Wash Hands, Don’t Touch Face

Everyone seems to be talking and concerned about the coronavirus.


Today, one of the people that clean the office told me to be careful and said:

Wash hands.  Don’t touch face!


Someone also questioned where fundamentally did this new killer virus come from:

Is this new virus really from eating exotic animals like they say or is it really something that escaped from a Chinese biological laboratory?

Since we are dealing with an origin of the virus that is from a Communist county that represses freedom of information, the Wall Street Journal raised doubts about the information we are getting:

As the outbreak was already under way, the local government did what Communist governments always do: cover up…[and even] China’s president cannot trust the information he is getting. The lack of trust mean he must make decisions in the dark. No institution can function effectively this way.


With coronavirus more contagious than even SARS or MERS, perhaps the most important immediate questions is how far and deep will it spread?


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Amazing Cuban Art

I never knew about Cuban art until we visited Cernuda Arte gallery in Coral Gables, Florida.


They treated us like royalty and gave us a personal guided tour of two buildings filled with works by Cuban artists still at home in Cuba and here in exile. 


This was better than many museums that I’ve been too. 


I just want to thank the gallery owners and our guide for a wonderful showing and tell them how impressed we were with the art there. 

Even while the Cuban people are repressed by their dictatorial leaders, there is so much of interest in Cuba: from their colorful colonial architecture to their cool “oldie cars”, renown cigar smokes, some pretty talented artists, and I’m sure much more. 


Cuba is only 485 miles from the USA!


I pray for the freedom of the Cuban people. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Who Won The Election? Russia

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So it turns out that the all important election of 2017 for the 45th President of the United States…


Was not between President Trump and Hillary Clinton at all.


Oh no.


Because who really won the election is Russia!


From the dossier to the uranium deal, charges of collision and stealing the election, the investigations, special counsel, weakened White House, chaos, confusion, misinformation, fake news, and alternative facts.


This is called INFORMATION WARFARE. 


All of these serve not only to weaken our elections and political system, and unnerve the trust of the American people, it wastes the time and efforts of our elected officials and media chasing ghosts. 


When you can’t win an election fair and square, you pull out the McCarthyism card invoking fear of Russia and provoking political repression here at home. 


It’s the “Commie bastards,” of course that are interfering in our democracy.


But really it wasn’t!  


Unless you count a hundred thousand dollars or so of political ads and botnets in a billion dollar plus election as serious meddling–not

Basically, we are talking a self-inflicted national wound–that keeps bleeding and bleeding. 


Our country is going on a wild goose chase–looking for something, turning over stones, but what they find–how significant is any of it?


The real winner again is Russia.


They are strengthening themselves in the world. 


They have the West on edge.


Our politicians and system of government is weakened.


We waste time, while Russia takes over Crimea, wins big in Syria, militarizes the Arctic, partners with China, and advances their world agenda. 


We are distracted with eyes off the ball–spending days, weeks, months, and years in a tizzy pointing fingers at each other, seeing shadows, scared of ghosts, and punching into the air. 


Russia won the election for sure. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

The Origin of Government In The Bible

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Thought this was a really interesting speech by the Rabbi Haim Ovadia in synagogue today.


The origin of government and the function/dysfunction of society and rule of law is rooted in the in beginnings of mankind as told in the Bible/Torah. 


Starting with Adam and Even in the Garden of Eden — This was pretty much anarchy with only one law at the time not to eat the apple from the forbidden Tree of Knowledge. 


Then in Noah’s Generation – There was oligarchy with roaming gangs that took the women and committed wickedness. 


Followed by the Tower of Babel — This was communism with everyone united to build and have a common property, a great city and tower reaching to the heavens.


Subsequently Sodom & Gomorrah – This was capitalism with people looking after their own selves and cities, getting spoiled of their material goods, and committing all manner of vices. 


And only then in the time of Abraham – There arose democracy with G-d electing Abraham and the Israelites based on lovingkindness and charity. 


As we know from the Bible and can see in the chart above, only democracy resulted in blessings for all of mankind.  


Yes, the election in the bible was made by G-d, but the notion is one based on “elected” representatives that do good and are a light for the whole world–so no, dictators need not apply!


The Bible is truly a blueprint for us as to how we can live our lives as well as how we can govern the world effectively . 😉


(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)

Ending Up As A Rock

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So some people would say ending up as a rock is not a bad thing. 


A rock symbolizes strength and something that weathers time itself. 


However, it’s one thing being alive and a rock and another being dead as one. 


Fidel Castro, the authoritarian Cuban President of 50 years, the revolutionary who defied the United State and brought us and the Soviet Union to the brink of nuclear war, the dictator who violated the human rights of millions of the Cuban people…and where does he end up?


Dead at age 90, cremated, with his ashed placed inside a 15-foot tall rock. 


That’s what’s left of the man. 


Of course, there is his legacy in Cuba that includes high literacy, universal health care, environmentalism, and competitive sport’s teams. But there is also mass poverty and economic dysfunction, gross repression and human rights abuses, and Island isolationism. 


So perhaps with Fidel gone, over time, Cuba will find itself on a path of greater moderation and reform. 


In the meantime, Fidel is gone–like every other living thing comes and goes–no matter how strong he acted or how repressive he ruled, what is he now but a big useless rock with a nameplate affixed.


(Source Photo: Associated Press Via Wall Street Journal)

The Political Spectrum

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Even though the election is over…divisiveness in America is as high as ever, if not at all time highs.


We’re seeing it hurtfully in terms of bias, bigotry, and hate all around us:


– Protests, outright hostility, and violence (some sponsored) between left and right.


– Murders of police officers and African Americans betwixt the rise of Black Lives Matter.


– Calls for justice to “Lock her up” and defiant calls of “Not my President!”


– Labeling of people as bigots and racists amidst calls to “Make America Great Again.”


– Conspiracy theories of links with Russia juxtaposed with Wikileaks of collusion against Bernie Sanders


– Powerful political machines, operatives, media handlers, fundraising, advertising, and big data to “get out the vote” for your candidate. 

– The blue wall falling in the election as working-class whites abandoned the party they felt abandoned them.


– Gender glass ceilings, pay differentials, and inequality going up against the hope of a first female President of the United States. 


– Growing income and wealth inequality of the elites and trade imbalances with other nations amidst Occupy Wall Street and a nostalgia to return our manufacturing, jobs, and main street to America. 


Divisiveness of race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, wealth and more are showing up in the positioning of people along the broad political spectrum. 


This spectrum spans from ultimate control and dictatorship to outright chaos and anarchy, and with lots of options in between. 


So where do you fall on the political spectrum yesterday, today, and how about tomorrow? 😉


(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)

Freedom Is Worth It

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This was a photo I took of a sign in my daughter’s old high school.


It says, “Respect for Self, Others, and the Environment.”


That is a great principle, which I was reminded of today in sitting for an IT certification exam–how lucky we are to live in a country that affords us respect to be ourselves…to speak, write, and practice as we believe. 


In this case, the certification exam was typically given on Saturday, but as a Sabbath observer, I was able to provide a request for an accommodation, and was able to take the exam this morning, Sunday.


What was absolutely amazing to me though going for the exam at this designated fancy facility, in Washington, D.C.–and with two proctors–was that I was the only one taking the exam today.


This was not just some lip-service tolerance for differences, but rather true respect for diversity, even when it’s not convenient and it is costly. 


I have got to say, how grateful I am to be part of a society where we are free to be who we are–what can be more amazing than that?


I feel this all the more when we are at a time in history when still so many in the world are battling dictatorships, demagogues, terrorist and corrupt regimes that impose harsh restrictions, censorship, monitoring, and severe punishments on those who don’t follow the dictates of the authority holding power. 


When we fight those restrictive regimes–from ISIS to Communism–that are looking not just to hold, but to spread their clutches on power and abuses of freedom–we are really fighting to be who we are and that is a serious fight worth having. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)