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)

America, Who Are Our Real Friends?


This is what Israel, a longtime and proven true friend and ally of the United States does:

Iranian Plot on U.S. Possibly Thwarted Due To Israeli Intelligence.

 

These are perhaps the types of things that non-friends of the United States do:


– Attacks pro-Israel congressional representatives as having “dual loyalty.”


– Blame the U.S. for the crisis in Venezuela and back Socialist dictator Maduro.


– Falsely blame the U.S. for killing thousands in Somalia.


– Crassly describe the 9/11 terrorist attack on the U.S. as “someone did something.”


– Mock the U.S. for fearing terrorists, Al Qaeda. 


– Defend hundreds of indiscriminate terror missile attacks on Israeli civilians by Hamas.


– Urge the release of jailed terrorist leader of the Muslim Brotherhood.


– Condemned by the House of Representatives for anti-Semitism.

 

– Attacks credibility of U.S. for criticizing Iranian human rights abuses. 


(Source Photo 1: Jerusalem Post / Photo 2: Facebook)

Who Is The Most Dangerous?

Recently, I started watching this show called “Billions.”


I’m in the middle of Season 2, and it is a brilliant and mesmerizing show that depicts the battle between the CEO of a Wall Street Hedge Fund and the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of NY.


Ands it is a true battle of wits, might, and it gets ugly in every way. 


(I won’t spoil the show…)


But there is one line from the show that came out in the heat of an exchange between the two at the end of Season One that I wanted to share:

The only thing more dangerous than a person with unlimited resources is a person who has nothing to lose.

When you think about it, there is tremendous wisdom and truth in this, and a poignant lesson to be learned for every person, organization, and even nation of great power.


No matter how much money, people, and assets you may have to fight…


…if the other guy has nothing to lose and is willing to go do the unthinkable then we have a very big problem indeed. 

Desperate times call for desperate measures. 


From those desperate and willing to act as suicide bombers to those that would actually push the button on a nuclear, biological, chemical, or radiological attack, there is no winning even if you are the last one left standing.


The other guy who feels he has already lost is willing to take you with him by any and all means. 


Therefore, we cannot and should not ever think that the battle against evil is won, because even when the opponent appears in all respects to be defeated that may be when they become even more dangerous to us than ever.  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

The United Nations At Work For You!

In case you wondered why the United Nations is always so full of sh*t?


– When the U.N. is done aimlessly sitting around watching on the sidelines while weapons of mass destruction proliferate, millions are being killed, maimed or made into refugees, and genocide and war crimes are occurring…


– When the U.N. is done elevating dictators, sponsors of terrorism, and human rights abusers…


– When the U.N. is done denigrating and making endless anti-Semitic resolutions against the democratic and Holy Land of Israel…


– When the U.N. is done laughing at the President of the United States and his accomplishments…


This is what the UNjust United Nations spends our valuable time and dollars on. 


This photo of a U.N. garbage truck say it all.


Perhaps, this is the only thing that the U.N. is actually good at!


(Thank you to a good friend for forwarding this photo to me)

Assad’s Time Is Up

One year ago in April, the U.S. unleashed 59 cruise missiles on an air base in Syria that was involved in chemical attacks on civilians.


That was a warning message.


Today, the attacks against civilians, including the use of chemical weapons, continues in Syria unabated. 


There are now over 500,000 killed in Syria. 


That includes over 14,000 children killed by snipers, machine guns, grenades, IEDs, barrel bombs, gas attacks, and even torture and execution. 


In 2016, almost 1,500 were killed in one chemical attack alone by the Assad regime.  


Two weeks ago, Syria’s sponsor, Russia is accused of using the most deadly of chemical nerve agents to poison a former spy and his daughter in the UK. 


It is high time for the U.S. to intervene and send a very definite message against the use of chemical weapons and indiscriminate killing and to take out Assad. 


Assad is a ruthless dictator with the blood of innocents on his hands and his continued use of WMD flies in the face of civilized society and sets a tone where this or worse can and will be used in the future. 


The U.S. needs to reset the bar on the use of these dangerous weapons by sending a clear message that those who use it indiscriminately will pay the ultimate price. 


We already provided a warning message in April last year. 

The Assad regime, Russia, axis of evil Iran, and Hezbollah terrorists all need to get the message from us loud and clear that red lines will not be crossed without paying a very serious price–and that all their efforts at expanding their malevolent reach across that region have been for naught. 


Assad is the ultimate April Fool if he thinks that a cruise missile isn’t going to land on his head this time around and it will be very well-deserved indeed. 


For all the civilians and children, and for all the future generations–the time is up. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Falling On The Sword

Fall On Sword.jpeg

Sometimes things happen that we don’t agree with or like. 


We may even get blamed for them when we didn’t do anything wrong. 


At times like these, there comes up inside of us a strong visceral feeling to speak up and out–to right the wrongs!


There are times when we can, but there are also times when it may be better to hold our tongue for another day. 


In the olden times, people that spoke out, often had their tongue cut right out in front of them–no questions asked.


These days, thank G-d, most people may not be that cruel, but still people get punished for speaking truth to power–when the power is tone deaf or possibly even behaving more as brutal dictators than as benevolent leaders. 


The problem for the average Joe is that there is no point in losing your tongue or even your head by acting rashly or imprudently.


Better to wait and plan for the right moment to be effective and stand with integrity for your ideals and what you know in your heart is right. 


Maybe even at times, we have to fall on our swords until we can make a strong and convincing case and change both hearts and minds to betterment. 


The point is not only to do what’s right, but to make things right in the world around us.


Swords too often can come out swinging wildly, unless we carefully sharpen them and practice our lunges and cuts, and work to repair the wrongs in the world as soldiers of righteousness. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Nation In Denial

NK.jpeg

We are a nation in utter denial over our problems.


Just to name a few…


Whether from the threat of North Korean dictator, Kim Jong Un, who smiled while displaying a video yesterday of nuclear missiles destroying the USA.


To the shooting death of three in Fresno, CA yesterday by a man shouting “Allahu Akbar” that was deemed not a terrorist attack.


To our national debt of $20 trillion which quadrupled in just the last 15 years under the administration of both political parties.  


Unfortunately, denial is still alive and well, while smiling photos of the North Korean dictator adorn the light poles outside the capital of the USA.


We don’t like to admit our problems be it from despots threatening us with WMD to global terrorism that gives us no peace, and a mammoth debt that is sinking our national economic sustainability.


Smile for the camera!


Don’t worry about big problem-solving. 


What we don’t admit can’t hurt us or can it?  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Ending Up As A Rock

fidel-castro-jpeg

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)

Russia Seems To Have A Strategy, Why Don’t We?

Bomb Pop

Russia upends the U.S. and NATO once again, now carrying out a third day of a devastating bombing campaign that shows no sign of letting up in Syria. 


Russia is leapfrogging us to pursue their goals of keeping dictator Bashar Al Assad, tightening up on a renewed cozy relationship with Iran and Iraq–in what is the prime oil basin of the world–and reestablishing their place on the world stage as a superpower (apparently, Crimea wasn’t the end, but just the beginning), and at the same time killing U.S.-backed Syrian rebels


But what about our efforts…


Well, we’ve had “dismal results” after dilly dallying around in Syria for the better part of its 4 1/2 year civil war that’s killed over 250,000 people and created 5 million refuges streaming across the Middle East and Europe, and we keep having to “rethink” our strategy there. 


At the same time, as to our war to defeat the terrorist ISIS caliphate–who vows to smuggle nukes into America and plans a “religious cleansing” of hundreds of millions–uh, they continue to grow!


What about our more than 10 year investment in Iraq–where we spent over $2 trillion and in which almost 37,000 of our service members were either killed or wounded?  –Iraq is now cooperating with…Russia!


How about Iran–for whom we went to the mat with a controversial deal to relieve their sanctions and provide them hundreds of billions of dollars to funnel into their economy as well as global terror? –Iran is allying themselves with Russia (and Hezbollah), deepening their foray into Syria, and continue their threats to annihilate Israel and chants of death to America!


Then to hear yesterday that not only don’t we have a strategy as has been the reframe for months, but that we are not going to play chess or get into a proxy war in the Middle East with Russia…well gee, the world game of strategy and brinksmanship is not going to stop for us. 


Just because we don’t have a (good) strategy and don’t want to play global chess anymore doesn’t mean Russia, Iran, China, and others aren’t going to forge ahead with their dangerous strategies and gains. 


We are a wealthy, mighty, and innovative nation–surely, we have a strategy in this country of over 319,000,000 people, somewhere. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Evil Cannot Be In Charge

Skeleton Street Art

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)