fun of, desecrating, and denying the 6 million Jews murdered in the Holocaust, and

– Threatening and terrorizing the people of the Holy Land of Israel. 


Yet, this is the Iran we lift sanctions on and free $100+ billion to pour into yet more hate, weapons, and terror. 


The results of tolerating disrespect, hate and bigotry is no doubt more of the horrible same. 


What then will be the result of acquiescing to and attempting to appease threats, terror, and weapons of mass destruction?  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Have A Nice Doomsday

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This was a photo of a photo I took at Washington Artworks this past weekend.


An anti-nuke demonstration outside the White House with signs that say:


“Live by the bomb, die by the bomb.”


and 


“Ban all nuclear weapons or have a nice doomsday.”


This was particularly interesting juxtaposed to the editorial in the Wall Street Journal yesterday by the UAE Ambassador to the U.S. who reflected on “one year after the Iran nuclear deal” and outright stated:


“Don’t be fooled. The Iran–we have long known–hostile, expansionist, violent–is alive and well.”


And he goes on to cite the multiple ballistic missile tests by Iran (October, November, and March), the firing of rockets by Iran dangerously close to a U.S. aircraft carrier (December), the detaining of US Navy sailors on their knees broadcast to the world (January), an $8 billion purchase by Iran of Russian fighter jets, planes, and helicopters (February), and the seizure of shipments by Iran of large weapons caches supporting terrorism around the world (February, March, and April) including just yesterday when the U.S. seized thousands of AK-47s and RPGs headed for Yemen. 


The editorial ends…


“Our hope for a new Iran should not cloud the reality that the old Iran is very much still with us–as dangerous and as disruptive as ever,”


Let’s pray that our earnest yearnings for peace with Iran (and North Korea for that matter) does not end in the polar opposite…a “nice” nuke doomsday scenario by the leading state sponsor(s) of terrorism worldwide. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy from Washington Artworks)